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Captain Awesome

Abortion and human rights.

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I have two questions about abortion.

 

  1. Are the folks who say "It's my body, it's my choice" aware that they are violently taking that choice away from another human life (the baby)?  If your body is your choice, why would you just go and kill the baby and take that choice away from him or her?
  2. Does the LDS church have an official position on abortion?

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1. I think the big disagreement is at what point a fetus or embryo is seen as a baby. For some, it is at conception. For others, it's at birth. I don't agree with those others, but I also don't think they see abortion as "killing babies" as a rule. I also think that, as in anything, removing hyperbole and shock from a discussion will better lend to further understanding. 

 

2. What Backroads said.

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1. I think the big disagreement is at what point a fetus or embryo is seen as a baby. For some, it is at conception. For others, it's at birth. I don't agree with those others, but I also don't think they see abortion as "killing babies" as a rule. I also think that, as in anything, removing hyperbole and shock from a discussion will better lend to further understanding.

Casual observation on my part showed a significant decrease in snarky fetus comments over the past few years. It seems the "it's not a life" argument is fading away among the pro-choice crowd.

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Casual observation on my part showed a significant decrease in snarky fetus comments over the past few years. It seems the "it's not a life" argument is fading away among the pro-choice crowd.

 

I can see four factors contributing to that:

 

1)  Medical advances have made it possible to save babies that are born earlier and earlier, rendering formerly "nonviable" fetuses viable.

2)  Much of the power of the pro-life movement lies in visuals (that's why abortionists are so cranky about having demonstrators outside their doors, and why they're so bound and determined that pamphlets encouraging abortion alternatives and showing photos of fetuses in various stages of development not be available in their clinics).  What with Facebook and other social media, it's getting harder and harder to avoid those visuals (I saw a pic on Facebook just the other day of (I think) a twelve-week fetus fitting neatly in the palm of someone's hand).  

3)  The internet is making knowledge of abortion practices around the globe more easily accessible, and the truth is slowly leaking out that while abortion is more available worldwide than many pro-lifers would like; the US is really quite singular in terms of just how few restrictions there are--even the most "progressive" European nations tend to have more restrictions than we do in terms of the kinds of pregnancies that can be terminated (e.g. threats to health of mother/child, pregnancy result of rape/incest, etc), whose approvals may be needed (father's consent, for example), and/or how late in the pregnancy you can get one.

4)  Contraception is more readily available now, meaning there are fewer unwanted pregnancies; so abortion just isn't seen as such a necessity these days.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1. The view is the mother best understands her circumstances.

2. The LDS church is against abortion in most cases, exceptions being rape and risk to mother's health.

If correct on point 2, I find that very disappointing.

The health/life of the mother I understand.

Rape/incest... I do not understand.

You do not punish the child (with a punishment of death no less), because the father of the child was a criminal.

Politically, I am a Libertarian.

I believe in, promote and fight for individual rights.

How great the violation of individual rights it is to end the life of a child in the womb.

It matters little that pro-abortionist may not see abortion as killing child.

What matters is that it actually IS the killing of a child.

In honesty, it is not the killing a child... it is murder.

I do believe abortion should be a crime.

However, it is not.

And even if it were, cruelty and hatred directed towards those who have an abortion, is (in my opinion) a degree of evil itself.

I do use strong words often when speaking on, or about abortion.

I use those words no matter if I am talking to a pro-life individual, or a pro-abortion individual.

But that does not mean these conversations cannot be had in a loving manner.

Abortion is the greatest horror America has ever engaged in.

If ever there were something that cried out for national repentance, abortion in America is that thing.

 

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If correct on point 2, I find that very disappointing.

The health/life of the mother I understand.

Rape/incest... I do not understand.

You do not punish the child (with a punishment of death no less), because the father of the child was a criminal.

Politically, I am a Libertarian.

I believe in, promote and fight for individual rights.

How great the violation of individual rights it is to end the life of a child in the womb.

It matters little that pro-abortionist may not see abortion as killing child.

What matters is that it actually IS the killing of a child.

In honesty, it is not the killing a child... it is murder.

I do believe abortion should be a crime.

However, it is not.

And even if it were, cruelty and hatred directed towards those who have an abortion, is (in my opinion) a degree of evil itself.

I do use strong words often when speaking on, or about abortion.

I use those words no matter if I am talking to a pro-life individual, or a pro-abortion individual.

But that does not mean these conversations cannot be had in a loving manner.

Abortion is the greatest horror America has ever engaged in.

If ever there were something that cried out for national repentance, abortion in America is that thing.

The LDS position is consistent with the doctrines of the restored gospel... especially those on Free Agency and Pre-Mortal Existence.

A Catholic, for example, is missing the teaching on pre-mortal existence, therefore, they teach that spiritual human life (that is, both spirit and body) is created at birth under the will of the Father and subordinately under the will of the parents. The will of the fetus is non-existent at this point. Free will is given to the fetus at conception. So that, your position above is consistent with the Catholic teaching in that, willfully aborting a fetus is thwarting the will of the Father and at the same time usurping the will freely given to the fetus at conception - it is killing a spiritual being. Miscarriages and the like is also death of a spiritual being in all cases.

On the other hand, the restored gospel taught by the LDS Church teaches of Eternal Spirits with a Pre-mortal Existence, so that the spirit is not created at conception, rather, it joins the body sometime between conception and birth. The Spirit joins the Body under the will of the Father AND the will of the Spirit and the will of the parents because free agency is given to the Spirits in Pre-Mortal existence. The conditions of the Spirit's mortal probation, therefore, is something that the Spirit freely chose before birth. Because of this, not all miscarriages or abortions is a death of a spiritual being as it may be that the Spirit has not joined the body at the time of abortion. Free Agency is central to the Plan of Salvation.

Now, let's explore rape under the LDS teaching... In this case, the will of the mother was forcefully removed in the process of procreation. The Spirit, therefore, may accept these conditions for his mortal probation or he may not - in which case, his spirit may not join this particular body according to his will. At the same time, the mother is given the option to either accept or reject the procreative process which got started without her free will. Free Agency is central to the Plan of Salvation.

Hope this helps you understand why the Church holds this position.

Edited by anatess

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In honesty, it is not the killing a child... it is murder.

I do believe abortion should be a crime.

 

Prepare to be further disappointed.  According to a 1979 Priesthood Bulletin, abortion is not considered murder (or the "shedding of innocent blood") and is amenable to the conditions of repentance.

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I have two questions about abortion.

 

  1. Are the folks who say "It's my body, it's my choice" aware that they are violently taking that choice away from another human life (the baby)?  If your body is your choice, why would you just go and kill the baby and take that choice away from him or her?

 

 

The flaw in the logic employed here that "once you've had sex, your decision has been made" is that making one decision does not eliminate the possibility of making another decision.  We have agency.  We can make bad decisions with it.  And when we make a bad decision, we may continue to make more bad decisions.  

 

If you'd like to prevent people from having abortions, I recommend focusing on getting people to make good decisions with their agency in the first place, and out of a love for the Gospel and Christ.  The simple truth is most humans will value their own agency over the agency of another.

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I wonder if it is possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice.

 

I agree that (potential) mothers have a vital interest in and as to whether they will carry and bear a child. I agree that each abortion is the death of one of our most vulnerable (and therefore deserving of protection).

 

For my part, I think the discussion has to be had, and resolved, in each individual case, with each individual mother contemplating abortion. But, at the end of the day, I think the final decision should be left with the mother. And I do not favour laws that enforce any other situation. If we, who would prefer abortion to end, cannot find the arguments to win our case in each individual set of circumstances, then perhaps we do not deserve to win that case.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

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I wonder if it is possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice.

 

I'm not sure if that is possible, but I do have a distinction between moral code and legal code. Morally, I agree with the church's stance and I would generally default (even in the case of rape) to preserving the life of the child.  I think in rape, incest or life of the mother it is a difficult decision with help from God.

 

I think legally it is a much stickier issue. How do we definitely decide when punishment should be applied for performing an abortion or having one?  For all laws require that enforcement of such laws take away someone's life, liberty or property. So when is it right and just to deprive an individual of life, liberty, property for either having an abortion or performing an abortion.  And if we claim that an abortion is destroying a life (which I think it is), the law should be updated to reflect penalties to the mother for having an abortion not just the doctor performing them.

 

While I personally believe life begins either at inception or pretty close to it (a couple of weeks maybe?), currently I think it is hard to definitively prove that medically (i.e. what does life begins means? spontaneous reproduction of cells a blastophere?) However, I firmly believe that we can definitively say that modern medicine can help a child survive outside the womb at 20-21 weeks. Therefore we can concretely say that at 20-21 weeks life most definitely has begun.

So from a legal standpoint, I think abortion should be outlawed after 20 weeks (call it 18 weeks to be safe).  As medicine advances and preemies are able to survive still earlier I think the law should be updated. If at some point we get to really growing babies outside the womb after conception or a definitive answer to when life begins the law should be updated to reflect that reality.

Edited by yjacket

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Prepare to be further disappointed. According to a 1979 Priesthood Bulletin, abortion is not considered murder (or the "shedding of innocent blood") and is amenable to the conditions of repentance.

On the other hand, while Nelson (in the sermon I link earlier) agrees with the distinction between abortion and murder (at least for those without "full understanding"); he does categorize it as shedding of innocent blood

The flaw in the logic employed here that "once you've had sex, your decision has been made" is that making one decision does not eliminate the possibility of making another decision. We have agency. We can make bad decisions with it. And when we make a bad decision, we may continue to make more bad decisions.

If you'd like to prevent people from having abortions, I recommend focusing on getting people to make good decisions with their agency in the first place, and out of a love for the Gospel and Christ. The simple truth is most humans will value their own agency over the agency of another.

This respect for agency before the law, has its limits. Otherwise we wouldn't bother to criminalize murder, rape, or the selling of loose cigarettes--we'd just take the "pro-choice' position of politely asking those making such decisions to please reconsider, whilst shepherding into "free speech zones" anyone who made those requests with an uncomfortable degree of volume or persuasiveness.

While I personally believe life begins either at inception or pretty close to it (a couple of weeks maybe?), currently I think it is hard to definitively prove that medically (i.e. what does life begins means? spontaneous reproduction of cells a blastophere?) However, I firmly believe that we can definitively say that modern medicine can help a child survive outside the womb at 20-21 weeks. Therefore we can concretely say that at 20-21 weeks life most definitely has begun.

One problem with this line of thinking is that it suggests life is not life if it is incapable of independently sustaining itself unaided, or outside of a certain environment. The logical conclusions to such thinking is that it is also OK to terminate the existence of a two-week-old baby (since, left to itself, it will ultimately die); or to destroy a submarine or a spacecraft even though people are inside (since, in their current environment and but for a technological life-sustaining "womb" which I happen to have power to control, they are "non-viable").

I don't pretend to know when "life" begins (I'm uncomfortable with the idea that life begins at conception), but I'm not sure post-delivery "viability" is the best philosophical analysis to apply.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Hope this helps you understand why the Church holds this position.

Thank you Anatess.

I'll have to chew on it for a while I think.

It is very difficult for me to think of something more disgusting, and truly evil, than the practice of abortion.

However, I will consider what you have written.

I try not to see myself as being smarter than God.

That is, just because I *feel* a particular way... I don't want to walk about thinking that my feelings are confirmation that I am right in my conclusions on something and that my cup runneth over with wisdom and understanding.

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The flaw in the logic employed here that "once you've had sex, your decision has been made" is that making one decision does not eliminate the possibility of making another decision.

I didn't mention the having sex and decisions thing at all.  The only thing I discussed was the right to one's body and life.  Apparently (and I agree it is right) a woman (and anyone else) should have absolute sovereignty over their own body.  I apply the exact same standard to babies.

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I wonder if it is possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice.

I am pro life and pro choice.  I believe we should all have absolute sovereignty over our bodies and lives.  I believe we alone should choose what happens with our bodies.  I believe a woman should be able to make that decision.  I believe a baby should be able to make that decision.  I believe a woman should not take that decision away from a baby.  There is obvoiusly a conflict of interests there.  Ideally a woman should have the choice, but that choice should, in my opinion, be to not kill a baby.  Because killing that baby is colossal hypocrisy (because the pro-choice person is taking that choice away from another person by killing them).

 

It should be noted that while rape and a woman's health/safety are often raised as reasons, the fact is that the majority of abortions occur simply because the woman finds it inconvenient to have and raise a baby at that time.  They literally kill the baby to avoid inconvenience.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16150658

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So... given that the majority of abortions are performed because the woman finds it inconvenient to keep the baby, my suggestion is that woman use their free choice, their free agency, to not have sex unless or until they are prepared to accept the consequences of doing so.  Obviously this would not apply to the very small percentage who are victims of rape or who would die themselves if they went ahead with the pregancy and birth.

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So... given that the majority of abortions are performed because the woman finds it inconvenient to keep the baby, my suggestion is that woman use their free choice, their free agency, to not have sex unless or until they are prepared to accept the consequences of doing so.  Obviously this would not apply to the very small percentage who are victims of rape or who would die themselves if they went ahead with the pregancy and birth.

Yes, that would be ideal.  Now let's work on persuading them to do so.

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The flaw in the logic employed here that "once you've had sex, your decision has been made" is that making one decision does not eliminate the possibility of making another decision.  We have agency.  We can make bad decisions with it.  And when we make a bad decision, we may continue to make more bad decisions.  

 

To my thinking the flaw in logic being employed is to equate the reality of some post-consequence choices as equal to the pre-consequence choices.

 

Making one decision may not eliminate the possibility of making another...but it does potentially eliminate the possibility of making some others.

 

Pregnancy is an ideal example. Once pregnant, there are choices that are gone and cannot be made concerning the matter any longer. One is stuck then with one of two choices. Have the baby or abort it. The decision to do otherwise has been removed.

 

The simple truth is most humans will value their own agency over the agency of another.

 

This is conflating agency with freedom.

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I have two questions about abortion.

 

  1. Are the folks who say "It's my body, it's my choice" aware that they are violently taking that choice away from another human life (the baby)?  If your body is your choice, why would you just go and kill the baby and take that choice away from him or her?
  2. Does the LDS church have an official position on abortion?

 

1. this is why there is so much effort in classifying a fetus as inhuman.

2. yes- that it isn't excusable except for cases of rape, or where its determined that the mother or baby will die at or before birth.

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I have two questions about abortion.

 

  1. Are the folks who say "It's my body, it's my choice" aware that they are violently taking that choice away from another human life (the baby)?  If your body is your choice, why would you just go and kill the baby and take that choice away from him or her?
  2. Does the LDS church have an official position on abortion?

 

1. This all depends on when you think that life/conciseness begins.

 

2. From handbook 1:

17.3.1
Abortion

The Lord commanded, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Members must not submit to, perform, arrange for, pay for, consent to, or encourage an abortion. The only possible exceptions are when:

  1. 1. 

    Pregnancy resulted from forcible rape or incest.

  2. 2. 

    A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy.

  3. 3. 

    A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

Even these exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons responsible have consulted with their bishops and received divine confirmation through prayer.

Church members who submit to, perform, arrange for, pay for, consent to, or encourage an abortion may be subject to Church discipline.

As far as has been revealed, a person may repent and be forgiven for the sin of abortion.

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2. From handbook 1:

17.3.1
Abortion

 

Handbook 1 is copyrighted material. The Church has made it clear that Handbook 1 is for the use of certain people in leadership positions, and not for general consumption. In my opinion, it ought not be quoted in open forum by anyone claiming to sustain the prophets, and not at all on this site.

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1. Copyrighted material is quoted all of the time on this forum. 

 

2. Should we be left to guessing at what the official policy is?

 

3. There is nothing "secret" in this book. I sustain the prophets, I don't see the conflict.

 

My apologies for coming across as condemnatory. Believe it or not, that wasn't my intent.

 

1. The point in my mind wasn't so much the copyright as the idea that we have two handbooks, or rather, that the handbook is in two parts: A public-facing part and a private part. If our leaders have seen fit to put part of the handbook in a private part not generally accessible, it seems reasonable to respect that distinction.

 

2. No, but official policy should generally come through official public channels.

 

3. I agree there is nothing secret in the handbook. But it is private; otherwise, the Church would simply openly publish Handbook 1. It does not, which clearly implies that it is not meant for public consumption.

 

Again, I apologize for my condemnatory tone. It was not intended so.

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Again, I apologize for my condemnatory tone. It was not intended so.

 

It used to be that I would quake in my boots when going toe to toe with Vort... he has changed quite a lot... I kinda miss the old Vort.  ;)

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