Archive for May 2009
Anthony Esolen makes the case against using the term “unintended pregnancy” except in cases of rape. In the same article, he also doesn’t hold with saying unwanted pregnancy, when it is the child that is not wanted.
The above link is to an excerpt at Wittingshire. The full Esolen post is here.
While we’re on Vocabulary Watch, in the Summer 2009 LifeDate (a Lutherans for Life publication), there’s an article on abortion laws in history, which mentions that ‘Iowa’s 1868 abortion statute was titled “An Act to Prohibit Foeticide”.’ I’d say that’s a bit more clear than “abortion”, which has been peddled as a medical procedure. Is there a standard, modern spelling for foeticide, I wonder?
CatholicVote.org has released another video in its Life: Imagine the Potential campaign.
Barb at SFO Mom has some suggested online reading.
Feel free to let us know of other good links in the comments. Thanks.
Nor can such absolutists blind themselves to the traps set by the current discourse, steeped as it is in consequentialist parameters. In any discussion over embryonic stem-cell research, for example, one will inevitably hear an informed and articulate pro-lifer mention the lack of cures that such research has yet yielded. But what defense will remain if, tomorrow, embryonic stem-cell research were to produce a bevy of cures for terminal diseases? Even if the pro-research consequentialist were to accept the above premise, and change his position based on the supposed futility of this research, the victory is a pyrrhic one. For the rules of engagement have shifted onto a pragmatic playing-field, where any moral standard now lies susceptible to a more pressing need. When we compromise even the slightest on intrinsic evils, entertaining effects and trying to use them in our favor, we can hardly be surprised when recourse to first principles no longer carries weight in the great conversations of our day.
In a time when the distinction between can and should has become increasingly blurred, and when fundamental moral norms are under unprecedented attack, the principle of intrinsic evil requires and deserves a staunch defense. The threat of utilitarianism is hardly new; after all, it was the calculating Caiaphas who asserted it was better for one man to die than the whole nation to perish. In the face of public demand for expediency and results—with little or no regard for what seem to be ethical niceties—the pressure of pragmatism can test the purest of consciences. At times the price for holding fast to these absolutes can be very high indeed. But ours is not to count the cost. For these moral norms are not our own; rather, they point always beyond us to a law that we did not invent, a law that we cannot change.
An objective morality naturally bespeaks an objective truth, and in an age of ascendant relativism such allegiance should stand as a sign of contradiction. It ought to lead others to ask a question, or at least a different question: not Does it work?, but Is it right? Without a steadfast adherence to the primacy of that latter question, there is no limit on the brute horrors that wait to be unleashed. The past century is nothing if not a stark lesson in how easily utilitarian calculations can, in the name of some greater good, strike at the very roots of human dignity. Such a conviction as to intrinsic wrongs formed a first line of defense in Mockaitis’ pursuit of justice. For the rest of us, it forms a last line of defense against the triumph of moral anarchy.
Read the whole article: Today’s Practical Problem (First Things, May 8, 2009).
hat tip: The Anchoress
Via Amy Welborn, Julia Duin has written an article headlined Choosing not to abort babies with disabilities (Washington Times, May 10, 2009), with info on supportive organizations, websites, blogs, and books, amongst other things.
Feel free to add to that resource list here in the comments. Thanks.
Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute, has a new book out, called The Case for Life. He was interviewed at length by Greg Koukl on STR Radio on May 3, 2009. About half an hour into the interview, they discuss the use – and misuse – of graphic images, something I know is a matter of contention. In the interview, they also talk about various other pro-life tactics, like trotting out the toddler.
For those of you looking to add to your to-read list, Klusendorf recently listed some of his favorites in the “books aspiring pro-life apologists should read” category.
From today’s Lutherans For Life email:
According to Elizabeth, Mary was not an expectant mother. “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) Elizabeth refers to Mary as already being a mother. He was smaller than the tip of a pin, but her child, Jesus, already existed within her. She was as much His mother then as she was when He was born or in the temple at 12 or when He began His ministry at 30.
“Expectant mother” is a contradiction. If you are pregnant, you are a mother! It’s a biological fact, and yet one denied day after day to make abortion palatable. But abortion does more than terminate a pregnancy, it terminates a child. Abortion does not end motherhood, it makes someone the mother of a dead child.
Some may think it insensitive to connect abortion and Mothers’ Day. But mothers of aborted babies make that connection, and they need our prayerful support. Jesus loved and cared for His mother from the cross. He loves and cares for all mothers through the cross. His unconditional love exhibited there flows through the arms of mothers every day to countless children. His complete forgiveness purchased there flows through His Word and Sacraments every day to countless sinners who find hope and healing as His children.
So instead of saying someone is an “expectant mother,” send them a Mothers’ Day card! They already are someone’s mom!
Grace and peace in Christ to all of you and especially to all you mothers.
Your servant For Life,
Personally, I don’t see “expectant mother” as a contradiction, but that’s because I see it as talking about a certain type of mother – just as I might speak of an experienced mother, or a bereaved mother, or a doting mother, or what have you. But if there are folks who truly translate “expectant” as “not-quite” or “not-yet”, I guess I need to be more careful how I use the phrase.
On the other hand, I’m all for wishing Happy Mother’s Day to pregnant ladies, and wishing Happy Father’s Day to the fathers of babies in the womb.
Not that long ago a number of highly-placed liberals were outspokenly against abortion. Robert P. George, in an article about the life and times of Richard John Neuhaus, notes:
At the same time, more than a few notable liberals were outspokenly pro-life. In the early 1970s, Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, for example, replied to constituents’ inquiries about his position on abortion by saying that it was a form of “violence” incompatible with his vision of an America generous enough to care for and protect all its children, born and unborn. Some of the most eloquent and passionate pro-life speeches of the time were given by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In condemning abortion, Jackson never failed to note that he himself was born to an unwed mother who would likely have been tempted to abort him had abortion been legal and easily available at the time.
The liberal argument against abortion was straightforward and powerful. “We liberals believe in the inherent and equal dignity of every member of the human family. We believe that the role of government is to protect all members of the community against brutality and oppression, especially the weakest and most vulnerable. We do not believe in solving personal or social problems by means of violence. We seek a fairer, nobler, more humane way. The personal and social problems created by unwanted pregnancy should not be solved by offering women the ‘choice’ of destroying their children in utero; rather, as a society we should reach out in love and compassion to mother and child alike.”
So it was that Pastor Neuhaus and many like him saw no contradiction between their commitment to liberalism and their devotion to the pro-life cause. On the contrary, they understood their pro-life convictions to be part and parcel of what it meant to be a liberal. They were “for the little guy”—and the unborn child was “the littlest guy of all.”
Semi-related: Lars Walker used to be a liberal, and he has a few things to say about what liberalism used to be about. Back before it went off the tracks.
The hijacking of the Left/Liberals by the abortion lobby is one of the saddest events of modern times. I wish the true liberals out there would recapture the name, and re-institute the worthy principles for which they used to stand. (I think we can agree, can we not, that much of what ‘liberals’ stand for today is unworthy?)
For that matter, even feminism used to be solidly anti-abortion. (Back when feminism stood for demanding to be treated like a responsible adult.)