Jill, at Feministe, set me off with three thought-provoking posts. In the first, she addresses anti-choice organizations and terrorists. I'm much more threatened by fundamentalist Christian terrorists than by any other kind, so gathering all the damning evidence into one spot got my ire up.
Then, she had to cover the federally-funded frauds that are “pregnancy resource centers.” It enrages me that our government pays Christian fundamentalists to lie to people and endanger their health, through these bogus clinics and through the fact-free curricula of abstinence-only sex education courses.
But then, she drew my eye to the truly bizarre Why the Life of the Mother is Not a Valid Exception for Abortion. I'm not going to ask you to read through this whole article, because it's pretty horrible. Including one of the longest, most stupid, and most slanted hypothetical situations ever. The author, Doug Phillips, starts by comparing the killing of a three-year-old to the killing of a fetus. Is there anyone who thinks that killing a six-week-old fetus is exactly the same as killing a three-year-old child?
Now, this is what's really upsetting to me. Phillips is explaining why a mother's life doesn't need to be exempted by abortion laws:
“But we must have abortion when the life of the mother is in jeopardy,” some will argue. “Is it fair to deprive a husband and family of a mother?The woman in question exists only as a wife and mother. Phillips denies her any rights whatsoever. And I thought the fundamentalists were supposed to cherish the mother. Oh, well. You can imagine how he'd feel about the life of an unmarried, childless woman.
He goes on:
After all, such an abortion is simply an act of self-defense by the mother against the child. And what if the child’s chance of survival is rather slim in comparison with the likelihood that the mother will die if the baby is brought to term? Surely, abortion is reasonable in such circumstances.”Simply? Abortion isn't "simply" anything. I don't think of abortion as being legally akin to self-defense, but since Phillips has brought it up, let's go there. Isn't self-defense a perfectly legal defense to charges of murder? Because in Phillips world, an abortion is exactly the same as murder. Even if the fetus won't survive and the mother is going to die. What kind of person can't admit of any scenario where it might be better to abort
For thousands of years, man has found ways to rationalize murder,
Ain't it the truth? "Their army attacked us first, murders deserve capital punishment, God really hates abortionists." It's all just rationalization. It's all murder, right?*
but for those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, there is but one standard for resolving this and all ethical questions: Holy Scripture. The Bible gives no authority for a parent to ever take the life of an unborn child[my bold].So, humans are only granted the rights expressly stated for them in the Bible? Boy, is that going to be a hard sell. I prefer the way the Constitution is worded. But doesn't this go directly against the story of Abraham? Perhaps he's exempting that because Isaac wasn't unborn. Anyway, he's saying that abortion is wrong in the Bible, because we're never told it's okay. By that logic, you pretty much have to throw out anything developed in the last few millennia. God never says it's okay to give birth in a hospital, either, does he?
To conclude, mothers should never kill their babies. There are no exceptions. The Bible condemns abortion and offers no exceptions to this rule.Before he was writing that the Bible didn't expressly condone abortion, now he's created an absolute prohibition. The reasonable reader might ask: how do we know that abortion is condemned by the Christian god? Phillips doesn't provide references, so I had to Google. Well, of course the Bible tells us so, according to God and Science.org
The Old Testament provides most of the information on God's view of life before birth, since it gives us the law. The law specifically addresses the issue of taking the life of a fetus in the book of Exodus:No, actually, what that seems to say is that if two men are fighting and one who is not married to her hits a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry, her husband can demand some cash. If the woman is more seriously injured, then her attacker can be put to death. But there's nothing here about abortion. There is nothing here about any sort of premeditation, let alone a deliberate effort to abort and only to abort. Contrary to the commentary, it is clear that punishment is not required for this accident, only payment for the lost property. In exactly the same way that modern American courts deal with unimplanted embryos created through IVF; they are also property.
"And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life." (Exodus 21:22-23)
Therefore, the law tells us that a man who induces an abortion or miscarriage is to be punished, indicating that God values life before birth.
Nor is there anything here suggesting that the Christian's god has any particular interest in fetuses. If their god valued the fetus so highly, I don't think he'd let the wrong-doer off with a fine.
So, not only does this not provide a strong anti-abortion position based on the Bible, it makes it clear that accidentally killing a fetus indirectly (through an attack on a woman) is not an offense requiring the death penalty.
Now to return from the Biblical law which isn't "Thou shall not abort" to the woman-loathing Phillips. He's really, really opposed to abortion under any circumstances. In fact, he raises abortion up into "child sacrifice," which is just not the place for a Christian to go. Really, he's going against an awful lot of theology, not to mention Bible verses.
Furthermore, child-sacrifice as a means of self-preservation is universally condemned in Scripture as one of the most wicked crimes imaginable.I don't know, it doesn't seems to me like Abraham is condemned. Of course, he didn't actually kill his son, but that he was ready to, in response to an order from his god, is considered a commendable sign of his faith. There's an idea: women demanding church-supplied abortions, because their god has spoken to them and demands the sacrifice? Not going to happen, I know, not least among the reasons, that no woman should have to defend her decision to anyone. Oddly, Phillips chose to ignore the even more famous child-sacrifice of the Bible, referred to in John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.Child Sacrifice: It's fine unless a woman does it.
*Nope, it's not. Even though Phillips has raised the idea that in some circumstances an abortion may be self-defense, he's not going to let a mere woman use it:
Scripture does give three valid bases for taking the life of another, none of which can even remotely be construed as a justification for “abortion for the life of the mother.” Man may take another’s life in the case of just warfare; man may take another’s life when acting on behalf of the civil magistrate to execute a person guilty of a capital crime; or man may take another’s life as an act of self-defense, or in defense of others where there is a significant and immediate threat to life best remedied with a lethal response. [my bold]He has created this scenario of the self-defense abortion, but he isn't going to let a single woman use it.
Mothers may not kill their babies as an act of self-defense because an unborn child intends the mother no harm and lacks the mental capacity to pose a willing threat to a mother.Did you know that the law requires self-defense only against someone intending to kill you? When did the mental capacity test come into play? What is the mental capacity required?