Eugenics Alive, But Which Population

The blogosphere is lighting up with conversation and debate over Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments related to eugenics.  In case you haven’t heard, she said,

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.

The two burning questions, which the reporter did not ask, are (1) Which populations do we not want too many of and (2) who is the “we” who gets to decide this eugenicide?  About the press’ ineptitude, I like this quote from Damian Thompson at the UK Telegraph:

You might think the New York Times might want to trumpet its exclusive. But the mindset of that pompous, prickly, boring, self-regarding publication is so overwhelmingly liberal that it didn’t even realise it had a story on its hands.

These questions need to be answered, of course; it is frightful that our Supreme Court may have on it a woman whose views are akin to Margaret Sanger’s.  At least, the thought bothers me.  See the GR story here.

Sanctity of Life

Dr. Gushee was the first seminary professor I heard when I visited Southern Seminary long, long ago, seeking the Lord’s will for my call to the ministry.  Though I haven’t always agreed with him since, I have often been encouraged by his writing.  He has a good article here which mentions, among other things, the responsibility we have to show concern for all human life, including the women who contemplate or have had abortions.  From the article,


For those of us who believe that decision was wrong, we still face the task of showing not just that Roe opened the door to the mass destruction of developing human lives in utero, and that this assaults life’s sanctity. We must also show why Roe does not succeed in advancing the sanctity of women’s lives, and must offer both on-the-ground and legal alternatives that can do better.


You can read the entire article here.  You may also want to visit a website that demonstrates a deep concern for the “others” involved in an abortion.  “Abortion Changes You has started a PR campaign against abortion by showing concern for all of the victims.

Wrongful Life

Yet another thorny, nasty fruit that has grown to rotten ripeness from the Roe v. Wade tree is the concept of “Wrongful life.”  What is wrongful life?  This is a legal concept that allows a parent to sue if a child is born with a defect.  The idea is that the parent had the right to abort the deformed infant, and the doctor should have made that clear for them so that they would not be burdened with imperfection.   It sounds hard to believe, I know, but here is an article speaking about one such case.  Apparently, the cases are beginning to add up.

Babies in Trash Cans

Even now, supporters of Obama are running ads which picture “back alley butcher” shops where women will be forced to go for abortions if anything were to happen to the Roe v. Wade decision. The truth, however, is that back-alley butcher shops would be tame compared to the death unleashed on us by Roe v. Wade. This Fox News story is but one of many demonstrating the diminished value of human life in our culture after Roe. In the story, an unwanted baby is thrown out with the trash. (Haven’t we learned that every child should be a wanted child?)

Carolyn Garago writes about the fallacious argument that abortion prevents child abuse since it, supposedly, will make sure that every child is a wanted child. Garago says,

“Aside from the fact that killing someone because they might be abused isn’t very logical, child abuse has increased since the legalization of abortion. The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect indicates that the prevalence of child abuse is increasing, and the increases are “significant.” From 1986 to 1993, the incidence of physical abuse rose 42% (97% under the revised Endangerment Standard), physical neglect rose 102% (163% E.S.), sexual abuse rose 83% (125% E.S.) and emotional neglect rose 333% (188% E.S.).”

You can read the entire article here, but the point is well-taken. Abortion has not decreased child abuse. Given the fact that child abuse has increased fifty-fold since the Roe decision, one might argue that abortion has contributed to child abuse, as a result of its clear message that inconvenient people ought to never have been born in the first place.

What Kind of Right to Life?

The most egregious abuse of human rights in America is the practice of abortion. Ironically, many so-called civil rights groups support the practice. Be that as it may, I think the subject has been under America’s skin for more than 35 years now.

Oddly, we don’t talk about it much. Many of us have been conditioned by the media to think it is somehow “too controversial.” I hope to dispel some of the controversy and encourage reasonable conversation about the topic of abortion. What follows is a conversation starter on the subject of abortion which will allow us to sustain a conversation with those who may hold an opposing view. It seems that Sarah Palin’s rise to the VP nomination has many people talking about abortion. Having both a teenage daughter pregnant and a child with Down syndrome, Mrs. Palin has given folks a reason to be talking about abortion. Each day for the next few days, I will post a new conversation angle for speaking about abortion. I hope it helps you to speak more comfortably.

The most common objection you will hear is that it is woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. After all, isn’t it the woman’s body? Well, it’s her choice. Now, there is much to say here—including asking some questions about what it would mean for a woman’s body to have male organs, extra feet, and another heart. But leaving that discussion behind for later, we need to get right at the heart of the matter of choice.

Saying that the woman has a right to choose is a true statement; you need not bristle at such a statement. In America today, the woman does have a right to choose. But I wonder what exactly we mean when we say that? I wonder how clear the thinking is concerning what this means. What kind of right are we speaking about?

Is this a divine right? In other words, is the person arguing that God has given a divine right to all women for all time to be free to choose whether or not they abort their babies? I really don’t think people are making this argument. If so, I would immediately ask on what authority are they speaking this way on behalf of God. I might also point out that many others disagree strongly on this point. The majority of evangelical Christians, for instance, are convinced that Scripture teaches that abortion is sinful. And they would say God opposes abortion. Such was the teaching of the early church, too. When folks say it is the woman’s right, they are meaning something other than a God-given right to abortion.

Perhaps, they mean something more akin to constitutional rights. This is much more likely. Yet, I would then ask them to show me where one gets the notion from the Constitution that women have a constitutional right to abortion. Of course, such notions are not contained in the constitution. The closest thing to a right to abortion found in the constitution is a liberal re-reading of the Constitution to include a perceived “right to privacy.” The right to privacy was hatched by Louis Brandeis around the turn of the 20th Century. After 7 decades, it found its way into law when the Supreme Court determined that the inherent right to privacy included the right for a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. There is no constitutional right to abortion. The constitutional right to privacy is debated and somewhat mysterious. Does a private citizen in his own home have the right to privately manufacture and personally use crystal meth? Furthermore, is terminating a pregnancy actually a “private” affair? Doctors, fathers, grandparents and others (not to mention society at large) are affected, aren’t they?

A third type of right (and I think this is the proper type for classifying abortion) is simply a legal right. Yes, it is true in America today that women have a legal right to abortion. This fact, however, does not settle the question any more than saying the laws against illegal drug use have solved the drug problem. Laws are reflective of a people and of a value system those people hold. Pro-choice people tend to value sexual freedom. Pro-life people are saying value human life first. Laws provide an ordering around a value system; they are not the fixed points by which morality is determined. They tend to be derivative; they are derived from (a) what people value and (b) what problems need to be corrected. So, for example, we might value both freedom and human life, but, when a problem is identified, we may have to craft a law to correct abuse of one form or another. If it were shown, for instance, that wearing a helmet would save human life, then we might re-enact laws which say motorcycle riders must wear helmets, even though it would be a loss of freedom for them.

When it comes to abortion, there is a similar conflict between the two values of freedom and life. The fact is, of course, that women have the legal right to abortion, but should that be the case? Is it possible that those laws ought to be changed in favor of life, even if it means losing freedom? After all, laws become outdated. You have probably all read some of these laws. For instance, there is a law that makes it illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket. Now, before you think one would be insane to carry an ice cream cone in his pocket, realize that the law was made to prevent folks from luring horses away from their owners. If a horse just “followed” you home, you wouldn’t be accused of stealing it. There were some smart folks who put food items in their pockets to get horses to follow them. Hence arose the laws against such practices. Those laws are now obsolete and irrelevant.

Some suggest that abortion law is likewise out of step with the facts on the ground. When Roe v. Wade happened 35 years ago, we did not have ultrasound technology. Now, we have 3D ultrasound, and it has become glaringly obvious that we are not talking about a glob of tissue; rather, we are talking about a baby. Doctors have also performed surgeries on babies in the womb to correct medical issues with the living babies before they are born. How many of you have seen the pictures of the little baby grabbing the doctor’s scalpel while surgery was being performed? (If you haven’t seen the picture, click here). The facts are clear, and they have corrected a medical misdiagnosis made in the Roe v. Wade decision.

While it is true that women have a legal right to terminate the life of a baby in the womb, the question still needs to be answered, “Should they?”