I'm going to comment on part of this post:
Even if we admit Dr. New’s analysis is correct and that there is a genuine correlation between abortion rates/ratios and the passage of pro-life laws, we do not think this study address the real question at hand. Abolitionists do not argue that pro-life laws don’t do some good. We openly admit they likely have some positive influence in reducing the number of surgical abortions.
That's quite a concession. And in my reading, abolitionists are loath to admit that. Typically, they are very evasive on that point.
So here we have an approved spokesman for AHA conceding that incremental legislation does in fact reduce the number of babies killed by surgical abortion.
The real question, however, is how do we know that rallying around an immediatist position in the 1990s would not have had the net effect of saving even more than are currently saved? Simply put, Dr. New’s work, while insightful and interesting, cannot address this question because the data sets needed to address it do not exist. We do not know whether or not a different strategy would have had a worse outcome. It is entirely possible that the methods used in the 1990s yielded far fewer babies being saved than if a stronger immediatist position had been embraced. The point is that we don’t know and, as such, these studies are moot.
i) Once again, we see AHA retreat into the never-neverland of unverifiable counterfactuals. It's like saying more lives might have been saved had the victors in WWI not imposed war reparations on Germany, which provoked popular resentment, which gave Hitler an opening.
Even if that alternate historical scenario is true, Churchill didn't have the luxury of that past–because that past never happened. He had to deal with the consequences of the real past. And he had to deal with the present.
ii) Closely observe the abolitionist calculation. It comes down to a choice between saving real babies and saving hypothetical babies. Between saving actual babies here and now, or possibly saving more babies in the future if abolitionist methods and projections are successful. AHA is exchanging the lives of actual babies for the lives of babies who might possibly be saved in the future if immediatism pans out.
So AHA is gambling the lives of babies on a crapshoot. Sacrifice actual babies we can save here and now in the hope that when abolitionists roll the dice, they will throw sixes. This means actual babies are bound to lose the bet. But in the utilitarian risk/benefit analysis of the abolitionist, the dead certainty of saving some is outweighed by the wishful possibility of saving more.
iii) Keep in mind, too, that abolitionists aren't talking about saving the same babies, plus additional babies. Rather, it's about sacrificing one set of babies in toto in the interests of just possibly saving a different, more numerous set of babies.
iv) Notice that if the abolitionist strategy fails, you lose both sets of babies. If the abolitionist strategy is a bust, then it doesn't save more babies in the future. It doesn't save any babies in the future, by "immediatist" distinctives. And it doesn't save any babies at present.
It doesn't preserve the lives the future babies who'd be saved by incrementalist legislation. And it doesn't preserve the lives of past or present babies who are saved by incrementalist legislation.
In the interests of possibly saving more babies in the future, the abolitionist cost/benefit analysis risks the total loss of all the babies in question. In its high-stakes gamble, abolitionism is prepared to endanger every baby.
Moreover, even if it can be shown that there is a causal decrease in surgical abortions based on pro-life legislation, we must also consider the cost of adopting those strategies in terms of moral position and our ability to effectively argue against abortion in the future.
Notice the naked utilitarian thinking that informs abolitionism. A hypothetical tradeoff between saving fewer actual babies here and now over against the wishful goal of saving more babies in the future.
The moral arguments supporting the abolition of abortion should not change merely to suit the political climate of the day because the arguments are grounded in and flow from the immutable Word of God. And, it is these moral foundations from which our moral action should originate. Incrementalist strategies reverse this order and allow that which is politically feasible to blunt the moral foundation upon which abolition rests. While it is certainly laudable to attempt to save as many babies as possible--and we recognize the necessity of legislative means to enact abolition--we cannot be so short sighted that we fail to recognize how our actions might work against our desired goal.
The moral foundation of the prolife movement is that abortion, with rare exceptions (e.g. ectopic pregnancies), is homicidal from the moment of conception.
Mr. Cunningham repeatedly charged Mr. Hunter (and abolitionists at large) with failing to love their neighbors by opposing incremental legislation. And, a number of pro-life leaders have continued to level this accusation against abolitionists in their reviews of the debate. This charge is ludicrous. Of course abolitionists care about those children. We care about them just as much as we care about those who the pro-life legislation fails to protect. We want them all to be saved. However, it matters how we go about accomplishing abortion abolition and saving babies. It is a truism that the ends do not justify the means...
i) To begin with, that truism is simplistic.
ii) But let's measure AHA by its own yardstick. Abolitionists are blind to the fact that their preferred strategy is precisely that. Throughout this post, PChem contends that the goal of saving all babies in the future justifies the means of sacrificing babies at present. He hopes that you can save more babies overall by pursuing abolitionist tactics. When he says we must consider the "cost" of adopting allegedly "shortsighted" strategies that blunt our ability to "to effectively argue against abortion in the future," that's an end-justifies-the-means argument. The greater good of possibly saving more babies in the future warrants the loss of babies in the present. Sacrificing real babies here and now is the price we (or they) must pay in the hope of winning first prize down the line. That's a necessary sacrifice. Hope to save more babies in the future at the cost of consigning babies here and now to death. Even if effective, abolitionism can only succeed on the backs of babies it relegated to the grave in the short-term.
…and Christians ought not embrace sinful means to save lives.
Which consistently begs the question.
We believe that allowing abortion in some cases along the way to its total abolition is neither strategically sound nor consistently Christian.
"Strategically sound"? Even if he's correct, what is that if not "the end justifies the means"?
You cannot abolish any evil by justifying or allowing it to continue in some cases.
There's no assurance that abortion can be abolished. That's a goal that we should work towards, but that may be an unrealistic goal. That shouldn't dictate the good we are in a position to do right now.
Any strategy for ending abortion in this country that allows for the continued occurrence of some abortions for the sake of eventually outlawing the rest, though seemingly pragmatic, is compromise and its promises of effectiveness are false.
i) And abolitionists sacrifice babies right now for the sake of promoting its long-range goal, which may be unobtainable in any case. For abolitionism, babies are poker chips. The endgame is to win the jackpot. The abolitionist is all-in. He's prepared to lose everything in the hopes of winning everything.
ii) Keep in mind that even if his bet pays off, the abolitionist strategy only saves future babies, not present babies. Contrast that with their hotatory rhetoric about "refusing to compromise with evil."
The bills and laws that we see as delaying abolition and/or distracting pro-lifers from the work of abolition are those that do not oppose abortion in and of itself (e.g., focus on abortion procedures, places, etc) and those that specify which humans are to be protected from abortion (e.g., because they have reached a certain age or stage of development or have met some other culturally approved criteria of value such as the possession of a heart beat, being conceived in consensual sex, not being diagnosed with down syndrome, spina bifida, or some other condition deemed by our culture as justifying murder by abortion).
See the reasoning? Rescuing the babies you can save here and now is a "distraction" from long-range goal. If we hope to win the big prize, we must avoid the "distraction" of saving real babies at present through incremental measures.
What we absolutely do NOT mean is that if we can’t save all babies, we shouldn’t save any. The idea that we are “all or nothing” presupposes that there are only two options: incremental steps or no steps at all. We reject that premise. We contend that those who fight abortion should be unified in calling for immediate and total abolition.
The only babies they save at present are babies they save through traditional prolife methods like picketing abortion clinics.
To return to the studies Mr. Cunningham raised in the debate, we are grateful that those children are alive, and we are grateful that surgical abortion has been curtailed to some degree. We suspect, however, that those saved babies are not indicative of God honoring those methods but that He is bringing about good in spite of our failed, compromised methods.
Once again, we have an admission that babies are saved by incremental measures, but their lives aren't worth saving compared to the long-range goal.