Thursday, January 23, 2014

Roe v. Wade 41 years later

I'm buried this morning and don't have time to develop a post. Yesterday was the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Please keep any discussion civil--I won't have time today to interact much but here are some questions you might discuss:
  • What assumptions are involved in the positions Christians take on this issue on both sides? Are they good assumptions?
  • What Scriptures are used in this discussion on both sides?  How good is the exegesis?
  • What tactics are most effective in reaching the long term goals on this issue?  How effective is prohibition? How effective is addressing the causes?
  • What are the political implications for whom you support with your vote? Does this issue trump all others when you come to the polls? Why should it or why not?
  • To what extent might experiential and anecdotal inputs (e.g., Heaven is for Real) have an impact on our thinking, maybe even over the Bible itself? Are there dangers here?
  • Are we consistent in our positions? What would it mean to be pro-life in a thoroughgoing way?
  • What exactly did Roe v. Wade say? To what extent are Christian positions on abortion positions that involve religious assumptions? To what extent can they be argued in secular categories?
I don't have time to participate much in any discussion today. Please don't eat each other alive in your thoughts. Angry responses are often a sign of insecurity in your own position...


John Mark said...

My denominational manual says we oppose abortion for the purposes of population control or personal convenience. Life is sacred and should be valued. As we look at the history since Roe; we see over 50 million abortions--it would seem the primary use of abortion is birth control. In a conversation this week with someone whose family has been involved in crisis pregnancy centers and personal ministry to post abortive women I was told that many clinics could be closed by a visit from the local health department. It is a grisly business. The Gosnell case in Philly may be an extreme example, but makes it clear that this is an unregulated 'industry' to say the least. There is a desperate need for oversight.
Prolife people have looked to Ps 139 (yes, a poem) and to Jeremiah's testimony that God called him before birth to support the idea that life begins at conception. I realize these are not proof of viability. But advocates of abortion *on demand* are not concerned with viability.
As for complete prohibition, it may not be possible. Abortion was legal in several states before Roe, and to overturn Roe might just send decision making powers back to the states. But 50 or 55 million abortions since Roe should be chilling to anyone. The voting issue is thorny. The 'pro-life' party is the war party, and the anti war party is the pro-abortion party. Apples and oranges, some will say. But our history of totally unrestricted abortion is shameful, and has hurt women in many ways.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

In an evangelical or fundamentalist (biblical) Christian worldview, there is a Creator that creates specifically and directly in the created order. The created order is specified within scripture, as literal and historical event.
There is a distinction made between human life and other life forms, just as a distinction is made between a man and a woman, in a "Christian biblical worldview".
Scientific invention, whether through genetic engineering or social engineering, in surrogate parenting, same sex parenting, etc. is against the "biblical" interpretation in fundamentalist's camps.
Human sexuality is seen as a sacred, instead of a natural human desire. Therefore, the sanctity of marriage, the protection of sexual boundaries, and the marriage as "useful' for procreation is an ultimate value for 'bibilcal Christians".
The full purpose of marriage cannot be experienced apart from the biological purpose of procreation for a "biblical Christian".
Human sexuality is not a matter of consent, but a matter of social boundaries/norms.
Therefore, there is no such thing as an "unintended pregnancy". Even those pregnancies that are unplanned are "planned by God", as God is Sovereign (allows what happens, either directly or indirectly). Anyone that prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg, or disturbs the attachment of the embryo has killed a life "created by God".

The assumptions are theological, as well as bibilical, about God's Sovereign intervention in the world and in human affairs and "His Plan" or "standard".

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Our Country allows for religious liberty, but does not require a religious test for holding office, as religious tests define religious faith, which limits religious liberty!

Our country was to provide Liberty and Justice for ALL, not just a religious person. Individual liberty was protected by Constitutional gurantees against expansive Government oversight. Roe v. Wade was decided because the SCOTUS believed in a woman's protected right to privacy.

Privacy is about the personal, which protects religious liberty, as well as "choice".

Privacy is also about "property rights", which our country also believes to be of value and importance. Many Pro Choice people believe that a woman's right to her body, involves consent as to the reproductive aspects of her body. Self reponsibility is a conservative value, which Pro Choice people believe is an aspect of "reproductive rights".

Therefore, our country's values of religious liberty, personal liberty and private property rights, defy the Pro Life arguments.

It is true that the "natural rights" argument used by Aquinas have been used for "human rights", but these are irrelavant practically, if Government doesn't acknowledge or grant them.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

John Mark,
Though you do point out that the Democrats and Republicans differ as to what/whose rights and how they want to protect them is, don't you set up a false dichotomy? As both self defense and choice is necessary for survival and liberty? That is a realistic perspective. Our Country defends the right to self defense (personally and nationally).

You must believe that "peace" (anti-war) and "all life" (pro-life) is important to protect. Isn't that an "idealistic" perspective? I'd much rather be realistic, then, each entity (individual and nation) can be mutual in relationship/contract.

As to respect for "all life", death is a part of life, as we must kill in order to eat. Otherwise, WE die!

Martin LaBar said...

I know there are passages that indicate that God knows individuals before they are born. But there are also Old Testament passages that indicate that little children were not specially protected, at least not in war, and also that some people said they wished they had not been born (quotations from World English Bible, public domain):

Numbers 31:15 Moses said to them, . . . [about the Midianites] 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.

Deuteronomy 2:32 Then Sihon came out against us . . . 34 We took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed every inhabited city, with the women and the little ones. We left no one remaining.

Psalm 137:8 Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
he will be happy who rewards you,
as you have served us.
9 Happy shall he be,
who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock.

Isaiah 13:13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place in Yahweh of Armies’ wrath, and in the day of his fierce anger. . . . 16 Their infants also will be dashed in pieces before their eyes. Their houses will be ransacked, and their wives raped. 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver, and as for gold, they will not delight in it. 18 Their bows will dash the young men in pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb. Their eyes will not spare children.

Jeremiah 20:14 Cursed is the day in which I was born.
Don’t let the day in which my mother bore me be blessed.
15 Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying,
“A boy is born to you,” making him very glad.
16 Let that man be as the cities which Yahweh overthrew,
and didn’t repent.
Let him hear a cry in the morning,
and shouting at noontime;
17a because he didn’t kill me from the womb;
and so my mother would have been my grave

(Job said about the same thing)
Hosea 9:14 Give them—Yahweh what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. (This idea is repeated in this chapter.)

God’s people carried out the killing of babies, as part of warfare against the enemies of Israel. Is that consistent with abortion being sinful? I'm not sure.