Bill Maher’s Curious View on Abortion. How Should Both Justice and Mercy Affect How We Approach the Topic of Abortion?

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”- Abraham Lincoln.


I have had fantastic news. One daughter is pregnant with our first grandbaby, a boy. This daughter is the one who was so terribly sick as a little girl with a brain tumor. I am so grateful for God’s mercy to my family.


Bill Maher and abortion

Bill Maher admitted that he believes that abortion is murder. Forgive me for the following talk show that discussed this. Just watch the first minute of the video to hear what Maher said. I am NOT endorsing the talk show that goes on for eight more minutes. I am NOT endorsing Bill Maher. However, he is influential, and what he says is fascinating.

It seems to me that he is saying he gets the pro-life position that abortion is murder; he kind of believes it himself. But he’s OK with the murder. What do you think about his position?

Abortion abolitionists

Karen Swallow Prior (KSP) wrote Mohler and the abortion abolitionists don’t take sin seriously enough. Abortion abolitionists are a group of pro-life people who have separated from the pro-life mainstream. The mainstream prolifers emphasized the overturning of Roe vs. Wade as well as supporting centers that assist women in finding ways to carry their unborn child to term.

I discovered Free the States, an abortion abolitionist website. Here is how that site views abortion.

We, as an abolitionist organization, agree with the pro-life position that abortion is bad, but further, we believe abortion is murder and ought to be treated as such. While many who call themselves pro-life agree with us that abortion is murder, abortion has not been opposed by the pro-life political establishment in a manner consistent with its being murder. The manner in which abortion has been opposed by pro-life lobbyists and politicians has not only been inadequate and largely unfruitful, but cannot be fruitful for it betrays the very foundations of the case against Roe v Wade.

…Abolitionists are not trying to make abortion safer for women, more rare, or a little less legal. Abolitionists are seeking to criminalize abortion because it is murder and the laws against murder should be applied equally to all people. At the same time we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ declaring that there is forgiveness for the sin of abortion, and all repentant post-abortive mothers and fathers can be redeemed and restored in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. This truth does not mean that there should be no punishment for choosing to murder your child, however

I think a website like that helps us to understand the extreme position that the abortion abolitionist represents.

Al Mohler appears to agree with some of their positions. Go back to KSP’s post:

But in the March 15 episode of his podcast, “The Briefing,” Mohler praised the abolitionists’ view that “all persons who are morally and criminally responsible for abortion should be prosecuted,” including the women who have abortions. “I think this is an embarrassing shortfall on the part of many who call themselves pro-life,” Mohler said, “where they have just decided to exempt women seeking abortions from really any moral accountability.”

While Mohler’s remarks carefully elided any distinction between “moral accountability” and legal prosecution, they whipped abolitionists into a frenzy. “Let’s go,” posted one, as though the discussion over prosecuting women who seek abortions is a sports competition. “You love to see it,” exulted another. A more egalitarian abolitionist argued that “both parents should die.

KSP argues that our laws encompass both justice and mercy. For example, slavery was legal. Yet, as we now know, it was evil. Were owners of slaves punished when slavery was finally abolished?

Chattel slavery, for example, which entailed countless murders, rapes and tortures, is one of the greatest human evils enshrined by law and defended to the point of civil war. Yet, slave owners were not prosecuted for their sins, including murder — some even got reparations. I even know of a Christian denomination, the largest one in America, that was founded for the express purpose of defending slavery.

When a woman feels she has no way out of a difficult pregnancy, that is a failure of the community around her.

The sense of feeling trapped by pregnancy does not originate as much within the woman as it does from her surrounding circumstances — whether her family, her community, her relationships, her economic situation, her health or her support networks.

Abortion is a failure not just of individuals but also of the village.

Approximately 1 in 3 women in the SBC have had an abortion! Where is the communal accountability?

The SBC is decidedly pro-life. I would venture to guess that folks in even the smallest SBC church have heard many a sermon on the evils of abortion. I assume most of those 1 in 3 women in the SBC would agree with the pro-life position. But 1 in 3 have had abortions.

When 1 in 3 women within a denomination have committed a sin that their denominational leaders say they should be prosecuted and even imprisoned for, we have a problem that is much larger than that of individual moral failing. This is a cultural and systemic problem.

True accountability requires communal accountability.

…punishing the woman whose circumstances make her believe abortion is her best option reinforces the idea that she is a radically autonomous being acting on her own apart from the formation of culture and her culture’s norms and laws. This view stands starkly against the teaching of the Bible, from the Hebrew Scriptures through the New Testament.

Does Al Mohler speak with a forked tongue?

Mohler may decry a society that has legalized abortions and the medical establishment that has invented easy access to abortions for women. KSP mentioned the evils of slave ownership. Most everyone, perhaps with the exception of Doug Wilson, would agree that slavery was wrong. Yet

And like the women Mohler decries for “shouting” their abortions, his institution “shouts” its slave-owning founders to this day. Human laws and rationalizations prove to be quite elastic when necessary.

Ouch!

This blog welcomes people from all walks and perspectives of life. Although I consider myself pro-life on behalf of the mother and the unborn, I wish to hear and understand from those who think differently than I do. For those on both sides of this issue, seek first to understand the other. Speak gently and be kind, or comments will not be allowed. I am taking a chance here. I respect those who visit here and believe that we can have a respectful dialog.

Questions for those who are pro-life: Emphasize the mother as well as the child.

  • What is my responsibility if 33% of the women in my church have sought abortions?
  • It appears the SBC stance on abortions has not affected 33% of women in their churches. What can be done differently? What is being done differently?
  • Do you know any abortion abolitionists? Why are their positions wrong? Would executing women who have had abortions decrease the number who seek abortions?
  • If you are pro-life, how would you counsel a woman who is seeking an abortion because she discovered that her husband views child porn?
  • What would you say to a woman who is being abused by her husband and wishes for an abortion?
  • What would you say to a woman who confesses she had an abortion because she was a teenager and was afraid of what her parents would say?
  • What would you say to a woman whose husband is demanding she gets an abortion because he doesn’t want any more children?
  • How did you combine justice and mercy in your response?
  • Why didn’t Jesus specifically address abortion?
  • Do the Epistles address abortion?
  • How do you think Bill Maher justifies his position regarding the sanctity of life?

Questions for those who say they are prochoice: Emphasize the unborn child as well as the mother.

  • Why do 1/3 of women in the SBC get abortions even though the SBC is pro-life?
  • Is there a time during gestation after which an abortion is unthinkable?
  • If a mother is experiencing abuse at home and decides she must have an abortion in the 9th month, how do you counsel her?
  • How do you combine justice and mercy on behalf of the mother desiring an abortion?
  • How do you combine justice and mercy on behalf of the unborn child?
  • When does the fetus become a human being?
  • Is there any passage in the Bible that commends abortion beyond saving the life of the mother?
  • What do you think of Bill Maher’s view of the unborn as a life?
  • Why does he then think it is legitimate to kill them anyway?

Finally, this is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

May it be so for all of us.


Comments

Bill Maher’s Curious View on Abortion. How Should Both Justice and Mercy Affect How We Approach the Topic of Abortion? — 94 Comments

  1. W.A. Criswell, darling of the partisans of the so-called ‘Conservative Resurgence’, said this in 1969:

    https://newspaperarchive.com/san-antonio-express-nov-06-1969-p-68/

    “Dr. W. A. Criswell, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wednesday called for liberalization of abortion laws in the United States. ‘I am in favor of liberalizing our abortion laws, because I’m a human,’ Dr. Criswell told newsmen in a press conference during the Baptist General Convention of Texas meeting here through Thursday. Abortion will be debated by the convention Thursday morning. The Dallas clergyman who is a messenger (delegate) to the San Antonio meeting said that present U.S. abortion laws are ‘very, very uncompromising.’ He said much of the U.S. feeling on abortion resulted from ‘theological doctrine that comes largely out of the Catholic Church.’ The Roman Catholic Church is strongly against the idea of abortion. Dr. Criswell said, “The wife should have the privilege of aborting a conception.” Asked his position on the belief that abortion is murder, Dr. Criswell said ‘The child comes into being when God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life’.”

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  2. Im not quite understanding the arguments of these extreme pro lifers. Do they actually believe in execution for the would be mothers? Incarceration? What would this accomplish?? Is the consequece more severe for late term abortions? How would this help the families if the woman already has children? This whole conversation makes me nervous as a pro life activist that has tried to assist many women in this position. My thoughts: what would Jesus say to her?? Seems like these guys who believe this ALSO to be theologically consistent with Mosaic law also shoold advocate for death for adultery.

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  3. It’s Thursday morning, 7:54 a.m. EDT, and I’m surprised to see no comments on this post yet.

    There was a time I would have rejoiced if Roe was overturned.

    Then a FB friend who had hyperemesis gravidarium (very, very, very, very severe morning sickness; Kate Middleton had it with her pregnancies) posted about her experience and was told by her OB, if this keeps up, we may have to consider terminating the pregnancy. I’m assuming it was because he saw it as a “life of mother in danger” situation.

    One man in my FB friend’s church told her that she could do no greater honor to God than to die with her baby.

    That’s when I started realizing, the abortion issue is more complicated than just “abortion is murder”.

    Another friend with PCOS has been unable to carry a pregnancy to term. She got pregnant after months of treatment (including needles) . . . And then she had a miscarriage and had to have a D & E to remove the fetus. She now lives in Texas and posted that if she ever had to have another D&C or D&E, she has a detailed written plan on how to get to New Mexico in case a doctor won’t do a D&C or D&E for fear of the legal repercussions.

    I don’t believe in casual abortion. If you’re not married and don’t want to get pregnant, the only 100% guaranteed method is abstinence. That said, I know I’m not enough of an influencer to convince people not to have sex until they’re married. I would hope that if I knew someone who wasn’t married and who was pregnant, I’d be able to talk to her in a non-shaming way and direct her to resources that would help her.

    If they’re married and in the circumstances you describe? I will be honest. I don’t know. I would have to draw on the wisdom of others in this case (and I know of people I can contact).

    Your questions give me a great deal to think about.

    Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS on your grandbaby! (If it’s a boy, I can recommend the name Matthew, which means “gift of God”. Given that your daughter survived a brain tumor, I think her having a baby is an extra special gift.)

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  4. The moment of birth is when a child enters human society. This has been true since the beginning of time.

    Let the woman and her counselors make any abortions decisions prior to birth. Their wisdom is paramount.

    Moral persuasion and evidence-based medicine, and not the law, should be the active force of the pro-life movement. If you can’t win hearts and minds, then governmental force is not humane.

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  5. I am mother to a child that had said child been conceived only a few weeks later , birth mom would have had an abortion.

    I will state my position, then bow out.

    My child had not raped, committed incest, or in any way done anything wrong to the birth mom. The birth mom in this case had married a man, gotten pregnant, then decided to go back to her first husband and did not want this child.

    Mercy and justice allowed them to give up the child for adoption. Mercy and justice allowed my child to be born also.

    We can in mercy and justice all day long have strong punishment for rape, incest, seduction, etc. We can welcome the babies once born into our homes. We can provide excellent care when a baby cannot function well in a home setting. We can allow compassionate exceptions when the infant will suffer long term if born, or if the brain is missing, etc.

    But an abortion kills a baby, not a potential one. A real one. And we need to stop that unless it is actually in the best interest of the child due to disease. (Some genetic conditions are quite painful, there is no quality of life, and it is a damnable decision to have to make as to which is actually mercy, life or death, for the baby. I get that.)

    But at the end of the day, ending the life of a baby through abortion is just exactly that. Call it murder or not, be honest, it is taking a human being’s life.

    And it must stop. And if it doesn’t stop, the punishment on the ones choosing death for their children and the ones killing babies may not happen on this earth, but they will happen.

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  6. Jerome,

    Whoa. I hadn’t heard of this. So, a child becomes a child when God breathes the breath of life into his nostrils? I assume he means after they are born? If so, does this mean that an unborn child is not human until it is out of the womb? This view is quite confusing. Did he ever correct what he said? Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. abigail: Im not quite understanding the arguments of these extreme pro lifers. Do they actually believe in execution for the would be mothers? Incarceration? What would this accomplish??

    X-treme Virtue Signalling Street Cred as More Pro-Life Than Thou.

    I saw this pattern emerge in the Eighties, when the movement was building its momentum. Each group – NRLC, ALL, Op Rescue – had its own One True Way and the universe cannot have two One True Ways. Lotsa Holier Than Thou infighting.

    Note that the only approach Christians are taking to “reducing the number of abortions” in their post-Roe jubilation is to PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! New laws in all the red states, Bounty Hunters in Texas, not a peep about intercepting the problem higher up the stream.

    Because the Righteous are never happy unless they have Unrighteous they can PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! like God on the Great White Throne in a Jack Chick tract.

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  8. dee: Apparently, they do. And from what I gathered, they are quite gleeful about doing so.

    The only Theological fight is what Godly METHOD of execution to use.
    The trend is towards Slow and Exquisite –
    I remember something about slow hanging vs Biblical stoning.
    (Maybe with Ayatollah Khomeini’s refinement of “with small stones so they die SLOWLY”?)

    Like Muslim scholars fighting over whether homosexuals are to be thrown off high cliffs, buried alive, or have buildings collapsed on top of them – all three methods are Written in the Koran (i.e. SCRIPTURE!).

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  9. Criswell years later shifted to pro-life stance, but: “Following the Roe v. Wade decision, news sources reported that Criswell said, ‘I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed’.”

    https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/how-southern-baptists-became-pro-life/

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  10. “What do you think of Bill Maher’s view of the unborn as a life?
    Why does he then think it is legitimate to kill them anyway?”

    Didn’t he essentially say that abortion is OK as a means to control global population? “Murder … I’m just OK with that. I am. I mean there’s 8 billion people in the world. I’m sorry, we won’t miss you.”

    “God’s Spirit specifically tells us that in later days there will be men who … allow themselves to be spiritually seduced by teachings of the devil … whose consciences are as dead as seared flesh.” (1 Timothy 4:2 Phillips)

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  11. Jerome: Dr. Criswell said ‘The child comes into being when God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life’.”

    On the other hand, Scripture says:

    “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

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  12. Max,

    Yeah, I have issues with what Criswell said, too. After all, the Bible says nothing about God breathing the breath of life into Eve.

    Honestly, I’m divided on abortions…. (still sorting my thoughts on what to say and how to say it).

    My grandson was a high-risk pregnancy. There was a short period of time in the first trimester of my daughter’s pregnancy when both of their lives were at high risk. If things had not improved, who would have had the right to decide whether or not to save my daughter’s life, or let both of them die?..

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  13. Max: America needs to be more careful what influencers it hands the mic too.

    In case this isn’t sarcasm, just who is on the committee to decide such things? And what topics and opinions are not allowed?

    Not too long ago Roman Catholics and LDS would be on the banned list. Along with Irish and other non approved ancestry. Maybe with all of those swarthy folks from southern Europe.

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  14. Max: On the other hand, Scripture says:

    “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

    Two things about this verse.

    First, it is unambiguously a person voicing these words, not God. Like most scripture, it is the “word of God” in the sense of being “words ABOUT God,” not words actually spoken by God. In such cases they deserve our respect but not necessarily our worship.

    Second, it clearly speaks of a process over time in which the work is only slowly completed. In the verse, when we are in womb we are “parts,” a “frame,” and “unformed substance.”

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  15. Bill Maher has been drifting to the right for a while now so I’m not surprised about his abortion standpoint. He’s taken a couple of potshots at Canada lately. Apparently we’re taking in too many immigrants (read non white people). I used to like his repartee but not so much these days. His movie Religulus or whatever it was called really just took on soft targets without any real insights about religion or it’s place in society.

    I’m not particularly pro abortion (not for religious reasons) but my issue with the anti abortion lobby is the inherent violence of the movement. Everything is on the table when you have a mission from god.

    The pro abortion lobby doesn’t assassinate doctors or firebomb buildings both of which have occurred in our jurisdiction.

    Religion kills any rational debate on the issue. Not all of us who don’t support abortion come from that stream.

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  16. How about personal autonomy? The pregnant woman is the one immediately affected. Why not leave the decision up to her, following competent medical advice; no one is required to have an abortion. I find religious types (throughout the spectrum, both conservative and liberal) inordinately harsh, vindictive, judgmental and controlling.
    RereadJohn 12:47.

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  17. I can’t imagine taking something or someone out of God’s hand as He is creating them. They might not seem like a good idea to us at the time, but with faith in God and hands that help the mom, we can see God’s plan unfold in our lifetime. John 9:1-3 I would never want to say that I know better than God!

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  18. In the section of The Radical Reformation entitled “Marriage, Family Life and Divorce: section 4 The Reappropriation by Luther of Tertullian’s Traducianism: A Major Shift in the Conceptualisation of Parenthood and Family in the Sixteenth Century”, there is a fairly comprehensive discussion on embryology/fetology.
    You can access it here on the Internet Archive –
    https://archive.org/details/radicalreformati0000will/page/n11/mode/2up

    The concluding paragraph reads – “It seems likely, therefore, that the radical tide, flowing against, and inexorably divided by, the vast promontory of archaic embryology, washed onto quite different shores and that it was the Magisterial Reformation, persuaded of the depth and universality of the consequences of primordial sin and convinced of salvation by predestined election to faith that indirectly enhanced the status of the foetus and the infant as person”.

    Marvellous stuff!

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  19. As regards Criswell’s view, he is wrong to suggest that only the view of the RCC fuels the current “anti” debate: the WCF section 4 “Of Creation” and the exposition of the sixth commandment in The Larger Catechism, Q134-136 demonstrate otherwise. See also Thomas Watson’s exposition of “The Ten Commandments”

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  20. Lowlandseer: The concluding paragraph reads – “It seems likely, therefore, that the radical tide, flowing against, and inexorably divided by, the vast promontory of archaic embryology, washed onto quite different shores and that it was the Magisterial Reformation, persuaded of the depth and universality of the consequences of primordial sin and convinced of salvation by predestined election to faith that indirectly enhanced the status of the foetus and the infant as person”.

    If it’s predestined then it doesn’t matter. The abortion will happen regardless and the soul will go to heaven or heck regardless.

    This statement has big words but makes no sense.

    In fact it’s more evidence that I am predestined to stay home Sunday and save 10 percent.

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  21. I believe that it is absolutely none of anyone’s business if a woman decides to have an abortion. In my 20s, if I had gotten pregnant, I would have had an abortion. I would have been fired immediately from my high paying job and at that time it would have been perfectly legal. In my 30s, I might have decided to have the child. New Mexico is and was much more accepting of single mothers than Oklahoma.

    The people who write the laws about life of the fetus or life of the mother really want to ban the procedure completely. They want absolutes about fetal or maternal health which doctors can not provide.

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  22. “Overturning Roe requires another law be passed that ensures men bear equal responsibility for pregnancies. Call it the “Personal Responsibility Act.” Using DNA as a verification, paternity for every embryo should be established and the male responsible obliged by law to support the woman and the child through the child’s majority, including medical costs, living costs, education — all the costs a father normally assumes for his child. In addition, the child should have a full share of the father’s estate if and when the father dies. If women cannot decide whether or not carry a child, fathers should not be able to decide whether or not to support the woman and the child. It’s about time men assumed responsibility for the consequences of their pleasure.”

    Robert Veitch, Richfield Star Tribune, 5/3/22, “Readers Write” section)

    I 100% agree with the principle he illustrates.

    Men ought to take responsibility beforehand to prevent pregnancy, but especially ought to take responsibility if their choice led to their partner becoming pregnant.

    Is it coincidence that there has been significantly less attention on male responsibility (regarding the abortion issue) when men have historically (and until fairly recently) held most if not all of the positions of power In our country?

    Why have churches (especially those stressing male “headship” and male “authority”) not been more vocal about males leading by taking responsibility for the life they created and the one that they created that life with?

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  23. For context, like the abortion abolitionists, I would agree that life begins at conception. HOWEVER, because of how murky individual circumstances can be, not to mention the absolute impossibility of being able to tell an early abortion from an early natural miscarriage, I lean more pro-choice. It’s complicated…

    My question for abortion abolitionists would be, do you believe that killing in self-defense or in defense of others is morally justified? If so, then abortion for many women is self-defense. And if not, are we also going to execute George Zimmerman and countless armed services or law enforcement personnel who’ve killed others while in the line of duty?

    Personally, having a miscarriage (and then almost losing my next baby because of an abrupted placenta) reinforced my belief that life begins at conception. But, oddly enough, I received FAR more emotional and material support from co-workers at my liberal and secular workplace than I did from fellow members of my conservative, pro-life church when the death of my unborn child occurred. Go figure.

    And no, making abortion illegal will not make them go away. It will just drive them underground, and more women in desperate circumstances or with high-risk pregnancies will die.

    After the birth of my second child, and after I entered the “geriatric pregnancy” age, every annual check-up my doctor asks what birth control I’m using. My husband, on the other hand, has never been asked. And while I certainly would not be a fan of dying from pregnancy-related complications, it’s not like being a widower-father raising young children would be a walk in the park, either.

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  24. I suppose there is something wrong with expecting the abolitionists to be happy with about a third of abortions since, statistically speaking, about a third of those aborted ones would have gone on to become abortion perpetrators and end up deserving the death penalty anyway.

    Some people just can’t be pleased.

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  25. I worked in medical research for a few years, so I thought I’d look up and share some data as food for thought.

    Here’s some info on pregnancy complications:

    * Miscarriage rates vary from 10-20% of *known* pregnancies (per Mayo Clinic website) to an estimated 40% of all pregnancies (according to WebMD’s website).

    * Per a Johns Hopkins web page, “Most pregnancies progress without incident. But approximately 8 percent of all pregnancies involve complications that, if left untreated, may harm the mother or the baby.”

    * According to a Commonwealth Fund report (10/28/21), “severe maternal morbidity [severe and potentially life-threatening complications of pregnancy and delivery] affects approximately 50,000 to 60,000 women each year” in the US.

    * In 2023, the CDC reported that in “2021, 1,205 women died of maternal causes in the United States compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019.” (I realize that there is some current discussion re: potential inflation of the CDC’s numbers based on its reporting procedures. While that’s an important discussion to have, the bottom line is that women can and do die because of issues with their pregnancies.)

    * Pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery, increase the risk of death in subsequent decades (Penn Medical News, 3/14/23).

    Just some food for thought…

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  26. Jerome: Dr. Criswell said ‘The child comes into being when God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life’.”

    At about 20 weeks, in the womb when God breathes life into a fetus who becomes a child who could possibly survive on his/her own outside the womb as a unique human being, being not just cells or organs or life but spirit. A unique made in the image of God person.

    The question is not “When does “life” begin?” Ants have life. The question is “When does a human begin, in the womb, yes, but when?”

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  27. Jack,

    Happy Friday. I hope the only flames you encounter is from the ten per cent burning a hole in your pocket. 🙂

    On a serious note, here is an old joke. A fire and brimstone preacher was graphically describing the horrors of hell and the “wailing and gnashing of teeth”. An old lady cried out “But minister, I dinnae have any teeth” The minister replied “Teeth will be provided” (a wordplay on the once common habit of providing tea after an evangelistic meeting). Another person cried “ But minister we didnae Ken (we didn’t know). The minister replied “Weel, you ken noo”

    Blaming predestination or God for your predicament won’t work. We all will have to give account for our state and actions

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  28. Lowlandseer: Blaming predestination or God for your predicament won’t work. We all will have to give account for our state and actions

    Ok – but God has intervened in the matters of man. This is demonstrated throughout the bible. If abortion was such a big issue then why not now? And violence by his followers doesn’t count.

    As to predestination, by it’s definition, it’s a known that has in essence already happened, free will is abrogated. In which case god is to blame for the whole enchilada. No amount of word salad changes that.

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  29. Larry Lewis profiled as a pro-life voice in the SBC from the 1960s on:

    He authored “more than 20 pro-life resolutions adopted by the SBC”.

    “When Lewis became HMB [Home Mission Board] president in 1987, one of his first actions was to create the office of abortion alternatives to help churches establish crisis pregnancy centers.”

    https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/how-southern-baptists-became-pro-life/

    His fellow Conservatives had made him head of the Home Mission Board of the SBC, but pushed him out when he proved to be insufficiently partisan:

    https://baptistnews.com/article/former-hmb-president-says-namb-merger-was-a-mistake/

    “leaders of the ‘conservative resurgence’ were displeased with him because he wasn’t aggressive enough about weeding out what they viewed as vestiges of liberalism at the HMB, but they didn’t want to fire him because they had supported his election and he affirmed biblical inerrancy. The solution, the story goes, was to reorganize the agency [into the NAMB, 1995] in a way that didn’t leave a place for Lewis.”

    “Lewis said some people who supported his election as HMB president expected a ‘wholesale purging’ of staff after he took office…[instead] he tried to be a reconciler and believed that much of the splintering in the SBC could have been avoided if conservatives offered political moderates who were theologically conservative a place at the table.”

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  30. Susan: * Miscarriage rates vary from 10-20% of *known* pregnancies (per Mayo Clinic website) to an estimated 40% of all pregnancies (according to WebMD’s website).

    * Per a Johns Hopkins web page, “Most pregnancies progress without incident. But approximately 8 percent of all pregnancies involve complications that, if left untreated, may harm the mother or the baby.”

    I just noticed this because you listed these stats right after the other. But I’m assuming the John Hopkins stat does not include miscarriage? Because miscarriage is (a) rather harmful to the baby and (b) also rather risky for the mother.

    An OB/GYN told me that miscarriage would be “like a heavy period.” I don’t know what on earth he considered a heavy period, but miscarriage was a whole lot more like childbirth than a period. Even a heavy one.

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  31. I’d be a lot more respectful of pro-life views if they were actually doing things to reduce the number of abortions. You can go all the way to making abortion first-degree murder (Ecuador) or no restrictions at all (Canada). But abortion is not the problem – it’s a treatment of a problem. If I had cluster headaches and someone banned narcotics, I’d go to the streets for them. So, if abortion is a treatment, what’s the real issue? Ability to care for a child – check. Social sharing – check. Insane medical costs IF a pregnancy and birth go well – check. Domestic violence and coercive reproductive control – check. Lack of access to birth control – check. Lack of access to child care – check. But all of “those” things are “socialism” and the loudest pro-birth voices are usually also the loudest anti-life-after-birth voices. Ecuador (insane legal penalties) has twice the abortion rate of Canada (no legal or social penalties). But Canada supports families and doesn’t bankrupt a family for a pregnancy.

    Note that our “life exists before birth” is extremely new and dependent on modern medicine continuing to exist. It is also the Jewish view and WAS the Catholic view that life starts and ends with the breath. So until I see all kinds of outrage and political airtime given to Black maternal mortality rates approaching those of Somali in the US, I give NO credence to pro-birth views or political action. They’re “banning Tylenol”, not doing the work to fix the “cluster headaches”.

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  32. Sarah (aka Wild Honey),

    It can be like either option. It’s not only one-way. I thought I was three months pregnant. Hadn’t had a period. Went to OBGYN. There was a bump on inside of uterus, but no fetus. Dr. was very worried that I would bleed out if my body started to abort (yes, the medical term). I had to have D&C. After first child, when trying for second, I had a normal period, but passed something that looked like a tiny umbilical cord. To this day I have no idea what I passed.

    I’m pro-choice, which doesn’t mean pro-abortion. It means I’m not interested in government interference with anyone’s health choices. I’m especially not interested in “any Religion” interfering in health choices.

    God is big enough to deal with people on an individual basis, or He is not? Government/Religion should not force decisions on people. It never ends well.

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  33. Here’s what a more recent American theologian has to say on the matter –
    “ There is probably no more emotionally issue in our culture today than the issue of abortion. It simply will not go away. Those who are pro-abortion get upset when churches protest the government’s making it lawful to have an abortion on demand. They say that the church is interfering in the business of the state. Now, if the government tried to promote one church over another, or decided to regulate the administration of the sacraments, then it would clearly be in violation of the terms that were established at the founding of the American republic. The United States was founded on the idea that no religious group would be favored over another, and all groups were guaranteed the free exercise of religion. But when religious groups say to the state that there ought to be a law against abortion, we are not asking the state to be the church; we are asking the state to be the state. We are reminding the civil government of its God-given responsibility to protect and defend human life. God gives the sword to the civil magistrate, not to fight wars of aggression, but to defend human life. When the government abdicates its responsibility to protect human life, then the church may exercise its prophetic role by calling upon the government to be the government. The sanctity of life is not a Christian issue; it is a human issue. It is rooted and grounded not in the law of the New Testament or in the law of Mount Sinai but in creation, in the creation ordinances.”
    (RC Sproul, “Truths We Confess”, p413-414).

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  34. Jack,

    Saying “It wasn’t me – a big boy made me do it and ran away” isn’t a defence that will stand up. You will find a fairly comprehensive and balanced view of predestination in “Truths We Confess” by RC Sproul. I just took delivery of it yesterday and I’ve been impressed by his plainness of speech and acknowledgement of the difficulties surrounding the doctrine. It costs about $11 on Amazon although there are other booksellers.

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  35. As mom of a person who would have been aborted if conceived slightly later, it took me a while to be able to watch the Bill Maher clip. I agreed with SoME of what he said. Basically as I understood him, he was saying for the pro abortion crowd to stop arguing that it isn’t really a baby or really human being being killed in abortion. He seemed to me to be saying if you accept abortion and are good with it, own it. Just say that you are killing a human and are good with it, since there are about 8 billion on the planet and the one being killed won’t be missed.

    He seemed pro abortion but intellectually more honest than the “it isn’t a life” crowd.

    And blunter: if you are good with abortion just admit you are good with taking that life.

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  36. And let me add this: as some states are writing their abortion bans, moms with eclampsia would not be able to deliver early with the best available medical care for both mom and preemie. That of course is wrong. Early delivery and late abortion are just not the same.

    We can write laws that make it possible to cover the medical exceptions to bans.

    But offing the baby at 14 weeks gestation or 16 weeks is not somehow banning abortion. Politicians need to admit that a 15 week ban is not a ban at all.

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  37. I’ve really enjoyed following the conversation….and there are some excellent comments. 🙂

    And my apologies if what I write is too much information….and I’m omitting a great deal of unnecessary detail, as well as omitting some details for my safety and protection.

    Muff Potter: and not word one about CONTRACEPTION.

    I was ALWAYS the one responsible for every kind of contraception (both mine and my husband’s)….I spent over 15 years taking a contraceptive pill, and that was at a time when they were “stronger” then they are today. And, for me, the side-effects were a trade off….the benefits being I no longer had extreme pain during my menstrual cycle, I no longer had heavy bleeding, my menstrual cycles were regular. I did NOT want to get pregnant.

    A short time into my non-physically abusive marriage, I told some people (omitting details for my safety and protection), that I’d have committed suicide if I became pregnant.

    Later on in my non-physically abusive marriage, I told people that I’d give up a special needs (of any kind) baby for adoption….I knew that a) I wasn’t able to raise such a baby properly, b) that there are people who want — and are very good at — raising such special needs children, and c) that I wouldn’t have ANY help from my husband.

    I’ve been happily divorced and remained single for well over a decade. 🙂

    Right now, I don’t have any kind of pet or any plants….I know I can’t take care of them properly….it’s enough for me to take care of myself.

    I’ve spent all of my life in abusive relationships. I’ve got Complex-PTSD. I’ve done what I can to limit contact to the very few abusive people in my life that I have to remain in contact with and look forward to the day when I can go completely no contact with those people.

    I’m not really on an “side” in this debate….

    I will, however, pose two questions (and I already know what some of the anti-abolitionists say):

    1) What about the ten-year girls (for example….some have been younger) who are raped and become pregnant?

    2) What about the girls or women who would commit suicide if they became pregnant?

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  38. Lowlandseer: Saying “It wasn’t me – a big boy made me do it and ran away” isn’t a defence that will stand up. You will find a fairly comprehensive and balanced view of predestination in “Truths We Confess” by RC Sproul. I just took delivery of it yesterday and I’ve been impressed by his plainness of speech and acknowledgement of the difficulties surrounding the doctrine. It costs about

    But I didn’t create the universe, and I don’t have the power to do miracles, so yeah, it’s actually a good defense.

    I don’t believe in predestination, we are responsible for what so we agree that we’re responsible for our actions.

    Thanks for the book title, I’ll put it on my list.

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  39. Max:
    Jack,

    America was a better place when national leaders considered what God had to say about things.“In God We Trust” doesn’t apply any longer.

    Actually it wasn’t. The present we live in is a direct result of that “better place”. For all it’s problems the present is better than the golden age that never was.

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  40. I hope Dee’s daughter has a safe pregnancy, she delivers a healthy child, and they always have the economic, physical, and emotional security for the child to be raised.

    My own view is that a fetus and before is a potential human life and of value, but, until it is born it is not an independent human life and its value is not equal to or greater than that of the person bearing it. The person bearing it has to invest a great deal physically at the risk of their own health or even life (and given our current society, risk to the economic well-being of themselves and of any, including children they already have, dependent on them) and so should have the choice of continuing that investment or not.
    A good society minimizes the risks taken by ensuring easily affordable if not free medical care, easy access to reliable contraceptives (including access to morning after pills since among other things even abstinence is no protection against pregnancy via rape), and economic security including housing and food for all.

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  41. Max:
    Jack,

    I guess it was just my corner of America that was a better place.

    We all wax nostalgic for our past. I don’t that past was any more godly than this one. But why was America better then than now?

    In my home town we got three channels and our local newspaper for news. A lot of stuff happened that we never knew. Like the local police taking indigenous men on “night rides”. Pick them up for no reason, intimidate them then drop them off in the middle of nowhere in winter. Our good times came at the expense of others.

    I’d sooner live in a society that acknowledges truth rather than hidden evil.

    Child abuse, domestic violence, racism, these didn’t arise in our time. Homelessness, drug use and poverty didn’t come out of nowhere either.

    Being godly is irrelevant, we’re paying for the sins of the past now. Rather than lament the loss of a ‘golden age’, act on the problems of today. We’re all in this together and only by working together will any problems be solved.

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  42. Jack: Like the local police taking indigenous men on “night rides”. Pick them up for no reason, intimidate them then drop them off in the middle of nowhere in winter.

    That anything like what happened in the RL Mississippi Burning?
    Except there they were more than intimidated and “dropped off” into a mass grave in the foundation of an earth-fill dam under construction.

    Our good times came at the expense of others.

    The Perfect Society and Good Life of those who DON’T walk away from Omelas.

    I’d sooner live in a society that acknowledges truth rather than hidden evil.

    Which makes you THE ENEMY who Dared to Walk Away form Omelas.

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  43. Erp: A good society minimizes the risks taken by ensuring easily affordable if not free medical care, easy access to reliable contraceptives (including access to morning after pills since among other things even abstinence is no protection against pregnancy via rape), and economic security including housing and food for all.

    But the CHRISTIAN Solution always has to be “wait for the end-stage (actual Abortion) then come down like an asteroid impact and PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH!

    Like that verse from that long-ago Robert Asprin filksong:
    “The Kingdom spoke forsoothly
    Asking ‘Who the hell are these Jerk-os?’
    And stood around all waiting for the Mongol Horde to fall;
    ‘And when they fall we’ll jump on them
    And then we’ll go Berserk-o’
    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!”

    How DELICIOUS it is to be The Angry God with all those Sinners in your Hands.

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  44. Erp,

    I share your wishes for Dee and family. As I said in an earlier post, my grandson was a high risk pregnancy. My daughter had some serious health issues. But now…. my grandson is an intelligent 5-year-old with a vivid imagination and boundless energy who loves his family, his dogs, his IPad, and his karate classes. He can’t wait to start school, and my daughter is doing great, except… uhm … EXHAUSTED!
    My Dee’s family have their hands and hearts as full as our family!

    Now, just a comment on the economic burden of raising a child, which even under ideal conditions is costly and physically/emotionally taxing….. there are programs to help expectant mothers get through the pregnancies, but then what?
    The federal gov is bandying about the notion of providing some degree of financial assistance until a child is 2-years old, but I ask again, then what?

    Not everybody has family/neighbors to fall back on for help.

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  45. My apologies if this is a duplicate….I think my other one vanished into the ether. Very big sigh.

    GreekEpigraph: I’d be a lot more respectful of pro-life views if they were actually doing things to reduce the number of abortions. You can go all the way to making abortion first-degree murder (Ecuador) or no restrictions at all (Canada). But abortion is not the problem – it’s a treatment of a problem. If I had cluster headaches and someone banned narcotics, I’d go to the streets for them. So, if abortion is a treatment, what’s the real issue? Ability to care for a child – check. Social sharing – check. Insane medical costs IF a pregnancy and birth go well – check. Domestic violence and coercive reproductive control – check. Lack of access to birth control – check. Lack of access to child care – check. But all of “those” things are “socialism” and the loudest pro-birth voices are usually also the loudest anti-life-after-birth voices. Ecuador (insane legal penalties) has twice the abortion rate of Canada (no legal or social penalties). But Canada supports families and doesn’t bankrupt a family for a pregnancy.

    Note that our “life exists before birth” is extremely new and dependent on modern medicine continuing to exist. It is also the Jewish view and WAS the Catholic view that life starts and ends with the breath. So until I see all kinds of outrage and political airtime given to Black maternal mortality rates approaching those of Somali in the US, I give NO credence to pro-birth views or political action. They’re “banning Tylenol”, not doing the work to fix the “cluster headaches”.

    Good comment, GreekEpigraph. 🙂 And I liked your cluster headache analogy….although I’m sure there are some people who won’t like the comparison….especially, and no offence to anyone intended, many so-called Christians.

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  46. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): The federal gov is bandying about the notion of providing some degree of financial assistance until a child is 2-years old, but I ask again, then what?

    My daughter and son-in-law adopted a 2-year old boy a few years ago. IMO, the adoption process is far too lengthy, difficult and expensive in America. Foster children need parents now, rather than being warehoused for so long.

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  47. Dee, I think you may be a little naive about the amount of sermons a person would hear in an SBC church. I have heard very few. I have only attended what maybe called Reformed leaning churches of the SBC. Other than at specific anniversaries of Roe verses Wade pro life Sundays. None that I remember. I don’t think the average SBC church even mentions it. They certainly don’t talk about the Biblical prohibition of fornication and that it is sinful. Any wonder that 35% of women would seek an abortion? Unfortunately if I am right, it should be expected. It isn’t just the SBC though.

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  48. Max: My daughter and son-in-law adopted a 2-year old boy a few years ago. IMO, the adoption process is far too lengthy, difficult and expensive in America. Foster children need parents now, rather than being warehoused for so long.

    I agree. Stream-line the adoption process for couples who want a baby and can’t have one of their own. I think it would go a long way in talking many young women out of aborting the baby they’re carrying.

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  49. Ken A: Dee, I think you may be a little naive about the amount of sermons a person would hear in an SBC church.

    I spend 15 years or so at the same SBC church that Dee was at. She was there for about the last 10 of those. I grew up in an SBC church in the 60s. Which was a totally different experience. Both good and bad.

    Dee and I got the full experience of many modern SBC churches. From sermons barely masking as political to one associate pastor handing out “who to vote for” papers.

    And YEC, and wives stay with your husband even if he is physically beating her, and so on.

    They were NOT out front about such things but cloaked a lot of it in convoluted language or via Sunday school teachers who were voicing “personal opinions”. (You got talked to if your personal opinions didn’t line up with the pastors.) And at one point, point blank one pastor said we don’t say all of these things front and center as it would scare folks away.

    We finally left at the same time. And about 1/2 of our church friends suddenly were glad to see us go.

    Oh, yes. They were fully “reformed”. Calvinist all the way. But it never came up even in the 10 week new member class.

    PS: I hate the word reformed. It is a great way to cloak what is meant by full on Calvinism. Again, let’s not scare folks away. And pretend we fixed something that wasn’t broken.

    And I am NOT speaking for Dee. But just sharing that, yes, she did hear a LOT of SBC sermons over a 10+ year period.

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  50. Jack: Being godly is irrelevant, we’re paying for the sins of the past now. Rather than lament the loss of a ‘golden age’, act on the problems of today. We’re all in this together and only by working together will any problems be solved

    If “being godly is irrelevant”, there are no sins of the past.
    If “we’re all in this together and only by working together will any problems be solved”, there isn’t any solution.

    Such is the optimism of fallen man. We can solve the problem while denying we are the problem. But you can always blame predestination, a doctrine you don’t believe in, or God, whose existence you deny.

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  51. Max:
    Jack,

    America was a better place when national leaders considered what God had to say about things.“In God We Trust” doesn’t apply any longer.

    Max, “In God We Trust” on the coins and “Under God” in the Pledge of Alliegance are artifacts of the Cold War. They haven’t always been there.

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  52. Tom Rubino: Why have churches (especially those stressing male “headship” and male “authority”) not been more vocal about males leading by taking responsibility for the life they created and the one that they created that life with?

    Because ‘headship’ and male ‘authority’ means only what they say it means in service of a particular ideology.
    But yeah, I advocate that responsible men who don’t wanna’ keep their pants on, get vasectomies.

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  53. Lowlandseer: If “being godly is irrelevant”, there are no sins of the past.
    If “we’re all in this together and only by working together will any problems be solved”, there isn’t any solution.

    Such is the optimism of fallen man. We can solve the problem while denying we are the problem. But you can always blame predestination, a doctrine you don’t believe in, or God, whose existence you deny.

    Yes, I see my foolishness.

    Why work together when we can stand in a field and just pray?

    Everyone should just get back in the closet, all those undesirables should go back to where they came from, and we can all whitewash the world so icky things like child abuse are just…gone.

    Then we can get back to worshipping Chris Hemsworth… I mean Thor…I mean Barry Gibb…no uh Jesus Christ…the not Jewish one.

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  54. Apologies if this has already been observed – I’ve had a quick look through the thread, and I might have missed it… but it stands to reason that anyone who thinks that abortion should be tried as murder, should ALSO be opposed to capital punishment. This is especially true of anyone who thinks that a woman, whose pregnancy has potentially fatal complications, should die with her baby.

    I mention this because, although I don’t know what stance the activists cited in the post take, I do know that evangelicalists in America are not always as diligent as they might be in opposing the death penalty.

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  55. I’m a 70+ single no-child guy so I’m not sure whether my opinion should count. That said, my starting point is that I hesitate to place obligations on others that I will never be asked to carry myself or ones that I am unwilling to shoulder.

    “The sense of feeling trapped by pregnancy does not originate as much within the woman as it does from her surrounding circumstances — whether her family, her community, her relationships, her economic situation, her health or her support networks.”

    Just so. So before I declare that aborting a probably handicapped child is wrong, I should be asking myself what support I would be willing to give the parent(s) over a prolonged period. Would I be willing to give up a Sunday afternoon once a month to look after the child and give them some respite? Or would the cursory support from me and the rest of my community be no more than the odd invite every few months? We had this in my old church: a couple had a Down’s Syndrome child. In his early adult years he was able to join in fairly well but from his 40s he got more ‘difficult’ and – let’s be honest – with very few exceptions we left him to his ageing mother. He died at 65, his mother not long after having had most of her adult life dominated by being a carer.

    As to ‘social’ abortions, again it comes back to what support we are willing to give. When a 17-year old gets pregnant are they surrounded with love and support, or would the church/school be much happier if they conveniently disappeared or quietly had an early term abortion that no one knew about?

    When I was young I knew all the answers. Now ….

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  56. TonyB: Just so. So before I declare that aborting a probably handicapped child is wrong, I should be asking myself what support I would be willing to give the parent(s) over a prolonged period.

    All too often, it’s “Be Warm and Well-Fed. I’LL PRAY FOR YOU(TM).” and then cross to the other side of the street and get away like the Priest and Levite.

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  57. Nick Bulbeck: Apologies if this has already been observed – I’ve had a quick look through the thread, and I might have missed it… but it stands to reason that anyone who thinks that abortion should be tried as murder, should ALSO be opposed to capital punishment

    “Evangelicals in America” are often THE most vocal Gallows Groupies/Death Penalty Fanboys you’re gonna see.

    1) The Righteous are not happy unless they can PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! the Unrighteous (real or imagined).

    2) How Utterly DELICIOUS it is to BE the Angry God with all those filthy Sinners in your Hands…

    3) “Doing what God would do if God only KNEW what was REALLY Going On…”

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  58. TonyB: As to ‘social’ abortions, again it comes back to what support we are willing to give. When a 17-year old gets pregnant are they surrounded with love and support, or would the church/school be much happier if they conveniently disappeared or quietly had an early term abortion that no one knew about?

    Don’t forget that Social Standing and Position and Power also factor in.
    Rank Hath Its Privileges – we’ve seen that enough in the churches scrutinized on this blog.

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  59. TonyB: I’m a 70+ single no-child guy so I’m not sure whether my opinion should count. That said, my starting point is that I hesitate to place obligations on others that I will never be asked to carry myself or ones that I am unwilling to shoulder.

    “The sense of feeling trapped by pregnancy does not originate as much within the woman as it does from her surrounding circumstances — whether her family, her community, her relationships, her economic situation, her health or her support networks.”

    Just so. So before I declare that aborting a probably handicapped child is wrong, I should be asking myself what support I would be willing to give the parent(s) over a prolonged period. Would I be willing to give up a Sunday afternoon once a month to look after the child and give them some respite? Or would the cursory support from me and the rest of my community be no more than the odd invite every few months? We had this in my old church: a couple had a Down’s Syndrome child. In his early adult years he was able to join in fairly well but from his 40s he got more ‘difficult’ and – let’s be honest – with very few exceptions we left him to his ageing mother. He died at 65, his mother not long after having had most of her adult life dominated by being a carer.

    As to ‘social’ abortions, again it comes back to what support we are willing to give. When a 17-year old gets pregnant are they surrounded with love and support, or would the church / school be much happier if they conveniently disappeared or quietly had an early term abortion that no one knew about?

    When I was young I knew all the answers. Now ….

    Good comment 🙂 ….and very thoughtful. 🙂

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. 🙂

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