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My take: Rethinking the pro-life label
A new radio ad takes aim at House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's pro-life claim.
May 13th, 2011
04:31 PM ET

My take: Rethinking the pro-life label

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The pro-life label isn’t just for abortion opponents anymore.

On Wednesday, 70 professors, priests and nuns at Catholic universities criticized House Speaker John Boehner for a legislative record on the poor that was, in their words “among the worst in Congress.” His “anti-life” budget, they wrote, ignores the “most ancient moral teachings” of the Catholic Church on the duty of the powerful to care for the powerless.

A similar scolding is now being meted out to Rep. Paul Ryan, who spearheaded that GOP budget. In a pro-life ad that will greet Ryan as he returns to Wisconsin this weekend for a congressional recess, Father Thomas Kelley of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, blasts Ryan for proposing a budget that “abandons pro-life values.”

“I’m pro-life because God calls us to protect life at all stages,” Kelly says in the ad, which was paid for by a pair of Catholic and evangelical groups, before arguing that the proposed GOP federal budget offers no such protections.

The budget “makes huge, irresponsible cuts hurts families who are struggling to find jobs and put food on the table, but provides big tax breaks for millionaires and large corporations whose profits are soaring,” Kelly says.

“Saying you're pro-life isn't enough,” the ad concludes. “Congressman Ryan, actions speak louder than words."

According to Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which helped to pay for the ad, “Being consistently pro-life requires more than caring for the unborn, it requires following the Biblical call to care for the poor and the downtrodden. "

On that measure, in his view, the GOP budget “falls far short.”

For nearly a generation, the GOP has enjoyed a monopoly on religion in the corridors of power. Democrats, invoking Thomas Jefferson’s metaphor of a “wall of separation between church and state,” responded the rise of the Religious Right in the late seventies by arguing that religion was a private matter that should have no place in political life.

As a result, Republicans enjoyed a free pass on the religion question. They were the party of God, and a halo of sorts hovered over their public policy positions on "family values."

But just how biblical were these positions?  No one really knew, because neither the public nor the press were religiously literate enough to ask.

After John Kerry’s 2004 presidential election defeat, however, the Democrats decided that in a country where only 2% of the population self-identifies as atheist, it was probably not so smart to be seen as the anti-God party. Over the last few years, Democrats, including President Obama, have spoken freely about their faith.

Following the Republicans’ lead, they have connected the dots between their policies and the teachings of the Bible. “What Would Jesus Tax?” they have asked, even as they scrutinized anti-immigration legislation in light of the good samaritan story.

What we are seeing in the attacks this week on Boehner and Ryan is the beginning of a long overdue public conversation about what it means to protect the sanctity of life.

We are also seeing the mainstreaming of the Religious Left. Jim Wallis of the Sojourners community is no longer a voice crying in the wilderness when it comes to questioning the Republican monopoly on biblical values.

The days when Republicans could simply assert that they are Bible-believing Christians appear to be over. Now they are going to have to show it.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor.”

Do Boehner and Ryan think the poor are the blessed of God? Thanks to these recent provocations, we are going to find out.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Abortion • Bible • Catholic Church • Church and state • Politics • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. CatholicMom

    David Johnson,

    It was good to hear you say that you are not ‘for abortion’ after all your words defending it. If there was nothing wrong in it you would not care if you were counted amongst those who ‘are for it’. You have been listening to your Mother!

    But, your thinking that God should interfere with His gift of freewill to us and prevent us from doing as we please in light of our knowing right from wrong, takes our freedom away. Why would anyone prefer to be as a robot over what we have? We just need to persevere in what we know to be the Truth and thank God for all His gifts…which includes every baby, no matter how young or old! If we cannot see the goodness in loving our neighbor as ourselves we have work to do!

    Expecting the government to love our neighbor for us is not the right path to be on.

    May 14, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • David Johnson

      @CatholicMom

      The Christian god's attribute of omniscience makes human free will impossible. If the future can be known, then it is not random. It is not dependent on choices or events. Everything is predestined. It doesn't matter if god resides in another dimension or is made of spirit or yellow marshmallow like an Easter Peep.

      If god plans our days, free will is an illusion:
      Psalm 139:16 (New International Reader's Version)
      "Your eyes saw my body even before it was formed.
      You planned how many days I would live.
      You wrote down the number of them in your book
      before I had lived through even one of them. "

      If the predictions of the bible have and will come true, then all events and people's actions must be predetermined.

      Did a child attacked by a monster or a people who were victims of genocide exercising their free will? Did they choose to die? This free will doesn't seem to be ladled out in equal measure.

      The Evangelicals cry that man is given a choice. God lets us decide if we will accept His son and go to heaven or reject His son and go to hell. This is not a free choice. It is Vito Corleone making us an offer we can't refuse.

      Our morals are based on empathy. Feeling other's pain. As we evolved, we developed the ability to feel sympathy of others.
      Morals are part of the survival of our species.

      There is no moral lawgiver, CatholicMom. Any "inspired" word is a work of men, reflecting the morals and knowledge of ancient people. People obsessed with their genitals.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,

      God’s plan is for all to have equal opportunity to enter Heaven. His plan is perfect. That does not mean that all will choose to be a part of His plan. This is the only way that love can be true. You cannot force someone to love. If there are those who choose an alternate plan, He does not interfere. We do not have the mind of God to understand how His plan works to manifest love to its ultimate but we know we make choices all the time.

      Just choose to love thy neighbor and ask for the grace to do so. Trust that you will choose correctly with His grace and guidance. If you don’t choose correctly, most will ‘know’ they are on the wrong path through His giving us the gift of a conscience. Some may not like the gift but in the end, I think, we will realize what a help in the right direction it has been, provided we choose to ‘let it work!’

      May 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @CatholicMom

      You said: "God’s plan is for all to have equal opportunity to enter Heaven. His plan is perfect. That does not mean that all will choose to be a part of His plan."

      I would question the fact that a person born and living in Iran and raised as Muslim, or born and living in India and raised in the Hindu religion etc., would have EQUAL opportunity to embrace Christianity as would someone born and living in the U.S. and raised by Christian parents. If this equal opportunity does not exist, then god's plan is not perfect. Are you really going to deny this? Are you going to say this is only apparently true, because we we don't know the mind of god?

      The Evangelicals are always offering up salvation on a bed of intimidation –> Choose god or burn in hell forever. It is like the abusive father who beats his family because he loves them. So, what's that you said about not forcing someone to love? CW and HeavenSent offer this sort of salvation all the time. It is one of the reasons I find evangelicals to be putrid and one of the reasons I have a soft spot for Catholicism.

      You did not give any comments to my other objections to free will. If the future can be known, how can free will exist?

      If biblical predictions were / are actual predictions of future events that came true, then how can free will exist, since all events and actions of people must be predestined in order for the predictions to come true?

      I have great respect for you CatholicMom. I have a love for the Catholic religion. If i offend you, I am sorry.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,

      God’s plan which is for all people is occurring through His people…it might take time for all to come to the Truth. Jesus Christ’s prayer is that all will be One in Him. He works through those who are Baptized…this is how Christianity will be witnessed to the world of all people, through the Body of Christ which is how we all will become One in Him. Once each learns the Truth and knows in their heart this is Truth, they make a choice to become a member of His Body or to not.

      As people learn the Truth, no matter where they were born or live, they can come to the Truth because all have a common thread that is woven through them by God, that is, each has a soul; don’t people want to know the Truth?; does anyone want to live a life on less than the Truth? Once a person KNOWS the Truth but does not want it, they do not have to live with it…they have a choice. Those who do not yet know the Truth because they have not heard it cannot choose it but just the seeking of the Truth puts them on the right Path. Those who truly seek the Truth will find it.

      God in His wisdom can know all and we can have free will at the same time. He knows, but we use our free will just as He placed it in us. Just because He knows should not deter us from choosing correctness in our lives. Again, we do not know the mind of God but that should not deter us from living our lives the best way we know how to…we know when we choose correctly and when we don’t.

      What predictions are you referring to and how does they deter choices?

      You never offend me, David Johnson; when you question I just believe you are seeking….

      May 15, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  2. JohnR

    (1) Not everything done in the name of helping the poor is actually in their interest. Far from it. Welfare dependency has been a real problem. Moreover, everything costs. So even if some social policy does SOME demonstrable good, you still have to determine whether the good it does outweighs the real economic and ultimately human costs. These critical considerations seem forever absent from discussions of these issues emanating from the left.

    (2) All that said, Republicans are total hypocrites on "big government" issues. They love big military and ever expanding police powers and meddlesomeness into the affairs of people, the drug war being perhaps the most egregious expansion of governmental power championed by conservatives who simply lie, lie, lie about their aspirations to shrink government. They just want to shrink social programs and environmental and consumer protection laws, which are among the areas of government that are most readily justified, at least in principle.

    (3) The constant refrain about "tax breaks" conflates two issues. There are indeed lots of special tax breaks to aid this or that industry and lots of these are at least highly questionable – though of course the left will be the first bleat about the outrage of the loss of jobs if these protected industries start going under. Going over these items carefully and judiciously is a very different matter than acting as though the pre-Bush tax rates were somehow given by god and that anyone paying anything less is somehow getting a "break". One can debate whether the rates on certain tax brackets should go up and, if so, whether that should be an emergency measure or longer lasting. But if you pay whatever the current legal rate is, you are not getting a "break" just because the rate was higher nearly a decade ago any more than you would be paying a penalty if the rate had been lower.

    May 14, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Mike F.

      @ JohnR –

      I think there's a lot of truth and common sense in your comments.

      May 14, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  3. Adelina

    Mr. Prothero, it's "poor in spirit" that are blessed, not exclusively literally poor. You needed to read Matthew as well in order to know the wholesome meaning. And "poor" are not blessed of God so that they can get assistance from others but because lack of money brings unique experiencial blessings unknown to the all-time wealthy or the greed-driven. Christians will not and should not support a party who would promote s e x ual perversion and infanticide even if it would feed the poor.

    May 14, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Adelina

      You use several different "handles" . You once attempted to sound like a demented oracle, as I remember. I have found no merit in anything you have posted.

      Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World,"

      Funny, but I tend to give more weight to his writings than yours.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Adelina

      David, I had to change my user name because your kinds pretended to be me and wrote filthy things. I'm glad nobody did that to you. I use one name at a time until I see the need to change because of hijacking. No one asked for your permission or agreement.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And no has to ask for yours, either, addledbrain. Women aren't beholden to you or your religious beliefs. They aren't required to adhere to the Bible's dictates. This isn't a theocracy and you and your god aren't in charge.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  4. Ken Bradshaw

    Isn't the quote " Blessed are the poor in spirit?" JKV. How are you writing these articles 1) without knowing your quotes and 2) mis-applying them? This CNN writing and your teaching jobs are just got to be good gigs for you. Ken

    May 14, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Adelina

      Ken, Luke has a shorter version. But yes, liberals usually don't read the Bible text and lecture on it – a serious problem.

      May 14, 2011 at 2:59 am |
  5. Mike F.

    (Continued)....

    The direct, intentional killing of innocent human beings is never morally acceptable. Period. The comparison to tax policy in regard to helping the needy is a bad one. Christians of good will can legitimately differ over the latter, but not the former.

    May 14, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike F.

      You said: "The direct, intentional killing of innocent human beings is never morally acceptable. "

      You are correct about the intentional killing of innocent human beings, never being morally acceptable.

      But...

      Fetuses are potential babies, potential children, potential adults. They are not actual human beings until they can survive outside the womb. They are allowed to be in the womb, only by the woman's permission. They are parasites.

      Also: Where did we get these morals?

      Curious Atheist in Arizona

      May 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Mike F.

      @ David Johnson

      David, please take the time to read the links I already provided. From the moment of conception, a new, unique and unrepeatable human life is created. That is a scientific fact. It is not mere "potential life" or a potential human being. You are factually in error. And your description of human beings in utero as parasites is disturbingly similar to the rhetoric employed by the Nazis to dehumanize the Jewish people so that they could do to them as they wished. Congratulations.

      May 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  6. Mike F.

    Unfortunately, this article illustrates how morally confused people are. There's a fundamental difference between supporting the right to directly and intentionally kill an innocent human being (which is what abortion and euthanasia do) and differing over the extent to which the government should be in the business of redistributing the wealth of private citizens.

    While I'm not a Republican (I'm an Independent), it's not that Republicans don't believe in helping the needy. They just disagree with their liberal/Democrat counterparts about how best to do it. They generally believe in helping the needy mostly through private and voluntary giving rather than through legal coercion – i.e. taxation. The latter is the liberal/Democrat preferred method of helping the needy. This dichotomy is borne out in studies showing that conservatives (generally Republicans) tend to give more to charity than liberals (generally Democrats). Conversely, in the case of abortion, we are talking about a fundamental difference between liberals/Democrats and conservatives/Republicans. Liberals/Democrats generally believe it is should be legal to kill human beings in the womb and convervatives/Republicans generally do not.

    Human life begins at conception – this is not an article of faith, it's a matter of science. Abortion kills an innocent, young human being who most likely already has a heartbeat and/or measurable brainwaves. If you would like to see the scientific proof, visit:

    http://www.clinicquotes.com/site/story.php?id=28

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/fetaldevelopment.html

    May 14, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  7. Reality

    Respecting Life and Preventing the Creation of Human Life in Perspective:

    "Facts on Co-ntraceptive Use

    http://www.gu-ttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

    January 2008

    WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

    • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]
    • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a contraceptive method.[2]
    • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use contraceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

    WHO USES CONTRACEPTIVES?
    • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had inte-rcourse have used at least one contraceptive method.[2](and men?)
    • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)
    • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inter-course; or are not s-exually active.[2]
    • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.[2] (and men?)
    • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.[2] (and men?)

    WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?
    • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice contraception use reversible methods, such as oral contraceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

    FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES
    Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unplanned pregnancy (a few examples)
    Method Typical
    Pill (combined) 8.7
    Tubal sterilization 0.7
    Male condom 17.4
    Vas-ectomy 0.2
    Periodic abstinence 25.3
    Calendar 9.0
    Ovulation Method 3.0
    Sympto-thermal 2.0
    Post-ovulation 1.0
    No method 85.0"
    (Abstinence) 0
    (Mas-turbation) 0

    More facts about co-ntraceptives from
    guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

    "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE
    Con-traceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002
    Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users

    Pill 11,661 30.6
    Male condom 6,841 18.0 "

    i.e.
    The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).
    i.e.
    0.087 (failure rate)
    x 62 million (# child bearing women)
    x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
    x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =
    1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of pill use.

    For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level):

    1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

    The Guttmacher Insti-tute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
    (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    o Bottom Line #1: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    Bottom line #2-
    Currently, a perfect barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one! In the meantime, mono-ma-sturbation or mutual ma-sturbation are highly recommended for hete-rose-xuals who need a contraceptive. Abstinence is another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?

    May 14, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  8. T-party

    I am agnostic, I am also against mur-der ,stealing ,lying, cheating I do not need a silly religious text to explain to me what is right or wrong.

    May 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  9. T-party

    I am agnostic, I am also somewhat pro-life. I tend think abortion is killing a human for scientific medical reasons. Not because some stupid imaginary religion says so.

    May 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  10. Colin

    Y are "family values" equated with a belief in god? I am an atheist and am no less involved in and dedicated to my family than your average believer. What is it about Christians that make them think they have a monopoly on, or at least an insider's advance on, family values?

    May 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • bp

      Its just a cultural thing. Christianity is so incorporated into our society that it is credited with suplying those said morals. If you grew up in a Muslim country your morals would be dictated by Islam. If you grew up in a Atheist society your morals would be dictated based off the social established and accepted morals of that society. Dont let it bother you to much if our morals are "Christian" in origin (which they really are not). At the end of the day you could explain whats right and wrong outside of religion so I wouldn't sweat it to much. And if someone tells people like us we can have no morals because we don't believe in god well thats on them because they are the ones breaking their own "christian" morals for not loving their neighbor etc.

      May 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • T-party

      Great point I totally agree, Colin and when they do "bad" things which is all the time they use the excuse oh I am human and I sin. Such weak minded cowards.

      May 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  11. Scott

    Contraception is the best is the best defense against abortion; but these people secretly feel that children are God’s just punishment for immorality, so contraception is an inconceivable option for them

    May 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Scott

      You said: "Contraception is the best is the best defense against abortion; but these people secretly feel that children are God’s just punishment for immorality, so contraception is an inconceivable option for them"

      You are right. Believers often feel abstinence is the only answer that has god's stamp of approval. To have $ex outside of marriage AND to use contraceptives, is to commit a second sin! LOL

      When lightening rods were first produced, many churches would not allow them to be installed. The rods, interfered with god's delivering bolts of lightening, as punishment and to show His displeasure.

      Are contraceptives like lightening rods? Do they interfere with god's delivering babies to wayward women? LOL

      I find it odd that an all good, all just, all loving god, would use pregnancy as a punishment. Especially, since it is often the innocent unwanted child that suffers the most.

      Cheers!

      May 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Dave Dawson

      @David Johnson

      I can't help but notice, you're using "LOL" at the end of your stupid statements more often than frequent.

      Getting fond of making fun of your stupidity huh?!

      May 14, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Dave Dawson

      And...."but these people secretly feel that children are God’s just punishment for immorality"

      "SECRETLY feel"?!! How do you know their deepest secrets?

      Oh! You're not only stupid but also schizophrenic.

      May 14, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • David Johnson

      /@Dave Dawson

      You said: "And...."but these people secretly feel that children are God’s just punishment for immorality"
      "SECRETLY feel"?!! How do you know their deepest secrets?"

      I know, because Scott told me, which is where the quote came from. And, Scott is right.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  12. Scott

    These “Pro Life’ers” are actually just pro birth’ers. If they were really against abortion and really though it should be stopped by any means possible, they would be using their time and effort to promote birth control. Every babe that is not conserved guarantees no abortion.

    May 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  13. bp

    I dont get into this topic to much because both sides have some very good arguments. My only questions I would propose for the rest of uyou is this: At what point (religous reasons or not) do you/societey have to tell another person (in this case a woman) what they can or cannot do with their body? Im not arguing the moraility of the issue, but rather the legality. I cannot legally force you to go to the hospital or take some kind of medication (unless your admitted in a psych ward) etc. Further i cannot tell you you are not allowed to get a tatoo or a piercing simply because i do not like it. the issue is not so much whether a fetus is considered a person or not, for me this issue is decided by your right to not have other dictate what you can and cannot do with your body.

    If your curious as to my personal opnion on the subject I would say leave it legal. If you are pro-life no one can force you to have one and if your pro-choice well you have the option available

    May 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • thessalonian

      So if someone wants to take a knife and slit their wrists lengthwise your okay with that?

      May 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • bp

      People slit their wrist everyday. they also shoot themselves in the head, hang themselves etc. Their choice, their problem. I prefer it if they did not do it but at the same time im not going to go to every persons house and try to fore them not to. Its unfeasable if I think I could stop people from doing that sort of thing. Can I stop people from shooting drugs into their body? Nope (and that one is illegal).

      May 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  14. David Johnson

    @Frogist

    You said: "It's what does "life" mean and who gets to determine whose life is relevant."

    You are always wise.

    The13th Amendment :
    "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convictecd, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

    Women or any part of their bodies, cannot be owned. Not by the government. Not by religious nuts.

    We can't legally force somebody to donate blood to save somebody else's life; it thus makes no sense to legally force a woman to continue a pregnancy that she doesn't want. It is the same issue, except the fetus isn't even alive.

    Women are not broodmares. They have the right to abort the parasitic fetus, until the fetus is viable.
    This is not a religious debate. It is about a woman's right to do what she will, with her own body.

    Cheers!

    May 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • thessalonian

      "Women or any part of their bodies, cannot be owned. Not by the government. Not by religious nuts."

      So you must be in favor of abortion until the moment of birth if everything that is in them is a part of their body... Oh wait that's not what you said above but you won't admit your inconsistency.

      May 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @thessalonian

      You asked: "So you must be in favor of abortion until the moment of birth if everything that is in them is a part of their body... Oh wait that's not what you said above but you won't admit your inconsistency."

      No one, even a godless heathen such as myself, is "in favor of" abortion. As a society, we should do everything we can to give women the choice to not abort the fetus. Obama has a program which is a start on this. I'm sure, the Republicans will not wish to fund it.

      Making abortion illegal, will not make abortion go away. It will just force women to seek back alley remedies.

      It is said, babies are a gift from god. Why I wonder, doesn't god make more of an effort to ensure His gift is being given to someone who can afford and care for it? Why does god give this gift to a woman who has no milk or her baby? Or a young girl, who is a baby herself? Or a drug addict whose only thought is her next high?

      God could end abortion. Man cannot.

      Cheers!

      May 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Mike F.

      "Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei ... and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning ... of a human being." (Moore, Keith L., Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker, Inc., 1988, p.2.)

      “After fertilization has taken place, a new human being has come into existence. This is no longer a matter of taste of opinion. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.” Dr. Jerome Lejeune, genetics professor at the University of Descartes, Paris. Discoverer of the Down’s Syndrome

      Read much more here: http://www.clinicquotes.com/site/story.php?id=28

      May 14, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Mike F.

      This National Geographic video of a baby developing in the womb is also fascinating.

      http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/videos/feeds/cv-seo/Full-Episodes/All-Full-Episodes/In-the-Womb-2.html

      Three statements seem particularly interesting, but the entire video is worth watching:

      “Once within the egg wall, the sperm’s nucleus is drawn toward the egg’s. The two cells gradually and gracefully become one. This is the moment of conception – when an individual’s unique set of DNA is created – a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated.”

      “The genes she’s [the girl shown in the womb] inherited already predetermine her looks and much of her character. Whether she’s stubborn or intelligent, a thrill-seeker or good at music and even her vulnerabilities to certain diseases like cancer, schizophrenia and diabetes. The exact course of her life will depend on such things as her friends, family and environment. But at the instant of fertilization, much of her future is predetermined.”

      “Where it once seemed that the mental development of a baby began at birth, now it appears that birth could be a relatively insignificant event in developmental terms. She may have to support herself after birth, but as for the process of thinking, learning and remembering, she’s already been hard at it for three months [before birth]. And her brain will continue to grow at the same rate for the next year.”

      May 14, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • JohnR

      @David Johnson But if fetuses are human, they aren't "owned" either. So invoking a right to end their life really is pretty extreme.

      May 14, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • David Johnson

      @JohnR

      You said: "But if fetuses are human, they aren't "owned" either. So invoking a right to end their life really is pretty extreme."

      "The right to live inside another", is not a right. Doesn't matter whether the fetus is removed, because of in_cest, or r_ape, or just isn't wanted, it is the woman's right. Woman's body. Woman's right. See my other comments on transfusions, slavery etc.

      A fetus requires a host to survive. A fetus less than about 24 weeks, cannot survive outside the womb. A fetus' so called "right to life" comes down to the "right to remain in the womb". This"right" can only be given, by violating the actual right of the pregnant woman to her own body. The fetus is allowed in the womb, by the permission of the woman who is supplying the womb.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @David Johnson Oh, I simply adore how both sides try to make the grayest of all possible issues seem black and white. I wrote a long rebuttal, but CNN's moronic filter blocked it and I'm in no mood to go slogging back through what I wrote to figure out what inoffensive word was too much for Ted Turner's tender ears.

      May 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  15. Frogist

    Yes, pro-life should mean more than just anti-abortion. It should mean pro- health, pro-caring, pro-economic fairness, pro- a million other things. This is what those on the pro-choice side of the abortion debate have been saying for decades. It's not as simple as yes abortions v no abortions. It's what does "life" mean and who gets to determine whose life is relevant. It is too multi-faceted and complex an issue to boil down to black and white. That's always why I've been pro-choice. I consider the task and risks of pregnancy to be something I must have a say in because it affects my life directly and immeasurably and permanently.

    May 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • courtiebabe

      Very well said, I agree. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Why is that so hard for some people to understand. It is hardly "Christion" to take from the less fortunate in our society while the the rich simply grow richer, and no, they are not creating jobs darnit!

      May 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  16. thessalonian

    Living the gospel has nothing to do with having government welfare programs, and forcing money out of peoples pockets to pay for other people. That is not charity. It's stale, graceless, etc.

    May 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Frogist

      @thessalonians: Still sounds like greedy position for people such as yourself to take.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • thessalonian

      How ignorant of you to say so. Do you have any idea my charitable contributions? Private charities don't just operate on taxes and government. Evidently you feel pretty good about doing your charity by voting. It's a false charity.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @thessalonian

      You babbled: "Living the gospel has nothing to do with having government welfare programs, and forcing money out of peoples pockets to pay for other people. That is not charity. It's stale, graceless, etc."

      Yep, I don't see a connection either... LOL

      JESUS ON GIVING – Matthew 19:21
      Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

      JESUS ON GIVING – Mark 10:21
      Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

      JESUS ON GIVING – Luke 6:30
      "Give to everyone that asketh thee; and from him that taketh away thy goods ask not again."

      JESUS ON GIVING – Luke 6:35
      "But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be Sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil."

      JESUS ON GIVING – Luke 12:33
      "Sell your possessions and give to the poor."

      JESUS ON GIVING – Luke 14:33
      "Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

      JESUS ON THE RICH – Mark 10:25
      "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
      JESUS ON THE RICH – Luke 6:24-25
      "But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep."

      JESUS ON SAVING AND PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE – Matthew 6:19,20 (NIV)
      "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."

      Cheers!

      May 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bippy, The Lesser Squirrel-God of Rapped Polka

      Cool! David has found the perfect shutter-upper of Christians! It must get pretty uncomfortable when there are absolutely no Christians out there who actuall followed Jesus' words on that. Must be optional.

      May 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Mike F.

      Thessalonian is exactly right. Jesus never said that the government should be in the business of charity, forcibly taking money from some to give to others. If you read Matthew 25, you'll find that Jesus pins the burden of charity squarely on the shoulders of the individual and their conscience.

      By definition, taxation and redistribution of wealth are not charity. Charity is voluntary giving. IMO, the liberal model of government-run help to the needy perverts the true meaning of charity. It turns voluntary giving into a forcible taking. It tends to turn thankful receivers into those who think they are *due* help. In true charity, the love of God is modeled – people see God at work. That dynamic does not play out very well (if at all) in the government tax/redistribution model.

      May 14, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike F.

      I think, without taxation, the money given by believers would fall short of the need.

      There are about 38,000 different Christian denominations. If Christians can't decide on what their god wants, I find it hard to imagine they would want to simply chip into a fund to help the poor. They would each want their own "strings" attached.
      If the Christian Right controlled the money going to the the poor, then the Christian Right would control this block of our society.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Mike F.

      @David Johnson

      You write, "without taxation, the money given by believers would fall short of the need."

      There is a Christian principle called "subsidiarity." In a nutshell, it means that whatever can be handled at the lowest level of authority ought to be. Then, when necessary, the next higher level steps in and does what it can do and so on. This is a commonsense, efficient approach to problems – whether economic or not. The liberal model turns this logical approach on its head by seeking government intervention at the highest levels as a first, rather than last, resort. The result is wastefulness, a perversion of charity, and damage to private, charitable enterprise. When the federal government steps in, people tend to step aside and say, "the government is handling this, I don't need to." Again, this is why liberals don't tend to give as much to charity as conservatives. Liberals generally want the government to take care of it. This philosophical difference has real-world consequences. That being said, I've seen very few conservatives who believe there is no place at all for a government safety net. The issue is essentially one of extent. And people of good will can disagree about that balance. But the disagreement about abortion is more fundamental. Liberals generally believe it is acceptable to directly kill innocent human beings in the womb while conservatives generally do not. Directly and intentionally killing an innocent human being – regardless of location or stage of development – is always wrong. Period.

      You continue, "There are about 38,000 different Christian denominations. If Christians can't decide on what their god wants, I find it hard to imagine they would want to simply chip into a fund to help the poor. They would each want their own "strings" attached."

      That's a zippy sounding rhetorical shot, but it's just another non sequitur, David. It reminds me of the shots that were taken at Winston Churchill. He was building a wall in his yard that he never finished and so his opponents basically said, "if he can't finish buidling a simple wall in his personal life, how can he run the government and finish the war?" Well, I think Churchill got the better of that argument. What God asks of us in regard to the poor is spelled out in the Bible. But we have free will to do it or not to do it. There is also room for personal discernment. No doubt, individual Christians will disagree as to how much they ought to give to charity. But no Christian can disagree that they need to give.

      You continue, "If the Christian Right controlled the money going to the the poor, then the Christian Right would control this block of our society."

      This sounds a little paranoid and bigoted, David. I'm not an Evangelical/Fundamentalist, but you're missing the fact that when the government is in central control of the dole, the government controls that block of our society. Personally, I would much rather have control dispersed and diffused through an array of independent, loosely related groups spread across the country than having control centralized in the federal government. The more control is centralized, the easier it is to fall into coercion and inefficiency. My $0.02.

      May 14, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Reality

      Dave,

      Only Mark 10: 21:25 pass rigorous historic testing. The other "thum-ptations" are embellishments of the life of the simple preacher man aka Jesus. (e.g. Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 694-695)

      A summary of said life and the embellished religion it spawned:

      Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

      May 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike F.

      You said: "What God asks of us in regard to the poor is spelled out in the Bible. But we have free will to do it or not to do it. There is also room for personal discernment. No doubt, individual Christians will disagree as to how much they ought to give to charity. But no Christian can disagree that they need to give."

      The free will thing is not certainty, especially if the Christian god is omniscient. See my comment to CatholicMom.

      The fact that you agree there will be disagreement between Christians on how much to give and whom to give aid to, makes the redistribution of wealth (taxes) that much more necessary. A hungry man should not have his needs fulfilled based on his choice of god. That is what missionaries do now. A secular government bases its aid only on income. We don't need a god in our society. Only Humanists.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Reality

      I am not as well read as you, but from what I have read, I agree that the Gospels were written with the intent of "proving" Jesus was the Messiah and establishing the Christian Religion. I have posted this on occasion. While I believe that a man named Jesus probably did exist, there are many who do not agree. They believe He was a composite of gods, from other religions. It is a hard theory to dispute.

      Love what you post! Stay on the planet!

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Mike F.

      @David Johnson:

      You write; "The free will thing is not certainty, especially if the Christian god is omniscient. See my comment to CatholicMom."

      Read this if you're genuinely interested in understanding the dynamic between free will and God's omniscience. Foreknowledge does not equal causation. God transcends his creation – he is not bound by time or space in the way that the creation is. He exists in what theologians call "the eternal now" – everything is present to him.

      There's kind of a philosophical joke about this: Q: What was God doing before the creation. A: Nothing, He didn't have time. The point is, time is an element of creation and exists within it.

      You might find this helpful:

      C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book IV, Ch. 3
      ...Everyone who believes in God at all believes that He knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow. But if He knows I am going to do so-and-so, how can I be free to do otherwise? Well, here once again, the difficulty comes from thinking that God is progressing along the Time-line like us: the only difference being that He can see ahead and we cannot. Well, if that were true, if God foresaw our acts, it would be very hard to understand how we could be free not to do them. But suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we call "tomorrow" is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call "today." All the days are "Now" for Him. He does not remember you doing things yesterday; He simply sees you doing them, because, though you have lost yesterday, He has not. He does not "foresee" you doing things tomorrow; He simply sees you doing them: because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him. You never suppose that your actions at this moment were any less free because God knows what you are doing. Well, He knows your tomorrow's actions in just the same way–because He is already in tomorrow and can simply watch you. (end quote)

      You continue: "The fact that you agree there will be disagreement between Christians on how much to give and whom to give aid to, makes the redistribution of wealth (taxes) that much more necessary. A hungry man should not have his needs fulfilled based on his choice of god. That is what missionaries do now. A secular government bases its aid only on income. We don't need a god in our society. Only Humanists."

      This is nonsense. I'm heavily involved in Catholic missionary work in Haiti. I've also visited many other areas across the globe and the Catholic Church does not ask what you believe before they help you or coerce you to believe anything. I just visited a Catholic hospital in Israel run by the Knights of Malta that provides free care to those who cannot afford it and the vast majority of those who seek help are Muslim. I also have a a fair amount of experience with government bureaucracy that's just tough enough to force good people to jump through asinine and dehumanizing hurdles while allowing crooks to abuse the system with impunity. I'll take the Catholic model of charity any day of the week and on Sunday over the government.

      May 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Q

      If God is both "in tomorrow" and "in the now", this still removes free will for the same reason it would it He were simply watching a timeline. Whether or not it's "foreknowledge" by an eternal omnipresent perspective is irrelevant, because it still represents "foreknowledge" with respect to the timeline in which we exist. In other words, it's not a matter of temporal perspective, it's simply a matter of knowledge which destroys free will. The argument provided here really doesn't solve the issue, just attempts to obfuscate it....

      May 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Mike F.

      @ "Q"

      Unsurprisingly, I disagree. In fairness, obviously, we're into very deep and complicated matters beyond our human experience and ability to fully comprehend, but I can conceive of foreknowledge not equating with causation. On a very limited, finite basis, I experience it with my own children. There are many times I can tell you exactly what they're going to do before they do it (especially when they were young - when the difference between our intelligence level was greatest). But I didn't make them do it. They made choice. If I can experience that as one infinitely less in knowledge than the Creator would be, then I can have some conception of how far beyond that God is. BTW....free will, as Catholics understand it, it not UNLIMITED free will.

      Admittedly, this is very difficult stuff. And it's certainly too heavy to handle in a combox. However, you might find these useful if you're genuinely interested in searching:

      p://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06259a.htm

      http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/num21.htm

      http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a3.htm

      May 16, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  17. The Fool on the Hill

    Sooner or later (likely later) some of those who now fight to eliminate all abortion will come to the realization that they should have been more careful in choosing this battle to fight. Not for moral reasons, but simply because what it will cost in tax dollars. Has anyone seen a comprehensive estimate of the costs? According to the Right to Life website, over 1.2 million abortions occurred last year. If we add that number of new, unwanted children to our current equation our social, legal, medical, and government problems will soon skyrocket. (Think food stamps, Medicare, crime, prisons, etc.) Now, I'm not for abortion, but I find it ironic that the "Tea" (taxed enough already) folks haven't even considered this. Imagine what this country will look like in about 18 years. Here's a prediction, the increase of this particular population (unwanted children) will exponentially increase each year. God must have an ironic sense of humor.

    May 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • thessalonian

      Gee fool, if your logic were true you would think that poverty would have gone down by at least 50 million since that is how many abortions there are. Why we should have wiped out poverty if we got rid of all of those unwanted children. That is 20% of the population wiped out. In fact the poverty rate since Roe v. Wade has remained in the same range. How odd. I think there is something missing in your logic. Maybe a lack of economic understanding. I'll help you if you like.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @thessalonian

      Actually , some believe the crime rate dropped because of abortion. LOL.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • thessalonian

      We can discuss the crime rate if you would like. Hey if we abort everyone wouldn't the crime rate go to zero. Well gee Davey then it must be true that abortion reduces the crime rate. You should really do a follow up on Leavitt's claim. It's pretty sad really.

      http://www.isteve.com/abortion.htm

      May 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Mike F.

      The reason we haven't considered this is because it's not sound thinking. Even looking at this from an economic point of view, abortion has been a demographic catastrophe. Over 50 million lives have been snuffed out that would now be paying into social security and medicare. The ratio of young to old has plummeted as a result. And so now, it's getting to the point where there may not be enough young people to pay into social security and medicare of all the "baby-boomer" retirees. There is no Social Security trust fund or "lock box", as Al Gore liked to say. There is a transfer tax payment made from those who are currently working to those who are retired. Fewer young, less money available to pay the retired.

      May 14, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • JohnR

      It's been claimed that the drop in crime in the late 1990s on is due to abortion.

      May 14, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • JohnR

      @ Mike F – Nonsense. Given the socioeconomic status of most young women having abortions, it's a REAL stretch to assume that the aborted children in the aggregate would have been net tax assets.

      May 14, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Mike F.

      @ David Johnson,

      Your classist, static view of human life and potential is nauseating. And I've seen this kind of argument before from racists – using economic status as a code for minorities. I hope you're not going down that road.

      May 14, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Mike F.

      @ David Johnson

      I was specifically addressing Social Security and Medicare, David. Unless you want to suggest that most of the 50 million aborted children would remain jobless for most of their lives, then my point stands. There is a demographic crisis brewing as the number of retirees grows in relation to the number of those in the workforce. Abortion has killed off tens of millions of people who would have had taxes taken out for Social Security and Medicare. We're not the only ones in this boat.

      "Back in 1950, as the baby boom was just getting started, each retiree's benefit was divided among 16 workers. Taxes could be kept low. Today, that number has dropped to 3.3 workers per retiree, and by 2025, it will reach–and remain at–about two workers per retiree. Each married couple will have to pay, in addition to their own family's expenses, Social Security retirement benefits for one retiree."

      Read:

      http://www.economist.com/media/globalexecutive/coming_gen_storm_e_02.pdf

      http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~lanza/docs/TurraQueirozUN.pdf

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12340591

      http://www.socialsecurityreform.org/problem/index.cfm

      May 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Mike F.

      CORRECTION: my comments above were to "JOHNR" and NOT to David Johnson. My apologies.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  18. jeebs

    I am always amazed at the depths that the left will stoop to to promote thier "spend until you're dead" agenda. Now we are garnering criticism from "priests" on the spending issues. Cradle to grave, baby!!

    I encourage all of you leftists to spend your personal finances as quickly as this sham of an administration is spending it. It wont be long before you will be declaring bankruptcy and sticking someone else with your debts (which is apparently, OK). If these "men of the cloth" have faith the size of a mustard seed, they would also know that the Son of God said, "the poor you shall always have with you....", but yet He (God) would make a way for the help to come, with or without the government. They are excersizing a lack of faith if they think that all is lost because there are budget cuts. This is not to say that. it is ok to forego helping others, but it also doesnt say that the gov't should be so irresponsible as to spend way beyind its means, either. "a fool and his money are soon parted". I assert that the "priests" that the left are putting forward in this case fit this statement fully.

    May 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeebs

      The Conservatives appear to be choosing guns over butter. We apparently need to spend any amount on defense, but must be conservative when it comes to programs for the poor and elderly.

      My liberal values shiver at the thought of old people going without heating oil, prescriptions, or hot meals, in order to give tax breaks to the rich.

      There is no way I can square the Conservative values with those of the Jesus. I believe He must be turning over in His grave, as He watches His teachings be ignored and perverted.

      Cheers!

      I spit upon your conservative values.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • thessalonian

      Ya Davey.. I shiver too. Lets go with a 100% tax on everyone so that everyone can shiver.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @thessalonian

      You said: "Ya Davey.. I shiver too. Lets go with a 100% tax on everyone so that everyone can shiver."

      A fair progressive tax is a gift from god. What do you think Jesus would say to do? Allow the poor and elderly to perish, to give increased wealth to corporations and the richest 3%?

      Reading my bible and becoming confused...

      May 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  19. nina

    wow, nice to see that pro-life is shifting to be inclusive of the living, instead of only the unborn or the comatose.

    ntrygg.wordpress.com

    May 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Frogist

      @nina: Yes, it is nice to see this train of thought. I had always thought the debate about the "right to life" focused always too narrowly. Most times leaving the fully living woman's rights ignored.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  20. David Johnson

    Being pro-life where the poor and old are concerned, makes a lot more sense than being anti-abortion. The poor and the old are actually human. A fetus is not. No one, on either side of the pro-choice issue, would deny that the poor and the old are alive and are human.

    We need to protect our elderly and our poor. A fetus, that has only the potential to be a human, not so much.

    Cheers!

    May 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I agree with you except for a small point: the fetus is human and alive. However, it does not have equal or special rights that trump those of the woman who carries it.

      May 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • thessalonian

      By your definition a fetus is a potential human. At what point does it become human? 3 months? Viability whenever that is? third trimester? (arbitrary) at birth? 5 minutes after birth? Some have even suggested after birth? To me the instant of fertilization is the appropriate point to call it human since at that point is has an individual's DNA and all it needs is nutrition and water to make it to an adult. Nothing arbitrary except that people want to have an excuse to kill it.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • thessalonian

      Tom,

      Why aren't their rights equal if you think it is human? (I agree). So what you are saying is that it is human but if it causes for example economic hardship it may be killed. So if a child of 4 causes economic hardship should we kill it?

      May 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • thessalonian

      By the way, being pro-life does not require that the fetus have special rites. Just equal rites. Thus noone should intend to do it unnecessary harm.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Frogist

      @DJ: I think I agree with Tom on this one. It is human, in so much as it is made up of human cells. What it isn't is a person whose rights override the rights of the person it's inside.
      @thessalonion: You say it's about equal rights but it seems to me that's not really true. In terms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it has to be either/or. Either a woman is allowed to pursue happiness which for some means not being pregnant, liberty to conduct her life according to her choices about her own body, and live... because it sometimes comes down to either she lives or the fetus does... OR the fetus has the rights to those things. I don't think it's as simple as the plat!tude of "equal rights".

      May 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • thessalonian

      Frogist,

      Rarely does it come down to living or dying for the woman. I can agree that if a procedure must be performed that does not intend to harm the child but inadvertently does, such as the removal of a cancerous growth during pregnancy, there is not a problem. Persuit of happiness is a rather ridiculous reason to kill what is human. When does it become a person, the distinction you try to make? 5 minutes after/before birth,? Viability? 2nd trimester? Still have holes in your thinking froggy or lack thereof.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • thessalonian

      By the way if it's either/or with regard to equal rights there is no difference between a child in the womb making me unhappy and a 2 yr old making me happy in the logic you are trying to use saying it has to be either/or. Your just going to great lengths to try and support a position that is illogical.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @thessalonian
      You said: "By your definition a fetus is a potential human. At what point does it become human? 3 months? Viability whenever that is? third trimester? (arbitrary) at birth? 5 minutes after birth? Some have even suggested after birth? To me the instant of fertilization is the appropriate point to call it human since at that point is has an individual's DNA and all it needs is nutrition and water to make it to an adult. Nothing arbitrary except that people want to have an excuse to kill it."

      A tomato seed has all the necessary DNA to become a tomato plant. But the seed is not a plant.
      A chicken egg, contains all the DNA necessary to develop into a chicken. But the egg is not a chicken.
      A spiders eggs contain all the DNA necessary to become a spider. But, the egg is not a spider.
      Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

      And so, a fetus contains the DNA to become a baby. But a fetus is not a baby. It has the potential to become a baby, just as a carrot seed has the potential to become a carrot.

      States allow abortions anywhere from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. The majority being 24.
      The reason the 24 week max is chosen, is because the fetus in not able to live outside it's mother until 21 to 24 weeks, with 24 being the usual.
      The fetus, less than 24 weeks is not a person. The fetus is not capable of feeling any pain until 24 weeks:

      The bible appears to define the moment of "life", at the time the baby takes its first breath.
      GOD ON WHEN LIFE BEGINS – Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
      And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

      My King Jimmy says it. I believe it. End of discussion. Amen.

      Cheers!

      May 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • thessalonian

      DJ, do you understand the difference between plants and animals. Seems not. Are you claiming that an unfertilized egg has all the dna.... I would hope not. I think your lacking a bit of biological analysis somewhere in there with regard to the egg. The whole egg is not associated with DNA. No an egg is not a chick. The egg contains a shell, and sustance for the embryonic stage of what is a chicken. What makes a chicken a chicken? I think despite your idiotic analogy, the DNA model holds pretty true yet.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • thessalonian

      By the way, your biblical analysis is little better than your biology. Adam was hardly an embryo in that story now was he. He was a pile of dirt it seems. We both know there are verses in the Bible speaking of a CHILD in the womb. But then you only use the bible as something to mock anyway. Shame davey.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You said: "I agree with you except for a small point: the fetus is human and alive. However, it does not have equal or special rights that trump those of the woman who carries it."

      You would need to define your statement for me. Which "life" has greater value, the potential baby or the undeniably living human mother?

      Cheers!

      May 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @thessalonian
      You said: "DJ, do you understand the difference between plants and animals. Seems not. Are you claiming that an unfertilized egg has all the dna.... I would hope not. I think your lacking a bit of biological analysis somewhere in there with regard to the egg. The whole egg is not associated with DNA. No an egg is not a chick. The egg contains a shell, and sustance for the embryonic stage of what is a chicken. What makes a chicken a chicken? I think despite your idiotic analogy, the DNA model holds pretty true yet."

      All living things contain DNA. Be it a pea or a grizzly bear. LOL.

      When a hen's egg is fertilized by a rooster, then that egg possess a COMPLETE set of DNA (genetic instructions) from its parents, Ma and Pa Chicken. It works the same with people. But, just as the chicken egg is not a chicken, so is the human embryo not yet a baby.

      A fetus is human, in the sense that it contains human DNA (genetic instructions from Ma and Pa); however, a fetus, is not a human being, as it has no means of independent physiological existence (as does a baby, child, or adult). As such, it is a potential human being, just like a carrot seed is a potential carrot plant. It contains all of the DNA of a carrot plant, but it is not yet a carrot plant

      Life does not begin at conception. It begins when the the baby can exist, on its own, outside its mother. About 24 weeks.

      Cheers!

      May 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Ron

      @David,
      I enjoyed your two posts and agree with you. While not Christian, for the ancient Hebrew peoples, a baby wasn't considered a baby until it took its first breath. I agree that a fetus has the possibility to become a human being but there is no guarantee that it will because of many reasons.

      May 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      As a woman who would have to think very, very hard should I ever be faced with the need for an abortion, I believe that life begins when a fetus can live independently outside of a woman's body. And I do count all the prenatal survival care that has been developed, even if I think sometimes they don't consider the quality of life of the child they save.

      However, I have no doubt that people who are walking, talking and interacting are alive and human. That is why I believe that a woman's rights are greater than a cluster of cells.

      I also think that girls have rights that are greater than a cluster of cells. Remember that 9-year-old girl in Brazil who was ra.ped by her stepfather and impregnated with twins? The catholic church excommunicated her mother and her doctors because they chose the life of the girl over the life of those clusters of cells. The man who ra.ped this child, as far as I've heard, is still in good standing with the church.

      May 14, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Dave Dawson

      @David Johnson

      I'd never realised how stupid you are until I read your post above. You piece of sh!t!

      DOLT!

      May 14, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      Son, you shouldn't have agree with David, this guy is a complete idiot!

      May 14, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • myklds

      @David Johnson..you said and I quote, "Being pro-life where the poor and old are concerned, makes a lot more sense than being anti-abortion. The poor and the old are actually human. A fetus is not."

      I think you're either misguided or trying to mislead others.

      Granting that a fetus is yet to become a human, but it already has life right?

      Now, you were using "pro-life" in your post quoted above, but you're stance is pro-human rather than "pro-life".

      And you were trying to counter Tom Tom's take by throwing a statement and a question, I quote, " You would need to define your statement for me. Which "life" has greater value, the potential baby or the undeniably living human mother?"

      Again, (no matter it maybe) you shouldn't had used the word pro-life in pushing your argument on your (first) post.

      Pro-life(rs), are protectors of lives whether "it can live independently outside of a woman's body" or not, As long as it already has life. We neither look for value nor give right greater/higher to a living mother over her unborn child. For us they both have life, thus, they're equally important. That's why we strongly oppose abortion. Should we give more concern to the former than the latter, we loss our sense of being "Pro-Life".

      I hope you would spot the difference between Pro-life and Pro-human, that maybe so you are properly guided and may not mislead others.

      May 14, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Dave Dawson

      You said: "I'd never realised how stupid you are until I read your post above. You piece of sh!t!
      DOLT!"

      Yes, Dawson I am stupid and a piece of sh!t and a dolt. But, that doesn't mean my comment(s) were incorrect.

      You need to attack the argument and not the person making the argument.

      Cheers!

      May 14, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • anne

      I agree...bless you!

      May 15, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Dave Dawson

      You said: "I'd never realised how stupid you are until I read your post above. You piece of sh!t!
      DOLT!"

      "Yes, Dawson I am stupid and a piece of sh!t and a dolt. But, that doesn't mean my comment(s) were incorrect.

      You need to attack the argument and not the person making the argument."
      -------------------------
      David, if you got something inside that cranium, even a half of a bird, you would realise that I attacked you because of the nonsensical post you've made.

      But okay, for your relief, I'll rephrase (my reply) it;

      "I'd never realised how stupid is the post above until I read it. It's a piece of sh!t!

      Only a DOLT would ever think such imbecile thoughts and advertise it on this board.

      Satisfied?

      May 15, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • David Wendil

      "A fetus is not human" ? This is a lie or at least a stupid idea. You can't help the poor if you kill them before they even get a chance to live. Abortion proponents are nazi-like in their thinking but are in denial about it. And the following quote from the article is a lie "For nearly a generation, the GOP has enjoyed a monopoly on religion in the corridors of power." Why is it then that most "Catholics" voted for the most pro-abortion candidate (Barach Osama) ? The democrats still get all the "progressive" religion votes. And if you think that conservatives give less money to the poor, you have been brainwashed by the lame stream media.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      thessalonian, the fact that you can't figure out that we're talking about 'rights', not 'rites', indicates to me that you're not in possession of the intelligence required to discuss the matter. Furthermore, there's nothing about the fact that a fetus has no legal rights that is debatable. It's a fact. It's also a fact that a fetus cannot have equal rights. Either the woman has rights that are paramount, or the fetus does. They cannot be equal. If a fetus were to have equal rights, then what would occur should the woman's life be in danger if she carries the fetus to term? Do we allow the woman to die so the fetus's rights will not be abrogated?

      Why is it people like you never learned to think?

      May 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • dagoda

      they should all be treated the same.....

      May 20, 2011 at 2:07 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.