For years now there has been something that bothers me about the abortion argument.
I tend to view it as a symptom of a larger problem caused by the entitlement culture devaluing life, its meaning, getting rid of virtue based ethics, offering incentives for short term thinking. Abortion isn’t the problem it’s the government spending and rules that encourage it that are. So I find the near obsession with abortion to be a distraction from the real cause. But what’s worse is that in the desperation to win, the religious wing of the Republican Party to whom I tend to refer to as Progressives for Jesus are giving progressives every bit of ammunition they need to further wreck society.
I have noticed for the last few years a disturbing trend—and that trend is the biggest problem I have with these progressives for Jesus, they have given in to the leftist materialism.
Here is the problem with the modern anti-abortion movement: they hold as gospel truth the idea that life begins at conception. They maintain this because somehow just because a sperm cell and egg cell join together then you have a full genetic code and the modern anti-abortion movement is based on this idea that if you have a full genetic code then you’re a human being. Thus every single embryo frozen in fertility clinics is a human being—I’m sorry but this is certainly one of the dumbest, and certainly in the running for the dumbest, idea I have ever heard. A human being is something far more than just a genetic code. But the modern abortion movement in its desperation to oppose all abortion and prove that abortion at any time, for any reason, under any circumstance, for any purpose, in any place, by any person, in any manner, way, shape or form is evil has given into the leftist materialism. They hold that human life is nothing but genetics. That it is our genetics that make us special. That the complexity of genes somehow puts us above all other forms of life. You know that .1% that sets us off from a chimp can’t be the source of our uniqueness in the universe. (Nor can even the 30% of our DNA we don’t share with the sea sponge). I’m sorry this is wrong, this is as wrong as wrong can be. What makes a human life have value has nothing, not a single thing, to do with DNA. It has to do with having a soul; the human soul is what makes a human being have value…so unless you can PROVE that the human soul enters the embryo at conception then you have no case that human life begins at conception. None.
Now an intelligent person realizes that a human is more than just an animal with a certain genetic code, no, what makes humans humans and not just mere animals is our souls. When the soul is present in the body of a homo sapien you have a human being, when it leaves you have a corpse…before the soul takes up residence, you have something that could become human, but is still lacking the single most important quality of human existence.
Okay, so if it’s the presence of the soul, when does the soul take residence? Well if you read the Bible it seems to associate the soul with breath, so that might suggest the soul takes up residence only upon birth…but we’re not really going to deal with Judeo-Christian beliefs, we’re New Agers, we try for more.
Now in most studies of life-after-death and reincarnation, which I think it’s safe to say, the idea that there is more than a single body surrounding your body but several “etheric” shells that are each shed through the process of death (see the Tibetan Book of the Dead for a more complete discussion) but conversely these bodies take time to form. And from what little science can glean from life-after-death and reincarnation studies (see Life After Death by Chopra and Evidence of the Afterlife by Long) and tradition (see God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Yogananda) the soul is not directly tied to the body until well into the third trimester, sometimes not taking full residence up until birth itself. (This does however vary). However, as any New Ager is likely to believe evidence from respected mediums, it appears that the souls attached to fetuses that may be aborted know what they’re getting into and bear no ill will if the fetus is aborted (see Talking to Heaven by Van Praagh).
Thus the best way to describe the soul’s relationship to the body before birth is at best a lease with an option to buy, with a not so hidden clause in the lease where the owner may terminate the lease and the house if they so choose. So in this respect it is not murder and certainly in favor of abortion.
So from my New Ager perspective it’s pretty clear the soul does not enter the body until the third trimester…but Progressive for Jesus will not even entertain what I consider evidence so it’s really not relevant to this conversation. You could argue that it’s still living cells but that doesn’t work because if you remove my kidney for a transplant it’s still a living clump of cells, but it does not have rights in and of itself because the soul is not directly attached to the kidney.
Now why have social conservative done this? They didn’t use to hold this line. But I think they got tired of having to argue a spiritual point with people who aren’t very spiritual…and you can’t really prove when the soul enters the body (at least not from a traditional Judeo-Christian viewpoint)…and then there is that problem that as far as I remember the Bible only ever associates the soul with breath (as was the common metaphor in the ancient world), which kind of has that problem of suggesting the soul only enters upon birth. Of course that would at least suggest a far more logical God than the idiot that the modern abortion movement implies—an idiot who despite infinite prescient knowledge will stick a soul into a frozen embryo that could sit there for years (think of that soul’s existence, that’s about as close to Hell as you could possibly get if God is really that dumb). I refuse to believe in an idiot God. God does not follow arbitrary rules for the sake of following reason, because to do so would mean that God does not believe in reason. And if that is the case, then God is not God.
But instead they chose to go with a simple scientific argument and completely ignore the soul. You can get people in the middle with a purely scientific argument. You can get them to more than agree to ban 2nd trimester abortions and put even more regulations on first trimester abortions if you’re just making the argument that life begins at conception because of genetics.
Yeah, they could prove that the soul is there before hand if you turned to modern science and studies on life after death and reincarnation, or just to modern psychology which shows that children learn even in the womb…but none of that evidence goes back to conception, and remember that the unwavering goal of social conservatism is that ALL abortion must be outlawed. THERE MUST BE NO EXCEPTION.
The goal is that all abortions will eventually be banned (as if you can stop black markets, but let’s ignore the economics for a moment*). And all other points of policy, philosophy and goals are secondary to abortion when it comes to social conservatives. Since social conservatives can only win with the genetic argument that life is nothing but a full genetic code and living cells, the soul and its importance gets left behind.
And this is where it gets dangerous. What have we seen in history? We have seen, time and time and time again that when the soul is not valued, that when religion or spirituality does not have a place in society, that when government and society say that human life is merely a pack of genes and a group of cells then you see the value of a human being fall apart. Why? Because genes are chemicals. They have no intrinsic value except what you can use them for, what you can get out of them. They become merely a means to an end, and cease being the end in itself. You see ethics fall aside and utilitarianism prevail. You see eugenics or transhumanism say these genes aren’t any good or aren’t good enough, let’s get rid of them and replace them with something we deem better (who deems what is good is only guided by utilitary value, because if human life had intrinsic value you’d never go down this road). You see the argument of let’s get rid of these people because they are of no value and aren’t getting rid of themselves fast enough on their own. You see this or that group is deemed inferior because they do not serve the utilitarian needs of those in power. Let us sterilize and put them off to the side because we can get nothing from them…you see tyranny, fascism, communism. The argument of that life is just being living cells, an argument detached from the soul, leads to a mind-set based in materialism. I would be foolish to claim all atheists are unethical, but history has shown that when society embraces that kind of materialism that denies the soul (1930’s Germany, Russia, China) you get that kind of mass genocide, without exception. You could say that religious people could never lead us down the path where the soul isn’t valued, but look to every time that religion has gone insane, it is always in the name of dogma and policy on Earth that leads to religious bloodbaths—it never comes from a side that believes that the soul, by virtue of being a human soul, has value. The places that believe people are equal throughout history (from an early version of this ideal in the Hellenistic Era, to Poland not giving into Europe’s anti-Semitism, to the spread of religious liberties seen during parts of the Enlightenment, to America stating “that all men are created equal”**), when people value human life because of the soul (whether that’s the word they use or not) you see prosperity…when they don’t you see misery. Without exception.
It is the eagerness of Progressives for Jesus to win on this one little issue of abortion that affects a miniscule amount of society that is giving this kind of materialism the long range tools of philosophy to devalue all life. They have given progressives the inroad to destroy the true value of human life. They devalue life with their argument and they perpetuate it…sure we don’t see a lot of it now (although caring more about body counts than liberty when it comes to foreign action, when a country doesn’t go into full on demands for heads to roll when some asks “what difference does it make” to the administration aiding and abetting murder, where people care only about their right to put poison into their body more than the need to fix the system…you could say we’re already seeing the devaluation of human life, but maybe I’m reading too much into that). And to save lives they have given their enemies the greatest tool to destroy life. And I am seriously worried that in the desperation to win the abortion argument by giving up the religious based argument and going for gross materialism social conservatives are actually sowing the seeds for a worse blood bath than the one they believe they are stopping. And all for bans on 2nd term abortions. What a bargain!
What profit social conservatives should they gain abortion but lose liberty?
Of course their support of a man who admires and wants to be a tyrant shows they don’t really care about liberty in the first place.
**Yes, none of these are perfect examples and you will always be able to point to people or groups or policies that contradict the value of the soul. It’s because people and society are a mass of contradictions, but in the eras I list they were more dominated by valuing the soul than not.
*Now let’s deal with the economics
Then comes the economic facts.
Fact 1: Making things illegal has never stopped the market; it only creates a black market.
What does this mean? Well, aside from the extreme image of back alleys and clothes hangers (I think overdoses on birth control are more likely…not to mention that the upper middle class and rich can always get a D&C at their OBGYN, just as they did before Roe) it means you’ll still have abortions being performed by doctors. Now I don’t think that, like with most black markets, you’ll see an increase in demand, but you will see an increase in supply. Doctors who don’t do abortions now because they can always refer a patient to someone else will take a stand and start doing them so I doubt you’ll see any major decrease in numbers in abortions from accidental pregnancies (I’ll get to why I make this distinction in a minute)
Fact 2: Black Markets can’t be regulated and are open to more corruption.
Which do you think stops more abortions a 48 hour waiting period or making it a blackmarket under absolutely no regulation? Having to see a sonogram of the fetus or going to a doctor’s office in the dead of night for a procedure that is done as quickly as is humanly possible? Banning late-term abortions or making the whole thing a thriving underground industry?
An intelligent person knows that regulation is a greater killer of any industry as most people are willing to jump through preposterous legal hoops before they consider illegal means. And I think most people are open to sane requirements like having to view a sonogram or having a waiting period or banning late-term abortions…whereas underground markets are a free for all.
Or how about banning gender selective abortions?…which apparently are going on in this country. Now while I’m sure we can all agree that anyone who would abort a fetus because it was the wrong gender is too sick to be allowed to have a child of either gender, I’ll simply settle for making it illegal to even ask for one…maybe with heavy jail time involved.
But if you just outlaw abortion en masse, you won’t have any of those controls.
Fact 3: Enforcement costs on black markets are insane.
As we saw with Prohibition and with the war on drugs, enforcing rules against a black market are prohibitively expensive. Prohibitively expensive. Not to mention making it a federal law requires federal enforcement…like we need another government agency getting involved with our medical choices. Then you have the costs of prosecution, which I promise you will have a remarkably low conviction rate, and probably the cost of suing states which rightly believe this is a state’s rights issue and legalize it. (Yes that would be the one benefit to outlawing abortion at a federal level, liberals would finally believe in state’s rights and the limits of federal power.)
Fact 4: A good portion of abortions now are caused by subsidies.
And the final fact that most conservatives miss. Right now an unhealthy portion of abortions (especially late-term abortions) are because there are extra welfare benefits to being pregnant…get more money for a few months, abort the fetus (on the taxpayer dime), and keep the money without the hassle of a kid. We subsidize abortion.
Now the majority of abortions are women for whom their pregnancy is an unplanned accident, they have an abortion, and probably are more careful in the future and never have another abortion. Bully for them. Unfortunately about 20% of women who have abortions are having 3+ in a life time I don’t have the figures on this group, but I’ll lay even money that Uncle Sam is picking up most of the tab for that 20%. Why? Because there is no cost for this idiotic kind of behavior. Because Uncle Sam subsidizes it. And as any economic conservative knows when you subsidize a behavior you get more of it.
So what should we do? Well, eliminate all taxpayer money going to abortions. (And if I had my druthers I would also ban any welfare support on a second unplanned pregnancy. The first time was a mistake and I’m willing to be generous…the second time it’s stupidity on the part of the mother.) This would dry up the well very quickly for those who are abusing the system.
In short. It is not ethical or possibly to ban abortion and anyone who cares about limiting the size and power of governemnt (which should be everyone) should stop trying to outlaw it and work more on creating a society where people don’t feel the need to do this (may I suggest economic growth through things like balanced budget and free trade).