Life….

39 years after Roe v. Wade, this topic I am going to write about what is still a hotbed for controversy.  I think that is appropriate – it’s not a simple, black and white, topic…..  I, like many, do not talk about this, at least in electronic conversations, often (If ever).  It just opens up the can of worms, where someone is offended, someone offends in return, etc.

But my fears should not stop me from speaking out here.  Not because I am some champion for this “cause”.  Not because you are wrong, and I am right.  Because we are talking about life here……  A living human being…….  Well – two, really.  The mother and the child inside her.  The debate comes down to which life is more important.  More valuable.  And how can I decide that???

While I myself struggle to reconcile that, I think we need to consider a couple things here.  First, there is one important question that anyone who wants to talk about this, or even really have an opinion about, must consider and honestly answer.  When is a life, a life?  Is it at conception?  Later in the stages of pregnancy?  At birth?  Or even later than that?  This question is paramount to any discussion on this topic.  What do you think?

Personally, I believe it’s at the point of conception.  God created us to “be fruitful and multiply”, and he gave us this capacity in an amazing way.  His word describes us as being one He “knew before we were knit in our mother’s womb”.  If you think about this from a natural point of view, even for the layman like me, there is no denying the sperm penetrates the egg, and creates an embrio – a life.  Much like all of nature – we reproduce.  A fetus has a heartbeat at something like 20 days?  Less than a month in.  Parts of their body begin to develop sooner than that, and then all through the gestation period – even post birth.  Because of this information, I believe life begins at conception.

Given that, I find a child in the womb to be no different than a child born to this world.  It’s a life.  It’s as important, as valuable as I am.  I personally do not think I could take a life for any reason, outside of maybe defending the safety and lives of my family.  So, I have two questions.  It’s my prayer you answer them HONESTLY to yourself, before we move on.

1.  When do YOU think a life is a life?  At what stage in pregnancy, or at birth, or whatever?
2.  Could YOU take a life, for any reason?

I know that I’m opening a can of worms here.  I know that some will be offended, and think I’m being judgemental.  I know that some may have taken a life, in some way.  I am not here to judge, and I certainly do not mean to shame or condemn anyone.  Instead, I want you to consider these questions.  Please don’t evade them, or avoid them.  Please don’t justify an answer.  Please, just answer these questions honestly, in your heart.  If you think life does not begin at conception, then the second question would not necessarily apply I may not necessarily have any sort of point to make.  But if you do think life begins at conception, then the second question is potentially a difficult one to answer…..

Again – please know, I do not mean to shame anyone.  Or to prove you wrong.  I want people to consider this.  I want this to be more than a topic to vote on, regardless of which way you lean.  Of course I want you to see things my way – don’t most who have any sort of opinion they are trying to express?  And when we are talking about life and death here – if I consider a life a life at conception – what kind of person am I who is just sitting idle, not voicing my concerns over what we have marginalized as “a woman’s right”???  That’s not hate speech people.  That’s not condemnation.  That is love.

What if the mother’s life is at risk???  I get that sometimes we must consider the life of the mother.  Sometimes the mother’s life is at risk, which would then put the mother and/or father in a predicament where they might have to decide between the life of the child or potentially the mother.  I get that.  I’ve never been there, so I don’t know how I would respond to that ultimatum.  I’d love to tell you I’d “leave it in God’s hands” – but I’m being honest in saying I’ve failed at that in many other areas of my life (I’m a work in progress).  So I won’t make some overarching statement that even in cases where the mother is at risk abortion should not a choice you’d make.  However, from what I’ve read, the numbers are something like 1-2% of all abortions performed, depending on where you get your source.  Let’s push that up to 5% for sake of argument – that is still a very small portion of abortions performed for this reason.  So how can I justify the other 95% – the other millions of children killed?

What if the child is a result of rape???  Again – never been there.  I couldn’t even imagine the horror one goes through, even long after this horrible act.  I imagine that regardless if a person chooses to terminate the baby’s life that is inside them, they are going to suffer much…..  I’m not sure which would be worse on them – adding the fact that they killed the child that is half theirs to this pain, or the physical reminder of this horrible atrocity growing inside them…..  I can never know.  I know that God does – but I also know today that isn’t enough for some.  This is such a tough thing, and most of us have not had to endure such a horrible experience.  However, if you believe that life begins at conception, then this issue is absolutely an area where my second question applies.  Difficult as it may be – it is definitely something we should all consider….

With all that, from what I’ve read, approximately 1% of all abortions are performed on rape victims.  Again, if we were to bump that up to 5%, between these two reasons, that would still leave 90% of the millions of lives extinguished as some sort of choice.  So we get into the debates on the rights of a person, vs the right to life.  That I simply cannot reconcile.  If I answer my first question with “life beings at conception”, then I cannot justify taking the life of my unborn child any more than I could justify taking the life of one of my teenagers……

I do have a lot of thoughts about this topic as a whole, that I’ll just share quickly.  I don’t pretend to have it all figured out.  But I want to get them off my chest, if anyone is still reading:

1.  I hate that this seems to be a topic that is relegated to the voting booth.  I think it dehumanizes it – and this is definitely a human issue.  This is definitely an emotional issue – how can it not be?  But I see so many of us, with strong opinions about this, VOTING on this, instead of TALKING about it.  I see two problems here:
– Someone is wrong here.  There can’t be a “what works for you…” sort of thing.  Either I’m off my rocker, or abortion is murder.  But both can’t be right.
–  I really believe this is an election issue, so that many can win our vote.  I may not like this guy – but he’s pro-life, or pro-choice, so he’s got my vote.  Or – I really like him, but he’s pro-life, or pro-choice, so I can’t vote for him.  It’s probably a small number of votes – but my point is, I think this is more about getting your vote than making a change, or even maintaining what is current.  I am probably being cynical – but then why is this a major topic in all presidential debates?
2.  It’s NOT hate speech, when one speaks out against this.  It’s NOT anti-women’s rights.  Don’t buy in to the crap you are fed on a daily basis. At some point, someone or someones threw that lie out to try and silence those who think the life of a child is more important than my comfort.  And it’s worked, for a very long time.  Don’t buy that.  Don’t HATE, and don’t condemn someone who has had an abortion, or is pro-choice.  But don’t buy into the lie that this is hate speech.  You know better.  Throw that thought out, with all the other garbage that is being fed us in this age.
3.  I don’t have all the answers here.  I don’t know who will adopt all these babies.  But that is another lie we are buying in to – that “if you are against abortion, you better be willing to take on that responsibility”.  Why?  Wait – before I go there, there are many who are willing to do just that,  And are doing just that.  either with donations, or even adopting – often more than one child too. Now back to the why.  There are many who can take on that responsibility themselves.  When we have more than 90% of abortions being performed as a form of birth control, we need to revisit my question on whether a life is a life at conception.  If you answered “Yes”, how can you reconcile taking a life as a form of birth control?
4.  I personally don’t want to even talk about whether or not this should be legal.  Not that I don’t have an opinion on the matter.  More-so, I know I can’t, or shouldn’t be able to, legislate my morality, force it upon you.  If this had never been legalized, maybe I’d think differently?  And maybe I am thinking wrong here.  But I think at the core, I find it more important that you consider this murder, and never consider it an option you would consider for your child.  Even if you have in the past – either yourself, or even endorsed it.  I’d rather change hearts than change laws.  Laws are so often broken.  Hearts can be saved….
5.  As with so many other things – I pray for grace in this area.  Not for me.  For those I love, those I ever encounter.  If ever the day came when one of my children, or one of my loved ones, were to reveal to me that they were involved in any way with an abortion – I pray that I would not judge them, instead love them, and show them the grace and forgiveness that comes from the Father and through Jesus Christ.  I don’t say that to sound “Christian” – I mean it.  It would be easy to forgive those I don’t know, or don’t know well, I think – but I don’t konw that I would act that way to those closest to me.  I can only get there through the grace of Jesus Christ….

I realize that some may read this (there aren’t many who read my blog, but some do), and will get pissed off.  I realize this may make me enemies with some.  I realize some may have already tuned out, writing this post, and potentially me, off as another judgemental “typical American Christian”.  I don’t intend for that to be the case – but that’s how we react so often these days – we immediately discount those who challenge our worldview.  But I’ll ask you something – if I truly believe that unborn child is a life just as much as I am, how else can I think?  If I truly believe that, and I sit silent on this, how selfish, fearful, or even hateful, is that?  And I’ll ask you again – what do you believe?  If even one person changes their mind, if even one person decides against taking the life of their unborn child, it’s worth losing the respect of everyone I know, and so much more…..

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3 thoughts on “Life….

  1. Dear Ted… I love you as a brother… you know that…

    I have to nit-pick, because otherwise, this just sits out there…

    You kind of pulled a “lipstick on a pig” here…

    “I am not here to judge, and I certainly do not mean to shame or condemn anyone.”

    But you use the term “murder”, which has a connotation of wrong doing, in which you stating that the action of abortion is murder, you are in fact, judging and condemning them (by US law).

    It’s like prefacing a mean statement with “I’m not trying to be mean, but”…

    Also, the argument focuses around data, but you don’t cite your sources?

    So… now the nit-picks are out of the way… I have some other thoughts about the subject.

    1) Pro-choice does *not* equal Pro-murder or Pro-abortion. You stated yourself that it’s a lot more complicated, but how can you approach a complicated situation with a governing body giving a black and white ruling and make it fair for all parties involved? It feels absolutely wrong for a group of “men” (granted, there *are* women in politics, but not as many) to decide on what a woman can and can’t do with her body (up to a point, in which the law dictates that a fetus can be determined to be a human). You are completely correct in that a lot of this argument hinges on *when* a fetus is considered life. But you can stretch it in another direction… by saying that masturbation “kills” off male sperm, which aren’t living organisms (they can’t reproduce), but they are mobile and energy consuming. Kind of like a fetus. So is that the same thing?

    If you were to come up with a rational, fact based answer to when a fetus is a living human being, you can’t use a religious context of “soul” or “consciousness”, as it won’t be fact based. The best judgement we have now is when the neocortex starts to develop, which is what the current US law dictates. It’s the *only* assessment that can be made based on pure, proven fact.

    2) One *very* large data point is around what happens when you place legislation that bans abortions.

    “An estimated 21.6 million unsafe abortions took place worldwide in 2008, almost all in developing countries. Numbers of unsafe abortions have increased from 19.7 million in 2003 although the overall unsafe abortion rate remains unchanged at about 14 unsafe abortions per 1000 women aged 15–44 years. This increase in number of unsafe abortions without a corresponding increase in the rate is mainly due to the growing population of women of reproductive age.”

    http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/unsafe_abortion/9789241501118/en/index.html

    To me, when you make safe procedures illegal and have an unchanged rate of abortions in countries wether it’s legal or illegal, that means that you have *more* women having unsafe procedures. It’s not entirely that simple, but it’s easily plausible.

    “The procedure was made legal in South Africa in 1996, leading to a 90 percent decrease in mortality among women who had abortions, some studies have found.”

    “Abortion is illegal in most of Africa, though. It is the second-leading cause of death among women admitted to hospitals in Ethiopia, its Health Ministry has said. It is the cause of 13 percent of maternal deaths at hospitals in Nigeria, recent studies have found.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/world/12abortion.html

    A society (and our Constitution) protects life. So who’s life is being protected when you make abortion illegal?

  2. Thanks Jake, for your response. I love you too. I also love that you ask pointed questions, without ever being disrespectful.

    Let me see if I can address your questions. (I don’t think they are nitpicky either, those first one). I’m going to try and keep it short as possible, as I can tend to ramble. But you deserve decent answers, so I’ll do my best….

    I wasn’t honestly trying to be lazy in not citing sources. I was trying to avoid keying in on “proving my point”. Which is why I even conceded in rasing the numbers considerably from what I found. I apologize if my comment “you can search for them” came off as lazy. Sorry for that. I’ll list some at the end of my response. At the end, because I don’t want to get bogged down with debating sources – that wasn’t and isn’t my intent here, to “win a debate”, or even talk about “a political topic”. It all boils down, for me, to my two questions.

    1. Does life begin at conception? If yes….
    2. When do you justify taking a life?

    Regarding “judgement”, or “condemnation”. First, I am not making law here, I’m making a statement about an act. Murder is a strong word, sure. And you know what? It is a judgement call. On the act, not the person – those are very different things. Making a statement about an act is not a judgement on the person – they may TAKE it that way, but am I not to say anything about something I see as wrong? Sort of like you sayintg that statement is “mean”. I don’t infer you think I’M mean. But I suppose I could. Would I be right in that case? Wouldn’t that also be judging? We can go round and round on that – and it is not helpful for anyone.

    This brings me back to my two questions:

    1. Does life begin at conception? If yes….
    2. When do you justify taking a life?

    As I believe life begins at conception, I consider taking my child’s life the same whether they are born in this world or still in the womb. So my “I’m not judging or condemning” simply means I am NOT stating that what you’ve done, are doing, or even endorse makes you less of a person than I. I’ve done more than my share of deplorable things in my life, you know that. But I think my statement is NOT mean. In fact – if I truly believe it’s murder, and I DON’T say something – you tell me which is meaner. If you are doing something harmful to yourself, or someone else, and I don’t try and correct you, whom I’ve know for years? Which is meaner?

    I’m sorry, I can’t accept that making a statement like that is “mean”. I’ll try and explain a bit in my responses to your two points

    1. Jake, you touched on a few things in this point. Bear with me as i try and sort them out:
    – I think any time this topic is brought up, it is brought back to legislating morality. I believe that is what you are referring to, with your statements about not fair that a bunch of men can tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies? Correct me if I’m wrong here.
    – As I mentioned, I am not interested in overtuning law. I could be wrong in my thinking here. But my reasoning for not being interested in that is that overturning the law (if it were ever to happen – I just don’t think it will), doesn’t fix the problem. I’ll get to that, when I address your point #2. But I’m more interested in your heart. Why do you feel that a woman’s right is more important than the child’s right to life? If you don’t think life begins at conception – why? If you DO think life begins at conception – how do you reconcile it?

    Still – to your other points:

    – Masturbation being compared to abortion is odd, in that, medically speaking one can’t produce a life without the sperm and the egg, no? I’m no expert here, but I believe you need both. In the case of a fetus – that is the result. So aren’t you sort of skipping over/avoiding my question here, with a comparison like this?

    – Same can be said by trying to throw “religion”, “soul”, “conscience” in the mix. Whether I use it or you. We both used it. I said my faith in Christ is a driver here, you stated these cannot be proven. That’s an entirely differnent topic. So I’ll just use what I know from a medical perspective (bear with me that is not much).

    – A baby is reported to have a heartbeat at around 20 days. When in your and Becca’s pregnancy did you get the opportunity to hear the heartbeat? Was not that child in Becca’s womb precious to you? Why? Because you chose for it to be? Or was it a fact, that was a child growing in your wife? You tell me. If it wasn’t a life until you decided it was, what defines that it’s NOT a life?

    2. Your statistics are startling. That tells me that even if you take out the legal/”safe” abortions performed in 2008, an estimated 21.6 million lives were taken around the world, because of abortion…… If life begins at conception, how can that not make your heart break???? And – 21.6 million mothers have it on their hearts that it is ok to kill their unborn child – enough so to actually go through with it. How does your heart not break for the mothers??? Granted not everyone will regret that decision – but so many do, if they are honest. And that is a huge, overwhelming decision to make, often on a whim, often with dire emotional, physical, and/or psychological ramifications on the mother (Certainly a lot of potential for physical ramifications in regards to this number). Over a decision they made often because they were encouraged to do so by others.

    We are SOLD that is a viable, even righteous option these days. I’m encouraging YOU to decide otherwise. That’s all. And while many would say “Good, now go and vote accordingly”, I won’t do that. I’ll encourage you, “Good, now go and share this with others”. Have that hard conversation! Let’s TALK about it, not just hide behind our anonymous, often mis-guided vote (This can apply to many issues, that we are afraid of talking about because we might be considered “mean” – sorry that is a bit of a jab. I mean in jest. Love you bro!)

    When you consider that if 21.6 million mothers made a different decision here in 2008 – it makes me think of a couple things:

    – If that were not their decision (not because of law – it didn’t apply here – because they wouldn’t consider it an option), the risk of death to the mother (and certainly the child) would be considerably less. Granted some may be at risk – but my guess is nowhere near 21.6 million…..
    – I know that means 21.6 million more mouths to feed, in 2008 alone. So be it. That certainly means WE who have SO MUCH, need to step up our efforts to truly love our brothers and sisters. I can’t make statements like this, and not back them up, I get that. I also get that it’s not all on me. We have the capacity to help so many – just look at how much money was raised in one night off text messages for a Haiti benefit concert. We can help. We need to. Killing isn’t helping……
    – Regarding your statement, “A society (and our Constitution) protects life. So who’s life is being protected when you make abortion illegal?” – Again, I’m not looking at legislation here. What about you? And the next person? And the next? Seems small, utopian, impossible? “With God, all things are possible”. May not mean much to you, I get that. It means a lot to me. And as I stated, if even one person were to reconsider based on my stupid little rant, wonderful! if nothing else, you and I had a dialog about it – and likely will again. That’s really all I can ask.

    Here are just a couple of the sources I looked at, to get the numbers I used in my post:

    http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/
    http://www.abortiontv.com/Misc/AbortionStatistics.htm
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/242600-when-does-an-unborn-baby-have-a-heartbeat/

    Again – a quick google search would provide you much of the same. But again – I put it at the end, I’m not a fan of sourcing everying, to “prove I’m right”. I don’t agree this is the way to talk about life and death here. I’m not smart enough for that, and it doesn’t do justice to how valuable human life is. I think this conversation needs to be addressed whether this is a life, and then when it is ok to take a life. My intent is NOT to shame, to condemn, to be “high and mighty”. it’s a plea, from the heart. Take as that, if you can. Even if you still disagree.

    Hope you are well Jake! Sorry, this is much longer than I had hoped…..

  3. Pingback: Murder Kills… | tedhtunes

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