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Phineas

Anti-abortion bill in Alabama

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I know that this is a very controversial hot-button issue.  And I know there are Latter-day Saints on both sides.   But I find it surprising how little the church actually talks about it given how hot of an issue it is right now.  There was one brief mention of it in Elder Anderson’s recent conference address while speaking about the Proclamation.  

Now there is this new Alabama law bill signed into law.   I am actually shocked at how strict it is.  It goes even further than the church’s policy.   No exceptions for rape and incest.  A life is a life even  if it is conceived in a wicked manner.

Personally I am on the pro-life side.  I understand the pro-choice side but I feel siding with the life of the baby to be the morally superior position.   It’s the more excellent way.   I find myself cheering for Alabama.

 Should Latter-day Saints embrace a stricter position on abortion like what we are seeing in Alabama?  Does the church’s position fall short?  Or is this Alabama bill too extreme?  

 

Edited by Phineas

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The church is very pro life. There are numerous talks that focus on the sacredness of human life and the evils of abortion, many of them by President Nelson. I agree with you and also applaud the Alabama legislature, although I hope there is an exception for ectopic pregnancies which are impossible to save. Hopefully between Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama we can finally challenge and overturn the most disgusting Supreme Court decision since Plessy V. Ferguson, Roe V. Wade. Most abortions are of convenience. I've seen studies that anywhere between 85 to 95 percent of them are strictly because said person doesn't want the inconvenience of another baby (it'll hurt their career, they aren't ready, they have too many already etc). Those should be outlawed, and it breaks my heart to think of how many babies have been killed on the altar of convenience.

However, I do not believe the church should change it's policy, because it's direction is set by the Lord. He will change or keep the policy as he sees fit, and he knows far better than we what direction to take on this matter. I've read often enough other talks wherein they explain that even the exceptions should only be considered after prayer and consultation with the Lord and priesthood leaders (sorry I'd post examples but I'm off to work in a minute, a quick google search out to bring them up). 

Edited by Midwest LDS

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Guest Mores

The Church's stance on abortion has always been one of morality, not legality.  Some officials have given personal opinions on the matter from a legal perspective.  But the precise position on legality should be considered and reconsidered as time goes on.  It necessarily needs to change with the times.

One argument for disallowing abortions resulting from rape or incest from a legal perspective is the "me too" movement.  It has generated FARR too many false accusations.  Men are having their lives ruined simply because a woman does not want HER name dragged through the mud for the things she chose to do.  So, she drags someone else through the mud.

If you're going to make it legal, make it legal.  If you're not going to, be VERY careful about what exceptions you're going to allow because of unintended consequences.

From a moral position, I've known a few women who have the moral fortitude and desire to preserve life to say,"I don't care if I die through this pregnancy.  I simply could not bring myself to terminate the baby."  Praises be to such women.

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1 hour ago, Midwest LDS said:

I hope there is an exception for ectopic pregnancies which are impossible to save.

I haven't read the text so I don't know, but I'd be very surprised if there weren't a provision for cases like that under the umbrella of "medically necessary."  Otherwise I'd call that a serious oversight.

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37 minutes ago, Mores said:

One argument for disallowing abortions resulting from rape or incest from a legal perspective is the "me too" movement.  It has generated FARR too many false accusations.  Men are having their lives ruined simply because a woman does not want HER name dragged through the mud for the things she chose to do.  So, she drags someone else through the mud.

If you're going to make it legal, make it legal.  If you're not going to, be VERY careful about what exceptions you're going to allow because of unintended consequences.

From a moral position, I've known a few women who have the moral fortitude and desire to preserve life to say,"I don't care if I die through this pregnancy.  I simply could not bring myself to terminate the baby."  Praises be to such women.

I used to be politically on the side of making exceptions in cases of rape/incest,  but I stopped because of exactly this problem.  If somebody wants an abortion badly enough, they'd now be incentivized (sp?) to  falsely accuse someone.  And as much as I wish I could believe that such incidents would be vanishingly rare, We already have a problem with retroactive accusations of rape these days with no incentive at all.

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The only reason laws like this exist (and their opposites) is because we have not legally answered the question of "When does a fetus become Human?"   That of course is a question that has a lot of morality to it, but once answered all the other laws directly targeting abortion become moot. 

If the fetus is Human then it has Human rights, and we have laws already about when one human can harm and/or kill another.

If it is not Human then it is the property (and body) of its mother and she can do what she wills with it.

I know that I am on the side of calling it Human with all the rights and protections that come with that.

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36 minutes ago, unixknight said:

I used to be politically on the side of making exceptions in cases of rape/incest,  but I stopped because of exactly this problem.  If somebody wants an abortion badly enough, they'd now be incentivized (sp?) to  falsely accuse someone.  And as much as I wish I could believe that such incidents would be vanishingly rare, We already have a problem with retroactive accusations of rape these days with no incentive at all.

#Metoo has had its problems; but I think it worth noting that young men who keep the Law of Chastity are mostly (not entirely, but mostly) safe from the sorts of false allegations that the movement has tended to engender.  My concern with #metoo has more to do with the victim-mentality and sense of irresponsibility it fosters in my daughters, rather than the legal risk it poses to my sons.  In the case of a legal rape-exception to an abortion ban this is even more so, since under such a regimen DNA testing of the baby can exonerate the alleged father.  Fatherhood and false rape allegations are two of the occupational hazards of being sexually promiscuous; and they are so easily avoidable that I think it’s worth a few churls having to hire lawyers in order to avoid forcing honest-to-gosh rape victims to give birth in cases where doing so would inflict additional trauma.  

As for the Alabama law—I haven’t read it and have no idea whether its content is being accurately reported.  If it is, I can only shake my head.  There’s a legal maxim that “hard cases make bad law”, and SCOTUS isn’t going to overturn Roe for the sake of an abortion regulatory scheme that forces a ten-year-old rape victim to carry her baby to term.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Guest Mores
44 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

The only reason laws like this exist (and their opposites) is because we have not legally answered the question of "When does a fetus become Human?"  

Unfortunately, we have.  I say "unfortunately" because according to the law, it is not human until it takes its first breath.  Even then, some courts have ruled that if the baby takes a breath after a botched abortion, it is still not "alive" or human.

It is wrong.  It is immoral.  It boggles the scientific mind.  It goes against all reason and reality.  But it is legal.

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27 minutes ago, Mores said:

Unfortunately, we have.  I say "unfortunately" because according to the law, it is not human until it takes its first breath.  Even then, some courts have ruled that if the baby takes a breath after a botched abortion, it is still not "alive" or human.

It is wrong.  It is immoral.  It boggles the scientific mind.  It goes against all reason and reality.  But it is legal.

You are talking about courts... which as you so clearly point out are all over the place... I am talking about the Legislative (aka Congress) the reasons the courts are all over the place is because the Legislative been phoning it in.  Last I checked (barring Judaical activism) the court system likes having clarity of meaning and intent from the Legislative 

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1 hour ago, estradling75 said:

The only reason laws like this exist (and their opposites) is because we have not legally answered the question of "When does a fetus become Human?"   That of course is a question that has a lot of morality to it, but once answered all the other laws directly targeting abortion become moot. 

If the fetus is Human then it has Human rights, and we have laws already about when one human can harm and/or kill another.

If it is not Human then it is the property (and body) of its mother and she can do what she wills with it.

I know that I am on the side of calling it Human with all the rights and protections that come with that.

I would point out that the landmark Roe vs Wade; the supreme court ruled that during the first trimester it cannot be proven that a fetus is human.  I have long felt that we should pursue a ruling that a child in the 3rd trimester is human based on several criteria that includes the survival of premature births during the 3rd trimester and several scientific studies that demonstrate that a child in the 3rd trimester is actively learning that will affect them for life.  

Once we have established that a child in the 3rd trimester qualifies as a human it would change the argument in Roe vs Wade that would then require before a life can be taken that it must be proven a developing child is not human where it argument currently is that the proof is required that they are.

But now I will post something for a thought.  When a mother miscarries it could be argued that nature (G-d) is performing an abortion.  

 

The Traveler

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2 minutes ago, Traveler said:

But now I will post something for a thought.  When a mother miscarries it could be argued that nature (G-d) is performing an abortion. 

Yes... and if someone dies in a car accident or of old age it come be argued that nature (G-d) committed murder.  But as a general rule we do not hold nature or G-d accountable before mortal laws.

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18 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

Yes... and if someone dies in a car accident or of old age it come be argued that nature (G-d) committed murder.  But as a general rule we do not hold nature or G-d accountable before mortal laws.

True!  but we do recognize that killing another human is not necessarily always murder.   There are times when killing is justified or mitigated as accidental or unintended.  But I would add another thought here - while serving on a mission I was made aware that a person convicted in court of murder cannot be baptized.  To be honest I do not know if this is still or always the case.  But I am aware that a individual involved in an abortion can repent and be baptized.

And for the record - I will support the authority of revelation and will believe that any repentant person is a candidate through the plan of Salvation of Celestial Glory to be absolved and forgiven. 

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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Guest Mores
1 hour ago, estradling75 said:

You are talking about courts...

No, I'm not.

Quote

1 U.S. Code § 8.“Person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual” as including born-alive infant:

(a) In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.

(b) As used in this section, the term “born alive”, with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being “born alive” as defined in this section.

U.S. Code is federal law.

Edited by Mores

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3 minutes ago, Mores said:

No, I'm not.

U.S. Code is federal law.

Interesting...  After all this time for saying it needs to be defined... You are the first and only person to show that it has been... Thank you.

So then the pro-life side needs to work on changing that definition

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Churches do some of our best work when we speak prophetically, whether to a culture or to political leaders. In the beginning God created...male and female...in His image. He saw that what He made was very good. He knew us in the womb. So, most Christian churches have come to believe life begins at conception. Barring scientific certainty that contradicts, we urge political leaders to protect and support human life. We urge the culture and individuals to value and honor human life.

We could not imagine a society that would enshrine gay marriage into its highest law. On the other hand, we could not imagine a state banning nearly all abortions--as a means of protecting and supporting human life. Some commentators worry that Alabama overreached. They worry about strategy, "the long game," and about the 2020 election. Churches should not travel that road. We speak prophetically. HUMAN LIFE IS VERY GOOD!

Edited by prisonchaplain

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I'm not sure if this is fake news or not, but it's pretty crazy. One doctor called it science fiction. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ohio-abortion-ectopic-pregnancy-bill-this-ohio-anti-abortion-bill-says-that-ectopic-pregnancies-can-be-moved/?ref=hvper.com

 I would have thought that people actually presenting bills would be more educated than that.

Also, I believe ectopic pregnancies are in fact covered in the Alabama bill as something that "would cause a serious health risk to the mother". ( Like death.)

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5 hours ago, Mores said:

From a moral position, I've known a few women who have the moral fortitude and desire to preserve life to say,"I don't care if I die through this pregnancy.  I simply could not bring myself to terminate the baby."  Praises be to such women.

That's a truly courageous and admirable mindset. But it shouldn't be mandated. My own mother chose to continue her pregnancy with my youngest brother at extreme risk to both of their lives, and we did come very close to losing both of them when he was born. I don't envy any woman who is put in that situation, and I would never dare to pass judgement on her decision in that moment. 

The more this debate drags out, the less I find myself liking the term "pro-life". You expect me to believe that the party that balks at investing public money in education (Alabama ranks 50th here, btw), seeks to slash programs like Medicaid and WIC, and has never once tried to fix our broken foster care system really cares about kids after they leave the womb?

You want a woman to carry a fetus to term under any circumstances, but what means are you willing to provide for her to ensure both she and her baby remain healthy throughout the process? Prenatal care isn't cheap, and there's a lot that can go medically wrong during a pregnancy. Should reproduction be a privilege reserved for those who can afford proper health care? At what point does "pro-life" include a woman whose pregnancy puts her life in immediate danger? At what point is abortion a mercy to a fetus with severe and irreparable medical complications like the ones you read about in stories like these? Conservatives aren't pro-life, they're pro-birth. They want women to deliver babies no matter the cost, because only the mother will have to worry about the cost (which will in turn have consequences for that child you cared so much about when it was in utero). 

If you want to prevent abortions, there are better ways to do it. Comprehensive sex education, expanded access to affordable health care, and expanded insurance coverage for birth control are all great ways to prevent pregnancies that could result in abortion, but weirdly enough I never hear conservatives talking up those solutions. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

 

1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

On the other hand, we could not imagine a state banning nearly all abortions--as a means of protecting and supporting human life. Some commentators worry that Alabama overreached. They worry about strategy, "the long game," and about the 2020 election.

The bill was designed that way deliberately. The Alabama (and Ohio and Georgia) legislature knew full well that this bill will get litigated. This is their way of getting Roe v. Wade back into the Supreme Court. At that that point, it won't matter who wins in 2020 because SCOTUS appointments are for life.

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A few thoughts without really seeing the full text of the law, but encountering a few summaries from online news sources (whatever they are worth).:

First a quick summary of the legislation: It bans all abortions except when the life/health of the mother is at serious risk. One source claimed that it also made an exception if the fetus would not survive past birth, but most sources did not mention this exception. An amendment to include exceptions for rape and incest were rejected just before passing. A couple of sources noted that the crime is assigned to the doctor who performs the abortion, but the bill (explicitly or implicitly) protects the mother from being charged and convicted. Did I miss anything?

OP's questions:
Should Latter-day Saints embrace a stricter position on abortion like what we are seeing in Alabama? If we assume that the Church's stance represents God's truth, then I don't think we should adopt the stricter positions. If we believe that the Church's stance is God "accommodating" us in a fallen world, then maybe we need more revelation to know how God really feels about abortion.
Does the church’s position fall short? Some other Christians claim that it does fall short. A lot depends, as I hinted in the previous question, to what extent we believe the Church's stance is revealed by God.
Or is this Alabama bill too extreme?   The Libertarian in me tends to lean more pro-choice on this issue, so I would say that it is too extreme. As others have noted, legislatures tend to have real difficulty crafting legislation that is not simple black and white without triggering unintended consequences. With an issue like this, I would prefer that the legislature(s) craft legislation towards the "lowest common denominator" and let individuals make their own decisions beyond that. As @prisonchaplain noted, we can speak prophetically into the culture (as long as we are allowed that freedom of religion) and warn people that God will hold them accountable for these decisions and hope that they will take these decisions seriously -- and maybe even hope that they will make the same decisions we would if we were in the same situation. The libertarian in me would prefer to see the ultimate decision be up to individuals and doctors and not up to legislators and legislation. I recognize that such a position would have other consequences and unintended consequences, but there it is.

 

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18 minutes ago, Godless said:

If you want to prevent abortions, there are better ways to do it. Comprehensive sex education, expanded access to affordable health care, and expanded insurance coverage for birth control are all great ways to prevent pregnancies that could result in abortion, but weirdly enough I never hear conservatives talking up those solutions. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

This represents my big problem with the pro choice side of the debate. If they were pushing for more comphrensive help for pregnant women and their children after birth, we might have some productive conversations. But in reality, pro choice only means pro death. It's as if you (generic) throw out all of these ideas to try and discredit the pro life side of the debate, and yet you (generic) just throw up your hands and say "but despite all these ideas of how to make it easier to care for children , it's impossible so let's just kill them." 

Of course we aren't talking about after birth care right now, babies are being killed throughout the country. You don't argue about how you're going to afford a place to live while the house is on fire. You get out of the house first. Once we put a stop to the unconscionable act of abortion, we can have productive conversations about how to better care for people both medically and financially but as long as people feel like killing inconvenient children is socially and morally acceptable, it makes it kind of difficult to move on to any other topic of conversation.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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Guest MormonGator
12 minutes ago, Godless said:

You want a woman to carry a fetus to term under any circumstances, but what means are you willing to provide for her to ensure both she and her baby remain healthy throughout the process?

to be fair, pro-lifers do a TON of stuff for unwed mothers. And it's all volunteer, no government mandated force. 

This woman asked the same kind of question on Twitter and got flooded with positive responses. To her eternal credit, when she didn't get the answer she expected, I think she admitted she was wrong, at least to herself.  

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 2.25.06 PM.png

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Guest Mores
2 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

to be fair, pro-lifers do a TON of stuff for unwed mothers. And it's all volunteer, no government mandated force. 

This woman asked the same kind of question on Twitter and got flooded with positive responses. To her eternal credit, when she didn't get the answer she expected, I think she admitted she was wrong, at least to herself.  

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 2.25.06 PM.png

I'm not on Twitter.  So, I can't follow the link.  What was the response?

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Just now, Mores said:

I'm not on Twitter.  So, I can't follow the link.  What was the response?

Overwhelmingly positive. She (TuttleSinger) was expecting pro-lifers to be the type that sit on their butts and just tell women what to do (And yes, some do that). In reality, she got thousands of responses like this:  

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 2.32.54 PM.png

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18 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

 

Of course we aren't talking about after birth care right now, babies are being killed throughout the country. You don't argue about how you're going to afford a place to live while the house is on fire. You get out of the house first. Once we put a stop to the unconscionable act of abortion, we can have productive conversations about how to better care for people both medically and financially but as long as people feel like killing inconvenient children is socially and morally acceptable, it makes it kind of difficult to move on to any other topic of conversation.

I disagree!! I think both conversations and action have to take place simultaneously. 

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I have a hard time with this new law. I unfortunately view it in the same context as those who want to ban all weapons. Such a ban would not get rid of the use of weapons....just the legal ways to obtain them. Such is the same with this abortion ban. Banning abortion in the state of Alabama does not get rid of abortion in that state...just the legal (and safe) ways of doing so. 

I am all about agency. To choose for oneself of how you want to live your life. Do I want to protect the life of a fetus? Absolutely, I do. But, if my friend, who chooses to have an abortion, doesn't feel the same, who am I (or who is the government) to tell her what to do? To get in the way of her agency. 

I don't know. This has always been a very sticky and difficult issue that I have gone back and forth on for many years. But this law just does not feel right to me. 

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2 minutes ago, carlimac said:

I disagree!! I think both conversations and action have to take place simultaneously. 

That's fine and I'd be happy to have those conversations. But abortion on demand must end for after birth care to matter as much.

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