Is The Holocaust To Be Shortened Or Extended?

by Jimmy Akin

in Moral Theology

A reader takes exception down yonder with my analysis of Cardinal Ratzinger’s statement regarding voting for pro-abort politicians:

There is a logical error in the numbers presented. Even a pro-life candidate has a chance of preventing only a small portion of those abortions. For example, he could through support of information requirement laws require more women at abortuaries to know the full facts about their children in utero. That will probably prevent some abortions. But he can’t overturn Roe v. Wade. That can only be done by SCOTUS and they are appointed, not voted in. And most judges with a pro-life stance are strict constructionists, not activists, and thus unlikely even in the case of unjust and illogical rulings to overturn the decisions of previous judges for fear of dangerous precedent. (Just think of the can of worms opened when judges can overturn each others rulings willy-nilly.) So the pro-life candidate is saving far few lives than the millions listed. The Six million over the course of a four year term will be the same, give or take a few thousand.

I appreciate the reader’s thoughtfulness and the charity with which she wrote her post. However, what I wrote does not contain the logical flaw that she has in mind. Let me explain . . .

The reader is indeed correct that in the short term the death toll would only be reduced by a few thousand kids during a president’s four year term. It also is true that the president cannot act unilaterally to end abortion but can only appoint Supreme Court justices who–in all probability–would not declare a legal right to life but merely overturn the legal right to abortion and re-allow states to legislate the question. We would then be facing a long, hard fight that would last decades in order to get legislation re-passed to protect the unborn. It would be long past the president’s term in office before the abortion holocaust ended.

This multi-decade legislative fight is the most likely way that abortion in America will be ended. It is difficult to imagine any other practical scenario. Indeed, it will take decades to educate the moral consciences of voters to the point that they will be willing to elect lawmakers with the pro-life spine to enact the laws needed to protect the unborn. Though there are other scenarios which are theoretically possible (e.g., passing a constitutional amendment), the one described above is by far the most likely one.

The key to that scenario is having a Supreme Court willing to overturn Roe (et al.) and that will not happen until presidents appoint the number of justices sufficient to provide 5 votes to overturn. Barring the extremely unforeseen, that will not happen as long as a pro-abort president is in office. Thus each time a pro-abort president is in office, it effective extends the abortion holocaust by delaying the overturning of Roe.

If one averages the effect of presidential appointments to SCOTUS, the net effect is that the abortion holocaust extends by one year on average for each year a pro-abort president spends in office. If an average president has 1.5 terms in office (half the recent presidents having one term; half having two) then each pro-abort president will extend the abortion holocaust for an average of six years by delaying the time when Roe is overturned. With 1.5 million kids being murdered each year abortion, that’s an average of nine million deaths attributable to the the actions of a pro-abort president due to whom he appoints to the Court.

Thus, if you look again at what I wrote, you will note that I spoke in terms of a pro-abort president extending the abortion holocaust, not of a pro-life president ending it during his term. Short-term, the number of deaths would not change appreciably, but pro-life presidents must be elected in order to get the SCOTUS appointments needed to allow the process of ending abortion to begin.

Each time a pro-abort president is elected, it extends the abortion holocaust by one or two presidential terms.

What I want to know is what the ostensibly pro-life people who voted for these presidents will say on judgment day to the souls of the nine million additional babies died because the abortion holocaust was extended because of their votes for pro-abort presidents.

Somehow I don’t think that the babies will agree that it was justifiable for voters to allow their lives to be taken because the abortion holocaust was extended so that particular social programs and policies (e.g., regarding jobs, education, taxes, welfare, immigration) could be sought.

I suspect that, to borrow words from Our Lord, they “will arise at the judgment of this generation and condemn it.”

[NOTE TO FELLOW BLOGGERS: This post makes the same point more concisely than the former one. You might consider linking it as well. Thanks!--Jimmy]

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{ 74 comments }

Billy September 11, 2004 at 2:42 am

Right on Jimmy!
Right on.

Anonymous September 11, 2004 at 8:11 am

In addition to the logical deficiencies that you pointed out, I would also note that it’s not even clear that effectiveness at saving lives necessarily corresponds with morality. For example, it is moral to be a pacifist even if fighting would save lives. It is moral to vote for a third-party candidate to indicate one’s opposition to the platforms of both major parties, even though that vote is unlikely to change the outcome. It is moral to condemn the terrorism of Al-Qaeda and Hamas even though there will almost certainly be reprisals against Americans for doing so. The point is that the gravity of an evil can be so severe that it compels a stand on principle, even an ineffective stand, in order to keep our humanity. Abortion is something so horrible, so dehumanizing, so violative of right reason that one could never cooperate with it even in order to save lives. The only way such cooperation could ever be justified is in working toward reducing it.

Chayal b'Hashem April 1, 2005 at 9:03 am

Abortions are tragic but not a Holocaust! When a woman decides to kill her fetus, she is not intending to destroy all children. Abortionists are not searching the streets rounding up infants for slaughtering. Osama Bin Laden, and his bunch would like to kill every non Muslem. Please remember that Abortions for convenience are MURDER, but not a HOLOCAUST! A pickpocket is not a rapist, and an arsonist is not a kidnapper.
Terry Schindler’s case is tragic, and can lead to a Holocaust however. Hitler disposed of those people who were dependent upon others. The US Government, like Nazi Germany is now eliminating the disabled who become a burden to those people who find them to be an inconvenience. Schindler’s case should be a warning to all of us before we start legally executing our elderly parents and grandparents.
When you are morally confused and use “off the wall” analogies, you lose all credibility.

Leah June 13, 2005 at 11:10 am

In response to Chayal: Referring to the millions killed by abortion as a Holocaust is just as appropriate (or more so) as arguing that Terri’s death will lead to one.
It’s been my understanding that people have used the term Holocaust to point out both the mind-numbing number of people killed by abortion as well as the way that it is justified: by dehumanizing the victims. If the unborn or severely disabled or whomever are are not really human or aren’t capable of leading a “sufficiently meaningful” human life, their lives are forfeit.
Incidentally, at the Walk for Life in San Francisco this past January, I carried a sign that read “They’re not really people? We’ve heard that before.” I found it strangely gratifying when a protester on the other side of the fence (in this case literally – the city police had taken some safety precautions) screamed at me, “How DARE you compare abortion to the Holocaust?!” Because, of course, the funny thing was that she made the comparison with just a little help. (Legalized slavery is another good example that comes to mind.) I actually got several positive comments from the pro-abortion protesters that day. It was a great day.
(For the curious, the other side of my sign read “Fetus is Latin for child – It means the same thing in English.”)

roger fulton June 20, 2005 at 12:51 pm

on and on into the valley of death rode the 6oo”
and the most boring of discussions continue into the next century and beyond. I don’t say that to stir emotions on both sides and raise invective, but to set discussions in proper persepective.
There is no answer to this debate which will drag on – forever.
Yes, I know all the arguements, heard it all, seen it all, lived through it all. I shut down long ago. The screaming on both sides and insanity turned me off.
Like gun control, terrorism, and other no-win insane arguments, to which there is no permanent let’s-make-everybody=happy solution, you may argue on into the deep blue sunset.
Count me out. I come from the generation where the “back alley” abortions were very real, and deadly. A quick flight to Puerto Rico got you ‘well’ fast. Infections, hemmorages and death follow like the Pale Horseman. Been there. I don’t like either answer. I won’t play.
I don’t have the answer.
Neither do you.

disenchanted August 9, 2005 at 12:36 pm

Women still die due to backalley abortions, and it’s legal and available.
Women die due to legal abortions, among other things.
Over 40 million children die yearly worldwide due to abortion.
Averaging the high and low of poll results, 45% of women felt coerced into aborting. A good number are physically forced to abort.
What sort of world is it where women and children are no more than dollar signs? Oh right, America.

bill912 January 31, 2006 at 4:02 am

“Yes, I know all the arguements(sic), heard it all, seen it all, lived through it all. I shut down long ago.” “Count me out.” “I won’t play. I don’t have the answer.” It sounds like you don’t have a backbone, either. It sounds like you’re a moral coward.

J. R. Stoodley April 8, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.

Paul September 11, 2006 at 12:35 pm

There is no answer to this debate which will drag on – forever.
I don’t know how there can be no answer to this question unless one deliberately blinds oneself to what is happening during an abortion — the death of a totally innocent human being. I believe that history will judge the Culture Of Death far more severely than they will the Third Reich; a baby in the womb cannot even fight back no matter how hopelessly.

TGP October 9, 2006 at 6:41 pm

In 1972, how many women died from illegal abortions? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 39. In this article (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss4804a1.htm), look in the thirteenth paragraph under “Discussion.” The number of deaths from illegal abortions decreased in the following years, however, those who bemoan the millions of women dying from illegal abortions should look at this article.

John November 14, 2006 at 7:19 pm

Speaking of morality, when is the church going to publicly excommunicate Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) for his pro-abortion stance and dissolute life generally? He is an embarrassment and outrage to decent Catholics everywhere, and he is a major reason why the pro-life position lacks credibility.

ArizCalFlaLaw July 26, 2007 at 8:02 pm

The name is not “Schindler,” it is “Schiavo.”
I wish to make a comment in support of George Greer, the trial court judge in the Schiavo case. I am a lawyer, and I practiced in Florida for 18 years, and I had occasion to appear before him on several occasions. In all of those dealings, I found him to be a dedicated knowledgeable jurist who always did his best to listen to the facts of the case and to apply the law correctly. He was also very accommodating to the needs of lawyers, clients, witnesses, and other persons involved in the judicial process. He deserves the respect and admiration of all of us for being thrust into a very difficult position.
The lawyer for Terri’s parents is, in my view, a right-wing Protestant Fundamentalist nut. I have listened to his radio program, broadcast out of Clearwater. I read the briefs he filed with the court. A person intending to insult the court could not do a better job than he did. There is only so much of an obnoxious personality that can be tolerated.
As it turned out, only about 30% of Ms. Schiavo’s brain remained, and the rest had liquefied. In my opinion, she was dead.
I am also troubled by the role that the church played in this. According to news reports, there was an attempt to administer Communion to Terri by inserting the Host into the feeding tube. In my view, that is an absolute outrageous sacrilege. Doing that was not necessary to Terri’s salvation, did her no other good, and it served only to bring the “Catholics” who participated in that antic into well-deserved contempt.
The differing positions of the Florida Bishops were also interesting to note. The Bishop of Orlando posted a ludicrous, intemperate rant on his website about Auschwitz and death cocktails. If he is going to cry wolf at every opportunity, and scream and yell that the sky is falling, when it is not, he will soon lose any credibility that he might have.
The Bishop of St. Petersburg, on the other hand, in whose jurisdiction this tragedy was occurring, merely lamented the need for the matter to be resolved by the judicial process, and expressed a preference that such matters be resolved by the agreement of family members. I think the Bishop of St. Petersburg took the more reasonable, rational, humane approach, and it is extremely instructive that he did not, by his comments or otherwise, condemn the judicial proceedings that were being conducted.
The behavior of President Bush was nothing short of shameless pandering. The death of a family member is a difficult thing, and there are many decisions that can only be made privately and by prayer to God. To think the President of the United States, and his Republican cronies have so little regard for the privacy and sensibilities of families that they would intrude the heavy hand of government into that situation is simply beyond my power of comprehension. Again, I wish to reiterate that there was no “killing” involved. Most of the woman’s brain was dissolved, and in my view, she was legally and morally dead, and had been for some time.
For those of you who think that voting Republican is the solution to the Supreme Court’s problem, you need to review some history. Roe v. Wade was a 7-2 decision in favor of abortion, and 5 of the 7 justices who voted for abortion were appointed by Republicans.
Thank you.

Anonymous July 31, 2007 at 11:39 am

“Again, I wish to reiterate that there was no ‘killing’ involved. Most of the woman’s brain was dissolved, and im my view, she was legally and morally dead, and had been for some time.”
May God have mercy on you.

bill912 July 31, 2007 at 11:40 am

The above is mine. Don’t know why my name didn’t print out.

Inocencio July 31, 2007 at 11:52 am

ArizCalFlaLaw,

“Again, I wish to reiterate that there was no ‘killing’ involved. Most of the woman’s brain was dissolved, and im my view, she was legally and morally dead, and had been for some time.”

I hope you realize it is not your opinion that matters. If there was no killing involved, there would have been no need to starve or dehydrate her.
Lord, have mercy on both our souls.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

ArizCalFlaLaw July 31, 2007 at 12:48 pm

I presume neither of us was there, so it is not appropriate for either of us to pass adverse moral judgment on the other or anyone else.
You may wish to look at a “Catholic living will” form:
http://www.icctampa.org/catholic_living_will.htm
which, near the end, admits the possibility that artificial administration of nutrition and hydration may be disproportionate and excessively burdensome, and therefore may be withdrawn. It leaves the matter to the judgment of the physicians. This seems to preclude the making of any hard and fast, abstract moral judgments.
If the Catholic bishops who endorse this form believe that physicians can make this decision, then there is no reason why I cannot designate someone in whom I have trust and confidence to make the decision for me. In fact, that seems preferable to having the matter decided by whoever happens to be my physician at the time.
By inserting a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard into the document, however, the bishops are inviting civil litigation, and that is not the way this matter should be resolved.

ArizCalFlaLaw July 31, 2007 at 12:50 pm

“Lord, have mercy on both our souls”
and likewise on the souls of the priests who abused the little children and the souls of the bishops who knowingly covered up the priests’ actions.

Mary Kay July 31, 2007 at 1:00 pm

AzCaFl, gee I wonder what your brain would look like after two weeks of dehydration?
I don’t have the time to look up from two years ago, but Greer allowed Michael Schiavo to not complete a treatment plan, allowed Felos who head of the board for the hospice, allowed irregularity of Terri’s admission to that hospice, allowed Michael Schiavo to do “husband” role despite being in a situation which in my state would constitute a common law marriage.
At this point, combox debate won’t change anything. However, Greer, Felos and Schiavo will one day have to give an accounting to God. That’s what really counts.

Mary Kay July 31, 2007 at 1:02 pm

A living will is for someone who is terminally ill. One of the largest lack of understanding was the difference between severely disabled as Terri was, and terminally ill.

Inocencio July 31, 2007 at 2:29 pm

ArizCalFlaLaw,

which, near the end, admits the possibility that artificial administration of nutrition and hydration may be disproportionate and excessively burdensome, and therefore may be withdrawn.

Terri was not near the end until that judge order her to be starved and dehydrated. She was not terminally ill at all. No amount of legalese will change that simple fact. None of us can be ok with the murder of a helpless disabled person.
And if you are then God have mercy on your soul and before you say it on any priest or bishop who has in any way harmed children.
Bringing up the sins of other in no way changes your obligation to be completely pro-life.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Esquire July 31, 2007 at 3:14 pm

which, near the end, admits the possibility that artificial administration of nutrition and hydration may be disproportionate and excessively burdensome, and therefore may be withdrawn. It leaves the matter to the judgment of the physicians. This seems to preclude the making of any hard and fast, abstract moral judgments.

My understanding is that nutrition and hydration may be withdrawn when they no longer serve (and in fact may frustrate) the purpose for which nutrition and hydration are intended. For example, if the body will no longer process the nutrients, there is no requirement that they still be given. If to give them in that situation is exceedingly painful, the requirement, if any, would be to withdraw them.
That provision is not a license for anyone to determine that feeding or hydrating this or that person is simply too burdensome, and does not apply at all to the Schiavo situation.

Tim J. July 31, 2007 at 6:50 pm

The doctors and lawyers responsible in the Schiavo case not only removed the feeding tube, but prevented anyone from trying to feed Terry or give her drink BY ANY MEANS AT ALL, natural or un-.
The feeding tube is a red herring. They determined to starve her to death by any means necessary, and they succeeded.
I don’t believe I ever heard the term “morally dead” before. Someone care to expand on that? IMO, the morally dead ones were the husband, his doctors and lawyers.

Inocencio July 31, 2007 at 9:34 pm

ArizCalFlaLaw,
I see I miss read your post. I thought you were quoting the document. Now that I have carefully read the document it in no way supports your position. Here is the entire portion you referred to:

3) that nothing should be done with the intention of causing my death.
I believe nutrition and hydration are generally not excessively burdensome or disproportionate, whether being administered orally or artificially. Therefore they are not to be withheld or withdrawn from me unless there is clear and convincing evidence, in the judgment of my physicians, that they would cause me harm, cannot effectively sustain life or are excessively burdensome to me.

You cannot intend to cause death. Period. They were not harming Terri at all. Removing them was murder plain and simple.
Esquire,
Your explanation was spot on.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Rick July 31, 2007 at 10:04 pm

that nothing should be done with the intention of causing my death
Death may be an inevitable result of removing the feeding tube, but what exactly was the intention behind removing it?

Renae February 26, 2008 at 11:22 am

A thought/question I have for all of you, and that seems best to go with this particular discussion:
In recent years, I have been thinking that perhaps our real situation here with a “Schiavo-like” case is that our medical knowledge to save a life has gone beyond our wisdom to know when to use it. This may not relate to Terri’s case since I don’t know what her medical status was when she was first brought into the hospital.
I want to explain a bit better what I mean. Are we sometimes using our medical technology to “save” someone when we have no possible hope of doing anything other than keeping them artificially alive, or alive by machines? Once we are keeping someone alive by technology, the thought of “pulling the plug” is abhorrent. But, are we, in some of the cases, beyond our knowledge of when the technological avenue to save should, or should not, be used? Not trying seems abhorrent though also – because we just don’t know who we might be able to bring back to the point of at least being aware.
This seems to me that we are bitten again by the “fruit of the tree of knowledge” – in other words, human knowledge that we cannot hope to have enough wisdom to use well at all times. We are just a sad lot that must do our best by praying for the right answers and looking to the Church for guidelines.
I have no idea of any “answer” here. I am very interested to hear others’ thoughts about the idea of whether there are times when our error is actually to start the machines in the first place.

Kristin March 24, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Renae, I couldn’t agree with you more. Getting back to the origin of the blog though, has anyone else considered the fact that the real fight isn’t whether abortions are legal or not? Maybe we should be concentrating on reaching out to women and explaining to them WHY abortion is wrong. If all women believe abortion is murder as I do, it simply won’t matter whether it’s legal or not because women won’t be seeking them out either in the clinics OR the back alleys. So the next time a co worker, neighbor or family member goes on about how they’re proud to be pro-choice speak up instead of sitting silently (as we conservatives are supposed to)I for one, am tired of sitting silently so as not to be thought of as “judgemental” or “intolerant”. We CAN end abortion, one woman at a time.
Kristin

http://blindsfocus.com April 6, 2008 at 1:10 am

blinds

Online blinds information.

Hannah April 14, 2008 at 10:37 pm

I don’t think anyone has the right to say whether abortion is right or wrong. That is why it needs to be legal, so people can make that choice for themselves. Religion is irrelevant to this discussion, because politics should not be about religious moral standards.
Abortion is not murder. Legal abortion has saved a huge number of lives, and prevented women in a number of compromising situations from having to be shamed into adoption or into back alley abortions.
Pro-lifers still get abortions when the chips are down. Then they have the audacity to think their situation is different and that abortion is wrong for everyone else.

bill912 April 15, 2008 at 5:29 am

Hannah, it’s easy to be pro-choice when you’re not the one being killed.

bill912 April 15, 2008 at 5:33 am

I don’t think anyone has the right to say that killing Hannah is right or wrong. That is why killing Hannah needs to be legal, so people can make that choice for themselves.
Sounds a little different from that angle, doesn’t it?

bill912 April 15, 2008 at 5:45 am

“Abortion is not murder.” That would be true only if life did not begin at conception. The science of biology says otherwise.
“Legal abortion has saved a huge number of lives…” Legal abortion has killed millions of lives and devastated millions of souls.
“…shamed into adoption…” “Shamed” into making a heroic decision and giving life?
“Pro-lifers still get abortion when the chips are down.” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

bill912 April 15, 2008 at 5:47 am

Hannah, God loves you, forgives you, and wants to heal you. All you have to do is turn to Him. A lot of us will be praying for you.

David B. April 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

Pro-lifers still get abortions when the chips are down. Then they have the audacity to think their situation is different and that abortion is wrong for everyone else.
This is an unsubstantiated personal attack. One who engages in such attacks forfeits the debate, because is reveals that one’s position is so unstable as to be untenable, and therefore can be backed up only by personal attacks.

Brady W May 1, 2008 at 1:29 am

I think everyone should read Peter Kreeft’s “Three Approaches to Abortion” Awesome book. And Kreeft is the man.

robert berger June 15, 2008 at 8:12 am

Those who oppose abortion fail to recognize an inescapable fact of life, namely that women will seek and obtain abortion whether they are legal or not. And if they are too poor, they will try to abort themselves, with the inevitable disastrous results.
There is far more abortion in poor countries where it is illegal than where it is legal.
Consider, Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic nation. More happen here every year than in the US. Contrast this with the prosperous Netherlands, which has the World’s LOWEST abortion rate. That’s right. In the supposedly godless, hedonistic wealthy countries of Europe,
you find the least abortion. Why? Because there is far less poverty here. Women who have the means to take good care of children are far less likely to have abortions.
And contraception is easily available. To make
it illegal in America would be insanely foolish.
Abortions would only INCREASE markedly, and a
black market in contraceptives would be created.

Matheus June 15, 2008 at 8:44 am

Please stop saying drivel, pal. I’m Brazilian, and is a very well known fact here that it just isn’t possible to estimate the real number of abortions done here, for lack of reliable statistics, which only got worse when the pro-abortion lobby started to lie ridiculously about the subject, to the point where a branch of WHO said officially that “Lamentably, it’s not the first time that one takes the name of WHO and/or Pan-american Organization of Health to give informations that don’t emanate from these institutions. And lately our socialist government started also lying about the number of deaths due to illegal abortions, which according to official statistics had its highest point in 1997, with 163 deaths, not several hundredes of thousands as it has been spread lately.
Beyond that, truth is that even if science couldn’t prove that the fetus is a human being, abortion would still be an act which has a 50% probability of being a murder, and no decent person (and certainly not a Christian)should want to be involved in it.

robert berger June 15, 2008 at 10:04 am

When life begins and whether a fetus is “human” or not are just red herrings constantly being set up by anti-choice people.
Abortion cannot be stopped,period. There is simply no way to do it. You can rail at it until you are blue in the face, and protest all you want at places which provide it, but nothing will stop it. It’s not that I WANT abortions to happen. I merely recognize that they are going to happen anyway.
There is absolutely no way to enforce laws against abortion, except in isoltaed cases in which women are caught having one. If it becomes illegal here, how will the government stop women who can afford it from going abroad for them?
Will they put up blockades at borders and airports,and examine every woman of childbearing age for pregnancy? How will they stop poor women
from trying to abort themselves? Put up surveillance cameras in every home and arrest them? Come on. Conservatives are always saying
get the government off our backs. But this sounds more like Orwell’s 1984 to me.

bill912 June 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

“When life begins” is at conception, as the science of bilogy teaches, inconvenient as that fact might be to some who wish to justify evil.

bill912 June 15, 2008 at 10:23 am

Meditate on this: Someone says, “I’m personally opposed to killing Robert Berger, but I don’t want to force my opinion on anyone who thinks differently.”

SDG June 15, 2008 at 10:25 am

When life begins and whether a fetus is “human” or not are just red herrings constantly being set up by anti-choice people. Abortion cannot be stopped,period. There is simply no way to do it. You can rail at it until you are blue in the face, and protest all you want at places which provide it, but nothing will stop it. It’s not that I WANT abortions to happen. I merely recognize that they are going to happen anyway.

Murder, infanticide and rape also can’t be stopped. There is simply no way to do it. You can rail at it until you are blue in the face, but nothing will stop it. It’s not that I WANT murder, infanticide and rape to happen. I merely recognize that they are going to happen anyway.
So what’s your point?
To say that laws have no effect on abortion (or murder or infanticide) is disingenuous nonsense. Anyone who talks that way is probably not yet ready to have a sincere discussion about reality, and anyone who comes to a site like this to talk that way probably brings a truckload of obstacles to dialogue that would take a very long time to sort through.
What do you think should be done for infants born alive after surviving a botched abortion? Do you think (with Barack Obama, say) they should be killed, even if there are families willing and able to take them in and care for them?
What do you think of ethicist Peter Singer’s thesis that new parents should have a 30-day “trial period” after their baby is born during which they can decide, legally, whether to keep it or kill it?
If you’re against either of these, it would seem you’ve suddenly attributed some sort of significance to red herrings about “when life begins” and whether a little one (English for “fetus”) is “human.”

robert berger June 15, 2008 at 10:43 am

Laws against murder,rape and other crimes
are enforcable. Laws against abortion are not.
What about my points about blockades at borders
and airports,or surveillance cameras at homes?
Will you please tell me how we will enforce the law? And how will we provide for those who ARE born? You scream about the”right to life”.
What about the right to decent food,shelter,clothing,education and medical care?
Conservatives don’t want the government to do
more to see that children get these things.
That’s socialism,they cry, and we don’t want that here,do we? What a bunch of hypocrites?

Mary June 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

Those who oppose abortion fail to recognize an inescapable fact of life, namely that women will seek and obtain abortion whether they are legal or not. And if they are too poor, they will try to abort themselves, with the inevitable disastrous results.
Those who oppose murder fail to recognize an inescapable fact of life, namely that people will seek and obtain hit contracts whether they are legal or not. And if they are too poor, they will try to commit the murder themselves, with the inevitable disastrous results.

robert berger June 15, 2008 at 10:46 am

Laws against murder,rape and other crimes
are enforcable. Laws against abortion are not.
What about my points about blockades at borders
and airports,or surveillance cameras at homes?
Will you please tell me how we will enforce the law? And how will we provide for those who ARE born? You scream about the”right to life”.
What about the right to decent food,shelter,clothing,education and medical care?
Conservatives don’t want the government to do
more to see that children get these things.
That’s socialism,they cry, and we don’t want that here,do we? What a bunch of hypocrites!

bill912 June 15, 2008 at 10:53 am

We can’t catch all the rapists; we can’t catch all the drunk drivers; we can’t catch all the burglars.

Mary June 15, 2008 at 10:54 am

Laws against murder,rape and other crimes
are enforcable.

Then why aren’t they being? Why are rapes, murders, and other crimes occuring by your definition of enforcable?

bill912 June 15, 2008 at 10:54 am

Who mentioned socialism(other than you)? Is calling us “hypocrites” the best you can do?

bill912 June 15, 2008 at 10:59 am

“hypocrite (n). a person who pretends to have desirable or publicly approved attitudes, beliefs, principles, etc., he does not actually possess.”–Random House College Dictionary
To whom are you referring that that word would apply?
And, yes, we expect you to back up your answer logically.

Mary June 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

Conservatives don’t want the government to do
more to see that children get these things.
That’s socialism,they cry, and we don’t want that here,do we?

Conservatives earn less money than liberals do but give one-third more to charity.
Liberals don’t want children to get decent food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care unless someone else pays for it and a third party actually does the work — which is to say, they claim they want it but they will do nothing to make it happen.
What a bunch of hypocrites!

SDG June 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Laws against murder,rape and other crimes are enforcable. Laws against abortion are not.

Why can’t providers of illegal abortion be prosecuted just like any other criminals?

And how will we provide for those who ARE born? You scream about the”right to life”.
What about the right to decent food,shelter,clothing,education and medical care?
Conservatives don’t want the government to do
more to see that children get these things.
That’s socialism,they cry, and we don’t want that here,do we? What a bunch of hypocrites?

Here we get to the heart of the issue: You aren’t attacking the pro-life position per se, you’re attacking a particular form of “conservatism” that you identify with a particular socioeconomic agenda.
This is a Catholic blog. The Catholic Church does more than any other NGO to provide for just the kinds of needs you mention. And plenty of Catholics are in favor of the kinds of government programs you speak of. So you get no mileage out that that argument here.

David B. June 15, 2008 at 4:34 pm

And how will we provide for those who ARE born? You scream about the”right to life”. What about the right to decent food,shelter,clothing,education and medical care? Conservatives don’t want the government to do more to see that children get these things. That’s socialism,they cry, and we don’t want that here,do we? What a bunch of hypocrites?
This is silly. The morality (or lack thereof) of abortion has nothing to do with the straw man lie that so-called conservative Christians aren’t concerned with life after conception. Why do they have so many kids, then? Why do they give more to charity than atheists, etc?
P.S. Off Topic: Being opposed to big government has nothing to do with abortion or not caring for the poor. It’s a political belief, not a form of hatred for others.

robert berger June 16, 2008 at 10:51 am

I don’t deny that Catholic charities have done
a lot of good. I’m all for them. But what charity
provides all the needs of poor children?
Who will see to it that poor children get good nutrition? Children who do not get this are
doomed to stunted mental development and lowered
intelligence. This shouldn’t be happening in
America, the world’s richest nation.
And why shouldn’t the US government do more to help the poor? This isn’t socialism,but compassionate government. And to improve education by building new,state of the art schools, and renovating existing ones. Increasing teacher pay to attract people of high
caliber to teaching. This would certainly
reduce poverty greatly, and therefore abortion.
Look at the Scandinavian countries. Yes, taxes
are sky high. But it has its benefits. You
don’t see people who are out of work losing
their
homes as is so common in the US, and struggling to support their families.
Yes, I know,these countries certainly have
their problems. They aren’t paradise. But in many
ways, people are better-off and more secure than
many Americans. A system like these would not be feasable in a country the size of America,
but we certainly could learn from these countries, just as they could learn from us.

Tim J. June 16, 2008 at 11:17 am

“…to improve education by building new,state of the art schools, and renovating existing ones. Increasing teacher pay to attract people of high
caliber to teaching. This would certainly reduce poverty greatly,”
Except that we have proved – are still proving – that this doesn’t work. We have been following that program for 50 years, yet education continues to grow worse and worse, and we have not made a dent in poverty.
The problem is in the culture, not in the number or condition of textbooks or buildings. Increased funding and teacher salaries has produced diddly squat.
Education did perhaps help to reduce poverty for a little while, but we are not the people we were then. Then, we desired education partly because it would help bring prosperity out of our labor. Now, we want to skip the education and the labor and go straight to the prosperity part, because we think it is some kind of birthright.
Our schools – including large chunks of our college campuses – are now basically government subsidized daycare canters, though there are a lot of good teachers who do what they can to impart some learning.
The problem isn’t the mechanism, it’s the atmosphere of the society. China and India have for some time been poor by our standards, but their kids kick our kids’ butts in the classroom. They still understand what education is and have a genuine appreciation for its power.

SDG June 16, 2008 at 11:29 am

I don’t deny that Catholic charities have done a lot of good. I’m all for them. But what charity provides all the needs of poor children? Who will see to it that poor children get good nutrition? Children who do not get this are doomed to stunted mental development and lowered intelligence. This shouldn’t be happening in America, the world’s richest nation.
And why shouldn’t the US government do more to help the poor? This isn’t socialism,but compassionate government. And to improve education by building new,state of the art schools, and renovating existing ones. Increasing teacher pay to attract people of high caliber to teaching. This would certainly reduce poverty greatly, and therefore abortion.

All of that is as may be. Some pro-life Catholics, like Tim J above, may argue these points. Other pro-life Catholics would agree with you. So that’s not an essential dividing issue. My main contention is that it’s a separate question from the travesty of murdering unborn children regarding which that you came in here with both barrels blazing.

Tim J. June 16, 2008 at 11:47 am

Well, and yes, as SDG points out, the two are separate issues.
We need to do all that we reasonably can to help the poor, but we might start by not killing them in the womb.
That has the added advantage of not saddling young mothers with the guilt of abortion for the rest of their lives, which leads many young women to self-destructive behavior.
Abortion is not compassion.

Mary June 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm

But what charity provides all the needs of poor children?
But what government program provides all the needs of poor children?

Mary June 16, 2008 at 7:47 pm

We need to do all that we reasonably can to help the poor, but we might start by not killing them in the womb.
We also want to not kill them afterward, and you’ve got to admit, it’s the conservatives not the liberals who want to discourage that by locking up people who commit murder — which discourages the people around and definitely discourages those who are locked up.

Tim J. June 17, 2008 at 5:54 am

I’m afraid I didn’t get your point, Mary. Can you rephrase it?

SDG June 17, 2008 at 6:21 am

Not to speak for Mary, it sounds like she’s making a law-and-order point to the effect that being tough on violent crime is effectively “pro-life.”

Seagull July 28, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Outlawing abortion would reduce abortion today far below the rate we had before Roe, because today pregnancy centers are everywhere to help expectant mothers, and today a girl can finish high school and go to college with no stigma — indeed, “nowadays it’s like a badge of honor” — and even have day care for the child on campus, and most important, nearly all girls today have seen the new videos of life before birth, and know their babies’ faces. Add to those factors a profound social declaration that we will not accept the killing of the unborn (a law against it makes a strong statement), and many will not abort.
A huge percentage of women who abort are pressured or coerced into it by their parents, husbands, boyfriends or other people they care about. These women will have a strong lever with which to pry themselves out of that trap: the law. Imagine being able to say, “Did you just order me to commit a felony?”
Some have abortions because they think any feelings of horror they have about the idea are silly, for society has stamped the operation with approval; therefore, “it” can’t be a real baby. Then they feel “it” die and nothing is the same again.
Many think no one will want their children. Meanwhile, infertile families make little cold beds and wait year after year.
Imagine how many things we will have to adjust once we save the babies. We will have to make adoption easier, and marriage, especially for the young, and day care in high school may have to expand, and prenatal-perinatal care for young, old, sick and undernourished mothers will have to increase somehow. But it will be worth it. We will have saved lives. When someone has just been rescued from an early death, there is always room for her or him.

ChrisB September 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Robert Berger-
I think we should try to enforce laws that preserve life even if it has some undesirable added consequences, and even if it is difficult. Police look at motive, opportunity and means as essential elements of crime. If a law passes, say making partial birth abortion illegal, you may not take away the motive but the opportunity and the means are greatly reduced.
A prior post mentioned that only the Supreme Court could have an impact and not a presidential choice. I disagree. If there is a ban on partial birth abortion, whether it is vetoed or approved is in the hands of our President.
Eliminating partial birth abortion is a practical first step since it is so much like the ancient practice of infanticide.
Parental notification is also practical. If a 15 year old girl can’t get an aspirin, but can get an abortion without parent knowledge, there is an inherent distrust of the parental role.
As for the question of who will pay to take care of the unwanted children?… I will! (and those like me) Everyone who believes in life would gladly pay to make life possible and living worthwhile. Existing life centers prove this point.

CT September 6, 2008 at 5:04 pm

For a person, JA, who presumably rejects consequentialist ethical theory and embraces some form of deontological ethical theory, it is striking that his analysis here turns exclusively on consequentialist considerations.
Let’s consider an imaginary world where we can with the push of a button choose and bring about one of two alternatives and let’s suppose also that in this imaginary world, humans do not have immortal souls and that there is no heaven or hell for humans.
A: a society where all 100 people in the society commit some outrageous blasphemy by including in their constitution some kind of mocking ridicule of God.
B: a society where 1 out of all 100 people in the society murders one other due to a law which makes it legal for that particular individual and only that individual to kill that one other particular individual and only that individual.
Under JA’s analysis above and elsewhere on this blog I get the impression that he would elect for the realization of the society in A as opposed to B The only way to choose B over A it seems to me, the only reasonable way that is, would be to either incorporate something uncharacteristic of consequentialist ethical theory as a “consequence” or to use some deonotological analysis or some meta-analysis that may be consequentialist or deontological with respect to the different results a consequentialist or deonotological weighing may give, etc. One reasonably way to choose B over A would be to say that realization of A would involve such a grave dishonoring of the deity as to make it more preferable that B be realized.
How would this apply in the current American political climate? Well IIRC and apologies in advance if my recollection errs but JA referred only to global thermonuclear war as something that could potentially outweigh the abortion issue, realistically speaking. I beg to differ. That analysis turns purely on consequentialist analysis yet JA could be read to be committed to some deontological view of ethics.
Let me give a realistic (as realistic as JA’s own example of global thermonuclear war in any case) consideration that may outweigh the abortion issue (I am of course assuming for our purposes the Catholic view that abortion is wrong etc) Some fear that the US is in danger of relinquishing national sovereignty to the UN or some other union such as a union among Canada, the US, and Mexico. One may consider the preserving of US sovereignty — to have in the Catholic Patrick Buchanan’s words, nothing in between the sovereignty of God and the sovereignty of the United States — to be an issue of sufficient importance to outweigh the abortion issue.
There are a variety of ethical theories under which one might say such. Under the consequentialist analysis JA applies to the politics of abortion, all issues must be able to be appropriately and mathematically placed in some commensurable relationship with one other. But I see the loss of US sovereignty to be “bad” not merely in terms of what practical consequences that may have, but to be bad in and of itself (i.e. inherently) (at least relative to me — to make this a little clearer: I value it and the reason why I value it has to do partially with some inherent feature of it or at least some inherent feature of something which includes it as a part, and not solely its practical benefits)
Another issue this less realistic would be if alcohol were to be prohibited in a locality or state with no exception for the Catholic Mass — that would render the celebration of Mass impossible.
Now for a real issue: there are already laws in some jurisdictions where it is required child abuse be reported by priests among others with no exception for Catholic confession. What if a candidate in one of these jurisdictions was pro-choice but for introducing an exception that would include Catholic confession and the only other candidate on the balot was pro-life but against introducing an exception? For whom would JA vote?

bill912 September 6, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Name one jurisdictions that requires a priest to break the seal of confession.

CT September 6, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Current as of January 2008
http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/clergymandated.pdf
This privilege, however, is not absolute. While clergy-penitent privilege is frequently recognized within the reporting laws, it is typically interpreted narrowly in the child abuse or neglect context. The circumstances under which it is allowed vary from State to State, and in some States it is denied altogether. For example, among the States that list clergy as mandated reporters, New Hampshire and West Virginia deny the clergy-penitent privilege in cases of child abuse or neglect. Four of the States that enumerate “any person” as a mandated reporter (North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Texas) also deny clergy-penitent privilege in child abuse cases.
In addition, in many states/territories, the “privilege” is not specifically addressed in reporting laws. These states include: Connecticut, Mississippi, Indiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Alaska, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, New York, Northern Mariana Islands, South Dakota, Virgin Islands
A separate issue from the mandatory reporting is whether the information is admissible in trial. So in theory it is possible for the child abuse to be required to be reported but for that information to be held inadmissible for trial — but in that case it would still violate your Catholic practice.
So Catholics in all these jurisdictions, particularly the ones in the paragraph from which I quoted, and in all, more generally, can potentially have a choice between a pro-choice pro-protect-seal-of-confession-in-case-of-child-abuse candidate and a pro-life no-exception-in-cases-of-child-abuse-for-seal-of-confession candidate. In effect, Catholics would have to choose between their love for unborn babies and their love for child abusers (the love they have for their souls, that is) — protecting the life of unborn babies versus protecting child abusers for the sake of not deterring them from the sacrament.

bill912 September 6, 2008 at 6:13 pm

That http does not seem to exist.

CT September 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Try this one then and then click on the link that says “Printable Version” if you like
http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/clergymandated.cfm
So the question I intially asked in bold remains as does the last paragraph of the last post by me. I would be very interested in what the Catholic responses would be. I hope JA, SDG, or TMC in due course find some time to share their opinion.

CT September 6, 2008 at 7:34 pm

If copying and pasting is not working try both of these as well:
click here
click here

Deadstop September 9, 2008 at 8:42 am

The seal of confession has no connection to civil law.
A priest is required to observe the seal even if the alternative is prison, torture, or death.
Thus, for me at least, the choice you present would be an easy one — vote for the pro-life candidate, and continue to work separately for the passage of an exception to the mandated reporter law in the case of confessions.
Even if you had an Elizabeth I type who was willing to execute priests for being priests, and her notional opponent favored not executing priests but was also in favor of legal abortion (we’ll assume “Elizabeth” is not), the choice to prevent (some) abortion would be the more rational one. Priests are adults who volunteer for the position and know what they are getting into, while fetuses have no protection whatsoever.
Basically, you are offering the choice between actual lives and the inconvenience of having to engage in civil disobedience in order to practice one’s religion. These things are not on par with each other.

CT September 9, 2008 at 9:32 am

@Deadstop
That’s an admirable response, but there’s no need to suppose an Elizabeth I type. The law as it stands in some of these jurisdictions may call for jail for priests who “engage in civil disobedience.” Depending on how commonly child abuse is confessed (or spoken of in confession) and whether priests who violate the law choose to turn themselves over to authorities (or are exposed by journalists or others posing as penitents), it wouldn’t be a matter of civil disobedience in order to practice one’s religion, but whether you are able to (fully) practice your religion at all. Without priests or with few priests (i.e. if many end up jailed), things such as Mass (not merely receiving communion but the sacrifice of Mass itself) and confession would be impossible or very rare (Mass) or very difficult to access (confession; though I suppose this could be mitigated through the use of general absolution)
I don’t know if you are saying also that all priests would engage in civil disobedience in this regard. Presently I suppose they do (I know not of any cases where they haven’t). But, if journalists or others were one day sufficiently motivated so as to pose as penitents (confessing or speaking of child abuse) then it may be the case that one day many priests would face a real risk of prosecution as opposed to a theoretical one. I am surprised that journalists do not already do this. I suppose there are ethical concerns regarding “creating” a story rather than reporting a story and potential backlash from the public.
BTW, there have been in the U.S. conflicts between church and state battled in court over the seal of confession with some somewhat mixed results (nothing that I would call tragic for the church though)

Deadstop September 9, 2008 at 12:19 pm

My point is that the Church (and the Mass) have survived through far worse than laws against keeping the seal of confession. There have been times and places where just [i]having[/i] a Mass could get you jailed or executed.
Temporary stupidity in a few states of one country is not a threat to the Church (or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass), certainly not one of such magnitude that it can be compared to the continuance of abortion in current numbers.

CT September 22, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Well, there would be fewer Masses said and I’m not sure what the Catholic calculus would be in terms of comparing the goods of the Masses said versus the goods of the lives lost to legal abortion. I’m not even sure that the Catholic calculus would involve a comparing of spiritual versus material goods.
In any event, if we admit that a country can just like an individual be a moral subject, i.e. something that can be morally wronged, then I don’t see why it would necessarily be so as JA maintains that abortion is the “preeminent” moral issue of our time, granting that abortion takes the life of a human person.
JA dismisses among other issues immigration as a potential competitor to abortion (I believe JA also dismisses any collection of such issues to be a potential competitor to abortion in terms of our time).
Here’s how one could make the case that immigration is as critical or perhaps more so than abortion. Let’s suppose that de-anglicizing America would constitute a moral wrong suffered by America. Let’s suppose also that current or proposed immigration policies and other related policies would lead to a de-anglicization of America, turning America into a multilingual country like Switzerland (not that it is a moral wrong for Switzerland to be multilingual — what is a moral wrong for one country may not be so for another due to the different objective character of each country). If one takes the view that voting in say federal elections should only involve a calculus of moral goods and evils obtaining of the country, then one might observe that the moral evil of abortion that America suffers does involve an injury against her members and a stain against her honor but that while the individual lives cannot by us be restored, America’s social health and honor can be restored and redeemed in time. OTOH, in the case of the aforementioned permanent demographic shift, while it may be in itself a lesser moral wrong suffered by the United States, the anglican character of the United States could never be realistically speaking recovered.
The same kind of argument could be made of permenant demographic changes involving not de-anglicization as such (though it may include it) but de-Westernization. If it is granted that the anglican or Western character of the U.S. is a good and that its loss is a evil suffered by the U.S. (just as if with no loss of life the magical disappearance of the Grand Canyon would be an evil, a loss, suffered by the U.S.), and as above one grants that countries are more than abstractions, but are real things capable of being morally wronged, then this immigration may place a dent in the abortion “trump” card play. I acknowledge it is a difficult argument to make on immigration alone (it really depends on how great a value one places on the Western character or anglican character of the nation), but when one makes like arguments regarding other issues that unlike abortion, as far as goods pertaining to the country are concerned, involving irrevocable loss of goods, then in combination, the issue of abortion may be outweighed.
Note that this depends on holding that votes in federal elections should be about solely the good of the nation and not about the good of individuals as such (even though the good of individuals is related to the good of the nation insofar as the murder of an individual, including a fetus, harms the social health of the nation and stains the honor of the nation — yet though the individual is lost forever, all the goods pertaining to the nation: social health and honor can be restored or redeemed.

Inocencio September 22, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Sure is easy to argue abortion is not wrong when you are not the one being put to death.
I hope and pray that someday you can see through your poetic license long enough to use your common sense.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

CT September 22, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Inocencio,
I assumed that abortion was in fact wrong for the entirety of my post.

Ivy November 10, 2008 at 9:24 am

I think we have a bit of work to do while trying to overturn Roe vs Wade.
First, to define when an abortion can be performed because the mother’s life (and possibly both lives) are in danger. Here I refer to a situation such a cancer of the uterus. It doesn’t work to have an all-or-nothing situation.
Second, we need to repair the adoption system. These kids need a place to go, a family that will love them. If we force people to raise kids they don’t want, we trade abortion for child abuse. Not much win there.
My cousin was a foster mother for about a year. When the boy came to stay with her, he was sullen, a poor student, with a terrible view on his own future. Towards the end, he was on the honor roll, a cheerful, hopeful child with a bright outlook, willing to work hard to go far.
She and her husband own a five acre estate with an in-ground pool, and her husband could retire on the spot with the family living very well on their savings for the rest of their lives. She was a stay at home mother. They had already set up a trust fund for the child’s college education.
They figured they had everything together to adopt this kid. Who could look at what they’d done and say they were bad for the child? Who could look at the family and extended family, and all of their resources, and say the child would ever want or be in need? He had grandparents across the street, an uncle next door, and an aunt an hour’s drive away.
He was black. My cousin is white. The courts said an adoption was out of the question.
As long as this kind of nonsense is commonplace we’ll meet increased resistance against overturning Roe v Wade.

Serena November 10, 2008 at 9:43 am

Every argument about abortion is a self-indulgetn exercise in sophistry unles it acknowledges the basic facts: Abortion always kills an innocent human being, killing an innocent human being is murder, and murder is that standard by which crimes are evaluated — the more like murder an act is, the more criminal it is. Hence the expressions “It’s not like he killed someone” and “locked up like a murderer.” Therefore, if abortion isn’t a crime there is no such thing as a crime.
Therefore, if our country doesn’t recriminalize abortion, it will have to decriminalize everything. Are we ready for that?

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