Posts Tagged ‘Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis’

I thought polygamy and illegal immigration weren’t polemic enough, so I decided we should talk about abortion, too.  Actually, I found the quote below at a fantastic blog called “But Now to Live the Life” at http://goodfellowfamily.blogspot.com/ and I wanted to share it with you.  This family has moved to Peru with their 4 small children to be part of an organization that is teaching poor women in Lima how to knit and then selling the hats that they make to conscientious consumers in places like the US.

As someone who self-identifies as Christian, I often have a hard time articulating my stance on abortion in a coherent form, especially since I was fervently pro-choice before becoming Christian.   (I had this quote on my wall for years: “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body.” – Margaret Sanger.  Shabam – that’s a powerful quote.)  Obviously becoming a Christian who is against abortion has resulted in some serious whiplash for me.  (I hate those terms, btw: pro-choice and pro-life.  They are an excellent example of a linguist shamelessly using their powers for the purposes of evil fear-mongering.  But I digress.)

The family at But Now to Live the Life talks about [Tony] Campolo, who gives my position a name: consistently pro-life*.  He writes that this means, “…life is sacred and should be protected not only for the unborn but also for the born. This requires that there be commitments to stop wars, end capital punishment, and provide universal healthcare for all of our citizens- in addition to stopping abortion.”

Christians today display a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance when they vote against education about contraceptives, against abortion, and then refuse to fund public welfare programs.  How are these mothers supposed to raise the unwanted children that will result from this policy?  Where will these unwanted children go?  How can you protect the life of a fetus and then show no concern for the life of a child?

As a consistently pro-life Democrat, I believe that the first step to preventing abortions is providing affordable health care, affordable day care, a living wage, and appropriate education.  I do not believe that making abortion illegal is some panacea that will stop women from making tough choices when they cannot provide for unwanted children.

My point today is more that if you oppose abortion you should also oppose the death penalty, and support caring for living children.  However, on the issue of making abortion illegal, I recognize that there are many complex issues at play here.  Let’s assume that you don’t know when life begins.  Is it at conception?  After certain neural systems develop?  In the absence of clear evidence, it might be best to err on the side of caution and support life at conception.   If that’s the case, then having an abortion might be killing a life, which means that from the perspective of people who think life begins at conception, this is murder and should be stopped at all costs, even if it takes longer to set up affordable day care or a living wage.  After all, who would put off stopping genocide in order to pass other laws first?  In that sense, I get people who want abortion to be illegal immediately.

And yet, I think the best way to reduce abortions (you won’t eliminate it, as in the case of women whose lives are in danger) is to make it viable to bear and take care of a child, and that these involve long-term policy changes in many arenas.  I like this idea of being pro-life in a consistent manner for people of all ages, and yet I think my personal stance of long-term change rather than immediate change doesn’t make sense in the context of life beginning at conception.  I believe this anyway even though within the logical framework I’ve set up (we should assume life begins at conception until we know otherwise) it’s not rational.

Do you see any inconsistencies in what you think about abortion?  What principal are you basing this stance on – the sanctity of life?  Or personal freedom?  How do those two principles interact when the rubber meets the road?  I think the most interesting question on this issue is, can you put yourself in the shoes of someone on the other side?  Zealots make me nervous.

*A shout out to all you Whorfian Hypothesis folks – isn’t it satisfying to have a label for your political stance?  I love how this neatly ties in opposition to the death penalty.  Most excellent.

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