Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The sacred bond between mother and child

The Daily Kos blogging corps is proving to be fertile ground for finding material that helps illustrate what abolitionists are dealing with and up against when it comes to pushing for and bringing about a society that respects human lives for what they are - created in the image of God - and reflects that view of humanity in its laws and its behavior.
The latest offering from the blogger known as Bad Kitties comes to us in the form of An Open Letter to Supporters of Personhood. The tone is strident, fierce, frustrated, and emotional. The letter itself is a combination of so many of the issues that we have already dealt with in our Abolitionist FAQ and sadly Bad Kitties does not advance the argument on those points, so we merely invite the reader to examine our standing rebuttals to her complaints and to consider why it is that abortion proponents so rarely engage abolitionist counterarguments and why, when they do, they fail to make a dent in those rebuttals.
The single most important question in the debate surrounding the justifiability of abortion is this: What is the product of human conception?
If the product of human conception is a human being, then all the same reasons that any of us give for outlawing, preventing, and protecting murder of adults and born children also apply to protecting the fetus (aka preborn child) from anyone who might wish to harm him or her.
If the product of human conception is not a human being, then ending its development requires no more soul-searching or justification than taking an antibiotic, throwing a rock into a river, snacking on a carrot, or removing a wisdom tooth.  It is not a difficult choice. It does not entail sorrow or "deep reflection". It is not "an issue to be taken seriously". 
I live among neighbors along my street. They are all human beings. What if I could define one or all of them as "non-human" based on nothing more than my arbitrary whim? What if personhood were conferred when I say to myself, "This is my human neighbor"?  Or what if my neighbors are not people until they bring me a plate full of cookies? As a cookie-eater, I know that neighbors have the potential to be people, but until they dish out the cookies, they are not.
Absurd and ridiculous, isn't it? The humanity or personhood of my neighbors is not dependent on whether they perform a particular action, like cookie-baking or cookie-gifting. Their humanity or personhood is also not dependent on whether I think they have humanity or personhood. No, they possess humanity and personhood for one reason and one reason only - they were created in the image of God.
Society may tell me, even strongly insist, that my adult neighbors have humanity and personhood, but what authority does society have to tell me what to do and believe? The power of the state, the authorities, the police, the military, right? If I violate the laws of the society badly enough, if I put one of my neighbors to death because he didn't bring me cookies and I thought it might be fun to practice shooting in his general direction, the society will bring force to bear against me to obligate compliance with the laws against unprovoked killing of society's citizens, even to the point of death.  Might makes right.
What if I am powerful enough to resist or even overthrow those societal authorities? What if my might is better than their might? Then my might makes right. 
What if I am powerful enough to enact a law to the effect that Jews should be put into concentration camps and asphyxiated, then cremated en masse? If society is the measure by which personhood and humanity are granted, that is perfectly legitimate.
And of course, if I myself am the decider, and I decide some arbitrary standard (ie, cookie-bringing) is the measure of personhood and humanity, then my entire street is inhabited by non-humans. They have the potential to be humans, but they are not because they have not performed the necessary task.
Further, though other people may want them to live, they don't matter. Only I matter, and as far as I am concerned, they are not wanted.
Other people may love them, but they don't matter either. Only I matter, and as far as I am concerned, they are not loved.
Why should the existence or non-existence of my love and want for these neighbors of mine have any bearing on whether they are humans or persons? Because I am the measure. If I have enough power, what you think doesn't matter. 
This is precisely the attitude with which Bad Kitties has written her diatribe. She believes that she is the measure of humanity/personhood. Stop and think for a moment how hopelessly poor that worldview is. Power is the measure. Might. Nose-counting. There is no way to know for sure what is good or bad. Who is there to tell you "No no no, you should not write that law that way"? How would such a dissenter know that s/he is in the right, especially since Bad Kitties' position is that power and numbers determine morality? Wouldn't the dissenter always be in the wrong, by definition?
If a powerful, violence-crazed person rose to power, we in the "enlightened" modern West would sneer our condemnations at them. But if they were to accrue enough force, modern occidentals would have no recourse. No moral high ground. No way to say "You ought not to put all educated occidentals to death!" But try an exercise with me - look at the situation from the alternative standpoint of the worldview derived from the Bible:
God Almighty has created the world including all humans, all humans have intentionally and hatefully rebelled against Him. He knows everything about everything and everyone. He knows the creation inside and out. He knows what works and what doesn't work. He Himself is the measure of good and evil, a standard of morality that is higher and far above any single creature or group of creatures or thought of creatures. 
Despite the rebellion, God has nevertheless decided to extend mercy in many ways to those rebellious and hateful creations of His. He has not utterly destroyed them with the immediacy that their rebellion has merited for them. (Remember, God decides what is just; not you.) He has instead extended an offer of full and total pardon of all these creatures' dreadful lawbreaking. The pardon is found in the person of God Himself, who entered into His own creation as a human being Himself, taking on a human body and nature. He lived a life into adulthood during which He always obeyed the law of God and never violated it in any way. He offered Himself as a substitution and sacrifice, to suffer and die in the place of His rebellious creatures. He offers that pardon on the basis of repentance of one's sins and trust in Himself to acquire that mercy, and the gifts of eternal life and friendship with Him. As it happens, this worldview actually is true, and yes, we can demonstrate its truth via rational argumentation. That means that Bad Kitties and others like her are among the aforementioned rebel creatures. They live in God's universe and yet refuse to live by His rules. He is their Creator no matter how much they deny it, and the things they say and believe cannot exist without God and remain consistent with the rest of their worldview. Here are some examples of inconsistencies in Bad Kitties' diatribe:
I am a person.
She gets to say that because she has grown up to the point that she is able to express herself. If a disease robbed her tomorrow of the use of her fingers and vocal cords, would she cease to be a person? Yet here she is attempting to convince us that we shouldn't stand up for the personhood of others who are just as much created in the image of God as she. But if enough people decide that liberal Daily Kos bloggers are not in fact persons, doesn't that mean that this statement is false? By her own expressed standard? Then, on the one hand:
When you attempt to declare a blastocyst a person, you are stripping me of MY "personhood."
And on the other:
My living children were wanted, and they are deeply loved.
Is Bad Kitties not required to show us all that the following equation is actually true? Human product of conception + another person wants them to live = Bestowal of personhood  How does Bad Kitties know this? Who says so? When and how was this fact discovered? How consistent is she willing to be with this formula? Is it permissible to walk around killing destitute homeless people? Clearly they are not wanted. What's that, you say? You're telling me that I don't know whether a given destitute homeless person is wanted? Should I have looked for an ID card before pulling the trigger? And just how did you determine that the fetus you aborted wasn't wanted, say, by abolitionists and our co-laboring adoptive parents? Of course, Bad Kitties did not use any of her valuable time attempting to discover whether her baby was wanted. She pulled the trigger, presuming she knew it all. In point of fact, she knew nothing.
Unwanted pregnancies do not have "personhood" conferred upon them. They are an intrusion, a parasite, a thing.
Notice that Bad Kitties is assuming that God does not exist, and that He has nothing to say about whether these babies have personhood conferred on them by God Himself. She is too busy emoting and ranting to rationally examine the arguments. And where is any sign that she has thought through the ramifications of calling a preborn child a "parasite"? Is she willing to be consistent and blog in favor of the idea that children should be abortable up until their tenth birthday? Why not? All the arguments in favor of preborn child=parasite are consistently applicable to born children.
They are not loved.
As a matter of fact, abolitionists love them, and so does Jesus. Bad Kitties is unwilling to consider those outside her narrow frame of reference, any claims to being open-minded and tolerant notwithstanding.
Where will YOU be when that child is born, unwanted and unloved, perhaps to be disposed of in a toilet or restroom garbage can?
We'll be where we've been for a long time, reaching out to the woman, offering her help and training to take responsibility for her life and refuse to commit murder to attempt to erase the consequences of her actions. Interestingly, I'd like to know just how Bad Kitties would suggest we be around when a woman gives birth to a child and heartlessly throws the child into a toilet or garbage can. The reason women do that is to hide their birth and leave the child behind. Does Bad Kitties want some sort of abolitionist hover-squad to follow women around from their 8th month to the time of birth? Of course not. She is, again, merely ranting.
Perhaps to be abused, as the object of anger over his or her very existence?
If Bad Kitties were kidnapped and forgotten about (God forbid, seriously), then tortured and abused for years afterward, would she say the same thing? Would she prefer to die rather than to be loved and cared for, to have a chance to redeem the difficult years? That is what she is telling these babies, if they could hear her: Your life won't be worth living if someone abuses you. It's no use trying to make something of yourself if your parents aren't perfect. How do I know? I just know. I'm Bad Kitties!
Do you understand that you cannot, ever, force a woman to love an unwanted child?
Does Bad Kitties understand that people change? That, upon the moment of birth, many women experience overwhelming love for their child and change their minds about giving the child up for adoption? Does Bad Kitties understand that, while we know we can't force anyone to love anyone else, love is not the question here? These preborn children are not facing the question: Love or be unloved. Rather, she is arguing for it to be legal that they be murdered. Why can't she face up to the real issues at hand?
Women will always seek to get rid of unwanted children, and have for centuries. Their reasons why are none of your business.
As a matter of fact, we realise that the evidence shows and God's Word unmistakably lets us know that women routinely suffer greatly after abortion, and we want to warn them and protect them from such a choice. We also recognise that replacing a few words nets a shockingly horrible outcome: Governments will always seek to get rid of unwanted Jews, and have for centuries. Their reasons why are none of your business. 
How attractive is that statement, now? As a matter of fact, "that's how it's always been" is not a good argument. Where does Bad Kitties derive her authority to tell us that women's reasons are none of our business? Just how does she know that?
How do you possibly justify stripping women of their humanity, reducing them to nothing more than a vessel?
This coming from someone who probably believes that women are the product of a mindless process of natural selection acting upon mutations over the course of billions of years, that women descended from puddles of sludge in a warm sea. On what basis should any of us take such things seriously? No, rather, abolitionists recognise that God has imbued every single human being with great value because we are all created in the image of God. We all have distinct roles to play, and we don't always like those roles because we are sinful and rebel against His plan, but that hardly bears any relevance to whether those roles are right or wrong. Our likes and dislikes are not particularly material to the way we were created. Women have been given a great gift - they are the only ones who can bear children. Men can't do that. Men depend on women to bear the couple's offspring. Children are specially attached to their mothers with a love that men can only look at and admire. Why does Bad Kitties want to take this blessing of the Lord and curse it? Right, it's because she is a rebellious sinner, like the rest of us. More specifically, where is Bad Kitties' argument that insisting that women not murder their preborn children "strips them of their humanity"? Does she believe that laws insisting that I not walk around shooting destitute homeless people strip me of my humanity? Why precisely does the freedom to murder make one more human or preserve one's humanity? Isn't it the other way around, in fact, that the willingness to murder the smallest and most helpless is that which lessens one's humanity?
An end to legal abortion has always meant the deaths of thousands upon thousands of women, depriving their families and friends of the joy they found in them.
A reckless exaggeration. Where is the evidence? And where is the recognition that abortions result in quite a few deaths per year as well?
Life is for the living.
Just what does Bad Kitties think preborn children are? Dead? A rock?
You will have merrily skipped along, living your life, feeling self-righteous, leaving devastation in your wake.
Usually abolitionists are accused of being too grave, too serious, too strident. Now we're skipping merrily along? I'm not sure Bad Kitties is carefully considering her words here, are you? Why does she feel the freedom to accuse us of feeling self-righteous? A follower of Jesus is by definition the exact opposite of self-righteous. We are those who freely and fully recognise that we were filthy, wretched sinners, rebels against our Creator, and deserving of eternal torment and abandonment, and that we fully deserved such a fate. Yet God had unilateral mercy on us and delivered us despite our horrible records of actions. I fear Bad Kitties has been exposed to ignorant adherents of churchianity, and few real Christians. And does Bad Kitties think that 54 million dead children is something other than devastation?
Fetuses are not people until they are born.
Because physical location, and a passage down the Magic Birth Canal bestows human rights. Does Bad Kitties really think that it would be fine and dandy to take a woman in labor whose baby has not yet emerged, reach inside her with a pair of scissors, and dismember the child who would otherwise have been born two minutes later, just because the baby had not yet fully emerged from the birth canal? How can she possibly justify that? Could she impassively sit around and watch such a procedure?
This is the sacred bond between mother and child. You should not interfere with that.
Insisting that the woman honor that bond and not murder her child is "interfering"? How so?
Fetuses have the potential to be people, but until they are out of the womb, they are not. My daughter was born sort of grayish-blue, with the cord wrapped around her neck. My husband said, "Oh my God, she's d---" and my doula kicked him in the ankle. My beloved OB quickly unwrapped the cord, my husband cut it, and my beautiful daughter turned rosy pink. She was a person.
Thank God Bad Kitties' daughter was strong enough to be born and turn pink. We recognise, however, it is not emotional bloggers who bestow humanity on humans. It is God, the Creator. We do indeed live in two different worlds.

8 comments:

  1. In your world view, what happens to the blastocyst after it is aborted?

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  2. Not entirely sure. Scripture doesn't tell us for certain what happens to young children when they die. Based on what I've read, I say I'm ~80% sure they go to Heaven.

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  3. If they do go to heaven, wouldn't they be better off than having been born? What about miscarriage? I would assume they would be in the same situation as the aborted. If they do not go to heaven then it seems like there would be a whole lot of "people" in hell that would have no clue why.

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  4. If they do go to heaven, wouldn't they be better off than having been born?

    Maybe. But God has commanded us not to murder children, and has commanded us to protect those who are under threat of death.

    About miscarriage - I figure the child's destination is the same whether aborted or miscarried.

    But it may be that there are people in Hell who don't know why they're there. But they were sinners, so that's where they, like we all, belong.

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  5. Are saying all blastocysts are sinners? If that is so, why would they not go to hell?

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  6. Yes, all *PEOPLE* are sinners.

    They might not go to Hell if Jesus redeemed them.

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  7. So does Jesus redeem some people while they are in the womb or does it happen after they are aborted?

    BTW, Thanks for answering my questions.

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  8. No problem. :-) If I didn't want to talk to people, I wouldn't blog hahahaa.

    Death is the tipping point. The child wouldn't presumably be regenerated while in the womb, but rather around the moment of death. Either immediately beforehand or immediately after the moment of death.

    (Just a reminder - I am speculating to some extent. The Scripture is far from crystal clear on this issue.)

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