What it Means to be Pro-Life

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Yesterday I sat in church deeply disconcerted. A large banner hung in the church that said “God is pro-life. Are you?” and the mass was injected with messages against abortion. This week marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v Wade this week – a supreme court decision that legalized abortion and the reason many will be marching in protest in Washington this week.

This disconcerting feeling is nothing new to me when talking about abortion. It is an issue that I have given much thought to, but have remained undecided about. As a human rights activist, it causes me grief to not be able to take a stance on such a heated issue. First off, I have always hated the false dichotomy of each side: “pro-choice” v “pro-life”. Pro-choice does not equal pro-death. So you may have guessed, that I have historically leaned towards a woman’s right to choose. I have never been pro-abortion; it simply feels wrong to me that the government would have control over a woman’s body.

And so I sit, uncomfortably, in church while it is preached that God is “pro-life”. And then I have what may be my first clear thought on the issue. I ask: What does it really mean to be pro-life? What does God think about the children we drop bombs on? What does God think about the 30,000 children that we kill every day because we don’t share our water with them, and we don’t share our food with them, and we don’t share our medicine with them?

I grow more impatient and more upset. I feel sick. Why don’t we have this sort of movement to save their lives? Why aren’t we marching to stop the bombs and start the medicine? How can we keep ignoring these children?

Then and there, in my pew, I decide that as long as we allow a baby to die from dehydration I cannot stand against abortion. As long as we decide not to give a child a 50 cent treatment that will save her life, I cannot stand against abortion.

Haiti presents a perfect example of the suffering that need not be. I pray that we do not ignore the reasons behind the devastation happening there. It is a place where so many people already lived on the brink – in abject poverty. And this act of mother nature has pushed many over the edge. If we had cared more for the people of Haiti before January 12th, the level of destruction and the loss of life would have been far less. We did not cause this earthquake, but we are responsible for the level of destruction it is causing.

We have failed utterly to protect the sanctity of life of those children who are born. I reject the narrow definition we have associated with the term “pro-life”. I am not saying that this decision is right and I do not intend to create yet another false dichotomy – it does not need to be so that we can either save children who are born already or save the children who aren’t. However, it is the decision that I have come to, that for as long as we fail to take care of those children who are born onto this planet that we share, I will not speak out against abortion. And so, allow me to say that I am Pro-Life. I believe we need to stop killing, and start saving.

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Author: John Abdulla

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11 Comments

  1. Well said John. I think it is a troubling issue for our generation and woman alike who do feel as though we should be able to control our own bodies. These types of decisions are personal and should be discussed while growing up with our families and within our church but not in many other places like politics. Your right, there are so many senseless deaths in the world involving children that we should focus more of our attention on those.

  2. First, you are so immaturely putting one against the other. It is like you are trying to use one as collateral. It doesn’t work that way. It is all wrong. And pro choice IS pro murder NO MATTER HOW YOU SLICE IT. Because you conveniently say that is so does not make it that way. And Shannon, if a woman wants to control her body, then she should CONTROL it, before she gets pregnant. Life is life, and sometimes we have to make choices for the common good against others who would take more lifes than we would. Would you let someone walk up and kill your wife or would you protect her, or yourself???? You’re not thinking straight.

  3. ps. it’s not just a woman’s body once she is pregnant. It is her body AND someone elses. And if she has no respect for the human life inside her, someone has to.

  4. My brother,
    thanks for the insightful words that you shared. It is really absurd that our world is promoting arbortion now especially women movements in the shadow of the women rights and the so called protection of women. I really disagree with people who think like that, in my culture it used to be a taboo and until now it is considered as murder unless prescribed by doctors.
    so I guess we should stand on feet to say no to actions of murder that we mix with spices to make it sound innocent and very beautiful.

    Thanks

  5. Thank you Gasana. How can anyone say that the act of murder is not okay for some and okay for others? Or that some people should have the right to murder another just because they are carrying that life in their womb. Or that, and this one is so ridiculous, that they will not take a stand against murdering the most vulnerable until we send water and medicine to others who are also vulnerable? I love your references to ‘spices’. I pray every day that the people who call themselves ‘thinkers’ will see they are sugar coating or ‘spicing’ the reality of not only murder, but brutal murder. Thanks again.

  6. Listen Cheryl, I am not saying what I write is right. I’m sorry that I lack the self-righteousness that you are able to exude on issues such as this.

    All I can do is speak from my heart. And as much as it pains me (and it does), I can not stand against abortion as long as the world consistently fails to take care of those children who are born. If we are unable to take care of those 30,000 children who die every day, unnecessarily, then I cannot stand against stopping the birth of another child. God forgive me for saying this.

    I’m so sick of it. I’m sick of the way we ignore these children who we ARE killing every day. I’m sick and tired of us justifying “casualties of war” and I’m sick and tired of our lame attempts to alleviate our guilt with menial donations to help the poor. It’s bullshit.

    And that is only mentioning the babies and children who die every day. What about the millions who suffer? Who are abused, neglected, and forgotten. And what of the mother’s who have no voice in the world? Who must watch their children die?

    Make no mistake, this is not an either/or. I know that we have the potential to save all lives. And yet, we don’t. Humanity has failed.

    I promise I will work hard to stand for those who are born onto this planet. I do not ignore the issue of abortion, but I cannot take a stand against it. Not now. Not while so many children suffer.

  7. Thank you John for your pro-life passion to safe children of the planet, for your golden heart! I read discussions on this also in FB. All i can say is – listen to your heart – it is so right! And please, keep your heart warm and sunny!
    peace and love, m

  8. Muborak, thank you for your words of support. They mean so much to me! I’ve found this whole discussion really challenging at times, but my beliefs really have been enriched through all of this dialogue, and I so appreciate this process. By the end of the day though, I believe more than ever that I need to listen to my heart. Thank you! Much love to you as well!

  9. Most of the discussion that happened as a result of this blog post happened on Facebook. I’m so grateful for this technology that allows us to share such dialogue. And I think it’s important to capture and share the whole thing – especially for those of you who may have missed it! So here it is:

    Adam von Bjornson
    Adam von Bjornson
    that was really well written, and I have to say I agree
    January 18 at 10:38pm ·

    Rafael Perez-Segura
    Rafael Perez-Segura
    This really made me think John! Thanks for a refreshing point of view!
    January 18 at 10:50pm ·

    Moira Brady
    Moira Brady
    http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2010/0103/5.aspx Check this out, John! This is the type of thing I was referring to in our chat on Sunday.
    January 18 at 11:09pm ·

    David Dismas
    David Dismas
    Amen!
    January 18 at 11:39pm ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    You are wrong…First, you are so immaturely putting one against the other. It is like you are trying to use one as collateral. It doesn’t work that way. It is all wrong. And pro choice IS pro murder NO MATTER HOW YOU SLICE IT. Because you conveniently say that is so does not make it that way. And Shannon, if a woman wants to control her … See Morebody, then she should CONTROL it, before she gets pregnant. Life is life, and sometimes we have to make choices for the common good against others who would take more lifes than we would. Would you let someone walk up and kill your wife or would you protect her, or yourself???? You’re not thinking straight.
    Tue at 8:50am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    ps. abortion is a brutal murder. and just because something is well written does not make it true. check out some of the abortion videos on youtube and you will not be able to deny it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdxWFr_UjqQ this is not one of the brutal murder ones, it is one that shows life in the womb. LIFE. Deserving of just that.
    Tue at 9:04am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Moira, that is a fabulous article. I hope John reads it carefully.
    Tue at 9:22am ·

    Gasana Mutesiumisetumm
    Gasana Mutesiumisetumm
    John,
    thanks for the message, I sent a comment on your blog.

    I need you to comment on mine about Human rights and money,
    my blog is http://gasana.blogspot.com/… See More
    Tue at 10:39am ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Listen Cheryl, I am not saying what I write is right. I’m sorry that I lack the self-righteousness that you are able to exude on issues such as this.

    All I can do is speak from my heart. And as much as it pains me (and it does), I can not stand against abortion as long as the world consistently fails to take care of those children who are born. If we are unable to take care of those 30,000 children who die every day, unnecessarily, then I cannot stand against stopping the birth of another child. God forgive me for saying this.

    I’m so sick of it. I’m sick of the way we ignore these children who we ARE killing every day. I’m sick and tired of us justifying “casualties of war” and I’m sick and tired of our lame attempts to alleviate our guilt with menial donations to help the poor. It’s bullshit…. See More

    And that is only mentioning the babies and children who die every day. What about the millions who suffer? Who are abused, neglected, and forgotten. And what of the mother’s who have no voice in the world? Who must watch their children die?

    Make no mistake, this is not an either/or. I know that we have the potential to save all lives. And yet, we don’t. Humanity has failed.

    I promise I will work hard to stand for those who are born onto this planet. I do not ignore the issue of abortion, but I cannot take a stand against it. Not now. Not while so many children suffer.
    Tue at 11:03am ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Moira thank you so much for sharing that article. I will definitely look into buying the book. What I’m really interested in is his quote, “I’ve made it very clear that at any given time one issue may have to be given much higher priority than others. I’ve never said that they were all equal or that they all required the same attention.”

    I think that is a hugely important statement; though my priorities may differ from his.
    Tue at 11:20am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    John, it is elementary schoolplayground childishness to pit one against the other. I’ll do this if you do that. It is the principle. You can’t justify murder because you want to send medicine to children in other countries. What about the human children in wombs who have no voice. How can you say you are for human rights when you ignore some rights????
    Tue at 11:21am ·

    Lauren Lange
    Lauren Lange
    Strange how many who claim to be Pro Life also support the death penalty
    Tue at 11:21am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    then they are not pro-life. Simple.
    Tue at 11:22am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    and strange how some claim to be pro human rights but choose some human rights and ignore others.
    Tue at 11:23am ·

    Lauren Lange
    Lauren Lange
    Cheryl, I am glad that you are not a hypocrite-more power to you! John, I am glad that you are listening to your heart.
    Tue at 11:28am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    ps, Gasana had it right when she said you can not ‘spice’ murder by calling it ‘stopping the birth’ of another. You are sugar coating the condoning of murder.
    Tue at 11:29am ·

    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Cheryl McMahan Pongratz
    Thank you Lauren. I don’t see how John does not see that I am also listening to my heart. It is cowardly to call it self-righteousness. Abortion may very well be killing the life of the person who will end world poverty.
    Tue at 11:31am ·

    Lauren Lange
    Lauren Lange
    Interesting Cheryl, but John did end his note by saying he is Pro-Life. He does not condone abortion, but is rather pointing out that it is sick that there are people out there who speak out against abortion, but support wars and think universal health care is an unfair burden on taxpayers.
    Tue at 11:35am ·

    Lauren Lange
    Lauren Lange
    Also, your comment that women should control their bodies before they get pregnant was witty, but insensitive of rape victims.
    Tue at 11:38am ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Two things: first, I am not saying abortion is right. I am saying that I cannot take a stand against it based on the utter silence that so many in the world show towards those children who are born, including many people who claim to be pro-life.

    Second, I used the word self-righteous Cheryl, not because you don’t speak from your heart (I know you… See More do), but because when you share your thoughts you show no respect for the thoughts of others. I feel as though you are talking down to anyone who disagrees, especially when you describe their point of view as “cowardly” “childish” “elementary” and “immature”.
    Tue at 11:49am ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    1st: Cheryl, I appreciate your energy and willingness to share a very personal viewpoint on such a public forum, but I have to ask about your approach.

    Are you trying to convince us that your view is the most valid one?

    You are appealing to human rights and therefore a sense of shared humanity, but you are disqualifying any dissenting viewpoint raised by your fellow humans. If we really want to make any headway in human rights then we need to base our arguments in logic and mutual respect for our fellow humans…. See More

    2nd: from a science/bio standpoint the issue about whether or not abortion means killing a life form vs. killing off growing cells is dependent on the time of the procedure relative to the length of the pregnancy. When we talk about these things we must also be very mindful of what we term “abortion” vs. “contraception” before we assign labels like “murder”
    Tue at 11:56am ·

    Gasana Mutesiumisetumm
    Gasana Mutesiumisetumm
    JJ, do you want to say that we need to learn how to agree on disagreements. oh yeah I am sure that Human rights activists need that lesson on how to accept to agree on disagreements otherwise we are not rights activists but rather what we believe activists.
    John, I guess that’s your point of view but some how some times I ma convinced to believe as… See More my friend always makes me believe that Human rights defenders are always the worst human rights violators. but lets see all we do with humanity rather than with theories and books.
    any thanks for the email, you will receive more questions soon.
    Tue at 12:15pm ·

    Gasana Mutesiumisetumm
    Gasana Mutesiumisetumm
    John,
    would you advise, concerning the email lauren sent you? thanks
    Tue at 12:24pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    To a certain extent it’s “agree to disagree” but I really think that it’s more about respect, pure and simple. Respect is an integral part of human rights, in many ways it’s the respect for human life and the quality of that life that fuels human rights debates and causes.

    So we need to practice what we preach as much as our own moral or ethical views allow
    Tue at 12:50pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    Ms. Pongratz, as much as we probably agree 100% on this issue, I don’t think John’s views are “immature”. I will grant you wrong-headed or naive, but calling him out as immature only cheapens what is a crucially important discussion.

    That being said, I can get off my high-horse and point out that there is much validity to her contention, even if it was inartfully applied. There is this exceedingly foolish notion, prevalent on the political left, that opinions and laws must be consistent across ALL circumstances, or they somehow lack for legitimacy.

    The death of children in any situation, from a bomb (dropped from the sky or set on the ground by a terrorist) to the victim of starvation, is a tragedy. However, that does not eliminate the greater tragedy in that abortion is the DELIBERATE taking of a human life for (in MOST instances) the CONVENIENCE of another human. Abortion is (and I agree with Ms. Pongratz for probably the first time ever) an absolute MORAL EVIL, in most of the cases in which it is used. As Christians, we are taught that God said to Jeremiah the prophet; “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” As Christians, we believe that EACH of us are created at that first moment BY GOD, and in HIS IMAGE. Abortion is the elevation of human convenience over the will and design of our maker. If war stopped tomorrow, and the earthquake never happened in Haiti, does THAT all of a sudden make abortion evil? It would not, since they are not related…. See More

    Since the ruling in Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton, which no one ever talks about), approximately 40 million pregnancies have been terminated in the U.S. alone, a number that makes the Haitin crisis look like a minor traffic accident in comparison. Your beliefs, no matter what you title them, are an excuse for the worst sort of pro-abortion radicalism, since the human condition will NEVER solve the social problems you claim are legitimizers for abortion.
    Tue at 1:50pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    …but we’re not all Christian, and suggesting that all citizens of an area are forced to abide by a set of ideological or normative laws that are not informed by all parties views, just a select group, would be a failure in the legislative and judicial process in a democratic state.

    Now, I don’t know if you realize it, but the way that you’re framing pro-choicers as deliberate murderers (of children no less) is not only hate speech, it’s the very same kind of extreme propagating that has always come before genocide and made it possible. Framing pro-lifers as such evil entities dehumanizes them, and if we’re really going to stand for human rights then any dehumanizing discourse needs to be avoided.

    Beyond all this though, can I ask you what you’re trying to accomplish by framing your argument this way? It’s a great method for rallying support from people that already share your moral outlook, but it does nothing to change people’s minds and see things your way…. See More

    Telling someone that something is morally wrong, if they have a different set of moral values than you, will never lead you to change their mind, in fact it will probably make them withdraw and stop listening to you.

    Framing an argument in sound logic, independent of moral values will have the opposite effect, and lead people to change

    If you’re a fan of Justice Scalia’s decisions then just look to him for examples; he’s a master at framing his moral views in sound logical arguments, and that’s why he has had so much success in influencing the decisions of the supreme court.

    If you read what I wrote, I never actually advocated one way or another, I just asked that we be mindful of what we’re talking about and all parties involved. This is because, as history of the issue has demonstrated, it’s not an easy question to get consensus on, and if we ever want to get there then we’ll need to facilitate dialogue, not halt it at every turn.

    So please, can we keep out the hate speech?
    Tue at 2:40pm ·

    Patrick Spencer
    Patrick Spencer
    Boo boo it isn’t a matter of the government having controll over a womans body it is a matter of the the safe guarding of the life inside that does not have a voice of its own. Drugs are against the law do you think they should be legal because people should be able to decide what they put into there body or not? I’m not against abortion for a … See Morereligous reason or a political reason I just don’t think it is right for people to use this like they’d use a pencil to erase a mistake they made on a test… that test is life btw. If it would kill the mother of the baby or even if neither would survive then that would be a different story but just doing it because people can’t stop fucking isn’t really a reason to end a life.
    Tue at 2:42pm ·

    Patrick Spencer
    Patrick Spencer
    excuse my spelling…. Me + english = hardtime
    Tue at 2:46pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    I am not saying all people are a Christian JJ, I assume that argument was going to me, but JOHN IS, and frames his arguments in a theological vein. I agree with Pat 110%, if the Catholic Church came out FOR abortion tomorrow, I wouldn’t change my beliefs. Regarding your point about not forcing us to play along with the norms not shared by all society is EXACTLY what the left has done in this country since coming to power in 2008.

    I would first like to point out, before responding to the substance of your claim, that I never used the term “murder”. Murder is a very legal definition that requires malice and forethought, and I don’t believe that many people that choose abortion have much forethought of their plans, and certainly don’t make that terrible choice with malice.

    Nevertheless, this cultural attitude that permits the termination of 40 million babies IS a moral evil. It is not a Judeo-Christian I will thank you not to compare me to propagators of genocide, given that it is MY side of the issue that is lamenting the greatest genocide in human history. You claim I am “dehumanizing” pro-(choicers, I assume you meant to say). My claim goes to the very basis of humanity. What makes us human, and what is our shared humanity? If we are nothing more than a biological collection of flesh and bones, we can not be de-humanized, since “humanity” is only a biological classification. We can only be dehumanized if we are something greater than mere biology, and if THAT is the case, abortion must be recognized as a horrendous choice…. See More

    I am not on here to persuade YOU. If your “morality” tells you that it is permissable to terminate an unborn child because you want to, I don’t see a practical basis for persuasion. I am only on here to advise John, who posted the original thought, because I know, in his heart, John believes in something greater than today and tomorrow. My apologies to you if my arguments don’t meet YOUR standards for “sound logic”. The same voice that speaks to us from beyond history that tells us that black slavery was an indisputable moral evil will tell us, in the unfolding of history, that the 20th and 21st centuries wide legalization of radical abortion rights is a greater evil still.
    Tue at 3:07pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    You are very right about the legal terminology of “murder – for the sake of simplicity let’s focus on my country, the U.S…..and guess what? Intent constitutes murder under mens rea. You stated “deliberate taking of human life,” so if you act deliberately, you acted with intent to achieve that goal; that intention makes it a legal issue. Now the legal issues surrounding abortion are the definitions of “life” “human” “citizen” and all of the issues that could justify killing someone else.

    Now…Cultural attitude…can I ask you how you define culture? I’m a cultural anthropologist and we take that word very seriously.

    Also, you do not get a monopoly on using the term genocide…. See More

    If you actually study genocide and human rights you’ll learn that “dehumanization” is one of the major contributing factors in war crimes and genocide. Also you should know that in human rights, the very idea of “humanity” is actually a constructed term, especially in the human rights law.

    The logic of your arguments is your business, the only thing that really bothered me was the hate speech.
    Tue at 3:31pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    We allowed 40mm abortions since 1972, and continue to allow almost unrestricted legal abortion, THAT is part of our cultural attitudes, however we semantically slice it.

    I didn’t claim that genocidal “regimes” for lack of a better term, don’t dehumanize before they eradicate. I am only pointing out that humanity MUST be something more than a … See Morebiological state, and THAT state requires a vision of man as something different than every other beast of nature.

    I guess I will have to go back and bone up on my genocide, my deepest apologies for disturbing your sensibilities with my “hate speech”.
    Tue at 3:38pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Wow. So, so much to reply to. But first thing first: I SO appreciate this dialogue that’s happening and I think it is incredibly important. And I want to embrace what JJ has said about hate speech because he is putting it so perfectly. If we are able to have a dialogue with respect towards each other’s positions, than we really have an opportunity here. JJ just hit the nail on the head, on so many levels.

    Matt you began to acknowledge the way Cheryl “cheapens the argument” but then you went on to “grant her” that I may be wrong-headed or naive; thus repeating what she did. I believe your’re framing the issue as though you stand on higher ground or have higher authority; which makes it harder to have a respectful dialogue.

    Also, in your first comment Matt, you made a point that I really need to clarify. I am in no way trying to say that the social problems I’m talking about are legitimizers for abortion. In fact, I don’t believe these social problems have a causal relationship to abortion…. See More

    My point, and I think it may be getting lost here, is that I personally cannot stand against abortion as long as the deaths of so many children who are born are ignored.

    And I have MUCH more to say on that, but every time I try to respond, I see a new update that someone has replied – which is great!
    Tue at 3:39pm ·

    Steve Lo
    Steve Lo
    John i understand you feeling in trying to take a bigger stand for people who are already born and making there suffering you priority more important for you then abortion. But by prioritizing the suffering of people over the unborn children aren’t you just doing what you are saying that is wrong for people ignoring the suffering of people around … See Morethe world. You have decided to pick one over the other but at the same time express you disappointment for others for doing the same thing.

    I feel we have to try and stop both any many other things that is wrong with the world. I understand that you see people suffering and it tears at you that not enough help is going out to them, but we do not get to see the many lives that are lost form abortion and somehow they have to take a back seat to what we can see with our eyes. It is what makes abortion a hard topic cause they don’t have a voice and there is no pictures and videos to watch them suffer.

    Just food for thought.
    Tue at 4:03pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    I don’t view “wrong-headed” or “naive” as putdowns. I think you are wrong, ergo, wrong-headed. Naive comes from an incorrect outlook on humanity. I objected to Ms. Pongratz classifying you as immature because I don’t think THAT comes from a legitimate disagreement. I may be splitting hairs, but I certainly don’t think YOU are immature, that was… See More my point.

    I don’t stand on a higher ground at all, I am a man, with all my (many) flaws and warts. But I will say that OF COURSE, I think the pro-life argument is the morally correct one. If that rubs you the wrong way, I apologize, but I can not grant neutrality to a point of view that espouses the termination of unborn children.

    My contention was NEVER that you viewed this things as CAUSING abortion, only that you allow these things to EXCUSE abortion. My point is that, regardless of what you CLAIM, your argument amounts to (or would amount, were you the boss-man in charge) unrestricted abortion access, since we will NEVER get rid of those other conditions. Your argument is consistent, but I think, respectfully, morally unserious. Imagine if someone took the opposite tack and said “The suffering in Haiti is terrible, but until we help those suffering from forest fires in Peru (or some place), we can’t help those in Haiti.” We would recognize that as a non-sequitur. We CAN help those in two places at once, and we CAN help human life across two separate stations. Your belief amounts to throwing up your hands, and tolerating an evil.
    Tue at 4:09pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    Matt, I think that you’re making a good point as far as addressing both issues, and potentially making John’s point – the fact of the matter is that the suffering of children currently alive goes vastly un/under represented.

    If you feel so inclined to go against abortion then you should also work to make sure that the rights and quality of life of… See More children currently alive. Even human rights law as it’s written fails to adequately protect the lives and quality of that life of children. The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) doesn’t even protect a child’s right to inherit their family’s property – instead it puts it in the hands of relatives and guardians that leave them in the street to support their bothers and sisters anyway, or sell them into slavery.

    There’s certainly no lack of avenues to work towards protecting the children currently alive. If you really feel strongly about ending abortion then work towards creating a world where that life will be protected, cherished, and empowered.
    Tue at 4:33pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Steve you bring up a good point, thank you. It gets down to this issue of prioritizing, which both Matt and I seem to be doing. Matt is prioritizing the life of the unborn because he believes the intent to kill is greater than that of a child killed in war or a child who dies of hunger. While I am prioritizing the life of the children who are already born. As I analyze my own argument and my own feelings, I have to acknowledge that inherent in my argument is the importance of the life of the born over the life of the unborn. I truly don’t know if this is right or wrong, but it is how I feel.So I will try and elaborate on that.

    JJ raised the issue earlier and I do think it’s important: when does life begin? This is of huge significance. What separates contraception from abortion? I think there is a line, but I honestly don’t know what it is. I’m not sure that it can ever be established with certainty, and I’m not going to try and argue it.

    At the least we are talking about potential life, which is a valid point to bring up, I think. And if the argument comes down to that, then I cannot stand to protect that potential of life while the lives of 30,000 children are silenced daily…. See More

    Matt you consistently say that we can never get rid of the social problems I speak of; that it is naive. I find this deeply troubling. You refer to the 40million abortions since 1972 that we could have prevented. I keep citing the 30,000 children each day who die from extreme poverty. It’s about 10 million per year. In the past decade alone, that’s 100 million children. Why must we “throw our hands up in the air” when it comes to these children? If we can’t even feed our own children, then I cannot stand up against preventing another birth. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

    You talk about intent when it comes to abortion. Well, let me make this perfectly clear: we are killing each and every child who dies from poverty. We refuse to share our wealth, year after year. We know exactly what’s happening, and we ignore it. We deny them the basic necessities to life. We are killing them and that point should not and cannot be dampened.

    I consider myself to be pro-life. And that is why I wrote this blog entry. Because pro-life should, first and foremost, be about protecting those lives that are indisputably present with us here and now. If we can’t even handle that, then I don’t know how we can even discuss protecting the unborn.
    Tue at 4:45pm ·

    Shannon Tracy
    Shannon Tracy
    It’s not that I am not personally against abortion as I am and I would never personally do it. However, I do not feel it is my place to tell another person what to do unless asked. It is just common courtesy. There is standing up for what you believe in and then there is shoving in others’ faces ones opinions. Enough said.
    Tue at 5:13pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    I will try to work through this in the order that they were posted, JJ first consequently.

    There is more than a hair’s difference between defending the unborn, and “working” to make sure that kids alive today have “rights” and “quality” (the sentence was missing a verb, but I assume you mean have some basis of rights and a good standard of life). John and I have hammered it out about “human rights” before, but for my end, suffice to say that I think an unborn child is an entirely innocent creature that is subject to our MORAL protection. A born child is the victim of a whole host of laws, conventions and customs that may make it impossible for us to do anything to help him out, a child born into Haiti or Somalia being a “great” example. Your argument, nevertheless, ends in a common non-sequitur among the pro-abortion crowd. Even if the child is going to be neglected or abused in their birth home, there are (at least within the US) vast waiting lists for people to adopt, people that would love nothing more than to give these otherwise discarded victims a place to grow up in loved. The FIRST step in cherishing all life is saying that ALL life is precious, which we most definitely can NOT say if we view abortion as an acceptable solution.

    John, to your point. AGAIN, you bring up a false choice. It is patently untrue to say that this is an either/or proposition. Defending the innocence of unborn life CAN happen, even if a million people died a day from preventable causes. The two are not competing potential outcomes. And I have NEVER advocated “throwing up our hands”, but I think your “solution” might not help the situation. History proves time and again that wealth can only be created in a system of order and opportunity. Your solution is to send a blank check to these places, where the money will be swallowed up. My solution is (in part) allow these places to trade freely with the U.S., to work to get rid of the corrupt regimes that repress these people and to allow them to develop and own the fruits of their labor. In a word, helping them help themselves. Throwing money at the problem of global poverty without eradicating the root cause is like throwing cough medicine at someone dying of AIDS…. See More

    You then say that somehow, I am to blame, because I am not sharing the wealth. Well who chooses who gets what? The world, contrary to what they teach us in school today, is a messy place in which unlimited wants must be met with limited means. Do we throw money at people? Wonderful, until it ends up in the hands of dictators and strong-men. Do we send medicine? Great, until the local militia steals it. The BEST way to help people in poverty is to introduce a true ORDER, so that investments can be made that will help these people realize their potential. As long as places are run by kleptocratic madmen, it is inevitable that their people will suffer.

    To Shannon, I would respectfully say, if that is your attitude, please don’t vote, because that is all participatory democracy is; telling everyone else what YOU think they should do.
    Tue at 5:37pm ·

    Shannon Tracy
    Shannon Tracy
    I think voting is a great place to stand up for what you believe in WITHOUT degrading or shoving it in anothers’ face. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the option to safely vote and majority wins. Although there are MANY inequities in the process and much corruption, it is still a privilege that many in other countries don’t have.
    Tue at 6:01pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Woah, woah. Some serious assumptions and misrepresentations flying around there Matt.

    Maybe I’m just doing a really bad job of saying this, but I thought I’ve said it many times: I do not see this as an either/or. I simply don’t. I think it is possible for us to save every born and unborn life. I really do.

    But as we are failing to save the lives of those born into this world, I simply can’t take a stand to say it is wrong to prevent children from being born. And (once again), that is my personal feeling on the matter. I’m not laying out a plan of action here; saying that we can’t do this until we do that. I’m saying that I (me, personally) cannot take a stand against abortion, against preventing those children from being born, until we have a world that does not ignore their suffering once they are born. I suppose it’s cynical to say. And I don’t even like saying it. However, I feel very strongly that we are in fact killing children who are already born…. See More

    Listen, we do in fact have enough resources for every human being to live comfortably. That really is not the issue here and trying to convince ourselves that we essentially need to horde resources to survive just disregards the responsibility we all have to each other.

    Now, on to a MAJOR misrepresentation you spewed out. When have I EVER advocated throwing money at the problem? I have never and will never advocate that tactic and I’m really agitated that you would reduce my beliefs (which you clearly do not know) to that kind of statement.

    We absolutely need to help people help themselves. I am with you there. And this first includes breaking a cycle that so many are trapped into. If someone can’t afford medicine they will suffer and will be unable to work. If they can’t work, they can’t afford medicine. This is just one simple example. We do need to provide medicine, help build infrastructure, allow fair and equal trade, and invest in education around the world. These are four key areas, very simplified, that can make a huge difference. The goal is not aid; the goal is sustainability. We owe people that.

    You mentioned the corrupt leaders, but you fail to mention the role that so many “developed” countries play in propping those leaders up. And much of the corruption can be traced back to colonial rule. That DOES NOT excuse the corruption and countries must take responsibility for their own; however we must also take responsibility for the piss poor international policies that we, the United States, have instituted.

    You mentioned participatory democracy – well let’s talk about participatory development; by which people are allowed the dignity to rise up out of poverty by their own means, with our assistance. That is what I advocate. Please do not make the mistake of misrepresenting that.
    Tue at 6:04pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    Matt, great catch on that first sentence of the second paragraph, the end of the sentence should have been “are protected.” But let me ask you – you use the ubiquitous “our” in saying that unborn children are subject to our moral protection, but let me ask you – are they your morals or mine? Who’s morals?

    I hate to do it, but I’m bringing back the logic issue – there are not enough parents to adopt in the U.S. to make a significant difference, also the idea of moving all of the suffering children to supporting families around the world, if it was possible to do so, would cause a whole slew of other issues. If you’re curious about the history of these issues, as I hope you would be given your passion about the topic, please look up “stolen generation” in Australia.

    On your statement to John, I think that you’re missing his point with the “blank check” issue…. See More

    Let me also tell you, as someone living in a country with staggering issues (Nigeria) that are largely due to deregulation and free market exchange. Just take a look at the human rights violations caused by Shell in the Niger Delta region, or the fact that the 5th largest crude oil exporter in the world can’t build its own refineries because of those trade agreements.

    Shannon, tell me about it – I live in Nigeria right now and let me tell you all, the ability to at least have some say in who becomes nominated and the way that the country is won is an amazing thing. There is nothing like that here.
    Tue at 6:18pm ·

    Lauren Lange
    Lauren Lange
    Let’s see….

    “A born child is the victim of a whole host of laws, conventions and customs that may make it impossible for us to do anything to help him out, a child born into Haiti or Somalia being a “great” example.”

    Does that mean we should only save the lives of unborn children in developed countries!??!?! I hope you don’t buy into this sophistry John…. See More
    Tue at 6:30pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Lauren, thank you for pointing out that ridiculous statement Matt made. I certainly did not give it enough attention. And you are absolultely right to deem it sophistry. It’s the type of sophistry that, on a large scale, perpetuates ignorance that ripples through our society, and it is at the heart of my very point.

    This is about responsibility, Matt. We are responsible for the deaths of every child who dies as a result of poverty. I cannot say with certainty that an unborn life is equal to that of a child’s life. I just can’t. And frankly I don’t think anyone but God can.

    What I can say, absolutely, is that it is wrong for a child to die from lack of water, food, or medicine. We ignore it, we foster it, and we allow it to happen. We need to take responsibility for these deaths. And to me, that is being far more pro-life than the narrow definition that anti-abortion activists have claimed…. See More

    MLK puts it best (as he often does) with this quote: “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
    Tue at 7:09pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    But Shannon, voting is the process by which 51% of people (or more) get together and decide for everyone, what will be done. All I am saying is let’s call a spade a spade and not parse words.

    To John, you grow heated when I say that you advocate “throwing money” at the problem, and then you follow with “We do need to provide medicine, help build infrastructure, allow fair and equal trade, and invest in education around the world”. Other than allowing free trade, from where does the medicine and infrastructure and education funding come? Money. You are advocating a massive intercontinental transfer of wealth. If that is not throwing money at something, I am sure you can come up with better phraseology. I will go one step further and dispute your claim that we have enough resources for everyone to live comfortably. We have the POTENTIAL to acquire the resources for everyone to live comfortably, but harvesting those resources and turning them into wealth for the citizens of the world requires enormous outlays of money, a stable environment to produce/harvest said resources, and an efficient means of distributing those resources. It is called the free market, the bugbear of many people calling for more aid.

    As for colonialism, maybe. But why is Haiti, a country that has been independent of France for 206 years, a third-world backwater, have an economy 1/7 as large as nearby Jamaica, which has been “free” for only 47 years? Colonialism may be an excuse, but too often it is used as a crutch to explain away why countries have made poor choices. An interesting aside would be to look at the shameful behavior of France post-Haitian independence, but that is another story. … See More

    To JJ’s point about morality, I was extrapolating a future-state shared morality where innocent, unborn life is valued. CLEARLY that is not a shared morality. I DON’T support the forced relocation of kids, and my point about adoptions was only meant as a rebuttal to the cases in which abortions are performed solely for reasons of inconvenience, which to most abortion supporters are a very small percentage. I will not quibble with your expertise on Nigerian development, but maybe picking a country that isn’t currently among the world’s fastest growing economies would better illustrate the evils of deregulation.

    To Lauren, I meant that an innocent child is innocent of any laws that may obstruct US from helping him, whereas once he is born, he is the “child” of whatever system of law and convention he lives under. Thanks for the dismissal.
    Tue at 7:10pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    I don’t know where you got your info from Matt, but that jazz on Haiti’s economy is complete rubbish mate.

    Back to the issue of how you formulate your arguments. Please also make sure that if you make a rebuttal that you actually agree with the point that you’re making.

    On Nigeria, again, please check your facts and do your homework. As a result of the corruption and issues within the country Nigeria has actually been without its president for almost 60 days without any actual formal takeover of power. You may see a military takeover/division of the country itself into separate nation states. As far as its economy is concerned – the actual numbers are off the books; almost nothing is accurately recorded because of the rampant corruption…. See More

    On your statement to Lauren – one cannot be “innocent of laws,” law doesn’t work that way. The laws are in fact the only guiding principles capable of offering a child protection so be very careful before you invalidate the system of law.
    Tue at 7:42pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Investing in education, healthcare, trade, and infrastruture is NOT throwing money at a situation. Investing in people, is not throwing money at them. Using that term reduces the act to a menial form of assistance; applying a band-aid to the situation. But that is not what those investments are. And to say that people can simply and solely work their way out of poverty or a deadly disease is ridiculous.

    “Intercontinental transfer of wealth”. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the resources that are extracted from Africa (Gold, Diamonds, Oil to name a few) by rich nations and how so little of that wealth makes it back to the people in Africa. Let’s talk about the leaders we prop up becuase they serve our interests, knowing full-well that those leaders share none of the wealth with their people – kill their people. Let’s talk about the fact that 1% of all Gold is coming from DRC and fueling violence that has already killed millions.

    When I talk about aid and development, I’m talking about making up for the violence, deaths, and suffering that we cause and that we can prevent. We have a huge part to play in why things are the way they are and we have the power to change them. Not alone, but with the people we are trying to help…. See More

    And though I cannot, off-hand, provide a full argument here, I know that Haiti is no exception to that influence we have had and continue to have – even throughout their independence. I do not mean to downplay the role of the leadership in these countries, but it is of monumental importance to acknowledge the role that we play in the world, for better or worse.
    Tue at 7:44pm ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    Great point on the resources John, just look at Uganda right now in the way that illegal gold enters uganda and then becomes “legal”

    Another great story surrounds the famed Rhodes Scholarship that Oxford offers. Did you know that its endowment is actually paid for in blood diamonds?

    Cecil Rhodes was one of the founders of De Beers Diamond … See MoreExchange and also responsible for helping to instigate apartheid in South Africa to make sure that they could take resources and labor from countries in that region
    Tue at 7:54pm ·

    Mary Pongratz Spencer
    Mary Pongratz Spencer
    So after an hour of carefully reading these past 47 posts I have a few words to say…

    John, going back to the very beginning. You ask: “Why don’t we have this sort of movement to save their lives?” Very simple answer… the government never made the concrete decision that ‘we will not share water, food, or medicine with dying children’ – they did make the decision to legalize abortion.

    You say so many times that ‘we’ kill these children… That is saying that I, and you, and Matt, and JJ, and anyone else reading this forum, kill children every day. That I make the conscious decision every day not to give these children water, food, or medicine. Which in actuality is not true at all. I think it could be agreed upon that if any one of us had the power to help end all these problems, we would – in a heartbeat. We have all agreed that these problems are not ones that should be discarded, that these problems are extremely important and ones that do need serious attention; prioritizing being a main concern. But in reading all of these posts, points get lots and misconstrued very easily due to political views…. See More

    I believe you’re point of this blog was to convey your disappointment with with the way you see how people fight more for unborn children (and yes – you call them children – you associate life with them) than those who are already born. And all politics aside – (and using your definition as child and life) many people have stated – a life is a life is a life. They are all important. And that is a main point we should not forget.

    I am very excited to now hear you are pro-life… for the past 5+ years I have known you, you have not been. Not that welcoming you into my family was going to be difficult, but I am more at ease knowing this about you. But you state: “I personally cannot stand against abortion as long as the deaths of so many children who are born are ignored.” Even though you don’t have the words If/Than in your sentence – you are in some dimension making this an either/or argument. You CANNOT do something AS LONG AS this other thing is going on. You are going against what it means to be pro-life when you state that for lack of better phrasing: it won’t bother you that the unborn will be killed because there are all these that are born that are being killed…

    Steve very perfectly put it that unfortunately, children terminated due to abortion don’t have the proper support because there aren’t a lot of pictures and video’s… there isn’t the horror to see or read in the papers because it is never born, and people chalk it up to not amounting to an actual life so who cares (not that any of you have said that… but it is what society chalks it up to) – note back to Cheryl’s previous link on YouTube. But John, that’s the lack of severity you are giving this situation by saying you cannot support anti-abortion. And that is sad.

    Matt goes on to ask you about ‘passing out money’ and how we help the world. You are somewhat agreeing that people should be helped – not necessarily in the same fashion… but to Matt’s defense handing out money has never helped anyone – that’s why the US government isn’t handing money out to all of us struggling citizens who pay taxes – but to the banks who use it for bonuses instead of what it was originally intended. Money will always be used greedily. Everyone bashed Bush when he tried to help Iraq become self-sufficient… he took the chance and was booed out of office. How do you expect these countries to help themselves – because we sure as hell can’t trust them to use their resources wisely as you stated with Gold and Diamond situations.

    These arguments will go back and forth because the 3 of you are very strongly opinionated. Sticking with your main point – you cannot prioritize one life above another. You can prioritize how you would like to deal with it, but you should not disregard the other because of it. And that’s what I got out of all of this!
    Wed at 1:13am ·

    Kelly MacMullin
    Kelly MacMullin
    Each time any human life is needlessly lost, it brings a heaviness to my heart. When I look at the starving, neglected, abused, or murdered children across the world (including in our own backyard), I say ,“that child could contain in her/him the solution to a major problem we all face”. Children are a sign of hope, so when a child (born or unborn) dies, there is a piece of hope for us all that is lost.
    Wed at 8:50am ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    Kelly, where the hell do you leave that all these starving, neglected abused or murdered children are congregating in your backyard? That has to KILL property values…
    Wed at 10:29am ·

    JJ Hall
    JJ Hall
    Mary, on John’s point about killing children by inaction or just by living the lives in the manner that we do. It is unfortunate that in many ways we cannot escape this fact because the countries in which we live (and groups with whom we live) determine what our lifestyles will be.
    That being said, we should always try to be aware of our impact on the world – this includes the history of our societies, their present actions, and future intentions.
    From an academic perspective, if you are interested, check out “Underdevelopment Theory” – it’s an offshoot of World Systems Theory in Political Economics. It offers an excellent paradigm for analyzing the state of “undeveloped” countries, and if you look at the actions of the World Bank, IMF, and WTO then you will certainly see a continuation of this process of intentionally “underdeveloping” regions/nation states.
    Again, I’ll use Nigeria as an example. The lack of restriction on trade and business (as per the instruction of these international organizations) is the key reason that Nigeria is in the state that it is; it even supersedes domestic corruption. As the 5th largest producer and exporter of crude oil in the world, one would think that fuel scarcity would not be an issue, but in truth fuel scarcity is one of the BIGGEST domestic issues.
    Just this morning, if you wanted to buy fuel in Lagos, and have it by noon, you would have to line up to queue at a petrol station around 4:30 in the morning; that’s assuming that the gas station actually had fuel to sell. How is this possible? The international trading and money lending organizations know that by keeping the Nigerian fuel market deregulated (and they are calling for further deregulation), as well as big businesses that are stakeholders in these organizations, that it will allow international businesses to reap huge profits. As a direct result of big business representation in these international organizations and in the government, Nigeria will never build its own refineries to the extent that it can be fuel self-sufficient. Instead the 5th largest exporter of crude oil has to import its refined fuel…. See More
    Now, we say that it’s not our problem, but as the main importer of Nigerian fuel, the citizens of the U.S. that go to the gas pump are the ones benefiting from, and create a market for this issue.
    Before anyone suggests that free markets and deregulated trading actually help the economies of undeveloped or underdeveloped nation nations, they should travel there, live there, talk to people working there, and experience effects of an unprotected economy.

    I would also like to suggest a paper for you all to read by Thomas Pogge, an acclaimed human rights philosopher, titled, “World Poverty and Human Rights.” In it he discuses these exact dilemmas, especially the historical foundations of the wealth of many powerful nations. If you read it, please pay extra attention to this idea that Pogge presents about how our present lifestyle is made possible by that history, and the potential debt that we have inherited to countries whose suffering our ancestors brought about, and we continue to compound.
    I would post it here, but I do not want to violate the copyright. However I can email it to anyone that wants a copy.
    John, sorry but it takes a good stab at benefit concerts, and I wouldn’t want to offend your pro-Bono sensibilities.
    Wed at 11:17am ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Mary and Kelly, thank you so much for contributing to this dialogue. I know it is becoming somewhat of an overwhelming task, but I really appreciate all the voices on this.

    Kelly, thank you for putting it so simply and beautifully. Just in those few words, you said so much. Of course now I will go on to use way too many words. Apologies for that 🙁

    Mary, sincerely I thank you for reading all of these posts before you responded – I know it’s no easy task. And thank you for such a thoughtful response. I’d like to respond to your points. I’ll try and stay on point, but I think you fleshed out many important points and I want to respond to them…. See More

    I must first point out that our government does indeed make the decision, year after year, not to give water, food, medicine to children and adults who need it. And that goes for people living in this country and people who do not. I’ve mentioned the 10 million children who die every year from poverty. Well, 12 million American children go hungry every year. And 1.35 million children are homeless in this country. Year after year, we fail them.

    On a global scale, we have promised to give .7 percent of our Gross National Income (GNI) to international development – specifically the Millennium Development Goals, which I urge you to check out. The last figure I read was .16 percent – that is how much we give. We’re ranked second lowest among international donors. It is pathetic. It is wrong.

    Mary, what I am so passionate about is this: we are responsible for those deaths. We NEED to take responsibility for those deaths. Imagine a child is lying outside your doorstep, dying of thirst. You go out and promise that child you will help them and give them water. Then you go into your house and you ignore that child, while she dies. That’s whats happening, consistently. That is what we are doing.

    You’ve brought up a very important matter – actually Steve brought it up – of not being able to see the unborn and therefore that unborn having no voice. That is precisely what happens to 10 million children every year around the world. Children who are perfectly capable of seeing, touching, hearing; they have no voice and we ignore them.

    This is not an if/then or either/or argument. We can save every life and every unborn life, if we choose. However, I can speak for me personally when I say this, and let me be absolutely clear: I cannot honestly say that I believe the life of an unborn child is equal to that of a child who is born. I just can’t do it. I don’t know if that is right or wrong – only God does. That does not mean we need to decide between the two. I absolutely believe the life of an unborn is precious and I also believe it is important for us to lower abortions. We should educate and we should have programs that support women and future mothers. I do not believe, however, that we should make abortion illegal. I truly do feel as though there are exceptions whereby a Mother is justified in aborting her unborn child. I think that decision should be made with great seriousness, but it absolutely is not for me to decide for her. As Pat pointed out, you can’t just take an eraser and delete your mistake. Abortion should never be thought of in those terms, and unfortunately it is by many people. And that’s where I think education comes in – we need to change the way people think about abortion. I’m all for that.

    SO, maybe you have swayed me. Maybe you’re challenges have shifted me from a “I can’t take a stand against abortion” to a more active approach. I’m not quite sure where it leaves me. What I do believe with all of my heart is that being pro-life is about much, much more than just saving the lives of unborn children. It needs to be, first and foremost, about saving those lives who are already born. And again that stems from my belief that those lives are more important. I realize that I am prioritizing here. It pains me that we don’t take responsibility for all of these children who are born. It pains me that more people aren’t upset about this. We need to be upset! To use Kelly’s words, we should ALL have heavy hearts for these losses. And then, importantly, we should all act on that. We can change the way things are; I totally reject the notion that we can’t. I am, without a doubt in my mind, Pro-life.
    Wed at 12:09pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    And, just when you thought I was done, I’m not done. I need to address this idea of throwing money at or “passing money to” people. Really important because Mary you perpetuated that point which Matt made.

    Investing in people DOES NOT EQUAL throwing money at them. Would you ever say that building a school in your hometown is throwing money at those children? Or that raising money for your neighbor to receive cancer treatment is throwing money at them? Please, I beg you, stop using that term. It lacks any and all dignity. It dehumanizes the notion of helping people.

    Further, I strongly believe that your view of international policy is skewed. I do not believe Bush’s intentions in Iraq were to help people; I believe the intentions were very much in the interests of America: Oil, money, and power. Even if the intentions were pure, and we were trying to help people in Iraq, I totally reject the notion that war and violence can or will ever help people. We killed people. And if you call yourself pro-life, I seriously challenge you to consider your views on violence and war. If you believe that taking the live of another living human being can be justified, then please do not call yourself pro-life. You are not…. See More

    I’m sorry Mary, but our international policy has consistently created problems in the world. And once again, we are responsible – every single one of us in this dialogue included. Money talks – our tax dollars talk. We are paying for those bombs. We are paying for weapons of mass destruction. We are funding dictators and oppressive regimes in the world. We are equipping them and we are supporting them.

    Thankfully we are funding some good things in the world as well – thank God for that. But we have MUCH more to do. We live in a democracy whereby we control what our country does. We need to speak up and speak out against this killing; otherwise we are supporting it. Plain and simple.
    Wed at 12:28pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Oh and JJ please do send me that paper! johnabdulla@gmail.com I’d love to read it – even if it does hurt Bono’s feelings. haha.
    Wed at 12:34pm ·

    Mary Pongratz Spencer
    Mary Pongratz Spencer
    You’re right – we do live in a democracy… which means what 51% of the people want, 100% of the people get. If I could choose where my tax dollars went I would not choose half the stuff they go to. I am not, nor will I ever be, in the position to change these things. I can do my share to help in the community in which I was born and raised by voicing my opinion at the polls. I can write my feelings here, there, and everywhere… but until someone of higher authority actually takes the time to do something about it – no, I am powerless for the children dying in other countries – and for those dying here. If there was a child dying of thirst on my front doorstep, I would give them water. I cannot do that for the 1.35 million children who are homeless in America. There is an actual law that legalizes abortion – there is no law to ‘not’ feed or quench the thirst of anyone. And that was my point about the march – which was your original question in your blog.

    Going back to “investing in people” – building schools – great… But if we start building these schools and these wells, if we started putting our time, effort, and money into building up these countries, they wouldn’t do anything for themselves. Look at our own infrastructure… We try to get single mothers back on their feet – they take advantage of every situation. I go back to saying money will always be used greedily. If you want to broaden that – gifts and intentions and help and any other word you want to use to define what happens with the money we will use, can be taken greedily as well. Instead – we should be promoting and teaching birth control: if you cannot feed your children STOP HAVING THEM! Pat put it so eloquently, “just doing {it} because people can’t stop fucking isn’t really a reason to end a life” – which is true in both instances… because they don’t want the baby or because they can’t feed and provide for a child.

    I have never said – nor given you any reason to believe in the 5+ years you’ve known me – there is justification in any death. I never said I supported war. However Bush did it, he in the end helped Iraq become it’s own entity – not that they appreciated it. But you say that “I cannot honestly say that I believe the life of an unborn child is equal to that of a child who is born.” So please – sit back and read this carefully:… See More

    My unborn child – you’re future niece or nephew – is not as important or equal to a child in Africa that doesn’t have water. You would be ok if your future niece or nephew died as long as someone in Africa got food and water. This is what your saying. You don’t know if you’re right or wrong, but this is what you believe. Little Liam or Hannah isn’t born yet so he or she isn’t as important…
    Wed at 4:30pm ·

    Bonnie Rodgers
    Bonnie Rodgers
    John, you’ve stimulated a great, and interesting conversation.Thankyou.
    I believe that the pro-life stance includes the protection of all life – innocent and guilty. From a very personal standpoint I have learned it can be struggle to live out that belief.
    At one time the Church supported the use of the death penalty for those who posed a threat to the community; now that our penal systems can contain such persons support for the death penalty has been removed. The justification for war is also extremely limited. Granted the Church isn’t the only moral compass but nonetheless the teachings lend themselves to the appreciation of human dignity at all stages and states of life. We value life, all of it.
    There are many rhetorical comments to make about being pro-choice, pro-life. I consider myself pro-life but I never want to see or hear about a woman inducing an abortion again. The abortion and RU 486 procedures are horrific, one look at them and you understand why we use euphemisms such as “take care of it” to refer to abortion. The death penalty, it’s very existence and the way it’s applied is beyond troubling in our country. The phrases associated with the death penalty are barbaric. These are violent procedures
    Investing in education, medical care, healthy environments and infrastructure are part of our call and commitment to be united in the civic arena for the common good and in a christian sense serve one another. Our constitution attempts to balance individual rights with those of the larger community. Each day we all try and maintain the same balance; none of us relishes the idea of higher taxes but we desire safe and plowed streets. Our system of checks and balances doesn’t always prevent an agenda being acted upon. … See More
    We have to work everyday to act justly and walk with those in need. It’s not an easy task.
    Wed at 4:30pm ·

    Matt Calvey
    Matt Calvey
    What Pat said was well put, but I hope the expression of eloquence was stated with tongue firmly in cheek…
    Wed at 4:59pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    Thank you Bonnie. You have said it well, that living out one’s beliefs can really be a struggle. I am certainly feeling that struggle right as I write this very response! And I really do believe we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world. There is a great saying that goes “patria es humanidad” and it means the only real nation is humanity. To me it means that we are responsible not only to our family, or our community, or our country; but to the world.

    That being said Mary I will answer your question. Fortunately I will never have to make such a decision. I value both the life of the unborn and the life of the born. But I do not believe they are equal. And so, the life of the child already born, who is dying because they don’t have water (for example) is more important for us to save than the life of your unborn child. I’m sorry, but that is how I feel. And another way of answering your question (that I ask you to consider) is this: if you had a child already born, that child would be more important to me to save than the child that you have not yet given birth to.

    Once again, this is never a decision we have to make, thankfully. And it is one I make with the utmost respect to your unborn child (and my future niece/nephew!). I hope you know that…. See More

    Yet another way for me to answer, and a situation that actually could arise in pregnancy, is this: I believe your life is more important to save than the life of your unborn.

    I am not pro-abortion. I absolutely am not. And I do believe that we need to lower abortions. I would love it if their were ZERO abortions! But, unfortunately, I do believe there is such a thing as a justified abortion; whereas I do not believe there is such a thing as a justified killing of a living human being. If a mother is going to die, for example, I believe it is justified to abort the unborn baby. But I don’t intend to provide all of the justifications, because they are not for me to decide. My point is that I do not believe making abortion illegal is the right thing to do. I do believe educating and supporting young (and old for that matter) men and women is the right thing to do – hopefully we can find some commonality in that.
    Wed at 5:10pm ·

    John Abdulla
    John Abdulla
    And Mary, I totally disagree with you about all money being used greedily. The idea of investing in education, for example, is that people will become self-sufficient and be able to help themselves. That is the way to do it. It is with respect and dignity AND it is effective, which you are totally disregarding. Children want to be educated and they want to do things for themselves. I think you are totally off-base to say that they “wouldn’t do anything for themselves” if we help.

    When you pay for your child to go to college, I am certain you will do so with the expectation that they will get a job, a career, and an independent life.

    People need our help to overcome poverty, and then they can be self-sufficient. We do not have a fair playing field and our country has done much to ensure that people are impoverished. In that respect, we are directly responsible to those people. But even more important to me, it all goes back to my favorite word: Ubuntu. I am because we are. All of us are connected and it is so important that we understand that fact…. See More

    You mentioned that we legalize abortion, but not the killing of living children. Well, that is incorrect. We have chosen to legalize the dropping of bombs on innocent people. We have made that choice. We also legalize the killing of prisoners. However guilty they are, it is wrong to kill.

    And just because we don’t have laws that say it’s OK to allow starving children to die, doesn’t make it any better. Passing the responsibility to our government o

  10. is so, so much more we can all do as individuals to demand that those children are taken care of. I am just as guilty as you of not doing enough.
    Wed at 5:23pm ·

    Patty Kean
    Wow, what a conversation ~ my respect for all who have participated thus far is real as I perceive a group of people caring deeply about the lives of others. Last night after dinner, John, Bethany, Sasha, Larry, and I spoke about these policies and issues. During this conversation, I longed for the days when I could pick up my pro-life sign and … See Moremarch through the streets of Boston “in defense of unborn life” ~ I did this once ~ but the presence of poverty in these streets and the seeming indifference of those of us marching for life troubled me deeply. I think it is because so many in the pro-life movement adhere strongly to a person-blame frame. This approach holds every individual is responsible for his/her fate and choices ~ without considering the impact of the context (the system) on the person’s life. Person-blame is a very comfortable position for those like myself, fortunate enough to be born white in a middle class family in the US, because then I can somehow “own” my good fortune (mere luck?) as if it is something I deserved/earned all along. And, then, by extension, those people unfortunate enough to be born another color in the US (clearly a racist society) or into poverty somehow have deserved/earned their fate. Being raised in a Catholic home where person-blame and functionalism easily integrated into our religious orientation of free will and personal conscience, I experienced how the Scriptures were used to support this approach of person-blame…BUT Scripture is a double edge sword and it always, always cuts both ways, which I realized during high school in a profound way during a Catholic summer program for youth ~ we lived in Christian community (very different from parish life as I know it to be) and we went into the lives of the poor ~ not as “saviors” or as “fixers” but as those who desired to be in relationship with others. We spent time with families who were doing migrant labor in upstate New York and we spent time with families who lived in the inner city projects of Buffalo. We spent time playing with the children of the workers who were in the fields and time doing errands for people in the city who were homebound. I remember shopping for an elderly woman in the city and seeing the prices in her grocery store compared to the one my mom shopped at ~ so much higher for week old fruit that had been shipped in from the suburban stores. How did the “refuse” of my town’s supermarket become a high priced commodity just 15 miles away? Why did the migrant workers in the field earn less per hour than did a high school kid like myself when babysitting? During the evening we came back to our Catholic community, and read Scriptures, prayed, broke bread, and reflected on what we were learning. This powerful transforming experience, I realize now, shifted me forever from mere person-blame to an awareness of the powerfully determinant role of context and systems. I believe the roots of the “third way” of both/and or non-dualistic thinking (Fr. Richard Rohr is an excellent theologian on this) of the gospels entered my heart and mind during these summer programs. Jesus is a non-dualistic thinker. He holds both the person and the system in a compassionate embrace ~ and does not set them up to compete for righteousness. Judas, the systems person, and Peter, the person-blame person, were both loved and embraced by Jesus ~ and both encouraged by Jesus to abandon the confines of their approaches. So, how would Jesus approach this issue? I believe by embracing all the perspectives discussed here in a way where they inform each other rather than denigrate or compete with each other. This is uncomfortable ~ this doesn’t set well with our need to be right or righteous or our need to reduce issues to fit frames that we can control. So as far as the abortion issue ~ there is no denying that when I became pregnant a new life had begun within. And, there is no denying that once this new life entered the world, I needed the support of community, the benefits of education, the health care policy of their father’s employment to care for this child. I also needed the presence of God’s Spirit in my life for strength and wisdom. And, I had all of these needs met. I was lucky and no more deserving of these systems of support than anyone else. So how I see this issue is that I accept the reality of choice because as humans we make intentional choices. God always respects our right to choose. I see abortions as choices made for many reasons ~ and ultimately to me, they speak to existing deficits in society, some of which I am personally responsible for ~ some of which I am not. Whenever we kill (I do see abortion logically as a killing) out of perceived necessity (wars, the death penalty, capitalistic decisions, etc.), we are all harmed. The question for me is not “do I “vote” pro-life” but am I really living “pro-life”? Thank God for mercy!
    Yesterday at 9:08am ·

    John Abdulla
    Patty, thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences. You always challenge me to think in new ways and via new frameworks. I really appreciated your personal story of transformation and your insight about person-blame. There is so much to learn from your perspective. In my mind, that has always been what makes you such an incredible teacher.

    I’m just amazed by the dialogue that has happened among us, and I thank you all for it. We don’t see this kind of dialogue happening often enough, in my opinion. You’ve challenged my very beliefs and helped me work through them. Though the ground I stand on is not (and likely never will be) solid, it has grown firmer with respect to this important topic. I will try to always be open to the opinions, views, and beliefs of others, while also expressing my own voice and, most importantly, being guided by what lies in my own heart.

    Respectfully, with peace & love,… See More

    John

  11. I happen to be one who hears from GOD, which most will call matnel illness but I call a gift. But a gift born out of the fact that I didn’t allow my own child to be born in 1984 when I was 19. I was contacted by GOD in 2003 and told only in 2008 that the reason I was supposed to have figured out was not for my virtues but because of MY sin in the murder of my child by abortion. I was told that a woman and in fact nobody else either has the right to choose as it is choosing death for a living being who has the right to choose life. And so abortion is taking that right away without the consent of GOD. Who does very much exist. Another reason abortion and also euthanasia and murder in any form are sins and also plain murder which should all be illegal is because I was told by GOD that the soul does not live on when one is murdered, including when one is aborted. In every other instance of death death which is natural GOD has the chance to take the person’s soul out of the body before the body is dead and to take it to the next realm, which can include another stint on Earth for those not yet fully deserving Heaven. And every person who goes on to Heaven is the person who has survived his physical death only because it was the death planned by GOD. Even when a person survives an accident it is only GOD’s plan. Why then can’t GOD plan for abortion? HE can. But HE won’t. It is up to us all to save the babies and the young soldiers and those being killed by the Al Quaeda and all the muggings and home invasions and all the family disputes that turn deadly. We need to be all informed that there is life after death but only for those who dies a natural death. Therefore even capital punishment isn’t right because a person who might be able to be better in a subsequent lifetime will not be able to make up for the wrong he or she did in this lifetime.If you want to scream about the right of the mother to choose abortion, then also realize that the mother is choosing a Hell for herself if she realizes what she is doing and if she has been told it is death for her child. Which is the way it is sometimes. And they just prefer to be thinking of themselves as I did when I was feeling too young to go through a pregnancy and also too unable to afford the expense. I didn’t even consider having my baby and it didn’t even occur to me that it was already a baby in GOD’S eyes and also in the fact that it was having all the DNA to know exactly the eye color, the height, the hair color, the intelligence and also in great part the personality. So how can you say that it is only a bunch of cells when all that plan is already there from moment one? You can’t. And the woman and also her parents or husband or boyfriend doesn’t have the right to choose abortion which is death for the child.

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