This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Partial Birth Abortion Brief and the Church - Update

Last September, I read the Center for Reproductive Rights brief in response to the government in the federal partial birth abortion case. This week the Court heard the arguments. The WaPo reports that the arguments were as graphic as the brief and that Justice Kennedy seemed to be on the fence, so he could rule either way.

The main feature of the brief, which is correct, is that the act in effect bans most second trimester abortions, going far beyond the public support base for banning abortions on viable children in what is akin to infanticide. Their logic is correct, although this does not stop me from wanting to throw up as they describe how an intact abortion is preferable to one where the fetus is dismembered either inside or outside the mother. The respondents are taking quite a chance with this brief, since the yuck factor is rather high.

I am no fan of abortion, but there are more effective ways to stop it than putting doctors in jail (thereby putting women at risk of unsafe abortions - even when medically necessary).

There is a form of mid and late term abortion that involves no dismemberment. It is called induction. If more hospitals, even Catholic ones, offered induction for second and third trimester abortions, Dialation and Extraction would disappear. Given the bloody alternative, you would think that Catholic hospitals would jump on this - combined with a durable adoption consent so that a woman who seeks an induction abortion surrenders all rights to the child, even if it survives. Of course, keeping such children alive would be expensive. Neither the mothers, the government or even the patient base should be billed for the medical costs of children so rescued - and those who were aborted due to fatal deformities should be baptized and allowed to die. Those whose only defect is parents who can not or will not take care of them should be given a fighting chance but funded through donations for this purpose.

Of course, such heroics is the easy answer. Relying on the law and authoritarianism is also an easy answer. Such easy answers do not always work. Most abortions, except for fetal deformity, can be prevented if we exect people to raise their children and give them the means to do so. Last time I checked, the Catholic Church was the largest single provider of both elementary and collegiate education on the planet. What their system lacks is a commitment to vocational education for the vast majority who do not advance to college. What the system also lacks is the willingness to pay young people for their time in the classroom, thus offering them a way to live independently from their parents when their biology tells them it is time to be parents.

When the Church starts offering young people a future if they marry and keep the child (rather than such stop gaps as Project Rachel), I will be interested in what they have to say on abortion politics. If they take a stand for workers, excommunicating Catholic business owners and share holders who do not provide a living wage (and start paying their employees thusly), I will become very interested. If they really wish to take action on behalf of the unborn they should get their priests out of the streets and set up a "second tithe" for our wealthiest members, who would give an additional 10% of their grosses for redistribution to families with more children than they can afford. If the state continues to fail in this regard, perhaps it is time for the Church to step in. In the early church, there were no poor among us for this very reason. It is time to return to that practice. Then I will not only be interested, I will be impressed. Until they impress me, they can quit telling me how to vote, however.

In ethics, there is a concept called vincible ignorance. That is, you are responsible for your actions if you should have asked or examined. To any clergy out there - consider yourselves warned. Now that you have been, you are responsible for any abortions that might have been prevented had you done what I have suggested. Quit blaming the Democrats and do what is in your power.


Blogger Progressive Christian said...

I agree that the Church needs to do more to provide alternatives when it starts spouting off about the sanctity of human life. with its enormous resources, the Roman Catholic Church has more of an opportunity than other, smaller churches to do so, although individual churches and church groups may be able to do something on a local and regional level.
For me, the problem with abortion has been the rhetoric on both sides. Abortion is horrible, no matter how it is done, and while a plurality of abortions are done for familial and economic reasons, most are done on married women who are exercising choice for a variety of less noble reasons - sex selection and hiding infidelity. Even those single women who choose abortion because they do not wish to carry a child to term are being more selfish than themay think. I wish all sides would deal with the reality of abortion rather than spin fairy tales.

7:19 AM

Blogger Michael Bindner said...

Thanks for the comment. I am interested where you got the statistic on infidelity/sex selection. That is an interesting fact, if true.

I don't think many late abortions are for infidelity, but I would imagine most sex selection abortions are late term and are likely not done because a son is expected.

It is amazing that both of these cases have something to do with the husband (either not letting him know or giving him a son).

9:32 AM

Blogger Progressive Christian said...

Have a great weekend, Michael. Take care of that little one of yours. God Bless.

7:38 PM


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