CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Like many other pro-life voters I was inspired by the story of the Republican Candidate for Vice President, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She is a mother of five. Her most recent child has Down syndrome. Gov. Palin learned this well before the birth, but -- living up to her pro-life beliefs -- did not abort.

While reading about Gov. Palin, I ran across a shocking New York Times story about babies with Down syndrome. Perhaps I was naive, or just uninformed, but I had no idea that the abortion rate for the unborn diagnosed with Down syndrome is 90 percent. I like to think that this is not representative of parents nationwide. I have known women who were reluctant to take such tests or rejected them outright because they knew the results would not affect their decision. Still, 90% is a shocking abortion rate.

In addition to the high percentage, the raw number of such abortions continues to grow. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommending that all pregnant women be screened to determine whether their unborn babies have the syndrome. The inevitable result of its decision will be many thousands more abortions.

The article is also revealing in some of the assumptions that leak through the text. For example, the article discusses the efforts of those who seek to educate parents with an eye towards preventing more abortions. The author writes about drawing a line "between preventing disability and accepting human diversity." The fact is -- whatever one's political views on abortion -- the only thing abortion prevents is the continuation of a life that already exists. The "disability" is not prevented, it is made to go away by killing the life in which it has already manifested.

Next up is this comment, "Yet some see themselves as society’s first line of defense against a use of genetic technology that can border on eugenics." This practice "borders" on eugenics like Kansas borders on being in the United States. Of course this is eugenics. Any defense of the practice must not deny the obvious, but justify it.

Returning to the ACOG's decision and the destruction of pre-natal Down babies, the tragedy is that while Down babies face a life with more health challenge and reduced mental capacity, they are capable of having full lives, including gainful employment, reading and writing, enjoying sports and music, and forming close relationships. This is simply not one of those cases were the parents face the agonizing choice of bringing a baby to term who will die quickly and suffer greatly for whatever measure of life it can eek out. The average life span of a person with Down is 50. In reality, the abortion in Down cases appears to be based much more on the challenge faced by the parents rather than the challenges faced by the child.

Columnist George Will, who has a son with Down, wrote a touching column about his son and the implications of the ACOG's recommendation. I have not been able to find the full article online, but a substantial excerpt is available here. Will takes the ACOG's decision personally and after reading even parts of his column you can see why.

I do not pretend that raising a Down child is easy or without challenge. I am fortunate enough to have had four healthy children untouched by Down. Raising them is challenging enough, without the added burden of increased health problems and mental challenges. It would not be a moral issue, however, if it were an easy choice. And there is help (Families Exploring Down Syndrome and National Down Syndrome Society).

Sometimes these kinds of issues are like the proverbial frog in the pot of heating water. Decisions are made with tremendous moral and ethical implications by some in society with very different values and perspectives than the society at large. But the rest of society is not asked, not informed, and not involved. By the time the issues get notoriety, there is a big head of steam up and most of the decisions have been made. At this point, Roe v. Wade remains the law and states are almost helpless to assist the unborn. Providing information, however, about Down and abortion and available assistance is still on the table. Helping people make an informed decision will prevent the destruction of more Down babies.

11 comments:

You're assuming that the 90% of people choosing to have an abortion are "misinformed". But not only would you like to "educate" them as to why YOU think they are making the wrong decision but I assume you'd like to take that decision away from them completely to prevent them from making the "wrong" decision.

How about considering the possibility that these 90% are making the right informed choice for them and it's you that is not well informed.

Joex,

You are right that I think it will always be the wrong choice to kill an unborn baby because it has Down syndrome, unless the mother's life is in danger. It will be wrong if I decide to kill such a baby, it will be wrong if you decide to kill such a baby. Killing a human life because it will have a reduced mental capacity and ability is immoral and I would put the force of law behind my conviction if it was in my proper authority to do so. The most helpless of human lives deserve the protection of the law.

Perhaps you can expound on why you think it would be moral and ethical to kill a human life because it has Down syndrome?

That being said, I do suspect that there many people who choose to abort their Down baby do not have all the facts. I'd support legislation to include an informed decision requiring an explanation as to some basic facts about people who have Down syndrome and what kind of life they can expect. There were examples in the NY Times article in other material I have read which shows that there are plenty of misconceptions about Down syndrome and people who have it and what kind of life they can be expected to lead.

How about the choice TO have a baby in the first place.

Palin knew that at age 44, her chances of such a birth were greatly increased but she went ahead.

By the way, she encouraged her own son to go to Iraq.

What would she do to mine if she had the chance?

I know McCain wants to fight for a 100 years, but HE CAN'T HAVE my children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren.

Get it?

Palin knew that at age 44, her chances of such a birth were greatly increased but she went ahead.

Are you saying women over 40 shouldn't have children? I am sure she knew that there were increased risks and was willing to live with them. And so she is.

By the way, she encouraged her own son to go to Iraq.

Good for her.

What would she do to mine if she had the chance?

Assuming you did not abort him first? She might encourage young men (and women) to consider military service as an honorable profession. Then your son could decide for himself.

I know McCain wants to fight for a 100 years, but HE CAN'T HAVE my children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren.

McCain never said he wants to fight for a 100 years. As for your children and further progeny, they can make up their own mind whether to serve their country in uniform or not. Moms and Dads don't get to run their children's lives forever, ya know. This is America after all. Your children can choose for themselves what they want to do once they are of age. McCain isn't raiding people's homes and kidnapping children into the Marine corp.

Layman,

The fact is a child with Down syndrome has an incurable disease that will severely affect it's quality of life no matter how much you want to sugar coat it. In addition it will put a severe drain on the parents , family, and the community as well (let me guess you'd like to outlaw abortions but would not want to pay taxes to finance the additional costs incured with raising a child with medical and educational problems?). Not everybody is up to that challenge.

Also, I do no equate early stage abortion with murder. You are terminating a life but at the earliest stages of pregnancies obviously you have little more than a collection of cells. That is not the same thing as killing a fully functional human being.

I accept that your beliefs are different. That is why I'm not trying to impose forced abortions on Down syndrome babies. Why do you think you have the right to force your beliefs on someone else and force them to have a sick child? Especially as we've seen from the numbers, most people disagree with you.

Joex,

Yes, having a baby with Down syndrome will be a burden. How late are you willing to let the parents of that baby exercise their right to eliminate the burden? Through age 5? Perhaps they could try it for a while and just do a post-natal abortion if it gets too tough?

Also, I do no equate early stage abortion with murder. You are terminating a life but at the earliest stages of pregnancies obviously you have little more than a collection of cells. That is not the same thing as killing a fully functional human being.

It is a human life. That is enough for me. According to you, a person with Down syndrome is never fully functional, so how late are you willing to kill such a human life?

Why do you think you have the right to force your beliefs on someone else and force them to have a sick child? Especially as we've seen from the numbers, most people disagree with you.

The same reason the abolitionists thought they had the right to force slave owners to stop owning slaves. I recognize the value of human life as being greater than the right to kill (or enslave) human life. Most slave owners also disagreed with the abolitionist agenda, after all.

It is the government's job to help protect those human lives in its jurisdiction that are most vulnerable and least able to help themselves.

Layman,

I'm sorry but your attempt at a "slippery slope" type argument is very weak. I'm quite able to differentiate a 5 year old child (sick or not) from a few month old fetus. Any logical person is able to make that distinction. I specifically mentioned early stage abortions so I do believe in a cutoff. But that doesn't mean I or any other person would place it at 5 years.

Also, your analogy to slavery is also exaggerating things. Again there is a big difference between a human slave and a clump of cells.

The fact is that conception is where you place the cutoff and others would instead look for a cutoff based on other factors.

I can agree that it is a "human life" (DNA) but not that it is "human" (thoughts, feelings, awareness etc) a split second after an egg is fertilized.

The fact is that we'll never reach a consensus on the right cutoff point. Your view I assume is religious in nature but others have different opinions (demonstrated again by the 90% figure).

So again I don't think you should be allowed to force your personal "opinion" onto the lives of those that would be severely affected by the decision.

Again, I assume from your last comment that you are willing to fully support through your taxes any financial requirements raising a Down syndrome baby would entail?

“The fact is -- whatever one's political views on abortion -- the only thing abortion prevents is the continuation of a life that already exists.”

And this is where someone like myself would chime in and correct the statement to, “this author's opinion is” instead of “the fact is,” since the statement (that abortion prevents human life from continuing) depends upon a certain historically defined and limited world-view and perspective which cannot be traced to all cultures and times and is contrary to ancient Semitic world-view and Law—specifically Hebrew.

I am definitely saddened and to a point outraged by the practice of abortion in many circumstances such as Downs and gender, and for a number of reasons, but not because it is the cutting short of an already existent human life. If that is one's reason for not getting an abortion or for standing against it, all the power to you. But according to ancient Semitic and Hebraic perspective, you wouldn't have much ground to stand on outside Greece.

Why does God allow abortion?

Does abortion lead to a greater good?

William Lane Craig has a tremendous argument smashing atheistic claims that abortion is gratuitious harm

Craig on evil

'We can summarize this new version of the argument from harm as follows:


1. If God exists, gratuitous harm does not exist.
2. Gratuitous harm does exist.
3. Therefore, God does not exist.

Now the most contentious premiss in this argument is (2). The first version of the argument from harm posed an essentially internal problem about the consistency of Christian theism, since the Christian is committed by his own theology to the truth of the propositions God exists and Harm exists. But the Christian is not committed to the truth of (2). How, then, will the atheist prove that the harm in the world is truly gratuitous?'

AN excellent point by a top Christian philosopher.

How is anybody going to prove that the harm caused by abortion is totally gratuitous?


I'm sorry but your attempt at a "slippery slope" type argument is very weak. I'm quite able to differentiate a 5 year old child (sick or not) from a few month old fetus. Any logical person is able to make that distinction. I specifically mentioned early stage abortions so I do believe in a cutoff. But that doesn't mean I or any other person would place it at 5 years.


So where do you place the cut off and why? You brag about being able to distinguish but give no foundation for so distinguishing. One difference I suppose is that the unborn baby is much more helpless and therefore even more deserving of protection.

Also, your analogy to slavery is also exaggerating things. Again there is a big difference between a human slave and a clump of cells.

Well, there is the problem. I do not consider unborn human beings merely a clump of cells. In one sense, we are all clumps of cells, so I'm not sure what this is supposed to prove.


The fact is that conception is where you place the cutoff and others would instead look for a cutoff based on other factors.


Just as racists used to draw lines between different races as being of different worth. The differences were just as obvious to them as the differences you see between born an unborn human beings.

I can agree that it is a "human life" (DNA) but not that it is "human" (thoughts, feelings, awareness etc) a split second after an egg is fertilized.

It is not just because it is dna that makes it human. It is because it is a human life that makes it human. Humans have value, in my opinion, because they are human. It is intrinsic.


The fact is that we'll never reach a consensus on the right cutoff point. Your view I assume is religious in nature but others have different opinions (demonstrated again by the 90% figure).


Where have I argued religious belief to advance my pro life opinion?

We didn't have a consensus on ending slavery either. Nor was there a consensus on the Civil Rights legislation of the 60s. (Both of which involved large numbers of Americans imposing their religiously informed beliefs on the issue on the rest of the country). The notion that we have to have consensus on this or that issue before we can take action is baseless.


Again, I assume from your last comment that you are willing to fully support through your taxes any financial requirements raising a Down syndrome baby would entail?


It is primarily the parent's job to provide for their children. If they are unable to or abandon their obligations, then the state should ensure the well being of the child. Just as with any other child.

Slaveofone,

You keep making sweeping claims about the Jewish people not being pro life historically. This demonstrably untrue. The Jewish people of Jesus' time were noted for their unusual condemnation of abortion and infanticide. The early Christians adopted this ethic very early on as attested by early Christian writings such as the Didache.

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