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Abortion is not a pleasant subject. But it remains a reality in American culture and, for that matter, cultures around the world. Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in America beginning in 1973, we’ve lost an entire generation of our posterity to this egregious practice.

While specifically Christian perspectives on abortion have been repeatedly and oft-times vociferously articulated, “the Christian view” of abortion is difficult to ascertain, primarily because people—including Christians—disagree on how to interpret the Bible. One can find pro-life Christians, pro-choice Christians, and a most interesting creature, a pro-life Christian who gets or supports someone getting an abortion “because the circumstances warrant it.”

I will never forget my wife’s comments years ago when we were expecting our first of eventually four children in our family. I had said to her that if a doctor told me her life was at risk and the only way to save her was to take the child, then I’d tell the doctor to take the child. My wife absolutely and categorically disagreed and made me promise that if we ever faced such a difficult decision we’d not harm the child and thus depend upon the Lord’s providence for the final results for her life and the child’s. I was admitting that I held to a belief, but my love for her might cause me to violate that belief. She said our belief and our trust in God mattered more than our love. Amazing woman. She was right.

I believe abortion is morally wrong and spiritually and emotionally damaging to the mother. Abortion is a medical procedure that jettisons an unborn human being from its place in the womb, ending the unborn’s possibility of survival. In other words, abortion takes life.

It is always fascinating to me to hear pregnant actresses interviewed on television talk shows, talking excitedly about “my baby.” Even the hosts use this term. The unborn is a baby. It’s human life. It’s alive. Because the actress and her husband or partner want a child, she is carrying a baby to full term. If they did not want a child, the baby somehow mysteriously becomes “a fetus,” something abstract and therefore abject. So goes the word-games we play in order to give wiggle room to do what we want to do when we want to do it.

Thankfully, the rate of abortion is not as high as it once was. But abortion is still commonly practiced among all ethnic and racial groups in America. It is, as it always has been, a form of cultural suicide.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

South Dakota’s new law banning abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother appeals to my theology and my philosophy even if my instinct for realpolitik questions the strategy. Governor Mike Rounds signed the bill earlier this week, setting up a showdown with Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations that may take the pitched battle all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

According to a FOX news poll this week, 83% of Americans defend abortion rights if a pregnancy places the mother’s life at risk. Some 62% still think abortion should be a legal choice if the mother’s mental health is at risk (How does one define mental health?). The poll revealed that about 49% of Americans say they are pro-choice and 41% say they are pro-life.

So, given the tenuousness of American outlook on the subject, while my pro-life perspective applauds South Dakota’s new law, I wonder whether this all or nothing approach is the best way to chip away at abortion “rights.” Going for the political juggler may appeal to the idealists and ideologues among us, but it may not get us the result we ultimately want. I especially don’t want a re-energized pro-choice movement.

Recently I’ve been a little encouraged, primarily because the pro-choice movement is discouraged. In an article entitled “Reality Check for ‘Roe,’” in its March 6, 2006 issue, Newsweek reported that about two out of three Americans favor some kind of restrictions on abortion. And the same article written by Martha Brant and Evan Thomas actually stated that, lo and behold, “anecdotal evidence is growing that women have moral qualms about any abortion, even if they feel compelled to have one.”

In a nod to the morally clueless, Brant and Thomas quote abortion clinic operator Peg Johnston for noting that her patients were using words like “killing” and “babies.” Johnston said, “I started really tuning in to my patients and I realized, ‘She really feels that way.” Did you get that? Johnston is actually perplexed maybe amazed that a mother believes she is carrying a baby and that abortion is killing. Johnston needs to catch up with the times. Even Hillary Clinton is now calling abortion a “tragic choice,” so the pro-abortion movement is on a bit of a defensive.

Abortion is a tragic choice. It’s tragic because it does not have to happen and because a human life is snuffed out. It’s a choice because individuals are making a conscious decision to do something their moral center tells them is wrong.

Our culture has tried euphemisms—it’s a fetus. We’ve tried straw woman arguments—it must be legalized so we can stop back alley coat hanger abortions. We’ve argued abortion is about privacy and a woman’s right to choose—it’s about men and women not owning their moral responsibilities to abstain from sex that leads to pregnancy, or to take appropriate birth control steps to prevent pregnancy, or to assume parental obligations their actions have produced—or should I say reproduced?

So, yes, my pro-life wishes are encouraged, and I salute the South Dakota pols who had the political will to do what they did. I hope it works.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

In the run-up to the January, 2006, Senate hearings for United States Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, both Republicans and Democrats are trading long-standing philosophic principles for perceived partisan advantage. In a fascinating bait and switch, both parties are using the other party’s principles as leverage for their view of the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion case, which will undoubtedly play a central role in the hearings.

While conservatives typically favor judicial restraint, liberals generally encourage judicial activism. Conservatives, more often than liberals, also tend to appreciate stare decisis—a respect for legal precedent.

Judicial restraint is an approach to jurisprudence that suggests the Constitution and the law should not be altered at the whims of judges responding the winds of current culture. Judges and justices, so the theory goes, should let legislatures and the Congress make the laws, while robed attorneys behind the bench simply interpret the law.

Judicial activism is an approach to jurisprudence that suggests the Constitution is a culturally and historically defined document that, though foundational, should nevertheless be altered by law-making judges and justices when the needs of the time demand it. While legislatures and the Congress make laws too, so this theory goes, they are frequently gridlocked by political wrangling. Only the courts can break through on certain issues too hot for elected officials to handle.

Conservatives supporting Judge Alito’s nomination are now arguing for judicial activism with a distinct lack of concern for legal precedent. Why? Because many of them want Roe v. Wade overturned. Their pro-life perspective trumps their traditional inclination to encourage justices to proceed slowly with great respect for the law as it stands. In this instance, via Alito, conservatives want to have their day in court.

Liberals wanting to thwart Judge Alito’s appointment to the high court now sound like conservatives, arguing articulately for judicial restraint and in favor of both legal precedent and the “right to privacy” they believe precedent has established. Why? Because these are code words for arguments intended to “protect a woman’s right to choose. Liberals, via someone other than Alito, want to preserve what they consider a basic civil right.

This is not the first time this principle switch has taken place. Conservatives who tend to favor states rights over federal empowerment led the charge to involve Congress in the tragic Terri Schaivo case last year. In what became the concluding act of the 2000 presidential election conservatives on the United States Supreme Court, who also tend to favor states rights, directly intervened in Bush v. Gore.

I’m not saying either side is necessarily wrong for switching principles in these instances. I am only pointing out that political principles are sometimes jettisoned in the heat of battle. That fact alone should make us want to be eternally vigilant, for you never know which principle might be considered expendable, even though some principles are clearly more important than others. And this is exactly what we want justices to be thinking about.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.