Friday, September 26, 2008

Barack: The Biggest Baby-Killer of them all?

Some of you, I fully understand, would not vote for Barack Obama because he is pro-choice. I understand the underlying viewpoint here. But there is an added kicker to this, and that is that it is alleged that Obama is something worse than pro-choice, he's actually a supporter of infanticide, since he opposed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in the Illinois State Senate.

First, last I heard, the laws of the State of Illinois made it illegal to kill infants. So was this legislation even necessary?

Second, the name of a piece of legislation tells you nothing. By this logic, someone who voted against the No Child Left Behind Act wants children left behind, or someone who voted against the Healthy Forests Initiative wants sick forests.

Third, when I suggested that pro-lifers have to be prepared to accept a greater expansion of socialism to care for all the would-be victims of abortion, there was a chorus of objections from pro-lifers. But this law, if the linked article is correct, mandated state funds to take care of these children as long as they were alive. It also abrogated the rights of parents and would have given lawyers an opportunity to "sue everything on two legs." But I thought Republicans hated trial lawyers. In other words, there appear to have been various reasons for voting against this legislation besides wanting the accidental survivors of abortion dead.


Jim Jordan said...

Abortion by definition is infanticide (Google "abortion photos"). Barack Obama has consistently stated that he will oppose anything that might encroach on Roe v. Wade or the "right to choose" in any way. His favorite judge is ACLU activist Ruth Bader Ginsberg (his quote from Saddleback Church debate).

If he doesn't want to loosen up on his dogmatic position on abortion, then the criticism is well-deserved. It is what it is.

Your premise that criminalizing abortion would cause a flood of babies is sketchy. The baby boom had more to do with soldiers coming home to prosperity than to abortion not being legal. Childbirth has waxed and waned for all sorts of reasons before Roe v. Wade and it will continue similarly after it.

Pro-lifers were balking at the need for socialism to take care of the expected flood of babies, not the babies' care itself. If the government does anything it should be to give money to charities so they can take care of children. Are you sure the socialism bogeyman isn't just a coercive scare tactic?

Abortion advocates' 1960s and 70s argument was that abortion would drastically reduce single motherhood, yet the numbers of single mothers exploded afterward. Are we to believe now that making abortion illegal would cause a locust swarm of babies? Oh my, it might wreck our economy!?

One last point: The Bible warns us against social engineering where we play God. Exhibit A is Ishmael (supposed father of all Arabs) and another one the sons Lot conceived with his own daughters (whose descendants wreaked havoc on Israel). Throw in Herod's attempt to kill off the Messiah and you see a pattern that shows us that there is something else at work other than our pissant human arguments.

I think these are thoughts worth weighing. Regards.

Victor Reppert said...

It's one thing to say that one should be against Obama because he's pro-choice. It's another to use his vote against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act to show that somehow he is even worse than the typical pro-choicer, and actually advocates infanticide.

The BIAPA, at least according to the source I looked at, mandates state government funds take care of these children so long as they are alive. So that law seemed to have some socialism written into it, which would be unacceptable to conservatives under normal circumstances.

My central point was that it doesn't follow from the fact that Obama voted against something called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act that he doesn't believe in protecting the lives of babies born when their mothers were trying to abort them.

There is at least a semantic distinction between abortion, which occurs before birth, and infanticide, which occurs after. I understand the arguments (and have made them myself) that perhaps this is not a morally significant difference on which to hang the right to life or the lack of a right to life, and I do think this is a strong point on the pro-life side of the abortion debate.

Obama is pro-choice, so if you object to him on those grounds, nothing I have said here gainsays that. However, to bring up the Born Alive Infant vote as a further reason to reject him, if my sources are accurate, is not a reason to oppose him. That assumes that we can naively assume that a bill does what its title says that it does. That's absurd, as No Child Left Behind demonstratively proves.

Jim Jordan said...

However, to bring up the Born Alive Infant vote as a further reason to reject him, if my sources are accurate, is not a reason to oppose him.

To a person who had any doubt about his commitment to abortion rights, his BAIPA opposition might matter; especially if you read his remarks from the time. Admittedly, that would be very few people.

Is Obama any different than any other Democratic candidate who might have made it this far? I think he's a standard issue Democrat, and the debate showed that. Cheers.

Edwardtbabinski said...

Interesting letter that appeared in a moderate Catholic magazine:

The Catholic Church in the United States is great on trying to make sure every pregnancy comes to term. It is not so great on making sure those babies and their mothers have access to affordable, continuous health care. The Republicans do not care much about providing affordable health care either, clinging to a failed market-oriented approach that doubles the cost per person for health care compared to a single-payer, universal system.

Where’s the beef? Do we want to take care of these babies or not? Forget the “isms”; we are talking about the most effective, cheapest way to provide health care to our brothers and sisters.

I would like to hear from the pulpit that we need to vote for politicians who can 1) get us out of the Iraq war and 2) give us a single-payer universal health care system in the United States. That would give any demands for making abortion illegal a little more credibility.

Bob B.

Edwardtbabinski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edwardtbabinski said...


I wonder if it's possible to get pro-lifers and pro-choicers to ever agree where the line can be drawn and declared unequivocal "murder."

For instance,

1) If you wear a condom and physically prevent the egg from meeting the sperm, you have just as assuredly cut off the trajectory from conception to birth as if an abortion had taken place.

2) If the woman is on the pill or has taken a morning after pill, then any conceived egg cell passed out of her like eggs do each month, without attaching to her, and again, the trajectory from conception to birth has been cut off.

3) If the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall and starts to divide and then divides into two cells that each start to grow separately -- a process called "twinning," and which happens fairly frequently (perhaps as many as 25-30% of all children born singly were twins in the womb at one point or another) -- but one of the twins is reabsorbed into the other twin or into the growing uterus, that's "death without a body." But is it "murder?"

4) Abortion proper, taking an abortion pill, or going to a clinic to have the fetus removed. The question arises at what point the fetus has a functioning brain and what level of functioning and awareness. Is it still "murder" if the brain isn't formed or barely formed?

5) Are late term abortions acceptable in cases of deformed unhealthy fetuses, or worse, in cases where the mother's health and life are endangered if the fetus is not removed prematurely? Are such cases of abortion where the mother's health is at risk "justifiable homocide?"

I doubt that pro-lifers and pro-choicers will ever agree concerning the above questions.

And there's other questions besides, like the control a woman is permitted by law to have over her own body and its use.

For instance, we don't call it "murder" if someone demands use of our blood but we deny them the life-saving blood they require. You can't force people by law to donate blood. You can inspire them to do so, but you can't force them by law to do so, unless the laws change of course, perhaps in circumstances of dire national emergency. So can you force a woman by law to be the incubator of a fetus that demands access to her blood and life giving organs?

Some theological questions also arise, such as

1) If a "soul" is added at "conception" than what about cases where a fertilized egg cell is frozen for decades in the freezer of a fertility clinic? What happens to the "soul" that was "added at conception?" Same goes for cases of "twinning" -- at what point is the "soul" added or subtracted once a zygote undergoes "twinning" and after the twin is reabsorbed by the remaining fetus or the uterine walls?

2) What happens to aborted fetuses? If they have "souls" do their "souls" "go to heaven?" If so, then isn't that the destination that Christians pray everyone goes to? Isn't "avoiding hell" the ultimate blessing? Isn't "salvation" the whole point of Christianity? Should abortionists be viewed as equal to other murderers such as those who kill adults and send such adults (if they are non-Christian adults) immediately to hell without chance of redemption?

Jim S. said...

1. Something like the Born Alive Infants Protection Act was necessary because babies who survived abortion were being put in closets and back rooms to die. Obama heard hours of testimony from nurses to this effect, and then said that the legislation was unnecessary because he thought the abortion doctors would save the lives of the babies. Of course, they were not; that was the whole point. He just proceeded as if it were a purely theoretical question and that the problem would never arise even after being told that it arose frequently. This is why many people see him as supporting infanticide, although this is (I think) unfair. He didn't defend the right to let the babies die, he just ignored the testimony that they were being killed.

2. I'm not going on the name of the legislation but on its content.

3. I'm not a conservative so this is not really addressed to me. I would be very willing to accept a larger role of gov't to ensure the safety of children, as long as it does not encroach on parental rights. I do have a problem with gov't in general, since when gov't does something it almost always does it badly. But in some cases, having it done badly is much better than not having it done.

Victor Reppert said...

There seems to be a non sequitur here which I could illustrate as follows. Suppose we were to discover that a number of gay people were being killed by "queerbashing" straights, and the police were not arresting the perpetrators. Would we need a new law to protect those gay people, or would we instead need to enforce the laws now on the books.

One Brow said...

Abortion by definition is infanticide ...

Acutally, by definition an infant has been born, and therefore can not be aborted. So, by definition abortion is distinct from infanticide.

Now, if you feel the photos say it abortion is equivalent to infanticide, I see little to accomplish by arguing that point.

Latenter said...

Justic Scalia, it seems, supports Victor's opinion on abortion:

Capital cases are much different from the other life-and-death issues that my Court sometimes faces: abortion, for example, or legalized suicide. There it is not the state (of which I am in a sense the last instrument) that is decreeing death, but rather private individuals whom the state has decided not to restrain. One may argue (as many do) that the society has a moral obligation to restrain. That moral obligation may weigh heavily upon the voter, and upon the legislator who enacts the laws; but a judge, I think, bears no moral guilt for the laws society has failed to enact.