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Bob

March 16, 2012  10:33am

The logic used to justify abortion and after-birth abortion or whatever someone chooses to call it is the same as what was used for African slaves in the US and Jews in Nazi Germany, that is, define the one in question as a nonperson and then deprive them of the protection of the law. Who will be next? Old people who require too much medical care? Children with autism? Anyone with wrong political ideas? Once the concept of humans being created in the image of God is lost, the boundary becomes arbitrary, and in becoming arbitrary it disappears.

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 11, 2012  8:48pm

Thank you, Anonymous, for the excellent point and hard questions you raise. It really does take a community, doesn't it? And that is why the church is a BODY not an individual. Thank you for your poignant reminder.

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Doreen Ashley

March 11, 2012  2:05pm

Thank you for this article. I am the parent of a young woman with a disability and also a professional who works with families of children with disabilities. This kind of thinking has been an undercurrent in the medical system for some time. Parents are regularly told that their child would be better off not being born and they must be "responsible" and not burden our society by bringing them into the world. Infanticide is the next logical step in this thinking. As Christians we ,must be willing to open our hearts, churches, and frankly pocketbooks to families who nave children with disabilities. I have heard (and experienced) too many stories of churches that reject these precious ones for a litany of reasons : "We don't know how to work with these kids", "They disturb the other childen-or adults" and in some cases"we don't want them here". We also must be aware of the cost both financially and emotionally to families. Are we willing to help them? Raising a child with a disability is expensive. Are we offering the family respite? Are we helping with medical bills? Are we helping them with therapies? Are we letting our own children have a playdate with them? I cringe when I here some of my conservative Christian friends use rhetoric that talks about "personal responsibility" and smaller government. These very same arguments can be used to encourage a family to abort a child with a disability and the very government programs or policies may be used to support the child to live a good life. In my own state we have seen services for people with disabilities take huge cuts-impacting families greatly. There has been no corresponding increase in help from the private sector, or sadly from the church. So I hope along with your very appropriate outrage will come a real sense of need to do something for families who live this everyday, and worry about what the future holds for our children

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Sheri

March 08, 2012  8:48am

Isn't "after-birth abortion" an oxymoron? How can you "abort" a baby that's been born? Let's be like the Brits and call it what it is - infanticide, baby killing or just plain murder. (I love the British tabloids for calling a spade a spade.)

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beth

March 07, 2012  1:53pm

the personhood of corporations has actually been a long-running legal debate, though usually a quiet one out of the public's attention. the reason it has been established is because only persons can be taxed. if you want to tax corporations, they must be 'persons.' it is interesting to see people like steve react to this journal article with instant denial: no one i know thinks this would be ok! well, the authors of the journal article do! and then there's the netherlands. just becausue you don't like it doesn't mean you can say it ain't so! very sad state of affairs where only the strong or the useful are deemed worthy of survival.

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kate

March 07, 2012  10:38am

My moral choice is to live by God's truth, and not by the world's "truth". He sees the hearts of all people. Seeking His face and praying for Him to move in this is what can make a difference. Posing scenarios, debating what is right and wrong, putting down one another tends to not bring much unity among believers. It's time for us to love and pray for fallen mankind without ceasing! God is so good!!

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maureen

March 07, 2012  9:48am

If you did not know that the 25,000 frozen fertile eggs were there, this could not form part of your moral choice. There is also a universe of difference between 25,000 frozen fertile eggs and just one frozen fertilized embryo,(for those who believe that human life begins at fertilisation). Others believe that it begins at conception, (when the fertilised egg implants into the womb, or the embryo created by IVF is so implanted).

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kate

March 07, 2012  8:46am

In answer to the fertility clinic blowing up and choosing to save a four year-old boy hiding under a desk near the body of his dead mother, or the refrigerated transport case with 25,000 frozen fertile human eggs in it, I would save the boy. How in the world am I going to know that there are 25,000 frozen fertile human eggs in the clinic?? Hello?? And if the courts deem my actions as wrong, then send me to prison. Satan quoted the scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. When anyone uses what is right in God's eyes against believers to make them fall is a very sad day indeed. We all can come up with ideals of what is right and wrong, but when we fail to come to God to know what is right and wrong, we live in darkness.

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Amy Bodde

March 06, 2012  5:23pm

Thank you for writing this, Karen. What a sad state of affairs we have. I hope and pray that God will use this "logic" to extend rights to life to the unborn and not the opposite way around, which it appears the authors intended.

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Sia McKye

March 06, 2012  3:35pm

"...the editor argues that publishing the article reflects the journal’s support of “sound rational argument and freedom of ethical expression." Excuse me, 'sound' what? LOLOLOL! Sorry, rational doesn't belong in that sentence. Rational (intelligent, reasonable, reasoning, thinking)=having reason or understanding Hmmm, I'm thinking the editor didn't look up the word before using it. Nothing rational about her statement or the idea of 'post birth abortions'.

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 06, 2012  11:43am

@TD, I totally agree. The unreasonableness of abortion on demand has caused both sides to lose their sense of reason, I think. If one begins with premise that an unborn child is a person and then one follows common sense, in most cases clarity emerges. There are difficult cases to be sure, but as the adage goes, bad case makes bad law. The bad law of unfettered law has opened up Pandora's box.

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TD

March 06, 2012  9:12am

When Mississippi (I think) was voting on the personhood initiative, I heard an interview with the leader of the organization that pushed for it. I am pro-life, but he was frightening. No matter what he was asked, he kept repeating that from the moment of conception that embryo was a person. What if a woman went out running in the heat, got overheated and miscarried? Would she be charged with murder? Well, was the reply, that embryo IS a person... I am pro-life, and I believe that a fetus is a person, but do I want to get to the point that every miscarriage is investigated and a woman could be arrested for drinking too much caffeine or eating the wrong thing or not getting enough rest? No.

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 06, 2012  7:24am

Between the embryos, the boy, and my own dog, I'd probably choose my own dog first. That doesn't mean the dog is human and the others aren't. And, yes, it does say what kind of human being I am. The humanity of other human beings should NEVER depend on what kind of human being I am--or what kind anyone else is.

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maureen

March 06, 2012  7:00am

Prayer After Birth (Acknowledgements and Apologies to Louis MacNeice). I am now born: please hear me, Let not the debt collectors, Or the rights protectors, Or the seditious insurrectors come near me. I am now born, comfort me, Else I fear that the human-folk may: With clever lies debase me, With bad science un-race me, And with strong drugs erase me. I am now born: please bestow me, Among the dancing grass, babbling brooks, Swaying trees and singing rooks, Undiminished bright light of grace and truth, To restore me. I am now born, with lullabies lull me, With warm cuddles mull me, With deep love sustain me, and, With silence, not gainsay me.

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maureen

March 06, 2012  6:59am

Hi, If the next choice is between saving either 25 frozen human embryos or a sentient animal, (let's say the pet puppy dog, owned by the young boy who has already been rescued from the fire in the fertility clinic), which would you save?

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Pamela Mathews

March 06, 2012  5:59am

steven, that is a great example of why arguing at the extremes is not productive and won't result in any progress. Everyone saves the boy, proving that deep down we all recognize that no matter when life might begins exactly, there is a difference between life and potential life. This inclination is also why most allow for saving the mother during a dangerous pregnancy, and most allow abortion if a pregnancy is the result of sexual assault in the form of rape or incest.

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Steven Hansmann

March 06, 2012  4:00am

Surely you realize there is NO belief or acceptance for this anywhere on the left side of the spectrum that I'm aware of. As a life-long way left-leaning Democrat, I don't known even one person who would do anything but be outraged by this nonsense. But let me pose a scenario for you. A fertility clinic blows up and is engulfed in flames. You have a chance to save either the four year-old boy hiding under a desk near the body of his dead mother, or the refrigerated transport case with 25,000 frozen fertile human eggs in it. Which do you choose to save? Your answer reveals truly both what kind of human being you are, and the very real, concrete dilemma involved with the abortion debate.

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Rev. Rob Schenck

March 05, 2012  10:05pm

Bravo Karen! As disturbing as the exact subject of this contemporary "Modest Proposal" is, you suggest there may be something underlying it that is equally disturbing: the Christian (especially evangelical) reliance on a modern (in the philosophical sense) Enlightenment-driven rationalism. Rationalism and rigid logic form the path to precisely this inhuman and immoral outcome, yet we persist in using them in our preaching, teaching, counseling, and scholarship. It's time for Christians to abandon the innovations of the Enlightenment and "return" to a scripturally authentic post-modern moral argument! Rob

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dierdre

March 05, 2012  7:47pm

Perhaps the conservatives see how ridiculous the promotion by the media trying to portray obama and any of his agencies as being pro-life in any way. While in the Illinois senate, he voted 4 times for infanticide if the baby survived the abortion. In addition, one of his first acts as president was to legalize the sickening practice called partial birth abortion. His DOJ tries to block any states that try to regulate abortion in any way. His DOJ sued a woman who was legally passing out leaflets on abortion, and they lost their case in court, because where she was doing it was perfectly legal. Obama refuses to give aid to other countries such as Kenya unless it's tied to the country permitting abortions. The list goes on. So, for the media to pretend that this administration is in any way pro-life is a laugh and a fallacy. This man voted 4 times to kill any live-born infants after an abortion. To imply that he even cares about infants makes me ill.

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SANDY HANEY

March 05, 2012  7:36pm

Thank you for this article. Perhaps the Church needs to be more intentional in promoting the value of all life--including that life that isn't valued by our culture--through all our programs. Including the disabled into our church life, welcoming babies (even loud ones), paying attention to the wisdom of grey hair, remembering those no longer able to participate in weekly activities due to disability, decline, or dementia.... As we live out showing the value of ALL life, perhaps we will be more effective witnessing against those who demean it. (Also, an aside: the Greeks may have left some babies to die, but actually, they more often left them to be found and cared for. Timothy Miller's book, Orphans in Byzantium, and John Boswell's The Kindness of Strangers, show the complexity of the issues as well as the effect Christians had--or didn't--on such practices. I highly recommend both!)

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Laura

March 05, 2012  7:34pm

You all remember that 'slippery slope' we used to talk of back in the 60's, if abortion were legalized? Well, here it is!

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Pamela Mathews

March 05, 2012  5:29pm

Here we are spouting nonsense on the extremes. On one side, we have personhood laws where we need an ectopic pregnancy exemption or a couple gets charged with murder. On the other side, we are arguing that a born infant has the same ability to achieve a full life as an embryo, so the morning after pill and infanticide are essentially the same and both just fine, if you are pro choice. And we wonder why the public after listening to both positions is content to leave things as they are, no matter how imperfect?

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Judith Warren-Brown

March 05, 2012  4:33pm

We are seeing the slow disappearance of Judeo-Christian moral underpinnings of our culture. It is a shame because cultures not based on these values are not as safe nor as free. There is a lot of bribe taking, and life is much cheaper, and justice in even less predictable than it is here.

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Doreen Ashley

March 05, 2012  4:19pm

Can you reconcile this position explained in CT last Thursday: "The Evangelical Environmental Network recently spent $150,000 on TV and radio ads and billboards promoting new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mercury pollution regulations as a pro-life issue because of mercury's effect on neonatal health. Leaders connected to the Cornwall Alliance called the campaign's portrayal "disingenuous and dangerous." Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family employees and others signed a joint statement rejecting the issue as a pro-life one. "The life in pro-life denotes not quality of life but life itself. The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies," the statement said." It's not pro-life to oppose toxic pollution that causes birth defects? From where does this thinking come?

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josephine yates

March 05, 2012  4:11pm

What kind of horror is this?? What is next?? What old person can live and what old person should be put to death.

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Jonathan Brouillette

March 05, 2012  3:02pm

Melissa Ohden (convert to the fullness of the faith) - abortion attempt survivor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5PlZzpfHQI

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Doreen Ashley

March 05, 2012  3:00pm

Wow. Thanks for making me aware of this. Very insightful post, but very sad.

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Jonathan Brouillette

March 05, 2012  2:54pm

The Letter of Barnabas "The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. . . . Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).

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Jonathan Brouillette

March 05, 2012  2:54pm

The Letter of Barnabas "The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. . . . Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).

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Jonathan Brouillette

March 05, 2012  2:49pm

The Didache, the Teaching of the Apostles "The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).

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Henry

March 05, 2012  1:32pm

"Merely being human,” they claim, “is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life." Isn't that how Hitler got started??

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 05, 2012  1:07pm

MSP: that is horrible and unfortunate. I think the problem of ectopic pregnancies might be one of the gray areas (and the problems) left unaddressed by personhood legislation. On the other hand, the opening up of "abortion on demand" has clouded the issue to the extent that non-elective abortions (those that are truly a matter of life and death) have gotten swept up into the public discourse about "abortion"--a term that doesn't have enough nuance to cover all scenarios. (Heck, even giving birth "aborts" a pregnancy, technically speaking.)

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MSP

March 05, 2012  12:59pm

KSP--thank you for clearing up your position. In the news in my area there has been a lot of rhetoric that there should never be abortions for any reason--up to and including ectopic pregnancies. Some have gone far enough to say that it would be better for the woman to die, even though the pregnancy can't go to term. My heart just really goes out to women who have had no other option but to end their ectopic pregnancies who have to listen to that.

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JFK

March 05, 2012  12:54pm

Even the Catholic church allows for intervention in the case of an ectopic pregnancy in what is known as the rule of double effect. As Lily says above, the intent is to save the life of the mother, not to kill the baby. However the action does have the second effect of killing the baby in a situation in which if no action was taken, both would die.

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 05, 2012  12:46pm

Thank you, Leslie, very much.

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 05, 2012  12:46pm

Thank you, Leslie, very much.

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KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR

March 05, 2012  12:45pm

And let me add to Lily's response, termination of an ectopic pregnancy is not "elective abortion."

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Lily

March 05, 2012  12:32pm

In the case of an ectopic pregnancy there is zero percent chance of of survival for the baby. If the pregnancy continues it can take the life of the mother. In this case, you are saving a life (the mother's) not taking one.

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Lily

March 05, 2012  12:32pm

In the case of an ectopic pregnancy there is zero percent chance of of survival for the baby. If the pregnancy continues it can take the life of the mother. In this case, you are saving a life (the mother's) not taking one.

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MSP

March 05, 2012  12:21pm

What I haven't seen yet is a serious discussion on what to do for women with ectopic pregnancies. I know several Christian women who are afraid to share that they've had to terminate pregnancies because they were ectopic. How would personhood laws treat such women?

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Tim

March 05, 2012  12:09pm

Yep. I've long thought that if you can justify killing a baby in the womb (from the moment of conception on) then you can justify killing babies outside the womb, and from there you can justify killing anyone of any age. Attempts to label some of those individuals as persons (with rights) and others as merely potential persons (who do not have rights) is just a matter of subjective preference. Good job Karen. Tim P.S. While Utah state law has not declared babies in the womb to be persons, the Utah Supreme Court ruled in December 2011 that they qualify as minors for purposes of wrongful death lawsuits: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705396209/Utah-Supreme-Court-rules-unborn-children-qualify-as-minors.html

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