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Come Together, Right Now – Over Abortion?

That's right – abortion. I absolutely love to dismantle the mindless liberal drones and Bushbots that haunt my favorite message boards. As a Christian man, and a traditionalist, I am decidedly pro-life. What I have come up against with one nemesis in particular on occasion when debating abortion on demand is the notion that the vast majority of pro-lifers are completely disinterested in "the living."

As much as it pains me to admit it, my nemesis has a valid and poignant take on it all. Due to the fact that he actually had an original thought, it probably won't surprise you to know that he, in fact, isn't a liberal, but a right-leaning moderate atheist with a tendency toward instigation rather than sharing ideas.

The idea that most pro-life supporters also support the death penalty and cutting welfare benefits strikes me as a little odd. I'm not in favor of the welfare state, but some people do need help. I see it as an investment in our nations greatest resource: the people.

The problem is, of course, the involvement of the federal government. For every one person or couple that needs and deserves help, there are countless others working the system. The death penalty is a different animal, so I'll just leave that alone for now.

From my perspective, the one aspect of abortion that neither side is talking about is the vast number of otherwise talented, bright, and possibly brilliant American men and women that are being thrown in the dumpster in favor of their irresponsible parents.

Why do both sides of this issue continue to ignore the causal relationship of poor life decisions and abortion? It's pretty obvious, is it not? People make bad decisions and end up not being (in their minds) financially able or responsible enough to care for a child – whether they dropped out of school or they're ridiculously selfish or just scared to death because their parent(s) was a moron who never learned how to be a parent either.

If you can't ban abortion, which the pro-life movement has yet to do, why ignore other avenues of prevention? I know about Crisis Pregnancy Centers and adoption advocates, and these efforts produce lot of good outcomes. But sadly, they don't even make a dent in the problem. They are reactionary in nature. Someone in trouble gets pregnant and then we act. What we need is prevention.

We need a national volunteer mentoring program in this country. If just one of every thousand well-to-do people were willing to take a little time to mentor a fatherless or otherwise troubled young man or women on the choices they will and do face, and how those choices will affect their lives, I believe we could forever change the trap of poverty in this nation and subsequently cut the number of abortions.

You might ask, "What about Big Brothers and Big Sisters?" To that I say, how does taking a kid to shoot hoops or watch baseball change his outcome? If he doesn't want to hear what you're saying, he won't. At the risk of sounding callous, why not take him to the bank and teach him how to open an account? Why not show him how to balance a checkbook? Why not teach him about interest and loans?

If you happen to be a business owner, why not take him to a meeting? Why not teach him how to type a resume? Why not teach him how to dress and speak properly when being interviewed for a job? Why not help him fill out his FASFA paperwork or prepare for the SAT? Why not help him get a better job? Why not schedule some time for him to tour the places he might be interested in working?

It can't be abstinence and preaching all the time. It can't be all billboards and picket lines. The pro-life movement needs centralized leadership to address real-time, viable, and fresh approaches to abortion prevention. I think most liberals would be on board with this idea. However, they would be drooling over it if the federal government would mandate that those making $85,000 and up mentor one youngster a year because they're all obsessed with "income disparity."

About AH Dowden

  • Diana Hartman

    In answer to every question you asked, I give you your own answer:
    “If he doesn’t want to hear what you’re saying, he won’t.”

  • El Bicho

    You might get more people listening to you if you didn’t come off so poorly in your opening paragraphs.

    You say you want people to work together on this issue, yet you go out of your way to insult liberals, who likely need to get on board, by declaring they don’t have original thoughts. Odd tactic that brings to mind the line “you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar.” It also effects your credibility because your nemesis’ thought actually isn’t original and you steal from a liberal to create your article’s title, so with two strikes already against you why should I think the remainder is going to get better.

    It’s too bad because you have some interesting ideas, but not as many people are going to see them because you are going to lose them at the start.

  • AH Dowden

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate any writing advice I can find. I’m glad you like some of my ideas and I will continue to work on my openings and overall delivery. However, I’m not likely to let up on liberals or neo-cons anytime soon. The idea that pro-lifers are not concerned with the living may not be my friend’s original thought, but it remains a valid one and has a place in the debate.

  • AH Dowden

    In answer to every question you asked, I give you your own answer:
    “If he doesn’t want to hear what you’re saying, he won’t.”


    Contrary to popular belief, kids are smart enough to know when they’re being patronized and pitied. The point is to do something real for the kid. Something that might actually positively affect who he or she becomes in adulthood.

  • Scott

    Mr. Dowden,

    I’ve taken a pretty quick look at this but didn’t see you address an issue recently occurring in my house.

    My wife and I are early 40s and she missed her period. We don’t use birth control as her tubes have been tied during our last child’s birth.

    I’m glad to report it seems to be nothing but there was some initial fear this would have been an ectopic pregnancy. This would have killed the fetus and my wife if an “abortion” wasn’t available. This would have left two children motherless.

    Don’t we need to leave abortions in place for things like this? I don’t think it’s my place to decide for another person whether they deserve an abortion or not because I don’t know all their circumstances. Shouldn’t this same reasoning apply to you and all member of the “pro-life” group? Lastly, if the “pro-life” groups continue to advocate for the elimination of abortions, at least in my wife’s case, wouldn’t that have made them “pro-death”?

  • AH Dowden

    Hey Scott, I’m glad to hear that your wife is OK. The fetus in an ectopic pregnancy is rarely viable, so we’re not really dealing specifically with abortion on demand. To answer your first question, yes, I am fully in favor of removal of an inviable fetus when the life of the mother is at risk. And I don’t believe I have ever met a pro-life individual that would be in favor of denying anyone that option in those circumstances. However, I’m sure you’re aware that the overwhelming majority of abortions are not done to protect the life of anyone. And that is the angle of the article.

  • Scott

    Mr. Dowden,

    I stand corrected about the non-viable pregnancies. Thank you.

    If it had been a viable pregnancy, would you object to us getting an abortion “on demand”? My wife and I being over the age of 40 and NOT wanting to go through another pregnancy (the second one was life threatening) decided early on this would be our choice. In this specific scenario, is it society’s place to decided what my wife can do with her body?

    Sorry if this is a bit off-topic.

  • AH Dowden

    Yes, if your wife was healthy and the child was viable, I think it is the role of society to protect that child. Once a woman becomes pregnant, we’re quite obviously dealing with more than just her body. It’s not as if society is telling her she cannot remove her gall bladder. It is a human being and should be treated with the utmost respect and care.

  • Scott

    Mr. Dowden,

    If you have time (and if this is the place), I’d be interested in hearing the definition of a human being on which you base your anti-abortion stance. What makes the fetus different from my wife’s gall bladder?

  • Al Barger

    Well Scott, for starters, your wife’s gall bladder doesn’t have a brain or a soul. A gall bladder is not a human being itself, but just a part of one. The fetus is a developing, growing person. It’s a little dude, and that’s just a fact – whatever moral or legal conclusions you may make about it.

    Personally, I’ve got issues.

  • Scott M.

    Mr. Barger,

    Thanks for writing. If you don’t mind the follow up question, where exactly in the body can one find the soul (not in the gall bladder I’m guessing)? Are anencephalic children not human because they don’t have a brain?

    I’m still confused about what makes a fetus a human and why some think it’s none of their business if my wife has her gall bladder removed but think laws should be passed to prevent her from having a fetus removed.

  • AH Dowden

    You’re being facetious. A fetus is a human being, a gall bladder is not. When a gall bladder is removed you’re throwing away a dysfunctional organ. When an unnecessary abortion is performed, you’re throwing away a human being. The majority of anencephalic babies do not survive the birth with approximately 50-60% being still-born. Children born with this disorder usually live only a few hours and are generally offered nutrition and comfort while passing. So yes, they are human beings that deserve what care and comfort we can mercifully give them. When you’re done exploring rare medical circumstances, perhaps we can discuss the overwhelming majority of abortions performed on healthy women who “choose” to not have their lifestyle impeded.

  • Christopher Rose

    The point is that it is other people’s decisions, not the author’s. It is none of his business what other people choose to do in their lives.

  • Andy Marsh

    Yeah – What he said! Well put CR!

  • Jordan Richardson

    It requires people willing to help other people – people with life experiences, knowledge, and sound advice, willing to take a time-out from the rat race and do something to make a difference in this crazy selfish world we live in.

    In other words, it takes a major shift in the capitalistic me-first mindset? Yeah, that’ll happen in America.

    If you can’t convince the majority of Americans that it’s a good idea to pay for social programs that enrich their communities and pay for basic health care that helps the average citizen, you aren’t going to convince them to take time out from earning more green to help some jackass they don’t know or care about.

  • AH Dowden

    “The point is that it is other people’s decisions, not the author’s. It is none of his business what other people choose to do in their lives.”

    What if someone chose to murder his one-year-old son? The child is completely in his care and cannot survive on his own without assistance from a caregiver. Is that not our business? The overarching point is that it is the business of society when someone chooses to create another human being and then kill him/her to avoid any inconvenience. It’s reckless, irresponsible and an obvious by-product of our rapidly degenerating moral character. This casual and nonchalant attitude toward human death should strike you as alarming no matter what your opinion of abortion is.

  • Andy Marsh

    Your casual and nonchalant attitude toward UNWANTED children should strike EVERYONE as alarming!!!

    Are YOU willing to take EVERY unwanted child born because YOU decided that abortion is a moral issue? Tell us, how many unwanted children have you adopted so far?

    None? Of course not! Your piece here wants everybody else to do it. That “we” crap. [Edited] I don’t want my kids raised in yours or Hillary’s village.

    Typical evangelical bullshit, pointing fingers at everyone else.

    Keep your own house in order. That’s one of the biggest problems in this country. To many people worrying about what everyone else is doing and not taking care of their own bullshit!

    And a one year old can live outside the womb…don’t be a dickhead just to try and make a point!

  • Christopher Rose

    AH, I expected better from someone who prides himself on clear thinking than a blatant bait and switch.

    The hypothetical situation of someone murdering a one year old son has absolutely nothing at all to do with abortion.

    What strikes me as alarming is the profound case of busybodyitis we see here…

  • Andy Marsh

    busybodyitis….is that a medical term? Is it that disease that’s curable by a good dose of mindyourowndamnedbusiness???

  • Scott

    If I may. Equating a clump of cells one day after conception with a child is ridiculous. Saying one should be able to abort a healthy baby just one day from it’s normal delivery date is equally foolish. These two extremes are both unacceptable. The answer has to be somewhere in the middle.

    I’m not sure where the answer lies but the answer for me may be different for you.

    I think abortion “on demand” should remain legal for those who feel the need. And of course, if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one.

    To adhere to one of the extreme positions makes one a mindless ideologue. This is an issue requiring careful consideration, a willingness to compromise, and compassion. Being an ideologue closes one off to all of that.

  • Al Barger

    Scott, that “where is the soul” business strikes me as willful blindness, at least as it relates to an issue like abortion. Call it soul, or consciousness or whatever, it’s there and you know it. Otherwise, where is YOUR soul, and why shouldn’t someone just be able to blithely kill YOU for the sake of convenience?

    I am reluctantly pro-choice, by the way. A little baby is much different than a gall bladder, but I still don’t like giving government authority over what someone has going on up in them.

    Also, I’m not entirely anti-abortion. Having an abortion is, as pro-lifers might argue, playing God. But that is sometimes appropriate and necessary. “Thou art God,” as Valentine Michael Smith would say. For example, I probably would advocate aborting a fetus with Downs Syndrome. That’d be sad, but probably for the best.

    But that’s a far cry from the de-humanization of many pro-abortion advocates who insist that a little baby in the womb with a brain and a beating heart isn’t a person, and that it’s no big deal to hump around and casually ditch the results.

    Also, perhaps the comfort of good liberals with abortion on demand might be given some much needed pause by this history of Planned Parenthood.

  • Christopher Rose

    Al, you introduced the concept of a soul to this thread, so it seems only fair that you try to answer Scott’s reasonable question. It seems like an easy cop out to try and argue that it is equivalent to consciousness.

    I don’t understand this playing God argument. What do primitive creation myths have to do with matters of human life or death?

    I’m pro people being able to live their lives the way they want to and if that means having an abortion, that is their own business and nobody else’s. I’m not persuaded by your point that a foetus is a person, although I would agree that making the decision to have an abortion is a big deal.

  • Andy Marsh

    Strong stuff in that link there Al!

    I’d always thought that abortion was kind of like what that article says, but I never knew that it’s actual intent may have been a eugenics kind of thing!

    doubt it will slow anybody down though…

  • AH Dowden

    Yeah! WOO! Hahaww! ^$&^$@#!!!! HaHaWw! %^**&$@!!! Yeah!!!

    Please go cuss and yell your ad hominems somewhere else Andy.

  • Al Barger

    Christopher- The concept or location of “soul” is tricky. It’s trying to locate exactly where the ghost is in the machine, and I don’t have any True and Profound Final Answer to such a question. Seems like soul or spirit is a function of the biological chemistry rather than a discreet physical object separate from anything else. Spirit seems to be a verb rather than a noun.

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s not there, and you goddam well know it. You know it because you experience it. Again, if there’s no soul, or it’s just some subjective product of my imagination, then is there some reason I shouldn’t just be able to kill any inconvenient biological unit that crosses my path?

    I’m not particularly invoking God, or only as a metaphor. But I am talking about human life and death, and babies are little humans. I’m mostly just saying that I object to pro-abortion advocates conveniently pretending otherwise.

  • Andy Marsh

    Yeah, that’s pretty typical too, you can’t answer the argument so pick out a couple of words and beat them to death.

    I think I understand what the AH actually stands for in your name there AH…

  • Lance Droy

    @ Al Barger

    Hi, yeah thought I’d enter the debate. Basically I would like to address your very woolly reference to the soul and ask you to qualify it.

    “I don’t have any True and Profound Final Answer to such a question”

    Then why do you advocate so forcefully that the soul exists? Besides you seem to be trying to fool us into believing you do hence:

    “Seems like soul or spirit is a function of the biological chemistry rather than a discreet physical object separate from anything else. Spirit seems to be a verb rather than a noun.”

    Seems? Seems? How so? The soul is a function of biological chemistry? Thats either you trying to be so totally vague that no one can challenge you or you defeating yourself. Either you are saying that the soul is in-fact the process of your bodily function , that it is all the rules that make your body work. In which case you are inseparably mixing body and soul, essentially saying that soul IS body. If they are the same thing then all you are saying is that the body is divine(assuming your argument is based on the soul’s being so). Which is great, I happen to agree, but it makes your other argument (no morality without soul, body is not enough) fall on its face. Or you are saying that the soul is some kind of third-person observer that watches and pulls our bodies strings. In that case you are saying that the soul is very separate from the body and no longer a function but a thing, a NOUN not a verb.

    “You know it because you experience it. Again, if there’s no soul, or it’s just some subjective product of my imagination, then is there some reason I shouldn’t just be able to kill any inconvenient biological unit that crosses my path?”

    So we ALL experience it do we? You realize that is a trick. How can we deny experiencing an un-known feeling? As to the second part; subjective morality aside, we the American people created a society that was intended to allow each member to prosper. That society was based on laws of cohesion that for better of worse follow the mantra of “please as many people as possible( that is the principle of an uncorrupted democracy, it has too be if you want to be re-elected). The idea of society’s laws is that each person get as much out of his/her life as possible. You don’t need a personal moral philosohpy, simply to know that you go against the wishes and purpose of your own society.
    Most people have trouble with that analogy so lets simply phrase it like this, either humankind has never had “souls” and human morality has developed to value living human beings. Or it always has had “souls” and the same is true. Either way the moral codes would still have developed. If there are no souls then you simply have to re-adjust your criteria. Why cant those “inconvenient biological units” (humans) be just as amazing, wonderful and valuable without you shoving your dis-satisfied “ghost in the machine” inside them? Why is nature not enough , why do you have to make it something else?

    I am not claiming to be able to disprove the soul, there are far clever people than me who would out argue me in an instant. The thing that irritates me about your writing Al is that you are trying fool people with flowery language. You haven’t actually produced any real arguments for what you say. It’s unfair on Scott.

    Sorry to enter the community in such a negative way. I’m really quite nice, honestly.

    p.s i wrote this late at night so please excuse the grammatical errors.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The concept or location of “soul” is tricky.

    Defining what is meant by “soul” is also tricky, Al. The word has distinct religious overtones and implies immortality or at least an actual or potential existence outside the physical body.

    If “you can’t take it with you” and it is simply a function of body chemistry, then isn’t it just a synonym for consciousness? Self-awareness? Or personality? Or an umbrella term for all of these? Is your soul what makes you “You”?

    We know that the fetus after a certain point in its development has consciousness. There’s a fascinating discussion of fetal psychology here, including mention of a study into gestational personality, but it’s far from clear how much individuality develops in the womb without any interaction with other humans.

    All of which would seem to imply that the developing fetus has a “soul” – but if that mystical organ is simply a part of our biology, then what, as Scott asks, makes it fundamentally different from his wife’s gall bladder?

  • Al Barger

    Lance Droy- Brother Droy, thanks for dropping in. Apologies are unnecessary – your comments are perfect friendly and reasonable.

    But you and the Dreadful Dr are both tripping out on whatever exactly implications you are adding on the word “soul.” I’m not trying to be flowery or mystical, there I do sometimes feel awesome wonder.

    I’m certainly NOT, however, specifically implying immortality or resurrection, which could possibly apply – but which I’ve never seen evidence of. I’ve never seen a spirit discorporate from a body, so I doubt it. But that makes the sanctity of THIS life MORE critical rather than less. If I were a Christian expecting eternal life with Jesus, getting killed here wouldn’t be near as big a deal.

    If it makes you feel better, substitute the word “consciousness” for “soul” if it offends your religious phobias. The point is the same. A gall bladder doesn’t have consciousness, nor could it ever survive independently. A little baby is different on both counts.

  • Scott M.

    Mr. Dowden,
    I’ve been giving this some thought over at another discussion blog. Not being a woman, the obvious answer to this discussion had slipped right past me and it goes back to the whole gall bladder thing.

    A good analogy I think is to ask myself would I be willing to let others make decisions about what goes on inside my body over my objections? Would I let anyone else decide I needed my gall bladder removed if I said no? Hell No! What if they said I must leave my gall bladder in place even if I thought I needed it removed? Again the answer is Hell No!

    What is inside my body is mine and for me solely alone to decide what to do with. If I were a woman and someone made the argument I couldn’t remove a fetus or baby even though I thought it necessary, the answer is those people can get stuffed!

    So my conclusion is, what is inside a person’s body is solely that person’s responsibility and decision about what to do with (lousy grammar, sorry). I will now and forever take the position that a woman is free to have an abortion at any stage in order to protect myself from other’s interference with what happens inside my own body.

    I’m also beginning to think the only MEN that should be allowed to vote AGAINST a woman’s right to choose are those men willing to cut off their own penises. Bring your severed penis is and receive your voting card. I can’t help but think some of these men that are against a woman’s right to choose are that was in part because it doesn’t cost them anything personally. I wonder how many of these commenters are so enthusiastic about their positions that they’re willing to make the penis sacrifice?