return to religion-onlineAbortion
Glen Stassen gives a scathing critique of the Bush administration concerning his policies effecting mothers, parents, babies, pregnant teenagers, the poor, and so many others caught in the downward spiral of his policies.
Abortion is always tragic, but the tragedy of abortion is not always immoral. Hand-wringingly sensitive to divergent views, the Catholic bishops give all sides a hearing, even the winnable nuclear war hypothesis -- a position they themselves find abhorrent, but change the topic to abortion, and nothing is the same.
Some churchmen and politicians are so intransigent on the issue of abortion, over which men have no physical control, and so tolerant of killing in war, over which men have always had control.
The pro-life hecklers and speech disrupters evidently are breeding backlash by satisfying their own need to lash. They are driving more people into the camp that finds abortion to be a reasonable choice, at least under certain conditions.
The pro-life movement has always known that in order to help the unborn, women must also be helped, but it has not yet found a way to make this moral insight the operative and unquestioned premise of the entire movement.
Effort to make "truth" unitary and absolute, as a way of strengthening acquiescence to church teaching authority, has exactly the opposite effect. If the Catholic church can be wrong on birth control, it can be wrong on anything. If uncertainty exists about something which the church has taught with its full authority, then anything it teaches with its full authority may be wrong.
That persons have rights is a universal belief in our society, but that a fetus is already an actual person -- about that there is and there can be no consensus. Coercion in such matters is tyranny. Alas for our dangerously fragmented and alienated society if we persist in such tyranny.
Perhaps it is time to stop thinking and acting in 30-second sound bites and engage instead in serious moral discourse on abortion. A blanket No is simply not a sufficient response to regulation.
If the pregnancy does not threaten the mother’s physical existence, then the rights of the child ought to be considered as on the same level as the mother’s. Compassion may be demonstrated in providing all possible assistance, including emotional support to the mother throughout pregnancy and beyond. It is not a perfect solution, but neither are many in life.
This article questions the commonly held assumption that the pro-choice and pro-life camps inhabit completely different philosophical and moral worlds. Both sides see themselves as struggling against tyranny. The two camps diverge by maintaining differing intellectual conceptions of the tyranny against which they are fighting.
Amid all of the stress caused by our uncertainties and conflicts over the abortion issue, the author wants the church to influence more surely the definition of life. "We too have something important to say about it. I donít believe we have yet done so."
The difference between radical and conservative statements on abortion reflects the difference between relational and static views of humans.
There is no position on the issue of abortion -- and other just and good decisions -- that does not have highly objectionable consequences. Clarity and consistency are well-nigh impossible, no matter which of the many options we choose. Giving us all the more reason to think as clearly, coherently and deeply as we possibly can.
Being antiabortion is not synonymous with or equivalent to being “pro-life.” This is not to say that they are incompatible or contradictory. Rather, they are at different levels of abstraction.