Author Topic: Abortion and Politics  (Read 74182 times)

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2012, 07:28:07 AM »
Instead they have us focussing on the "difficult" "cases" of the 12,000 (according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which has a vested interest in reporting as high a figure as possible) performed annually on female victims of rape who, in addition to the trauma of being raped, will also bear the trauma of having killed their child. 

I would also add quotes to the word "cases" above.  It's difficult to establish the accuracy of Planned Parenthood-founded Guttmacher's statistics.  After all, Planned Parenthood has a history of reporting rape inaccurately, you know.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/state-143700-penn-didn.html

If abortion shouldn't be politicized, then I suppose we should all just remain quiet about the use of our tax funds to support the nonsense that goes on at Planned Parenthood locations around the country.   :P
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 07:40:15 AM by Buckeye Deaconess »

Paul O Malley

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2012, 10:27:02 AM »
Part of the problem may also be the involvement of politics in law.  As I see it, abortion is one of those areas where the law could and should speak clearly and simply: Protect life.  Unfortunately, there are constituencies which have interests that would be curtailed if that principle were carried out that clearly.  For example, the idea that a woman has the right to determine the future of the unborn child.  The idea of choice is deeply ingrained as an inherent right.  Now that this 'right' has been embraced by a significant sector of the public, it becomes a political issue.  Justice can no longer be blindfolded.  It is forced to look out and see how people react to a given law.  We also believe in trading certain 'rights' for other 'rights.'  Not all are given the 'right' to life.  Some must surrender it to protect the 'right' of others to choose.

I agree that the "idea of choice" has become deeply ingrained and it may be worth exploring the unthinking responses Americans have when told that their "choices" may have to be restricted.  I would observe that "Choice" is one of the "values" of an unrestricted belief in free markets.  Another "value" of the market seems to be unfettered "expressions of individuality" (especially when they can be shaped by marketing types).  The dominance of the "market" in much American thought also confers status on the wealthy.  A woman gains little in status today from being a mother.  Being in a position to earn money for herself is more important.  Becoming a mother gets in the way of that.  From that perspective it has long seemed a little odd to me that many of those who oppose abortion on demand so often seem to ally themselves with the American political right.  If society is to be pulled back from abortion on demand those of us who would work to that goal might do well to consider our response to the idolatry inherent in the unfettered free market first.  (I'm not advocating socialism here, but something of a nod to European style Christian Democracy.)  Before the community will persuade women to "give up their right to choose" the community must assure women that their status and well being will not be dumped by the wayside by choosing motherhood.

I can't say that I agree with the logic that because "choice" is now seen by many as a right it has become a political issue.  "Elevation" of the status of "a mother's right to choose" to "constitutional right" was and remains an effort to place the position above politics.  (I'd observe as an aside that there exists a heretical notion among some Christians that the Constitution of the United States was somehow divinely inspired.)  In any event returning the matter to the political arena would be a gain for those who oppose it.  Even if laws restricting or abolishing the practice couldn't be passed there would be some possibility of putting into place regimes which would encourage women to carry their babies to term and place them for adoption.

In closing I'll add that I emphatically do not equate "values" with "morals."

Paul O'Malley - NALC layman
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jtpless

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2012, 01:18:02 PM »
Check out the LCMS Life Conference scheduled for January 25-26) in Washington, DC (www.lcmslifeconference.org) with Dr. Robert Benne as keynote speaker. If I were a parish pastor, I would certainly use Benne's little book, GOOD AND BAD WAYS TO THINK ABOUT RELIGION AND POLITICS (Eerdmans, 2010) for Bible Class this fall as we face a national election. There is a study guide to Benne's book posted on the LCMS Life Conference site. JTP+

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2012, 01:43:00 PM »
That reminds me . . . as confirmation classes begin, consider using the Life catechism with your confirmation students, as well.  A hard cover edition is available, or small insert editions for the back of a Small Catechism are available.

pearson

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2012, 02:04:06 PM »

I would observe that "Choice" is one of the "values" of an unrestricted belief in free markets.  Another "value" of the market seems to be unfettered "expressions of individuality" (especially when they can be shaped by marketing types).  The dominance of the "market" in much American thought also confers status on the wealthy.  A woman gains little in status today from being a mother.  Being in a position to earn money for herself is more important.  Becoming a mother gets in the way of that.  From that perspective it has long seemed a little odd to me that many of those who oppose abortion on demand so often seem to ally themselves with the American political right.  If society is to be pulled back from abortion on demand those of us who would work to that goal might do well to consider our response to the idolatry inherent in the unfettered free market first. 


Unfortunately, a parallel argument is made by those who support the HHS mandate that certain religious institutions must participate in the arrangements that provide access for their employees to various contraceptive devices -- only in that case, it is not "free markets" that is the obstacle, but "religious liberty."  Some choices (those made possible by religious liberty) must be restricted as we seek a higher social good (i.e., equal access for all women to birth control devices).  If society is to be pulled back from discrmination against women emplyed by certain religious institutions those who would work to that goal might do well to consider our response to the idolatry inherent in unfettered religious liberty first.

If the logic of the latter argument fails, it seems to me that the logic of the former argument does as well.  In other words, "free markets" are no more a contributing cause of abortion on demand than is religious liberty a contributing cause of unequal access for all women to birth control devices.

Tom Pearson

Scotty8284

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2012, 08:44:55 PM »
On the current topic, here is a video released today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwFIEprF_9Y&list=UUweaynfcfOijvB8icPqU3sQ&index=2&feature=plcp

Here is the description:

On August 28, 2012 the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced the launch of a $150,000 television ad campaign across Missouri highlighting President Obama's extreme record on abortion and featuring abortion survivor Melissa Ohden. Missouri has recently been at the center of the conversation on abortion.
Jim Scott
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Wittenberg '78

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2012, 01:30:12 PM »
Concerning abortion and politics, Senator Rick Santorum spoke well on the subject in his speech last night at the Republican National Convention.

Quote
"I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God's children -- born and unborn, and says that each of us has dignity and all of us have the right to live the American Dream," Santorum said.

The line, met with deafening applause and one of the longest standing ovations of the night, was the culmination of Santorum's emotional telling of his daughter Bella's struggle with a rare genetic disorder that doctors predicted would leave her with a life not worth living.

"The doctors later told us Bella was incompatible with life and to prepare to let go," Santorum said. "They said, even if she did survive, her disabilities would be so severe that Bella would not have a life worth living."

"We didn't let go and today Bella is full of life and she has made our lives and countless others much more worth living," he added, his eyes welling with tears.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/rick-santorum-republican-convention-speech_n_1830080.html

Mike

cssml

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2012, 02:10:02 PM »

I would observe that "Choice" is one of the "values" of an unrestricted belief in free markets.  Another "value" of the market seems to be unfettered "expressions of individuality" (especially when they can be shaped by marketing types).  The dominance of the "market" in much American thought also confers status on the wealthy.  A woman gains little in status today from being a mother.  Being in a position to earn money for herself is more important.  Becoming a mother gets in the way of that.  From that perspective it has long seemed a little odd to me that many of those who oppose abortion on demand so often seem to ally themselves with the American political right.  If society is to be pulled back from abortion on demand those of us who would work to that goal might do well to consider our response to the idolatry inherent in the unfettered free market first. 


... (i.e., equal access for all women to birth control devices).  If society is to be pulled back from discrmination against women emplyed by certain religious institutions.

... religious liberty a contributing cause of unequal access for all women to birth control devices.

I would just like to clarify that the religious institutions in question here serve the poor, heal the sick, and educate millions, and also hold it to be true that contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs are something intrinsically morally objectionable (evil).  They hold this to be true  irregardless of gender.  This is not a discrimination against a particular gender issue.  The Church loves women, and yet proclaims to them that contraception or sterilization closes the marital act entirely to to possibility of life.  The Church loves men, and yet proclaims the them that the act of artificial contraception or sterilization closes the marital act entirely to life, and is wrong.  The Church loves men and women, and yet proclaims to them that it is wrong for anyone to participate in, cooperate with, or fail to oppose, the destruction of human life.  The Church cannot directly cooperate with what it holds to be false, or cooperate with assisting anyone to do that which She believes to be *harmful* to the person, not matter how *helpful* society has discerned that action to be.

- They should not have to materially cooperate with purchasing condoms for men.
- They should not be forced to materially cooperate with vasectomies for men.

- In a similar way, they should not be forced to materially cooperate with with placing children
   in homes which lack the full complementarity of human sexuality, with a married mother and father.

The Church is not attempting to aggressively push anyone to adopt these ideas in their personal lives, but the state IS attempting to force the Church to act contrary to its conscience under the false argument of "women's health*care*".

Virgil

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2012, 04:35:28 PM »
That reminds me . . . as confirmation classes begin, consider using the Life catechism with your confirmation students, as well.  A hard cover edition is available, or small insert editions for the back of a Small Catechism are available.

Buckeye Deaconess: Any recap or excerpts available? Neither CPH nor Amazon lets you look inside. Thanks for recommending this.

J.L. Precup

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2012, 04:54:21 PM »
A question, please, regarding the beginning of human life.  Some say it begins at the moment of conception.  I argue in no way for or against that position for this discussion.

On other threads of a theological nature, we have been reminded again and again that if something is not crystal clear, then we look to the history of the church to see what was recommended/practiced.  Certainly, the Agenda books I am aware of have prayers for a stillborn and a committal.  I am not aware, however, of any prayers (perhaps other than for the mother) regarding miscarriages.  If a miscarriage is the death of a person because the person was human since the time of conception, I am unaware of any prayers or commendations of the church for this person.  I have no idea how many, or what percent, of pregnancies result in miscarriage (although I've read it could be as high as 30%, including conceptions that never implant), but my question then regards how is it that there is seemingly an omission here (and I could be wrong on that and would welcome correction).  Should the church be holding funerals/commemorations/prayers for each individual death of these people? 
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2012, 04:57:26 PM »
That reminds me . . . as confirmation classes begin, consider using the Life catechism with your confirmation students, as well.  A hard cover edition is available, or small insert editions for the back of a Small Catechism are available.

Buckeye Deaconess: Any recap or excerpts available? Neither CPH nor Amazon lets you look inside. Thanks for recommending this.

You are most welcome.  It's a wonderful resource.  I may have an extra copy of the insert version left over from my display table at my district convention.  (Most of the supply I had on hand got taken.)  If you want to message me privately with your address, I can send one your way for you to review.  The hard copy is a nice resource, as well, but my signed copy stays with me . . . it was instrumental in my work of starting a pregnancy resource center where Lutheranism was practically unheard of.   :D

Kim

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2012, 05:09:01 PM »
A question, please, regarding the beginning of human life.  Some say it begins at the moment of conception.  I argue in no way for or against that position for this discussion.

On other threads of a theological nature, we have been reminded again and again that if something is not crystal clear, then we look to the history of the church to see what was recommended/practiced.  Certainly, the Agenda books I am aware of have prayers for a stillborn and a committal.  I am not aware, however, of any prayers (perhaps other than for the mother) regarding miscarriages.  If a miscarriage is the death of a person because the person was human since the time of conception, I am unaware of any prayers or commendations of the church for this person.  I have no idea how many, or what percent, of pregnancies result in miscarriage (although I've read it could be as high as 30%, including conceptions that never implant), but my question then regards how is it that there is seemingly an omission here (and I could be wrong on that and would welcome correction).  Should the church be holding funerals/commemorations/prayers for each individual death of these people?

This has been addressed by the church.  The LSB Agenda has a rite for the Burial of a Stillborn Child (sometimes a miscarried child's remains are available for burial) on p. 132 which can be used.

Some other resources from a paper I wrote a while back for a class at the sem.:

Funeral Service
1. Lutheran Worship Agenda, Burial of the Stillborn, p. 197
2. Rites and Resources for Pastoral Care (Lutheran Church of Australia), Stillbirth or Miscarriage, p. 101
3. Hymns: LW 264-269, 422, 428, 517

Prayers
• Heavenly Father, surround and , their family and friends with your love and grace. Comfort them in their sorrow and fill them with your peace. Strengthen their faith in you and bless them with confidence and courage to face the future; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From Service to follow the birth of a stillborn child or the death of a newly born child, Uniting Church in Australia, National Commission on Liturgy.)
• God of compassion, help us to believe that /this child, a lamb in your flock, is in your gentle care, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. (As above). Amen.
• Heavenly Father, our hopes have been turned to sorrow. You gave, and you have taken away. Your ways are higher than our ways, and your thoughts than our thoughts. Help us, Father, also in this time of sadness, to trust in you. Reassure and that you care for them and that Jesus has taken their child into his arms. Take all of us at last into your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
• Lord of all life, thank you for your work in creation, for nourishing life in the womb, for your love even in death. Thank you for the life of this child , whom you gave to us and have taken to yourself. Thank you for the arms of your love, embracing both us and in your family. Thank you for your presence in our sorrow, your strength as our life goes on. Take our sadness, and fill us with your Spirit to serve you on earth, and join your saints in glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Copyright 1995, The Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation. From the text of A Prayer Book for Australia, published under the imprint of Broughton Books.) Amen.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2012, 06:02:52 PM »
A question, please, regarding the beginning of human life.  Some say it begins at the moment of conception.  I argue in no way for or against that position for this discussion.

On other threads of a theological nature, we have been reminded again and again that if something is not crystal clear, then we look to the history of the church to see what was recommended/practiced.  Certainly, the Agenda books I am aware of have prayers for a stillborn and a committal.  I am not aware, however, of any prayers (perhaps other than for the mother) regarding miscarriages.  If a miscarriage is the death of a person because the person was human since the time of conception, I am unaware of any prayers or commendations of the church for this person.  I have no idea how many, or what percent, of pregnancies result in miscarriage (although I've read it could be as high as 30%, including conceptions that never implant), but my question then regards how is it that there is seemingly an omission here (and I could be wrong on that and would welcome correction).  Should the church be holding funerals/commemorations/prayers for each individual death of these people?
Miscarriages differ from stillbirths in that one can have a proper funeral with the body present in the latter case, while in the former case typically that is not possible. Plus, the vast majority of miscarriages (if we're using the 30% number) happen before the women even knows she is pregnant, so one could not even have a memorial service, as there is nothing for anyone to remember. Thus, stillbirths generally are treated as normal deaths with a funeral, but miscarriages become more a matter of pastoral care-- the parents and those who knew about the pregnancy have no doubt it was a person.

cssml

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2012, 07:27:24 PM »
A question, please, regarding the beginning of human life.  Some say it begins at the moment of conception.  I argue in no way for or against that position for this discussion.

On other threads of a theological nature, we have been reminded again and again that if something is not crystal clear, then we look to the history of the church to see what was recommended/practiced.  Certainly, the Agenda books I am aware of have prayers for a stillborn and a committal.  I am not aware, however, of any prayers (perhaps other than for the mother) regarding miscarriages.  If a miscarriage is the death of a person because the person was human since the time of conception, I am unaware of any prayers or commendations of the church for this person.  I have no idea how many, or what percent, of pregnancies result in miscarriage (although I've read it could be as high as 30%, including conceptions that never implant), but my question then regards how is it that there is seemingly an omission here (and I could be wrong on that and would welcome correction).  Should the church be holding funerals/commemorations/prayers for each individual death of these people?

You ask a number of questions here.

On the question of what ancient sources say, Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington recently compiled a wonderful list of ancient sources on the subject of abortion.  In it he has quotes the following sources (not exhaustive):

  - The Didache (“The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”) ca 110 AD.
  - Letter of Barnabas, (circa 125)
  - Athenagoras the Athenian (To Marcus Aurelius, ca 150 AD):
  - Clement of Alexandria: (circa 150 – 215 AD)
  - Tertullian circa 160-240 AD (3 quotes)
  - Hippolytus (circa 170-236 AD)
  - Minucius Felix (180 – 225 AD)
  - St. Basil the Great (330 – 379 AD)
  - St. Ambrose: (339 to 397 AD)
  - St. John Chrysostom (circa 340 – 407 AD)
  - St. Jerome (circa 342-420 AD)
  - The Synod of Elvira (306 AD)
  - The Synod of Ancyra (314 AD)
  - Council of Trullo (692 AD)

  http://blog.adw.org/2012/08/ancient-testimonies-against-abortion/

Msgr. Pope prefaces the ancient quotes with the following comments in his blog (my emphasis):
 
"As with many quotes from the ancient world, some of the quotes herein are perhaps quite harsh, and some may be critiqued at their focus essentially on the women who procure abortion, with little mention of the men involved. In our own time the Church is more careful to articulate and understand that abortion often occurs when women are under duress, or on account of family crisis, poverty and other social factors. Hence, we who speak against abortion must be ready and able, as I think the Church admirably is, to assist women and families in crisis to give birth. Yet the churchmen who are quoted below were men of their times, and, as my father was often heard to say of the “old days” Things were tough all over.

Whatever the tone, the teaching is not at all unclear, and for this we can be grateful."


On the issue of when does life begin, one of my favorite direct quotes on this subject of 'when life begins' comes from St. Gregory of Nyssa.  We read his "On the Soul and the Resurrection" in our parish reading group on the Church Fathers last year.  He wrote his treatise around 379 after an interchange he had with his sister, St. Macrina, following the death of their brother, St. Basil the Great.  In this treatise they reflect not only the state of the soul AFTER death, but on the life of the soul from its first moment of existence when God's image and likeness are imparted to it.  St. Gregory of Nyssa says:

"There remains the question of the when of the soul's commencement of existence: it follows immediately on that which we have already discussed....no one who can reflect will imagine an after-birth of the soul, i.e. that [the soul] is younger than the moulding of the body...It remains therefore that we must think that the point of commencement of existence is one and the same for body and soul...we grasp from these considerations the fact that in the compound which results from the joining of both (soul and body) there is a simultaneous passage of both into existence; the one does not come first, any more than the other comes after."


On how the issue of funerals etc, I can offer one example.  A couple priests from our archdiocese visited Vietnam last year.  On the blog documenting their trip, Fr. John shared the following entry from the day they visited the Motherhouse of the "Adorers of the Holy Cross of Da Lat" sisters.  These sisters have many ministries of service, but one is to help unwed mothers choose life.

  http://frjohninvietnam.blogspot.com/2011/02/bao-loc-february-3-2011.html

"First we were invited in for hospitality of traditional New Year’s candies and something to drink. We took the car to various locations. We visited their school for the blind. Then their home for unwed mothers and orphan children.

They have a unique way of finding the young mothers who need their help. Lay people who support the sisters’ ministry, go to abortion clinics incognito. They will sit in the waiting room and strike up a conversation with the pregnant women: “When did you find out you were pregnant?” “Did you think about other options?” Then, in a non-judgmental way they will tell the pregnant women that the sisters will house and feed them through their entire pregnancy and delivery, AND raise their child. Very often, then, the pregnant mother will go with this person to the sisters’ charity to learn more about it. This scenario was repeated in the other orphanages we visited."

"The sisters have friends who discreetly go to abortion clinics to talk expectant mothers into staying in the sister’s care during their pregnancy and keeping their children, or letting the sisters raise their baby. But for those babies who are aborted, the sisters ask the clinic doctors to let them bury the tiny infants on donated land. This cemetery holds 2000 aborted children from the last two years. Our driver is placing incense sticks around, a Vietnamese custom for honoring the dead."


  http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_dOkItvtys88/TU2SluRpyII/AAAAAAAABhA/0wusAeWxMFA/s1600/07%2BSisters%2B%2528Large%2529.jpg
  <picture of Fr. John at the cemetery>

On prayers and Rites, for a Catholic priest, the following resource contains a summary discussion of the issues, and a list of Liturgical rites related to the death of a child.  It clearly states that "As a general principle, the Church encourages funeral rites for unbaptized infants and stillborn babies.".  It is not required, it is not always practiced, but it is certainly allowed and even encouraged.  This is in line with the consistent teaching of the Church that each human life is sacred, from the moment of conception, to natural death (and actually beyond).
 
  http://www.bostoncatholic.org/Offices-And-Services/Office-Detail.aspx?id=12540&pid=464
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 10:47:50 PM by cssml »

J.L. Precup

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Re: Abortion and Politics
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2012, 07:51:22 PM »
Thanks for all the information.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.