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The right to life?

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.

what motivates the pro-lifers?

The belief that life is a fundamental human right
10
37%
A fear of what happens after death
2
7%
A desire for control
15
56%
 
Total votes: 27

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kbell
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The right to life?

#1 Post by kbell » July 4th, 2007, 5:58 pm

Arguing about abortion usually ends in deadlock. It seems to be one of the hardest things to persuade people to change their minds about. What I'm interested in is what motivates those people who are so passionately anti-abortion that they join the pro-life movement, campaign, picket clinics etc. I know these are religious people but not all religionists are anti-abortion in all circumstances and some atheists are (though I don't suppose they form alliances with the religious anti abortionists, do they?). I'll attach a poll of what seem to be the main possibilities: a belief that everyone has a right to life, a fear of what happens after death (for unbaptised souls, for example), a desire to control or something else?

It seems to be at least partly due to a desire for control over the lives of others though I find this hard to explain.

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Alan C.
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#2 Post by Alan C. » July 4th, 2007, 7:04 pm

Autumn.
It seems to be at least partly due to a desire for control over the lives of others though I find this hard to explain.
I agree completely, it's only the religious that are anti abortion, religion likes to control everything, that's all religion is about, total control.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Zoe
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#3 Post by Zoe » July 4th, 2007, 8:04 pm

I personally don't agree with them, but I refuse to simply assume pro-lifers are of the religious fanatic variety (and I'm not saying this is what anyone else is doing). I find the pro-life argument is actually not very easy to handle.

I have met many non believers who are virulently anti abortion.

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Alan C.
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#4 Post by Alan C. » July 4th, 2007, 9:10 pm

Zoe.
I have met many non believers who are virulently anti abortion.
Yes Zoe you're right, in hindsight there must be Atheists who are anti abortion.
I could have worded my previous post a bit better.
The point I was trying to put across is, Atheists who are against abortion don't murder doctors or blow up clinics, it takes religion to make people THAT fanatical.
Have a look at this story I posted on the HSS forum, this is Catholic Southern Ireland.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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#5 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 4th, 2007, 9:54 pm

Can I chose secret answer d. to this one; brainwashed by the religion. Many Catholics are brought up almost from birth the idea of just accepting what the Church and the Pope in particular teach. the fundamentalists are different; they read what the text of the Bible says and when it says murder they can't see beyond the word.

On abortion I would have to say that there is no way to persuade anti-abortionists and I can't see any point in trying. Fortunately, our parliament in the UK is not usually swayed by their arguments.
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scogirl
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#6 Post by scogirl » July 5th, 2007, 10:26 am

I chose 'A desire to control' as it strikes me that a lot of pro-lifers (especially in America) are MALE.

Without wanting to man-bash here, I don't think that any man has the right to dictate what happens to a woman's body.

It is the woman who carries & gives birth to the babies, perhaps if a man had to go through it, they would see the pro-life debate a bit differently.

I think these people are fanatical to the extreme & the methods they use to drive home their 'message' are completely un-christian.

Each to their own I believe, even if you are pro-life, you should not enforce *your* views on others.

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#7 Post by Jaybird » July 5th, 2007, 4:44 pm

All three are possible and there are other motivations too. Of course there are also different opinions about what constitutes "human life" and cultural influences can be as strong as religious ones.
Zoe wrote: I find the pro-life argument is actually not very easy to handle.
Interesting, Zoe. Which particular one? I know the OP is mainly about abortion but the pro-lifers tend to be just as opposed to euthanasia and stem-cell research.

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#8 Post by para handy » July 5th, 2007, 11:34 pm

Jaybird wrote:
Interesting, Zoe. Which particular one? I know the OP is mainly about abortion but the pro-lifers tend to be just as opposed to euthanasia and stem-cell research.
My name isn't Zoe so I hope it's OK to chime in.

I think that scientific advances threaten some peoples perspective of human life. Some people feel that human beings are being devalued if they are treated like any other part of nature. The notion that a human life is physically and existentially different from nature informs much morality.

On one level, I guess fear of death may be part of the reason as immortality in traditional religious philosophy requires the soul to be external to nature. It may not be as important as other things but I ticked it because I like to be in a minority of one.

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#9 Post by Bryn » July 6th, 2007, 10:24 am

I'm sure many pro-life people are motivated by a sincere belief that all human life is sacred and should be protected. But there is a darker side. The more radical pro-life elements oppose artificial birth control, comprehensive sex education, and almost anything that evinces greater openness about sexual matters. And this represents just good, old-fashioned puritanism and authoritarianism. There's still the idea that sex is sinful and dirty, and anything that promotes sexual freedom is wicked. If you have sex and get pregnant, that's your just deserts. Abortion is wrong because it makes it too easy (as if abortion is "easy") to avoid the consequences. And it's even worse because abortion gives women control over their sex lives, which clashes with an attitude of sexist authoritarianism.

Titanium Wheels
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#10 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 6th, 2007, 11:46 am

Actually, Bryn, some of the most extreme anti-abortionists in the US take to killing those to do the abortions. Now how can that be called pro-life?

Meanwhile, what you say about people ebing unhappy with sexual openness reminds me of a post I saw a little while ago. This was on a Catholic board and was about a vaccine for the virus which causes most cervical cancer. The poster was against the vaccine because 'in would promote sexual promiscuity'. So teenage girls refuse to have sex in case they get cervical cancer 20 years down the line?

Then there is the official Catholic view of abortion. This seems to be centered around the idea (concept) that the soul enters the body at conception, thus making one cell a person. Now before the 1860s the Catholic Church taught that the soul entered the foetus after 40 days for a boy and 60 days for a girl, presumably allowing some possibility for abortion very early though probably no thought of. However, to improve the position of Mary and to show she was sin free, the Church decided that the soul entered her at conception thus moving the goal posts for all conceptions to the present position, all for one case and without a touch of evidence either way.


These sort of extreme things really makes me wonder about the sanity of some people.

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kbell
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#11 Post by kbell » July 11th, 2007, 11:19 am

Bryn wrote:I'm sure many pro-life people are motivated by a sincere belief that all human life is sacred and should be protected. But there is a darker side. The more radical pro-life elements oppose artificial birth control, comprehensive sex education, and almost anything that evinces greater openness about sexual matters. And this represents just good, old-fashioned puritanism and authoritarianism. There's still the idea that sex is sinful and dirty, and anything that promotes sexual freedom is wicked. If you have sex and get pregnant, that's your just deserts. Abortion is wrong because it makes it too easy (as if abortion is "easy") to avoid the consequences. And it's even worse because abortion gives women control over their sex lives, which clashes with an attitude of sexist authoritarianism.
Yes. I think a good percentage of (so-called) pro-lifers have these feelings deep down, even though they may profess only to care for the life of the "baby." I notice that the most rabid pro-life activists choose the least productive way of preventing abortions, which is by force. They would be a lot more productive (as evidenced by the situation in other countries) if they put their resources toward stopping unwanted pregnancies and campaigning for improved sex education, provision of contraception etc.

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#12 Post by ranter » July 15th, 2007, 7:10 pm

I'm digressing, but only very slightly. Take the RC stance on abortion.
I think it’s preposterous that Cardinal Keith O’Brien can pontificate on something like abortion while his own doctrine vehemently opposes any kind of birth control. What is that all about? Talk about hypocrisy and double standards!! There are thousands of African people dying each day of AIDS, which accounts for almost more than those killed through famine or war.
So here we are, being lectured to by some brainwashed Nazi maniac dressed in a frock, about the moral rights and wrongs of abortion.
We have the audacity to condemn Muslim fundamentalists while we have all this unadulterated crap going on in our own back yard. It’s an affront.
I have always believed abortion should be down to choice, and I do not use the word lightly. I defy anyone who maintains that choosing an abortion is an easy decision for any woman. I feel fortunate that I have never been tested with this myself, and I can only imagine the life long gut wrenching guilt, that one would be left with after ‘choosing’ to have an abortion.
I wish the RC church would tidy up its own scandals and sins, before lecturing to anyone about abortion! :-(

I think that was a rant!
:wink:

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#13 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 15th, 2007, 8:40 pm

That was a great rant, Ranter, but with some serious points.

1. What is the Catholic Church up to with its ideas on birth control? I mean look at it this way. Suppose my wife takes the pill and we have the urge but of course no child results. How is this different from a wife who does not take the pill and they decide not to and again no child is the result. Abstinence seems to me to be juts as bad as any other form of birth control.

2. What does the RC know about children and sex anyway? Some of the priests seem to like children rather too much and some like sex too much; I think it was over 100 children fathered by priests in Ireland.

3. The leaders of the RC are, presumably, completely free fro the knowledge and so on of sex. How can they pontificate on a subject which they have no knowledge of? What beats me is how many people actually believe what thy are told.

the RC is amazing ion its arrogance and it is hardly surprising if people leave it.
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clayto
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Abortion

#14 Post by clayto » July 23rd, 2007, 7:03 pm

There seems to be a fair bit of ranting and abuse of Catholicism and pro-life going on here. Surely it would be more rational to concentrate on the core issues, such as

Catholic and some other religions claim that from the moment of conception the soul is present and the unborn baby has (almost?) the same status as a baby after birth.

If a person / Church believes this then their claim that abortion is morally (not in a legal sense in UK) murder and to be opposed on 'sanctity of life' grounds makes some sense, does it not?.

Given their core belief is their stance unreasonable? It does not seem so to me. Are they consistent in the application of their belief. For a variety of reasons it does not seem so to me.

It does not seem to me we can usefully debate their core belief, they have it, we dont ---- although we could examine how they came to that belief historically.

But we can debate the various inconsistencies in the belief and its application. For example, in addition to how 'sanctity of life' relates to death penalty, war, non-human animals do pro-life folk actually respond to the unborn foetus as they do to a baby after birth? Why, as was asked on Heaven and Earth, do Catholics not baptise sanitary towels for example?

Perhaps posters here dont think this sort of approach is better and more appropriate for Humanists than abusing Catholic bishops as 'Nazis' etc. etc. I hope some do.

Chris
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Alan C.
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#15 Post by Alan C. » July 23rd, 2007, 7:33 pm

Clayto.
Perhaps posters here dont think this sort of approach is better and more appropriate for Humanists than abusing Catholic bishops as 'Nazis'
Please read the two newspaper clips I have linked to.
I started a thread on the HSS forum where the Catholic church were very much acting like Nazis.
More on the same story here.
Given their core belief is their stance unreasonable? It does not seem so to me.
Regardless of this Catholic girls core belief, she wanted (for very good reasons) an abortion, just who the hell do these supposedly celibate old men in frocks think they are? To deny her that right.
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Re: Abortion

#16 Post by God » July 24th, 2007, 8:30 am

clayto wrote:There seems to be a fair bit of ranting and abuse of Catholicism and pro-life going on here. ...
... Perhaps posters here dont think this sort of approach is better and more appropriate for Humanists than abusing Catholic bishops as 'Nazis' etc. etc. I hope some do.
Some do, some don't, as you will see. We are a broad church*.

Clayto, you seem to be asking us to be sensitive to their beliefs. However, sensitivity cuts both ways. The Catholic position is not sensitive to non-Catholic sentiments. By all means impose restrictions upon their own followers, to be followed on a voluntary basis (on pain of "eternal damnation" or whatever other tripe they care to invent). But why should those restrictions be applied to others who do not share those beliefs?


____________________________________________________
*Concerned Humanists Undertaking Real Conversations Here

Nick
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#17 Post by Nick » July 24th, 2007, 10:24 am

Various thoughts:
If a person / Church believes this then their claim that abortion is morally (not in a legal sense in UK) murder and to be opposed on 'sanctity of life' grounds makes some sense, does it not?.
I agree. It is a valid position to take to say that the world should live with the consequences of its sexual actions, rather than 'destroy a life'. It does not require belief in a supreme being to take this view. Though I don't share that view myself for a variety or reasons (not least, that as a man, I think my opinion on this subject is definitely not equal to that of a woman), I am uncomfortable with the apparent callousness of pro-abortionists, who seem unconcerned how many abortions are carried out.
Why, as was asked on Heaven and Earth, do Catholics not baptise sanitary towels for example?
I heard that too! And not a bad line from Germaine Greer. Her point is well made, and derives from the ignorance of catholics (who at the time were the only church) of basic biology. However, there is no point in baptising sanitary towels, as the life would already be dead, and the soul therefore incapable of entering heaven anyway.

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#18 Post by Bryn » July 24th, 2007, 10:28 am

I don't see anything in Clayto's post asking us to be sensitive to religionists' beliefs, I see simply a suggestion that it's a waste of time ranting about what they believe and do and that we focus instead on why they believe what they do and the inconsistencies between belief and practice.

I'm also interested in the lack of consistency of belief between one Christian and another. I think there is a danger of making too much of what the lunatic fringe get up to. So far as I'm aware, the murder of abortionists, for example, is not sanctioned by any Christian church and is strongly condemned by the overwhelming majority of Christians. I'm not sure that it's useful to blame Christianity for that kind of activity. Psychopaths will find an excuse to hurt and kill, whether it be religion or politics, a passionate belief in animal rights or something else.

I'm interested in knowing why some Christians support the death penalty but a great many - perhaps the majority in this country - oppose it. I'm also unsure about their attitude to war.

Finally, I am very interested in the whole question of attitudes to the foetus. Does a foetus that is miscarried at, say, four months get a full religious funeral?

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#19 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 24th, 2007, 11:28 am

Let's quickly look at some history. Prior to the 1860s the teaching of the RC Church was that the soul entered the foetus of a male after 40 days and a female after 80 days. At that point, there would not have been a problem with abortion like there is now.

The1960s brought about a new teaching about Mary, that she was born without sin, (I think this is based on the Gospel of the nativity of Mary), and so decided that her soul had to have entered the foetus at conception. That sort of made a mess of the previous teaching so from then on the soul enters the foetus at conception. This is infallible teaching as the same council, Vatican 1 gave this authority to pronounce infallible teaching to the Pope.

So, now, we can see that the basis for opposing abortion is based on a teaching which was somewhat forc3ed on the Church for other reasons and has no basis in earlier tradition or in the Biblical record. All its followers are tied into this teaching. It is for this reason I oppose the teaching. now I am not prop 'use abortion as birth control' at all. yet I recognise that sometimes it is right and also that we an't really write down all the possibilities.

Of course, the fundamentalist churches in the USA have the same preserve human life view but it hardly makes any sense at all. medical evidence shows that MOST fertilised ova do not implant and are passed out of the body I wonder if there is a doctrine that explain why god would allow so much waste of human souls who are released from the body almost as soon as they arrive!
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clayto
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Abortion

#20 Post by clayto » July 25th, 2007, 1:27 pm

Bryn wrote:I don't see anything in Clayto's post asking us to be sensitive to religionists' beliefs, I see simply a suggestion that it's a waste of time ranting about what they believe and do and that we focus instead on why they believe what they do and the inconsistencies between belief and practice.
Bryn has expressed my position well. I ask for Humanist to try to 'understand' the Catholic and other pro-life supporters not in the sense of 'empathising' but in the intellectual sense. Even for those who look upon pro-lifers only as enemies it might be expressed as 'knowing your enemy'. When Humanist show themselves to be ill-informed or 'over the top' in their reactions to the anti-abortion case it does our position significant harm, it is not the informed reasoned case we should be trying to present to the world. There are a great many people (the vast majority of pro-lifers) who are against abortion who are not examples of a 'brainwashed Nazi maniac dressed in a frock'. There are some active Humanists (some known to me personally) who are against abortion either as it is managed now or even totally. Some of them, being female do dress in frocks but are not brainwashed, Nazi or maniacs!

Anyway, I am glad to see this discussion has turned in a more reasonable direction. quote "Let's quickly look at some history. Prior to the 1860s the teaching of the RC Church was that the soul entered the foetus of a male after 40 days and a female after 80 days. At that point, there would not have been a problem with abortion like there is now." I was interested in this and would be grateful for references please?
clayto

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