Monday, July 17, 2006

Pro-life, anti-1215

The RCJ had a article today about the South Dakota Family Policy Council's church and state road show, where pastors are getting advice as to how to speak on political issues (of all kinds, though they seem focused on abortion issues) without threatening their IRS tax-deductible status. The SDFPC is gearing up their Witherspoon Network of politically-active pastors and flocks to spread their definition of True Christian® political ideas throughout our fine State. I'm all for following the law, I hope they do stay within the boundaries of our tax laws. I applaud their efforts.

However, I have a message for Robert Regier and the South Dakota Family Policy Council: there are many ethical Christians (and other people of other and, even no faiths) whose patience is wearing thin, and are growing tired and bored, but sometimes afraid of your ethics-free labels and judgements on other's lives—lives whose reality and stories you clearly have not taken the time to understand. Fortunately, we are gradually deciding not to buy it anymore. Even the labels aren't sticking any more to your so-called "conservative" ideas.

Like "pro-life", for example. It's a label applied one issue, to divide people along stark lines.

No sane person or person of good will could not be "pro-life", or even want to "promote" abortion... and I am so sick of the implicit 'NOT pro-life' label that I recently carried a sign at a political event to express my feelings:

The pro-1215 protesters, carrying signs that said Pro-Life Democrat, whoop de whoop, of course found my sign absolutely contradictory. One of them asked me how I could be anti-1215 if I were pro-life.

I told her that I thought I hated abortion-as-birth-control as much as she did, but believe (based on the facts) that 1215 was not going to preserve any lives but instead would destroy many more. I asked her if she really believed that oft-quoted 800 was the number of actual abortions in South Dakota last year-- in reality, 800 was simply the number of legal abortions that took place in Sioux Falls. Many others happened illegally in the state and legally out-of-state. I told her I felt a law like 1215 was going to cause a lot of suffering and would not save any lives. I told her that I did not think sending doctors to jail was going to save any babies. But it's almost moot since even if this law could reduce abortions (which of I don't agree), it is extremely unlikely to even go into effect and instead will simply exist as a expensive, long court battle.

An abortion criminalization law that does nothing to address the causes of abortion, while its proponents try to limit sex education, access to birth control, and even emergency contraception? Sorry, I don't buy it.

My conclusion: contrary to (maybe not-so-popular) belief,

HB1215 is not pro-life.

Let's go on... what about the fact that we don't seem to be willing to provide health insurance to all children in this state, if it means taxes would have to be raised, even a little bit, even on those of us that can afford it? (see Sam Hurst's RCJ op-ed today, not to be missed). Think of the lives that would be saved and the quality of life this would add all around. Kids whose teeth and head hurt don't learn and develop. Hmm.. actually they do learn. They learn that no one cared enough about their lives to help them when they most needed it. Health care for all children is not a lefty dream... it's, well, pro-life.

What if we wanted to open economic opportunities to the working poor (and especially their kids?) by raising the minimum wage in this state a buck? Even if you don't care about the ethics, the boost to the economy would help keep families together all over this state...feed kids better... and likely reduce the demand for abortions (many of which are driven essentially by stressed family economics). Raising the minimum wage: very pro-life.

What about the death penalty? Why are we the only country except a few freedom-poor ones like Iran and North Korea that still direct the state put people to death? It's really hard to understand this--to me, to not even seem to have an ethical struggle about this issue is un-Christian, and not humane in that the death penalty does not respect the sanctity of every human life. (Don't think I'm a coddler here; for heinous criminals face life without parole--I really don't think that's a soft landing, and perhaps far more just. There's of course the [significant] ethical benefit that a single person [the governor or the president] doesn't have to choose whether to allow someone to be killed or not.) Anti-death penalty? Yeah, (you'd think!!), pro-life.

Yes, I am pro-life and anti-1215.

Have a problem with that?


  1. Respectfully submitted for your consideration:


    Jack H

  2. The death penalty provides justice to people who wrongfully take the lives of innocent people. Abortion kills innocent people. It's not rocket science.

    You also can't support a procedure (or oppose something aimed to stop that procedure) which wrongfully takes innocent life, then call yourself "pro life." I think that falls somewhere around the definition of "hypocrite" and maybe "self-deception" also.

  3. Hypocrisy? Self-deception? More labels from the expert.

    Since when is killing someone "justice"? Eye for an eye is history. Also, the last time I looked, that's not the Christian message, it's the the message of that bad-boy Old Testament God that I thought was proclaimed as done and over with when Gospel replaced Law.

    It's a pro-life position (and mine) that abortion is wrong and its tragedy must be reduced. I believe laws like 1215 make the lawmakers and citizens that support them feel good that they are doing the right thing, but in reality they do not get is where we want to be: fewer abortions. There are still many abortions in El Salvador, at the cost of a great deal of human suffering.

    Don't charge me with hypocrisy when, literally overnight, emergency contraception was showcased make 1215 more palatable as a "rape/incest exception" by the very same legislators that the day before argued to make it unavailable to rape victims.

    Let's take it easy with those labels, like I said, they aren't sticking that well anymore.

  4. If anti-abortion activists want to call themselves "pro-life," and continue to be pro-war, pro-death penalty, and pro-torture, they need to re-name their position "pro-blastocyst/embryo/fetus," depending on what stage the pregnancy happens to be in.

    If you're in favor of protecting human life, you can't cherry-pick which lives are worthy of your "protection" (not that 1215 will actually protect anyone).

    As far as the death penalty is concerned, rapists, murderers, and terrorists are still human lives. They very much deserve to pay for their actions, but since when does killing people who kill people show that killing people is wrong?