Monday, November 10, 2008

Responding to ashley

I got the following comment to my post, "Feel the LOVE!"

I'll post the comment in its entirety first, so you can get the whole thing free of any editing or commentary, then I'll respond to the main themes.


I have been poking around the blog, and I'm torn. Some of the statments and blogs made are well written explainations of your views and why you believe, and I find these blogs very informative and helpful. Others are designed solely to make liberal, pro-choice supporters sound cruel, stupid and uneducated.
I feel the biggest problem in politics is this rash over-generalization. There are some "abortion is my form of birth control" extremists, as there are "i can justify bombing a abortion clinic" extremists. These are few and far between.
Just as you have horrible, insenstive comments from pro-choicers, have you ever looked for similarly rude and heartless comments from pro-choices? Have you looked for the evil in your own camp? Both sides have faults.

I myself could never have an abortion, I respect the life growing inside me far too much. But I don't believe it's my place to tell other women they can't. I may be pro-choice, but I don't plan on my baby (not fetus - it's my baby) being tested for down's because it doesn't matter to me - my child will be born and loved regardless.
For every obnoxious, cruel pro-choicer poster you find, there is someone like me, who loves and respects the child growing within them, but who won't make this call for someone else.
Also, for those of you for whom abortion is the deciding factor, look and see that during Clinton's adminstration, abortion rates declined despite his stance. During this time, the country was in less economic turmoil, which leads to less abortion. I think everyone would benefit by instead of outright trying to ban abortion, let's try and solve some of the the causes of abortion, such as cost and misinformation. Pro-lifers, instead of protesting, volunteer at clinics which can educate a young women about the choice she is making without being judgmental. Pro-choicers, recognize that this a human rights issue as much as war or poverty, and never assume a young women should get an abortion because she isn't ready. There are so many people out there to love that child.

Just please, lets stop pointing fingers, saying the other side is more evil than ours. You should know the verse: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?Matthew 7:3.

Feel free to respond.


Here goes!

I have been poking around the blog, and I'm torn. Some of the statments and blogs made are well written explainations of your views and why you believe, and I find these blogs very informative and helpful. Others are designed solely to make liberal, pro-choice supporters sound cruel, stupid and uneducated.


Welcome critique. Thank you. I know I often fail in the sensitivity department and it's good to be appropriately chided about it. I'll try to be a bit more thoughtful.

I feel the biggest problem in politics is this rash over-generalization. There are some "abortion is my form of birth control" extremists, as there are "i can justify bombing a abortion clinic" extremists. These are few and far between.
Just as you have horrible, insenstive comments from pro-choicers, have you ever looked for similarly rude and heartless comments from pro-choices? Have you looked for the evil in your own camp? Both sides have faults.


I've never denied that there are some real turkeys out there fighting abortion. In one post I dubbed them "banshees". I don't think I've ever seen prolifers denying that they exist. We just deny that they're typical or even -- given our numbers -- common. Whereas the prochoice tend to sweepingly say things like "Nobody is FOR abortions!" or "Nobody hates disabled babies!" I bring up those examples to point out that yes, there are people who are very much FOR abortions, often for forcing abortions on somebody else, typically because of racism, a desire to push for population control, or prejudice against babies with disabilities.

These people all too often get into positions where they have the ability to do a lot of damage. Doctors with eugenic goals frighten women into unwanted abortions after an unfavorable prenatal diagnosis. Population-control fanatics push for draconian programs like the Chinese single-child policy. Racists set up abortion facilities in minority neighborhood and use deception to get the women to consent to abortions. I realize that these are not behaviors that meet with the approval of the majority of prochoice citizens. It's my hope that prochoice citizens will learn to recognize these wolves in sheep's clothing and hold them accountable. So far I've not been successful, mostly because as soon as somebody really starts to recognize proabortion activities under the guise of "choice" they tend to "convert". They become prolifers and effectively neutralize themselves politically. A notable exception is Betsy Hartmann, aughor of Reproductive Rights and Wrongs. There are a few regulars in here as well, but they're a tiny minority. I'm not out to convert people to the prolife cause, because we don't need any more people who are dismissed out of hand simply because they oppose abortion. I am out to get prochoicers to clear the proabortion out from their ranks and take their power away. I think that this, more than anything else, would probably eliminate at least 80% of abortions, simply by eliminating deception, coercion, and manipulation.

I myself could never have an abortion, I respect the life growing inside me far too much. But I don't believe it's my place to tell other women they can't.


But does this mean looking the other way while women who don't want abortions are coerced into them, or are having them when other resources are available that the don't know about? Here is where I'm trying to reach prochoicers without converting them -- because "converting" them effectively takes them out of play.

Imagine if prochoice citizens insisted -- as Senator Kennedy has recently done in his sponsorship of the Brownback/Kennedy Bill -- that it's not acceptable for doctors and other health care professionals to give women one-sided information about prenatal diagnoses in order to frighten them into abortions. Imagine if they also insisted that it was no longer okay for doctors to send women for unwanted abortions for "health" reasons because those doctors are too lazy or afraid of lawsuits to provide them with adequate care. Imagine if prochoice citizens insisted that statutory rape victims be separated from their abusers and given adequate counseling, rather than aborted at the behest of their abusers. Imagine of prochoice citizens insisted that no woman should ever be submitting to an abortion because she feels trapped, as if she has no other options, if they insisted that if a woman want other options, the community needs to rally around her and make those other options a reality. Imagine if the only women having abortions were women who actually wanted the abortions. How much would that reduce the abortion rate? All without a single "anti-choice" law being passed.

Also, for those of you for whom abortion is the deciding factor, look and see that during Clinton's adminstration, abortion rates declined despite his stance.


I'm sure the economy had an impact, but I'm sure abortions also fell because Clinton did not hinder efforts to reduce abortions. Abortion rates continued to fall under Bush. And the states in which abortion rates fell the fastest were those with informed consent laws, parental involvement laws, and waiting periods. You can't lay credit on Clinton's door; you'd have to lay it with the Casey Court, which opened the door to these effective laws.

I think everyone would benefit by instead of outright trying to ban abortion, let's try and solve some of the the causes of abortion, such as cost and misinformation. Pro-lifers, instead of protesting, volunteer at clinics which can educate a young women about the choice she is making without being judgmental. Pro-choicers, recognize that this a human rights issue as much as war or poverty, and never assume a young women should get an abortion because she isn't ready. There are so many people out there to love that child.


I think that here we're singing 90% from the same page.

Just please, lets stop pointing fingers, saying the other side is more evil than ours. You should know the verse: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?Matthew 7:3.


You realize that of course I'm going to think that there's more evil on the prochoice side, because of the inherent evil of killing the unborn, as well as the apparent willingness to let the abortion lobby surrender women to abuse, mistreatment, and quackery. But if I thought that prochoicers were just plain evil, I'd not be talking to any of y'all here.

I've said it before that I think that a move of the truly proCHOICE would turn this thing around. And if the abuses and quackery were effectively addressed, you'd go a long way to take the wind out of our sails. Imagine if abortion really were practiced the way you wish it were. And the power to make that happen lies with you and with other prochoice citizens. All I can do is make information available to you. You can actually set goals of honesty, integrity, professionalism, and respect for what the women in question really want, as opposed to what they feel trapped into. And you can make those goals a reality.

12 comments:

ashley said...

This is one of those well worded, critical thinking posts that I enjoy on this blog.
I think, as you put it, that we are 90% on the same page. Reducing the number of abortions is good for everyone, prochoice or prolife. We just differ on reduce first or ban first. You seem to be able to defend your position beyond simply attacking mine, and therefore, I can respect your argument.
Maybe then, you can answer another question I have towards many (not all) republican supporters. How can so many be prolife, but support war and deny the poor government programs? These issues are HUGE life issues, moral issues, even biblical issues. To support war and abhor abortion is to say that one form of life is better than another, when both are equal in the eyes of God. I suppose this is my biggest stumbling block when confronted with the prolife argument.

There is an excellent book (you may have even read it) called God's Politics, which discusses the shortcomings of each party. It amazes me that no one has run on a truly biblical platform before (pro-social justice AND pro-moral issues). I think this is the reason the country is so divided.

And please, for anyone reading this, please don't EVER assume that only chistians can vote republican. I know most people don't make that judgment, but some do. Some Christians are drawn to the "family issues" (abortion, gay marriage) while others are devoted to social justice (poverty, equality, peace). These are both Christian issues. It's just a shame they seem to sit on opposite sides of the fence.

I enjoy the thoughful comments others have left. They get sent to my email. Feel free to comment again!

GrannyGrump said...

I'm so glad you came aboard, ashley!

How can so many be prolife, but support war and deny the poor government programs?

First of all, you have to recognize that the idea that prolifers "support war" is not an accurate assessment.

The backbone of the prolife movement is Roman Catholics, who by and large are also pacifists and opposed to the death penalty.

That doesn't change the fact that there are prolifers who do support a "just war" theory.

The idea, in a nutshell, is that when faced with a violent and dangerous aggressor, there is a right -- indeed, a duty -- to use as much force as necessary, including deadly force, to protect the innocent from this aggressor. That is the idea behind many prolifers' support of the military and capital punishment.

If you were to look at prolife organizations, you'd find that the bulk take no stand on war or the death penalty at all. They can't afford to, since they'd alienate a substantial number of people who they need as allies. The rare organization that has abortion as a primary focus but also takes a stand on war or capital punishment usually takes a "consistent life ethic" stand.

Organizations that have as a primary focus conservative values tend to take a "protect the innocent" stand toward all issues, meaning that they'll oppose abortion -- which clearly kills the innocent -- but will also back the use of deadly force against aggressors, hence they'll support capital punishment and military strength.

Hope that clarifies that part.

Now, as to the idea that we oppose helping the poor. This is where we tend to differ in methods, but get painted as differing in goals.

I'll over-simplify to illustrate clearly.

Conservatives, as a rule, prefer to keep things individual, close to home, and accountable. So they oppose big government programs, not because they help poor people, but because they look at people as masses rather than as individuals, they're administered from afar by faceless bureaucrats, and there is little real accountability.

I'll use the homeless people I once took in as an illustration.

Karen had two children: an 8-year-old deaf son, and a 5-year-old daughter. She got AFDC money for both kids, and SSD for the boy. And as soon as that money came in, Karen would go out and blow it on beer and cigarettes. When the food stamps came, she'd spend them on things I couldn't afford -- popcorn shrimp, Sarah Lee frozen cheesecake, hot wings, high-end frozen pizzas, really nice meats and cheese from the deli -- that she and her kids would eat during the first week. For the rest of the month, they would mooch off friends and acquaintances for her family's needs for shelter and food.

Karen and her boyfriend were, in effect, mooching off a disabled child and his little sister.

Clearly I had no objection to Karen having food, shelter, and so forth. I WAS PROVIDING THESE THINGS MYSELF. What I objected to was the way the system was set up so that people like her could choose a lifestyle of mooching, at the expense of her children.

Conservatives recognize that it's nearly impossible to create a massive federal program that can close every loophole that clever moochers find. So we want things to be small and local and able to set up their own rules, so that people like Karen can't scam them as easily.

Also consider the low return on the dollar you get for massive federal programs. The less local the program, the more money gets eaten up in administrative costs. You'd not in a million years donate your money willingly to a charity that was as wasteful as the federal government! You'd demand that the bulk of what you donated actually go to providing help to needy people. So why should the federal government, which is absurdly wasteful, get dibs on the money we want going to the poor?

So it's these things we object to -- the scamming, the inefficiency, the wastefulness, and the unintended consequences -- not the basic goals of making sure people's needs are met.

Hopes this helps.

Kathy said...

Ashley,

For my part (as a conservative Christian who generally votes Republican and also is pro-life without being anti-war), I do not think that every war is justified, but some are. If somebody breaks into your house and threatens to kill you or take your things, you have the right to resist that person, with deadly force if necessary. War is basically the same thing, only on a much larger -- perhaps even a country-wide or global scale. The sticky point comes when war is fought not in self-defense but either in an offensive manner (such as Hitler's blitzkreig of Poland or Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor), or when war is fought to support our friends or allies. The first category would lead to our joining the war to defend ourselves, which I think completely justified; the second category could lead to our joining the war to help our friends which may or may not be justified. Just to blatantly say "War is wrong" is as much an error as saying "War is right." Many times, it is only the outcome or the reasoning behind the decision that is right or wrong. But back to the analogy -- if someone breaks into the home of one of your friends or a family member, would you be justified in going to that house and fighting and even killing the burglar and would-be murderer? I think you would. Because otherwise you stand by and let an innocent person die.

In short, I don't support war because I like death. I support war because I like *life*. Had the rest of the world remained pacifist during the time of Hitler, he would have exterminated anyone not considered genetically pure -- that would include not just Jews but blacks, those with genetic problems, and those with developmental delays. He already did that in Germany and other nations he took over before we stopped him; and he would have expanded it to include those who *were* "genetically pure" but disagreed with him. The war was fought to preserve the life of the innocent ones. Killing was and is the unfortunate by-product of any war. Sometimes it is justified; other times it is not.

Libby's Mom said...

What a nice and charitable discussion from both sides. Thanks.

Ashley, I'm so glad your babies are safe. I disagree with Christina only in that I wish you could join our side in trying to protect all babies.

I used to feel as you do. I have three beautiful sons and did not have "testing" to tell me if they were DS because I did not care. I was not a Christian at the time, but I just did not care. I did have the testing with my daughter because now they can do things before birth to help improve the quality of life for things such as CP.

The change in position for me happened starting in church as I perceived in biblical preaching and teaching that all life is precious.

The change in position was final in me the day I learned what a partial birth abortion was. To me, this went too far and I could no longer support choice at all if that is what it leads to. And the more I know...with late term abortions resulting in born alive infants.... I just can't. I can't support a party or a candidate that promotes or even condones this. And I certainly don't want to pay for it with my tax dollars.

I am less passionate on the death penalty, but for me, if it means all or nothing, let the murderers live in prison until their natural death and let those babies live.

Oh, hate war too.

Libby's Mom said...

I forgot one thing too, related to government programs and social issues. I dislike the way that welfare if set up in the way that it drives Fathers away from their families since there is more money to be had from the government if he is not involved. I don't know what the solution is, but I am pretty sure that throwing money at the problem is not. I think it traps families in that system and results in anti-family, anti-social, and anti-life behavior.

GrannyGrump said...

Libby's mom, I'm very pragmatic. A thousand prochoicers passionate about ending abuses would accomplish more than a hundred thousand prolifers, in terms of mothers and babies spared.

I welcome new converts, but always with the realization that the biggest benefit is to the convert herself, not to the women walking into abortion clinics every day. And they're my priority.

Anonymous said...

As a Brit, I really like your answer about the wastage of Federal government programmes and I love the example of the homeless couple as its quite common here. my question to you is how do you think her kids will grow up? What kind of adults will they turn out to be and why do women think its ok to have kids now that they cannot afford to feed? It is exactly these kids that will grow up to be the intruders that come into someone's house to steal for drug money - and the ones you say its ok to kill - isn't it ionic:)

GrannyGrump said...

Anon, I can't predict what Chris and Jessie will grow up to be. Sadly, odds are that they'll be a lot like their mother. But we don't execute people in advance for crimes they might commit some day. Abortion because the kids might be moochers takes it even further and executes people in advance for possibly being expensive and annoying -- things we don't kill adults for even when we've proven they really are expensive and annoying!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you grannygrump - I'm just saying its ironic.

Another way to look at it would be to see how many unwanted babies whose mothers' contemplated abortion but had them anyway end up killing themselves with drugs, alcohol, suicide etc.

Its just an interesting thing to ponder

GrannyGrump said...

You're just a ray of sunshine, aren't you, anon?

Anonymous said...

if thats not the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is?

Lets just say we both have an obsessive fascination with death.....

GrannyGrump said...

I just have the ability, that you seem to lack, to believe that a bad start in life doesn't just doom you. Your attitude seems to be "Life's a bitch and then you die so why bother?"