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Terryl Givens Weighs in on Ethics of Abortion


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31 minutes ago, LDS Watchman said:

That's what I believe.

The baby has a heart beat, which makes it a living person, before the mother even knows she's pregnant. Having an abortion is always killing an innocent defenseless baby. 

I know can you imagine in the next life some person walking up to their mother and saying mom what made you decide to kill me? I've never been blessed with children so I have an attitude about the whole thing. I have raised a teenager or two that we unofficially adopted but it's not the same thing.

Edited by rodheadlee
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44 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

I know can you imagine in the next life some person walking up to their mother and saying mom what made you decide to kill me? I've never been blessed with children so I have an attitude about the whole thing. I have raised a teenager or two that we unofficially adopted but it's not the same thing.

I'm sure not being able to have a child does give you a unique perspective.

There are those who can't have children, while there are those who can who choose to murder them. I'm sure the sorrow of those who murder their offspring will be unimaginable in the next life once they have a perfect knowledge of their guilt.

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On 12/2/2020 at 12:49 PM, pogi said:

Thanks for sharing.

Clearly I place greater emotional value on my 4 year old boy now than when he was a zygote.  I place greater emotional value on sentient beings than zygotes.  But I sometimes wonder if we place too much emphasis on emotional value when speaking of human rights.  I think it is human nature to want to protect those we identify with more and relate with better, or that which is more practical or useful to us, but I also think this leads to many of the human rights violations we see in our world today.  When we only protect the natural inalienable rights of those humans which we place greater emotional value on, or even practical value on, then we leave the door open for oppression and human rights abuses in the world.  For example, I place greater value on my son than my neighbor.  Does that mean that my neighbor is less deserving of human rights?  Some place greater emotional/practical value on white people than black people.  Should that subjective value we place on other humans, or lack thereof, justify denying them basic natural human rights because they look different, or because we don't perceive any immediate practical value to them?      When speaking of basic natural and inalienable human rights, the right to vote is not one of them, so I don't think it is a fair comparison when speaking of natural human rights.  The foundation ones outlined by Locke, which we base the constitution on are life, liberty, and property.   This is a natural human right that all humans  are innately endowed with.  This is not a person right.  It is a human right.  

I think part of the disconnect between us however is the language we use.  Where I am using "human", you are using "person".   For me, I don't morally understand why a person is more deserving of basic "human rights" than a human.  The word "person" is not a biological term and has nothing to do with biological human life.  It is not a recognized stage of human development.  It is an arbitrary made up legal term and has no biological significance to what human life really is.  No one knows what it is, because it doesn't really exist biologically, it only exists legally, and no one can agree on how it should be defined.   Why it matters in relation to the basic human right to life is beyond me.   Think about it, in defining the human right to life, what we need to know is 2 things, what is human?  ...and what is life?  With that there is consensus. 

I agree that it only has potential to become a person (whatever that is), what I don't agree with is that it is not equally deserving of the fundamental human right to life on the basis that it is alive and it is fully human.  We are absolutely no different from it in that regard.  We stand on equal ground. We are the same in those terms.  I don't care what a person is.  No one will ever agree on that.  It is completely arbitrary and should have no bearing on the natural and inalienable human right to life.

 

I feel like i may be repeating myself a little. But i’m too lazy to go back and read my previous posts. Obviously emotional reasoning can be wrong (i feel therefore it is). The problem with pointing to the issue of emotions is that each side at some point will appeal to emotion or have a form of emotional reasoning. It’s just easiest to pinpoint it in the other. In the main article it did so in a very common way: showing a picture of a full term infant. In your post you talk of destroying innocent life. Innocent is an emotional adjective and a value-laden description of an event. I, as a vegetarian, could also say that meat eaters participate in destroying innocent life and then show the picture of a sick baby cow from the veal industry. Most meat eaters may rightly point out they rarely if ever eat veal and there can be more reasonable ways of describing the demise of a cow for their food. It doesn’t move the needle, if just self-validates our emotionl response. 

I’m not one who thinks we can fully divorce ourselves from our emotionl responses....but rather acknowledge them and using them to help explore concepts. For me my early responses helped me to explore blind spots and check my gut reactions. And it’s still complicated today.  Emotion was only one aspect of my opinion. And a fairly small one at that. 

Appealing to john locke to me and natural human rights is a little odd to me. Those are both socially/philosophically defined terms that from their inception and use have had exceptions in implementation and who exactly is defined as having human rights. Some of those we as a society have rejected...some we haven’t. And even there the natural right of “property” could still apply to where i put voting without a change in my overall thought. 

I do think that pointing to emotion is a bit reductive in general. My emotional tie to a zygote is only (a pretty miniscule) part of my concern for putting it equally under the umbrella of having inalienable human rights. Those come from the same sources of information and knowledge. My interpretation of said info differs. 

 

The reason i think there is some differentiation in human rights based on personhood of a zygote is because circumstances and capacities are limited to such an extreme that their general responsibilities and connecting rights are ergo limited. Lets go with someone who has become effectively brain dead as an adult from an accident. the day before they became brain dead, they were afforded the right to decide their future based on their capacity and responsibilities of maintaining themselves. The day after they could no longer maintain themselves. Their right was afforded to next of kin and their right to life became tentative at best. Their humanness, as in their genetic composition, is certainly not in question....but their rights most definitely are based on how much of them (ie their soul/consciousness) is really still there. They were innocent in creating their circumstances leading to reduced rights/capacities. But that doesn’t change the question or the fact that they’re brain dead. You could do the same for wills. A person has a right to give their property away as they see fit. But if they change their will when their mental capacity was seriously compromised, that will could likely be contested. Their humanness/dna is equal to me and you...but their rights based on functionality and capacities are not. It is not completely arbitrary...they’re important questions and ones that with oversimplified answers could have serious unintentional consequences in areas that aren’t even about abortion, such as legislation around IVF or miscarriage...or around potential exceptions we’re mostly okay with abortions proceeding (rape, risk to life of mother, viability related defects, etc).

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I think this is another fundamental difference between us.  For me, that choice was made when two people decided to have unprotected sex.  To engage in unprotected sex is to choose the risk of life.  It is a choice to gamble, and they need to be morally accountable and responsible for the results of that gamble.  They made the gamble and cannot back out when odds end up being against them.  That is not how it works.  That is why ALL emphasis and education needs to be on prevention.  That is where the choice is made.  That is where life is made.   The human inside her didn't make that choice.

An anectdotal story that mildly applies: i would often tell people that there were three types of children in the world: planned, ooopsie babies (unolanned but generally loved surprises), and mistakes...i was a mistake. A few relatives who love me tried to swoop in, cushion the sound of that, and insist that wasn’t the case. But it was. That’s very likely the words a single person would call her one experience that went against her moral beliefs: i made a mistake. I say that because i have serious problems with the “you chose to do the deed, now live with the consequences” motto and part of that is from living as a consequence for someone else’s mistake. It’s harsh logic that often entails a child holding the biological, environmental, and social debt of the adults’ poor decisions and often less stable home environments and the mother holding more of the responsibility for the interlude than a man. There is little to no mercy in that belief, IMO.  Plus we reduce or circumvent consequences all the time. A person isn’t cut off from hospital care for covid just because they chose to ignore cdc guidelines, for example. I don’t think we can completely mitigate or have a complete ideal home for all children on our current earth. But i do think finding ways to mitigate some of the more difficult situations that can corrode a child is worth it for the health of society overall. Again, I don’t think abortion should be a first option...but i think avoiding it entirely as an option is untenable in our society. 

 

Side note: This took me a little longer because i got distracted seeking out abortion stories from women. Went on the google search rabbit hole of stats, research, and anectdotal accounts for close to no reason. 😅

 

with luv, 

BD 

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On 12/6/2020 at 12:02 AM, BlueDreams said:

The reason i think there is some differentiation in human rights based on personhood of a zygote is because circumstances and capacities are limited to such an extreme that their general responsibilities and connecting rights are ergo limited.

If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that humans only deserve what we call "natural" human rights if they conform/align with certain "circumstances and capacities", is that correct?  That seems kind of vague, can you explain further.  I know you gave an example, but I have some problems with it that I will try to explain:

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Lets go with someone who has become effectively brain dead as an adult from an accident. the day before they became brain dead, they were afforded the right to decide their future based on their capacity and responsibilities of maintaining themselves. The day after they could no longer maintain themselves. Their right was afforded to next of kin and their right to life became tentative at best. Their humanness, as in their genetic composition, is certainly not in question....but their rights most definitely are based on how much of them (ie their soul/consciousness) is really still there. They were innocent in creating their circumstances leading to reduced rights/capacities. But that doesn’t change the question or the fact that they’re brain dead. You could do the same for wills. A person has a right to give their property away as they see fit. But if they change their will when their mental capacity was seriously compromised, that will could likely be contested. Their humanness/dna is equal to me and you...but their rights based on functionality and capacities are not. It is not completely arbitrary...they’re important questions and ones that with oversimplified answers could have serious unintentional consequences in areas that aren’t even about abortion, such as legislation around IVF or miscarriage...or around potential exceptions we’re mostly okay with abortions proceeding (rape, risk to life of mother, viability related defects, etc).

 

I the first example, you are comparing a brain dead person with a zygote and suggesting that the right to life is associated with consciousness.  Is that a fair assessment?   

The zygote is in no way dead, like the brain dead person is.  It is in no way dependent upon artificial means or medical intervention to sustain life (if you can call it that).  Without breathing machines etc. performing basic bodily functions for the individual, the person dies.  The zygote is fully functioning, fully alive, not half dead, not dependent upon medical intervention and machines to exist, and not even dependent upon the mother yet.  Totally natural and healthy.     One will never be conscious again, the other will be conscious.  In other words, the right to life for you is less about life and more about consciousness.  Should "potential" for consciousness be considered?  Why or why not?  Lets say that we could cure brain dead people and that they had potential to regain full consciousness.  Would that change the morality of the issue for you once the potential for full recovery exists?

On 12/6/2020 at 12:02 AM, BlueDreams said:

I say that because i have serious problems with the “you chose to do the deed, now live with the consequences” motto and part of that is from living as a consequence for someone else’s mistake. It’s harsh logic that often entails a child holding the biological, environmental, and social debt of the adults’ poor decisions and often less stable home environments and the mother holding more of the responsibility for the interlude than a man. There is little to no mercy in that belief, IMO. 

Of course we try to mitigate (as far as morality/ethics will allow) consequences and offer support, but consequences are a part of life.  At some point we have to accept that our choices have consequences, and in this scenario the choice was made when two people had unprotected sex.  That was when the choice was made.  That is where this all started.  We can't pretend like we are stripping anyone of choice here.  Unprotected sex not only comes with the risk of pregnancy, but also risk for infectious disease.  One problem with abortion is that human life is being treated like a sexually transmitted infection that needs to be killed.  We cant cure all STI's and the person needs to live with the consequences of their choices.  Unlike sexually transmitted infections, human life is not a disease (conscious or not).  It should not be attacked because it is inconvenient. 

You suggest that you are living as a consequence for someone else's mistake.  I am sure that has been a challenge for you in many ways.  But if you could, would you choose the alternative - being aborted?   Or, is your life worth it despite the challenges?  The consequences of life in general can be harsh, but life itself is still worth it.  There absolutely is mercy in preserving the sanctity of life despite challenges that might arise.  We all knew that there would come challenges and terrible consequences in mortality, yet we still chose it.    Your existence is not a mistake and unmerciful.  I for one, am benefited by your existence :)  Secondly, you are not considering the option of adoption. 

I don't think you are giving honest consideration of my perspective if you are suggesting it is coming from a place of little to no mercy.  I am an advocate for humans who can't speak for themselves, or are temporarily incapacitated.  I am aligned with medical ethics of 'do the least harm'.  My position is in line with the position of the clear, consistent, consensus of the prophets/church, and I wouldn't call that an unmerciful or unconsidered/unreasoned position.  I think I am standing on solid ground. 

I don't think we are ever going to agree on the right to life (and rights in general) but religiously speaking, I don't think there is much wiggle room there.  

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Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions may lose their membership in the Church.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/abortion?lang=eng

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by pogi
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On 12/7/2020 at 12:57 PM, pogi said:

If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that humans only deserve what we call "natural" human rights if they conform/align with certain "circumstances and capacities", is that correct?  That seems kind of vague, can you explain further.  I know you gave an example, but I have some problems with it that I will try to explain:

I the first example, you are comparing a brain dead person with a zygote and suggesting that the right to life is associated with consciousness.  Is that a fair assessment?   

The zygote is in no way dead, like the brain dead person is.  It is in no way dependent upon artificial means or medical intervention to sustain life (if you can call it that).  Without breathing machines etc. performing basic bodily functions for the individual, the person dies.  The zygote is fully functioning, fully alive, not half dead, not dependent upon medical intervention and machines to exist, and not even dependent upon the mother yet.  Totally natural and healthy.     One will never be conscious again, the other will be conscious.  In other words, the right to life for you is less about life and more about consciousness.  Should "potential" for consciousness be considered?  Why or why not?  Lets say that we could cure brain dead people and that they had potential to regain full consciousness.  Would that change the morality of the issue for you once the potential for full recovery exists?

Of course we try to mitigate (as far as morality/ethics will allow) consequences and offer support, but consequences are a part of life.  At some point we have to accept that our choices have consequences, and in this scenario the choice was made when two people had unprotected sex.  That was when the choice was made.  That is where this all started.  We can't pretend like we are stripping anyone of choice here.  Unprotected sex not only comes with the risk of pregnancy, but also risk for infectious disease.  One problem with abortion is that human life is being treated like a sexually transmitted infection that needs to be killed.  We cant cure all STI's and the person needs to live with the consequences of their choices.  Unlike sexually transmitted infections, human life is not a disease (conscious or not).  It should not be attacked because it is inconvenient. 

You suggest that you are living as a consequence for someone else's mistake.  I am sure that has been a challenge for you in many ways.  But if you could, would you choose the alternative - being aborted?   Or, is your life worth it despite the challenges?  The consequences of life in general can be harsh, but life itself is still worth it.  There absolutely is mercy in preserving the sanctity of life despite challenges that might arise.  We all knew that there would come challenges and terrible consequences in mortality, yet we still chose it.    Your existence is not a mistake and unmerciful.  I for one, am benefited by your existence :)  Secondly, you are not considering the option of adoption. 

I don't think you are giving honest consideration of my perspective if you are suggesting it is coming from a place of little to no mercy.  I am an advocate for humans who can't speak for themselves, or are temporarily incapacitated.  I am aligned with medical ethics of 'do the least harm'.  My position is in line with the position of the clear, consistent, consensus of the prophets/church, and I wouldn't call that an unmerciful or unconsidered/unreasoned position.  I think I am standing on solid ground. 

I don't think we are ever going to agree on the right to life (and rights in general) but religiously speaking, I don't think there is much wiggle room there.  

 

 

 

 

I’m writing this on my phone. So it’s easier not to break up the quote. hopefully this will still make sense
 

I think the best way i could put it is that all rights have limits or at least their gray zones. Zygotes to me with the right to life definitely represent that to me. I’ve given a couple examples already and ones specific to zygotes even in terms of IVF treatments. These are socially decided because there isn’t a uniform or even majority consensus about it. Not even in the church as there have been back and forths as to when exactly the soul enters the body. 

 

Brain dead or heavily brain damage people or people who’s mental capacities are slipping. I also pointed to limits to rights of property based on age. Other rights that are based strongly on capacities and responsibilities in the society, etc. My main point with it is that I can’t think of a single right that is absolute and universal in it’s application in real world circumstances. 

 

I definitely disagree with your assessment of the zygote. A zygote may end up becoming two, not one, people. In IVF, the zygote is dependent on tech to maintain stasis. Changes in the environment will destroy it. The zygote will also perish without a woman/womb to attach itself to. Zygotes could possibly end up developing into a being that has consciousness, but there’s strong chances it’s unique genetics code is incompatible with life, it’s few hundred cells will stop dividing for no good reason, and in the mystery of development it will be rejected in either the next period or in a solid miscarriage. Potential already does change things for me. Life is still valued and should be honored with the place it plays in society. And in my personal framework of morality I want to teach that respect to my children in every aspect and i’d share that opinion to those who ask.  But I don’t know if i can fully insist on enforcing my view of the value of that seedling on another when there is a reasonable question mark as to the personhood of a lifeform and it generally doesn’t harm the long term health of society through things like gender or superficial trait selection. Potential for a full fledged functioning person isn’t a person, it’s potential....potential completely dependent and influenced by another who is very much a person. And It’s that difference that i’m weighing in my mind. 

Potential can definitely be a factor for trajectory and application of rights, but i mentioned the mentally failing person as well for a reason. Capacity, autonomy, consciousness, function, etc all play together in deciding that. As i mentioned it’s not a simple yes/no to me. Life’s too messy for that. I prefer a gradation of rights and responsibilities based on the above. 

 

I mentioned that there were stories that i was reading about abortion. In them, a few really did talk about it somewhat like an STI...enough that i could see the parallel you gave. The one that stuck with me that was like this was a college woman who binge drunk every weekend, had an extremely unhealthy lifestyle, and wasn’t fully sure who it was that couldhave impregnated her. She noted keeping the ultrasound assuming she may need to process what happened afterwards, assuming it would one day “mean something” to her (as though significance would one day be bestowed on her) but really felt nothing whatsoever about it. She might as well have had her appendix removed. I cannot emphasize enough that i do not enjoy her story or empathize with it in any way. It’s as foreign to me as it gets. But I can’t lie that i’m relieved that that seedling didn’t get the time to fully develop in such unhealthy soil. Pictures of FAS flashed through my mind as well as other potential development problems she put that embryo at risk for. 

 

Most the time it was not treated like an STI. It was looked at and reasoned through most often as potentially a baby if they allowed it to continue. (For elective abortions). Many were moms of other children done with child bearing or in poverty. Many were young and with no way to financially support themselves. Some were in abusive/controlling relationships and had lost a sense of control over their lives. A few had been “stealthed” (consented to protected sex and the partner secretly made it unprotected). Some were defiant of needing a reason and wouldn’t give one minus, i wasn’t ready for a child. Many had thought of adoption and wrote it off. Many knew immediately what they’d do. Many grappled or were uncertain or caught off gaurd. Many were struggling with severe mental illness or had had such from prior pregnancies. Many were religious. Many were not. And most had a hodgepodge of reasons and circumstances put together that made abortion the option they went with. Either way their attitude wasn’t “i picked up something nasty from an ex” the attitude was “I’m pregnant, I can’t handle a baby right now.” 

 

I don’t suggest, i am a living consequence of someone else’s mistakes. So are several of my siblings. I debated preemptively on my previous post answering your question because i knew it would come up. It’s one i’ve thought about for a long time and one that’s commonly postured anyways. I chose not to because I was already going long and shortening it wasn’t a great option considering several of the thoughts are...well they entail contemplating a lot about the dregs of humanity. So not exactly the most positive of messages. But I’ll do so now anyways. 

I’ll start with the easiest, which is whether I wouldn’t have been born. I don’t fully believe that spiritually. As i mentioned i view the body as being slowly weaved and the spirit not necessarily in said body at least fully at first. Which means who i truly am probably just wouldn’t have been born to these parents or these exact circumstances and this exact body. At the same time i’ve come to believe that i was willing to take a less conventional mission on earth per se due to issues and resentments i held when i was young that I hadn’t been adopted out and had a more “normal” family, which the spirit addressed for me. That’s a long way to say i don’t think a spirit of god won’t get embodied some way somehow if it was ordained to be so and i know god allows a degree of messiness to life here. But even if i’m wrong and a zygote really does house a spirit. That still just changes my timeline a little. But in no way do I spiritually assume that my existence would be forfeit. 

Now for the harder question: is my life worth it as it is? I obviously value my life. I’ve come to a point that i value the families i ended up born into. But i have also worked extremely hard to make sure that my child and my posterity would never have the family structure that i had growing up. I’ve worked hard to close off 2 generations of fall out from dysfunctional families. I cannot emphasize enough how passionately and adamently i never ever ever want my family structure repeated. There’s little i value or carry into my current family and what is is somewhat superficial...and there’s a lot of pain and several therapists along the journey. My one brother especially has emotional scars from it he still struggles with as he nears 30. 

And relatively speaking, it could have been worse. I’ve met and heard worse. People who’s scars have fundamentally altered their souls, and not in a good way. Where something in them is fundamentally broken because of where and how they grew up. When i was look for more information on adoption and abortion, i did run into a few stories of people who would answer, sadly, yes to wishing their embryo had been aborted or that it would have been better overall for others like them. With those in mind, I remember studying moses 7 and suddenly understanding how the flood could be merciful. When you get a people so corrupt and dysfunctional, it’s a mercy to make sure another soul will never have to endure that mess. Where the likelihood of a positive outcome for a spirit to grow well becomes more and more unlikely. Some of the stories of abortion remind me of those circumstances. Particularly the ones of abusive partners or extremely unstable or drug addicted parents. I empathize with those and can see how sometimes “do the least harm” may indeed be not bringing a child into those circumstances. 

Life is hard...it should be. Difficulty in the right amount is good. But IMHO as much as possible life should not be harsh ...it should not be cruel as much as possible. It is the difference to introducing a tender plant to the elements v planting it in toxic, hard, and rocky soil.

 

Likewise with adoption I didn’t bring it up for length of post. Not because I haven’t thought of it. Fun fact: i was also going to be placed for adoption. My mom was actively looking for a family in two different states, one prenatal and the other across country from my birth, 2 months post partum. Obviously, from my story, it didn’t happen. Adoption is not a fix-all to abortion. Particularly nowadays when there is far less stigma to single parenting. Several articles i looked through pointed out that adoption and abortion are two separate decisions: one of whether or not you’ll stay pregnant. Once you’ve decided that then it’s a decision of whether or not you’ll parent. On that the vast majority of unplanned/unwanted pregnancies that aren’t aborted are parented by the birth mother. Most women who consider adoption to some degree end up not doing so. Yes, adoption could be more promoted culturally, but that won’t necessarily lift the numbers. My extended family fits in the category of people who put adoption as something to seriously consider when having an unplanned pregnancy and carry heavy stigma towards abortion. They’re culturally very conservative and very much believe children are best raised by a mother and a father. There have been around 10 unwanted /unwed pregnancies over the last 40 or so years that i can think of right now. Of those, 4 pregnancies entailed seriously looking into adoption. But only 1 that i’m somewhat aware of was actually adopted out. And that had to be a couple decades ago. Reducing abortion by reducing access wouldn’t likely increase adoption rates percentage wise...at least the ones most think of when talking about this. Infant placements are the least common type of adoptions. Most happen with toddlers to older children. And outside of family adoptions (such as a step parent or grandparent taking custody), most are from foster care or internationally adopted out. What is likely to happen is that the majority of women would end up parenting in less stable environments or circumstances. This increases the likelihood children have poirer outcome or end up in foster care if things go wrong (which they’re more likely to). And depending the age of the child, they may have a really hard time being placed if they need to be. Because the high demand for adoption is really mostly for one type of adoption: infants/newborns, healthy and with no major development problems, minimal drug use or mental health issues from bio-mom, and preferably just white. On the last one, i would have been considered a special needs adoption case in many agencies because i didn’t tick off that last box. Adoption can and should be a safe option for those who don’t want to parent their child. And it should be presented to those who have unwantwd pregnancies and aren’t sure what to do. But it’s not a solution. Assuming it ignores the greater likelihood of cost on later children born into unstable homes or with increased disorders. 

 

Side annoyance: it is extremely hard to find actual data on adoption beyond the most basic stats. And due to google and pro-life groups buying top spots you really have to dig to find critical analyses of practices as opposed to the glowy version of adoption. As i was scrolling, I could hear my mom’s bitter voice when she saw an adoption ad: “they make it look so easy.” 

 

And lastly, yes. I was never assuming we would agree. And you may feel there is no religious wiggle room, but i obviously do. I’m not looking to personally support an abortion. I’m looking to live in a pluralistic society where my views of life can have space next to others. It may change and expand my sense of what may be exceptional justifiable cases. Honestly reading as much as i did in the last few days did just that. It’s not out of a sense of tossing away life, but rather cultvating life in general in such a balance and way that there’s greater health in society. I keep asking myself what is best for society at large. And it still remains a mix of being informed by open to new information about my personal values, helping others find personal stability and health where a pregnancy, even an enexpected one, can be a gift, and allowing within some reason flexibility on abortion laws to allow others to govern themselves. None of these feel out of sink with my spiritual and religious views. They’re just different takes and perspectives from said religion than from you. 

 

With luv, 

BD 

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1 hour ago, BlueDreams said:

I’m writing this on my phone. So it’s easier not to break up the quote. hopefully this will still make sense
 

I think the best way i could put it is that all rights have limits or at least their gray zones. Zygotes to me with the right to life definitely represent that to me. I’ve given a couple examples already and ones specific to zygotes even in terms of IVF treatments. These are socially decided because there isn’t a uniform or even majority consensus about it. Not even in the church as there have been back and forths as to when exactly the soul enters the body. 

 

Brain dead or heavily brain damage people or people who’s mental capacities are slipping. I also pointed to limits to rights of property based on age. Other rights that are based strongly on capacities and responsibilities in the society, etc. My main point with it is that I can’t think of a single right that is absolute and universal in it’s application in real world circumstances. 

 

I definitely disagree with your assessment of the zygote. A zygote may end up becoming two, not one, people. In IVF, the zygote is dependent on tech to maintain stasis. Changes in the environment will destroy it. The zygote will also perish without a woman/womb to attach itself to. Zygotes could possibly end up developing into a being that has consciousness, but there’s strong chances it’s unique genetics code is incompatible with life, it’s few hundred cells will stop dividing for no good reason, and in the mystery of development it will be rejected in either the next period or in a solid miscarriage. Potential already does change things for me. Life is still valued and should be honored with the place it plays in society. And in my personal framework of morality I want to teach that respect to my children in every aspect and i’d share that opinion to those who ask.  But I don’t know if i can fully insist on enforcing my view of the value of that seedling on another when there is a reasonable question mark as to the personhood of a lifeform and it generally doesn’t harm the long term health of society through things like gender or superficial trait selection. Potential for a full fledged functioning person isn’t a person, it’s potential....potential completely dependent and influenced by another who is very much a person. And It’s that difference that i’m weighing in my mind. 

Potential can definitely be a factor for trajectory and application of rights, but i mentioned the mentally failing person as well for a reason. Capacity, autonomy, consciousness, function, etc all play together in deciding that. As i mentioned it’s not a simple yes/no to me. Life’s too messy for that. I prefer a gradation of rights and responsibilities based on the above. 

 

I mentioned that there were stories that i was reading about abortion. In them, a few really did talk about it somewhat like an STI...enough that i could see the parallel you gave. The one that stuck with me that was like this was a college woman who binge drunk every weekend, had an extremely unhealthy lifestyle, and wasn’t fully sure who it was that couldhave impregnated her. She noted keeping the ultrasound assuming she may need to process what happened afterwards, assuming it would one day “mean something” to her (as though significance would one day be bestowed on her) but really felt nothing whatsoever about it. She might as well have had her appendix removed. I cannot emphasize enough that i do not enjoy her story or empathize with it in any way. It’s as foreign to me as it gets. But I can’t lie that i’m relieved that that seedling didn’t get the time to fully develop in such unhealthy soil. Pictures of FAS flashed through my mind as well as other potential development problems she put that embryo at risk for. 

 

Most the time it was not treated like an STI. It was looked at and reasoned through most often as potentially a baby if they allowed it to continue. (For elective abortions). Many were moms of other children done with child bearing or in poverty. Many were young and with no way to financially support themselves. Some were in abusive/controlling relationships and had lost a sense of control over their lives. A few had been “stealthed” (consented to protected sex and the partner secretly made it unprotected). Some were defiant of needing a reason and wouldn’t give one minus, i wasn’t ready for a child. Many had thought of adoption and wrote it off. Many knew immediately what they’d do. Many grappled or were uncertain or caught off gaurd. Many were struggling with severe mental illness or had had such from prior pregnancies. Many were religious. Many were not. And most had a hodgepodge of reasons and circumstances put together that made abortion the option they went with. Either way their attitude wasn’t “i picked up something nasty from an ex” the attitude was “I’m pregnant, I can’t handle a baby right now.” 

 

I don’t suggest, i am a living consequence of someone else’s mistakes. So are several of my siblings. I debated preemptively on my previous post answering your question because i knew it would come up. It’s one i’ve thought about for a long time and one that’s commonly postured anyways. I chose not to because I was already going long and shortening it wasn’t a great option considering several of the thoughts are...well they entail contemplating a lot about the dregs of humanity. So not exactly the most positive of messages. But I’ll do so now anyways. 

I’ll start with the easiest, which is whether I wouldn’t have been born. I don’t fully believe that spiritually. As i mentioned i view the body as being slowly weaved and the spirit not necessarily in said body at least fully at first. Which means who i truly am probably just wouldn’t have been born to these parents or these exact circumstances and this exact body. At the same time i’ve come to believe that i was willing to take a less conventional mission on earth per se due to issues and resentments i held when i was young that I hadn’t been adopted out and had a more “normal” family, which the spirit addressed for me. That’s a long way to say i don’t think a spirit of god won’t get embodied some way somehow if it was ordained to be so and i know god allows a degree of messiness to life here. But even if i’m wrong and a zygote really does house a spirit. That still just changes my timeline a little. But in no way do I spiritually assume that my existence would be forfeit. 

Now for the harder question: is my life worth it as it is? I obviously value my life. I’ve come to a point that i value the families i ended up born into. But i have also worked extremely hard to make sure that my child and my posterity would never have the family structure that i had growing up. I’ve worked hard to close off 2 generations of fall out from dysfunctional families. I cannot emphasize enough how passionately and adamently i never ever ever want my family structure repeated. There’s little i value or carry into my current family and what is is somewhat superficial...and there’s a lot of pain and several therapists along the journey. My one brother especially has emotional scars from it he still struggles with as he nears 30. 

And relatively speaking, it could have been worse. I’ve met and heard worse. People who’s scars have fundamentally altered their souls, and not in a good way. Where something in them is fundamentally broken because of where and how they grew up. When i was look for more information on adoption and abortion, i did run into a few stories of people who would answer, sadly, yes to wishing their embryo had been aborted or that it would have been better overall for others like them. With those in mind, I remember studying moses 7 and suddenly understanding how the flood could be merciful. When you get a people so corrupt and dysfunctional, it’s a mercy to make sure another soul will never have to endure that mess. Where the likelihood of a positive outcome for a spirit to grow well becomes more and more unlikely. Some of the stories of abortion remind me of those circumstances. Particularly the ones of abusive partners or extremely unstable or drug addicted parents. I empathize with those and can see how sometimes “do the least harm” may indeed be not bringing a child into those circumstances. 

Life is hard...it should be. Difficulty in the right amount is good. But IMHO as much as possible life should not be harsh ...it should not be cruel as much as possible. It is the difference to introducing a tender plant to the elements v planting it in toxic, hard, and rocky soil.

 

Likewise with adoption I didn’t bring it up for length of post. Not because I haven’t thought of it. Fun fact: i was also going to be placed for adoption. My mom was actively looking for a family in two different states, one prenatal and the other across country from my birth, 2 months post partum. Obviously, from my story, it didn’t happen. Adoption is not a fix-all to abortion. Particularly nowadays when there is far less stigma to single parenting. Several articles i looked through pointed out that adoption and abortion are two separate decisions: one of whether or not you’ll stay pregnant. Once you’ve decided that then it’s a decision of whether or not you’ll parent. On that the vast majority of unplanned/unwanted pregnancies that aren’t aborted are parented by the birth mother. Most women who consider adoption to some degree end up not doing so. Yes, adoption could be more promoted culturally, but that won’t necessarily lift the numbers. My extended family fits in the category of people who put adoption as something to seriously consider when having an unplanned pregnancy and carry heavy stigma towards abortion. They’re culturally very conservative and very much believe children are best raised by a mother and a father. There have been around 10 unwanted /unwed pregnancies over the last 40 or so years that i can think of right now. Of those, 4 pregnancies entailed seriously looking into adoption. But only 1 that i’m somewhat aware of was actually adopted out. And that had to be a couple decades ago. Reducing abortion by reducing access wouldn’t likely increase adoption rates percentage wise...at least the ones most think of when talking about this. Infant placements are the least common type of adoptions. Most happen with toddlers to older children. And outside of family adoptions (such as a step parent or grandparent taking custody), most are from foster care or internationally adopted out. What is likely to happen is that the majority of women would end up parenting in less stable environments or circumstances. This increases the likelihood children have poirer outcome or end up in foster care if things go wrong (which they’re more likely to). And depending the age of the child, they may have a really hard time being placed if they need to be. Because the high demand for adoption is really mostly for one type of adoption: infants/newborns, healthy and with no major development problems, minimal drug use or mental health issues from bio-mom, and preferably just white. On the last one, i would have been considered a special needs adoption case in many agencies because i didn’t tick off that last box. Adoption can and should be a safe option for those who don’t want to parent their child. And it should be presented to those who have unwantwd pregnancies and aren’t sure what to do. But it’s not a solution. Assuming it ignores the greater likelihood of cost on later children born into unstable homes or with increased disorders. 

 

Side annoyance: it is extremely hard to find actual data on adoption beyond the most basic stats. And due to google and pro-life groups buying top spots you really have to dig to find critical analyses of practices as opposed to the glowy version of adoption. As i was scrolling, I could hear my mom’s bitter voice when she saw an adoption ad: “they make it look so easy.” 

 

And lastly, yes. I was never assuming we would agree. And you may feel there is no religious wiggle room, but i obviously do. I’m not looking to personally support an abortion. I’m looking to live in a pluralistic society where my views of life can have space next to others. It may change and expand my sense of what may be exceptional justifiable cases. Honestly reading as much as i did in the last few days did just that. It’s not out of a sense of tossing away life, but rather cultvating life in general in such a balance and way that there’s greater health in society. I keep asking myself what is best for society at large. And it still remains a mix of being informed by open to new information about my personal values, helping others find personal stability and health where a pregnancy, even an enexpected one, can be a gift, and allowing within some reason flexibility on abortion laws to allow others to govern themselves. None of these feel out of sink with my spiritual and religious views. They’re just different takes and perspectives from said religion than from you. 

 

With luv, 

BD 

Thank you for your thoughtful responses and civil tone in what can be a difficult subject to debate without emotions flying. 

While it is tragic that there are some who wish that they had been aborted, I don't think that is representative of the norm, nor do I think it is justifiable to make that choice for another human life.  That is not our choice to make (unfortunately society has made it so, however).   As pro-life as I am, having worked in hospice and having seen the suffering of many with no hopes of recovery, I am probably unusual in that I favor of assisted suicide.  The liberty to preserve the right to life or forfeit that right belongs to the individual.   I value the right to life as the most fundamental right of all.  Literally every other right hinges upon that right.  I believe that all human life is endowed with and entitled to that right.  We may forfeit that right through our personal choices in accord with our social compact (executions), but ultimately that choice to live under and abide by that contract and enjoy the rights provided is ours to make.  We also should have the liberty to forfeit that right for ourselves - it is our liberty and choice.  That should be our choice, not our mothers - who may only be thinking about herself (I am not suggesting this is always the case, but either way, the choice belongs to the human who's life we are considering terminating) and may therefore pose a conflict of interest in regards to the life of the child. 

I agree that a more left-libertarian view in regards to abortion might not threaten our membership status - granting others the liberty to govern themselves while still strongly condemning the behavior.  I could swallow that approach and argument, but I don't think that should have an effect on our personal stance and opposition to abortion.  Once we start justifying elective abortions on the grounds of them being a net benefit to society (if I am not misinterpreting you), which would be hard not to interpret as supporting or encouraging abortions, then I think the ground gets a little more shaky.  It would be interesting to see what the consensus of bishops would be and how they would address members who actively argue for and justify elective abortions for personal or social convenience.  Honestly, I would guess that most would be called to repentance or find themselves in church discipline if they refuse to stop actively arguing for abortions.  I think our church is pretty stiff on this issue.  Maybe you could ask your own bishop and report back...if you dare :) 

 

Edited by pogi
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/9/2020 at 2:22 PM, pogi said:

Thank you for your thoughtful responses and civil tone in what can be a difficult subject to debate without emotions flying. 

While it is tragic that there are some who wish that they had been aborted, I don't think that is representative of the norm, nor do I think it is justifiable to make that choice for another human life.  That is not our choice to make (unfortunately society has made it so, however).   As pro-life as I am, having worked in hospice and having seen the suffering of many with no hopes of recovery, I am probably unusual in that I favor of assisted suicide.  The liberty to preserve the right to life or forfeit that right belongs to the individual.   I value the right to life as the most fundamental right of all.  Literally every other right hinges upon that right.  I believe that all human life is endowed with and entitled to that right.  We may forfeit that right through our personal choices in accord with our social compact (executions), but ultimately that choice to live under and abide by that contract and enjoy the rights provided is ours to make.  We also should have the liberty to forfeit that right for ourselves - it is our liberty and choice.  That should be our choice, not our mothers - who may only be thinking about herself (I am not suggesting this is always the case, but either way, the choice belongs to the human who's life we are considering terminating) and may therefore pose a conflict of interest in regards to the life of the child. 

I agree that a more left-libertarian view in regards to abortion might not threaten our membership status - granting others the liberty to govern themselves while still strongly condemning the behavior.  I could swallow that approach and argument, but I don't think that should have an effect on our personal stance and opposition to abortion.  Once we start justifying elective abortions on the grounds of them being a net benefit to society (if I am not misinterpreting you), which would be hard not to interpret as supporting or encouraging abortions, then I think the ground gets a little more shaky.  It would be interesting to see what the consensus of bishops would be and how they would address members who actively argue for and justify elective abortions for personal or social convenience.  Honestly, I would guess that most would be called to repentance or find themselves in church discipline if they refuse to stop actively arguing for abortions.  I think our church is pretty stiff on this issue.  Maybe you could ask your own bishop and report back...if you dare :) 

 

I think I beat you on long pause before responding. :P 

I want to say That overall I’ve appreciated our conversation on this and didn’t want to just have it disappear without acknowledging your last post. I understand that that will be your beliefs and that’s fine with me. Mine will perpetually be a little incongruent to yours on this one. It is hard for me, for example, to place discussions on rights and choices towards life and death to a zygote or early fetus that has no capacity to recognize it even is alive in any meaningful way. It simply isn’t a child to me yet. Not fully. Not in a way that gives it full access to rights I would expect for a fully developed infant or even a later developed infant. That will never make sense to me because my belief on this differs from yours. Though I believe still in the realm of LDS thought. 
 

as for the Bishop, I don’t think that’s appropriate or his stewardship. If I was going on a mission and had an abortion or had encouraged someone to get one, that’s when it becomes a matter that may be important for him to discuss it with. For now it’s not. I’m talking my personal beliefs (which as I mentioned is still grounded in my LDS beliefs and is not really discussed in policy) and then what I see as the best route for sociopolitical policies in a pluralistic society. Which the Bishop doesn’t  have any say on my political stance whatsoever. It reminds me when there were questions as to whether one could support gay marriage and be a member in good standing.  
 

It also goes against my own person views of bishops. They’re people with a specific stewardship that often gets overstretched by members in a way that goes well beyond what the bishop should be doing or knows. I see it all the time as a sex therapist. Most of the bishops I’ve worked closely with have been ones to seek out my counsel on an issue they often feel inadequate with. For my marriage interview and my husbands they were gleaning knowledge off of me when it came to the LOC question. And the decisions bishops make on this often very much entail their cultural baggage. I value Bishops and am grateful to ours. But I don’t think bishops need to have access let alone judge and determine whether my specific interpretations or political decisions are correct. I’m not asking the church to pull a 180, i’m not running a letter brigade to insist on changing when abortions may be appropriate in our current policies to better fit how i view things (which is only slightly more expanded than the current policy, BTW but based on similar underlying principles), and i’m not overeaching my own stewardship by publically campaigning and insisting the church should change or be called to repentance for not seeing it my way.  I don’t have enough hubris for that in my body. I’m not even privately supporting or encouraging someone get an abortion. If I were ever asked about it in a church setting I’d point to the current policy and differentiate that from my person opinion and beliefs emphasizing at what point I’m speaking for myself. So in short it’s none of my Bishop’s business. I’ve talked sensitive topics with bishops more than the average jane. So it’s not about if I dare. It’s more about that I don’t need his opinion and cultural leanings/interpretations to feel comfortable in my own. Bishops have limits...this is it. 
 

with luv, 

BD 

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6 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

I think I beat you on long pause before responding. :P 

 

Long pauses, ha! Just wait a couple weeks when I have a chance to respond. I think it's only been a month, lol, but I fully intend to answer when I can sit and provide the citations, etc...

In the meantime, Merry Christmas 🎄

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21 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

I think I beat you on long pause before responding. :P 

I want to say That overall I’ve appreciated our conversation on this and didn’t want to just have it disappear without acknowledging your last post. I understand that that will be your beliefs and that’s fine with me. Mine will perpetually be a little incongruent to yours on this one. It is hard for me, for example, to place discussions on rights and choices towards life and death to a zygote or early fetus that has no capacity to recognize it even is alive in any meaningful way. It simply isn’t a child to me yet. Not fully. Not in a way that gives it full access to rights I would expect for a fully developed infant or even a later developed infant. That will never make sense to me because my belief on this differs from yours. Though I believe still in the realm of LDS thought. 
 

as for the Bishop, I don’t think that’s appropriate or his stewardship. If I was going on a mission and had an abortion or had encouraged someone to get one, that’s when it becomes a matter that may be important for him to discuss it with. For now it’s not. I’m talking my personal beliefs (which as I mentioned is still grounded in my LDS beliefs and is not really discussed in policy) and then what I see as the best route for sociopolitical policies in a pluralistic society. Which the Bishop doesn’t  have any say on my political stance whatsoever. It reminds me when there were questions as to whether one could support gay marriage and be a member in good standing.  
 

It also goes against my own person views of bishops. They’re people with a specific stewardship that often gets overstretched by members in a way that goes well beyond what the bishop should be doing or knows. I see it all the time as a sex therapist. Most of the bishops I’ve worked closely with have been ones to seek out my counsel on an issue they often feel inadequate with. For my marriage interview and my husbands they were gleaning knowledge off of me when it came to the LOC question. And the decisions bishops make on this often very much entail their cultural baggage. I value Bishops and am grateful to ours. But I don’t think bishops need to have access let alone judge and determine whether my specific interpretations or political decisions are correct. I’m not asking the church to pull a 180, i’m not running a letter brigade to insist on changing when abortions may be appropriate in our current policies to better fit how i view things (which is only slightly more expanded than the current policy, BTW but based on similar underlying principles), and i’m not overeaching my own stewardship by publically campaigning and insisting the church should change or be called to repentance for not seeing it my way.  I don’t have enough hubris for that in my body. I’m not even privately supporting or encouraging someone get an abortion. If I were ever asked about it in a church setting I’d point to the current policy and differentiate that from my person opinion and beliefs emphasizing at what point I’m speaking for myself. So in short it’s none of my Bishop’s business. I’ve talked sensitive topics with bishops more than the average jane. So it’s not about if I dare. It’s more about that I don’t need his opinion and cultural leanings/interpretations to feel comfortable in my own. Bishops have limits...this is it. 
 

with luv, 

BD 

Maybe I am misunderstanding your position if you say that your personal views are grounded in LDS beliefs on this issue, because I have not seen it that way.  The reason I say this is because you are not merely making a legal/liberty argument in support of legalization of abortion, but you seem to be making several moral arguments regarding the benefit of abortion on society and families, including suggesting that perhaps some humans are probably better of dead (probably not how you worded it exactly, but...), justifying the moral decision to kill them.  You seem to be arguing that abortion is morally acceptable if they are in early stages of development, which acts as the justification for your legal position.   This is completely contrary to church teachings however which ubiquitously condemns elective abortions as an evil and social ill, regardless of the stage of development.  If it was purely a legal/political argument in support of liberty in a dualistic society, I wouldn't have brought up bishops, but because I personally view your argument leaning more towards moral support of abortion I feel the ground gets shaky. 

The church has supported BYU in firing at least one professor for politically supporting abortion rights, even while still actively and morally opposing abortion.  That's how big a deal this is to them.  I don't know what would have happened if these professors were taking it a step further in morally supporting the practice (which I see your position as doing).  You may not be disciplined (I don't know) but you would likely not be able to teach at BYU at the very least (which probably wouldn't break the heart of many). 

Here is a really interesting article on the church's stance on abortion which is where I learned about the BYU professors:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/teaching-correct-principles-the-experience-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-responding-to-widespread-social-acceptance-of-elective-abortion/

The reason I bring up bishops is because i view it ultimately as their role and calling to be judges in matters of potential church discipline.  I know that you don't personally feel that this is a matter of potential church discipline, but I do, which is why I brought up bishops.  My position is that we don't hold the keys of a judge in Israel to make judgements in matters of church discipline for ourselves.  Bishops are ultimately the judges in Israel who's mantle it is to judge members in relation to the law and implement church disciple accordingly.  If you feel strongly that this is not an issue that needs to be looked at by a bishop, I am not going to judge you in that, but I personally wouldn't feel comfortable judging myself in this matter after reading the handbook and the endless teachings from the church on this issue.

Quote

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. Church members who encourage an abortion in any way may be subject to Church discipline.

I have never seen similar handbook guidelines specifically warning of church disciple for supporting gay marriage.

My question is this - could political and social activity which supports elective abortions (and for their legal arrangements to be practiced in society) - could that be interpreted as "arranging" for an abortion?  If we support public moneys to be used for abortions, could that be interpreted as supporting and even willingly "paying for" an abortion?   Could making moral argument in support of abortion as a net benefit on society, could that be interpreted as "encouraging" abortions "in any way"?  By removing all moral and legal reasons not to have an abortion, might this not hearten someone, or provide them with all the courage (root of encourage) they need to have one?  And ultimately, whose call is it to interpret these matters and actions in accord with the law?   I think it ultimately lays on the shoulder of the bishop.

From the article I linked to:

Quote

Every President of the Church for the past fifty years has explicitly condemned and specifically warned members of the Church in general conference and in other sermons against the evil of abortion. All eight prophets who led the Church during this era—David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson—have declared that abortion is a grave sin and rejected the public policy of elective (or “permissive”) abortion as immoral and socially dangerous.45

I would add this from President Nelson (before he was President anyway):

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/2008/10/abortion-an-assault-on-the-defenseless?lang=eng

I hope I don't come off as condemning you are judging you on this issue, but I do feel that many of the arguments you have made are not grounded in LDS beliefs and teachings on abortion.  I am not suggesting that we need to be perfectly aligned with the church in everything, but this one hovers dangerously close to a potential discipline issue and not just a difference of opinion, from my perspective. 

I agree that bishop's carry their own cultural baggage which may influence decisions, but that spiritual liability is on their head, not ours.  I would guess that bishops would approach this matter differently, which is an interesting topic of discussion on its own.  I would guess that some would give warnings for actively making moral arguments in support of abortion, which may lead to discipline if not heeded; other's may interpret it more like you.  Either way, I would feel more comfortable placing that liability for judgment on their head (as that is their calling) instead of my own.  If they are wrong in their judgment, that is on them.  If I am wrong in my judgement and neglect to seek the judgment of the bishop, then that is on me.  I would rather not have that on me personally.  I always error on the side of caution.  At the worst, I am being a slight inconvenience for the bishop. 

Edited by pogi
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/21/2020 at 11:47 AM, pogi said:

Maybe I am misunderstanding your position if you say that your personal views are grounded in LDS beliefs on this issue, because I have not seen it that way.  The reason I say this is because you are not merely making a legal/liberty argument in support of legalization of abortion, but you seem to be making several moral arguments regarding the benefit of abortion on society and families, including suggesting that perhaps some humans are probably better of dead (probably not how you worded it exactly, but...), justifying the moral decision to kill them.  You seem to be arguing that abortion is morally acceptable if they are in early stages of development, which acts as the justification for your legal position.   This is completely contrary to church teachings however which ubiquitously condemns elective abortions as an evil and social ill, regardless of the stage of development.  If it was purely a legal/political argument in support of liberty in a dualistic society, I wouldn't have brought up bishops, but because I personally view your argument leaning more towards moral support of abortion I feel the ground gets shaky. 

The church has supported BYU in firing at least one professor for politically supporting abortion rights, even while still actively and morally opposing abortion.  That's how big a deal this is to them.  I don't know what would have happened if these professors were taking it a step further in morally supporting the practice (which I see your position as doing).  You may not be disciplined (I don't know) but you would likely not be able to teach at BYU at the very least (which probably wouldn't break the heart of many). 

Here is a really interesting article on the church's stance on abortion which is where I learned about the BYU professors:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/teaching-correct-principles-the-experience-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-responding-to-widespread-social-acceptance-of-elective-abortion/

The reason I bring up bishops is because i view it ultimately as their role and calling to be judges in matters of potential church discipline.  I know that you don't personally feel that this is a matter of potential church discipline, but I do, which is why I brought up bishops.  My position is that we don't hold the keys of a judge in Israel to make judgements in matters of church discipline for ourselves.  Bishops are ultimately the judges in Israel who's mantle it is to judge members in relation to the law and implement church disciple accordingly.  If you feel strongly that this is not an issue that needs to be looked at by a bishop, I am not going to judge you in that, but I personally wouldn't feel comfortable judging myself in this matter after reading the handbook and the endless teachings from the church on this issue.

I have never seen similar handbook guidelines specifically warning of church disciple for supporting gay marriage.

My question is this - could political and social activity which supports elective abortions (and for their legal arrangements to be practiced in society) - could that be interpreted as "arranging" for an abortion?  If we support public moneys to be used for abortions, could that be interpreted as supporting and even willingly "paying for" an abortion?   Could making moral argument in support of abortion as a net benefit on society, could that be interpreted as "encouraging" abortions "in any way"?  By removing all moral and legal reasons not to have an abortion, might this not hearten someone, or provide them with all the courage (root of encourage) they need to have one?  And ultimately, whose call is it to interpret these matters and actions in accord with the law?   I think it ultimately lays on the shoulder of the bishop.

From the article I linked to:

I would add this from President Nelson (before he was President anyway):

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/2008/10/abortion-an-assault-on-the-defenseless?lang=eng

I hope I don't come off as condemning you are judging you on this issue, but I do feel that many of the arguments you have made are not grounded in LDS beliefs and teachings on abortion.  I am not suggesting that we need to be perfectly aligned with the church in everything, but this one hovers dangerously close to a potential discipline issue and not just a difference of opinion, from my perspective. 

I agree that bishop's carry their own cultural baggage which may influence decisions, but that spiritual liability is on their head, not ours.  I would guess that bishops would approach this matter differently, which is an interesting topic of discussion on its own.  I would guess that some would give warnings for actively making moral arguments in support of abortion, which may lead to discipline if not heeded; other's may interpret it more like you.  Either way, I would feel more comfortable placing that liability for judgment on their head (as that is their calling) instead of my own.  If they are wrong in their judgment, that is on them.  If I am wrong in my judgement and neglect to seek the judgment of the bishop, then that is on me.  I would rather not have that on me personally.  I always error on the side of caution.  At the worst, I am being a slight inconvenience for the bishop. 

This is randomly written because I’m a little too lazy to mess with the quote function on my phone. 

From your article I found this interesting: 

“The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.”

That can’t even be said about gay marriage. I brought it up because it was not too long ago questioned if you could support gay marriage and be in good standing. Currently the church policy is basically live and let live on personal political/moral views while standing with the assertion that that is not the divine design of God. Where abortion hasn’t even merited legislative support of demonstrations that seems to say to me they hold a moral stance and behavioral policy while allowing others enough space to believe as they please. I find your definition of “support” a stretch. It’s no different to me being ambivalent about gay marriage and marriage equality arguments but seeing it at this point as unnecessarily cruel to remove legal rights. Or being very opposed to drinking but think it was probably the right move to remove the amendment banning it outright as an illegal substance. I have read and studied several views and beliefs around abortion. Many I disagree with and many I’m morally find repugnant. I did so for the same reason I generally look up things that I disagree with. I value understanding viewpoints well. Abortion will continue to remain morally complicated to me. I think people can make moral justifications for many of their decisions. Their were ones I could strongly empathize with even though it fell into the elective abortion category. I think others don’t care one way or another about the moral stance of their decisions. But the complexity makes me extremely hesitant to encourage too many restrictive policies in our current society. 

 

Also The Byu firing incident your mentioned was nearly 30 years ago and when i read up on it, it was one professor specifically and Byu denied it was heavily about abortion.  This article makes it sound more straight forward than BYU itself asserted. 

 

——

 

 

Pogi, there is little other way to read this post to me as much more than a judgment call. I’m not angry or even all that offended. It is off-putting though and inappropriate IMO. You have no stewardship over me whatsoever, you don’t know me outside of a few conversations online, and you’re reading it from your own filter.  One that seems to keep putting me in the black and white assumptions of pro-choice or pro-life when I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t view myself as either since I see moral and logical holes in both. 

At note, I’ve read several of the articles or quotes including the entry in the handbook and the gospel topics entry. On core principle I don’t disagree, on application I have at best slight disagreements....and after reading it again I’m not even sure that’s accurate. I realized the listed exceptions more as examples of potential exceptions as opposed to a comprehensive list of circumstances that may apply for justification for an abortion. 

Just to make it clear these are my assertions and or beliefs in a nutshell 

I believe human life (and life in general) is sacred and we have a sacred responsibility and edict to it and the earth we live on. Whatever decisions made on this should be carefully weighed and prioritized to the potential costs and problems with life that arise. 

Zygotes by definition are life and human zygotes are genetically human life but it’s extremely questionable and unsettled when they become persons, or in religious terms, embodied souls (the spirit entered the body) though they are still sacred material because they are life they shouldn’t have the exact rights and expectations as a person. The personhood is at best potential in this very early stage. This to me is seen in that there are exceptions to abortions and no objections to IVF based on the zygotes created but on whether it’s done with the parent’s sperm/egg....and even then that’s  just discouraged. 

These top two are more religious and moral. This is where mine start to diverge into pragmatic and social implementation.  The following are often guided by some of my religious beliefs (not just these two mentioned, but others). But they are not religious. 

I cannot expect people to hold the exact same views as me on life. There are other morality based assumptions that give more flexibility to how abortion should proceed, i live in a pluralistic imperfect society, and many of the pro-life policies ignore unintended consequences i have problems with. Because of that I view a multipronged approach important. I don’t think my broad idea for our current society is doctrine, and I don’t think it would be something that would exist beyond this current circumstance. But it what seems good to me. 

My basic idea is to allow abortions early on (1st trimester to tops 20 weeks) with assurance of access and high quality care and accurate descriptions of a woman’s options fully understood. Later abortions would need a prescription from a doctor.  This is based on concerns that strong restrictive policies in other countries have problematic unintended consequences. From prosecuting women who miscarry to driving abortions underground and leading to women giving themselves abortion care to placing the burden of unwanted children on the poorest ends of the population which are also more likely to struggle to adequately care for children from strained resources. 

Reducing abortions through comprehensive education, easy/affordable access to birth control, and education on healthy consent and respect in s*xual relationships. As well as reducing and enforcing safety nets for problems of poverty that often drive abortions...and then making access to these programs for pregnant women/mothers easy and straight forward to register in. Research means and support single moms to continue in their education and make working environments more family friendly

Teaching and sharing beliefs about the sacredness of life in general while putting emphasis and priority on women’s lives over the unborn. Not because all life shouldnt be cared for but because the balance and focus on the unborn often comes at real and permanent costs for women and their families, including death, even with planned and wanted pregnancies. Spiritual opinion: to me women are the “trunk of life” or the “trees of life.” After all it is Mary in the BOM who is directly parallel with the tree....her Child is correlated with the fruit. How well societies care for women and their concerns often directly correlate with the prospects and health of both future generations. 

 

And no, the stats don’t bare out that access and legality = increase in abortion. It is pragmatic concerns and how society addresses them that lead to the increase.

I write this because again you seem to not be fully understanding my perspectives and I want to be absolutely clear about them. I get part of that is probably seen in the comparison. Since you are pro-life my views come out looking more pro-choice in contrast. But I stand by what I’ve said before: I do not comfortably fall into either camp nor do I want to. 

 

Last note on the Bishop stuff: 

 

“I agree that bishop's carry their own cultural baggage which may influence decisions, but that spiritual liability is on their head, not ours.”

 

This is a comforting notion that doesn’t really play out in reality. I think of both the BOM and bible on this one with their concerns about kings v rule by the voice of the people. There is too much accountability and responsibility given to the heads and far less attributed to the people. They have a disproportionate burden for the people and disproportionate cost on the culture. If they’re super righteous it works out okay. But if they’re wicked or mislead the people and themselves pay for it. Which is why what bishops can do or should be addressing is more limited than it used to be. And what you’re suggesting is generally not recommended. 

In reality there are real costs to bishops being over utilized for certain matters. Issues that should be addressed by authorities can go unaddressed causing sever pain in families. People may be punished for “sins” that aren’t actually theres or really a sin to begin with. Members may become ostracized from the church body. These are not hypotheticals...these are descriptions of things I’ve seen happen in real life with bishops who took on more than they should chew and members who assumed that’s what they should do. 

I take responsibility for my own actions and take the stewardship of myself extremely seriously. I do not find comfort giving that responsibility to another person. It’s not their stewardship. I’ve lived comfortably with the assertion that my decisions and beliefs are first between me and God. I foster a strong relationship with God and if/when God prompts me to council with a bishop then I do. But not a moment before then. I don’t feel that way at all with this topic, so I won’t, and feel extremely comfortable, spiritually, not doing so. 
 

 

I hope you’ve had a good holiday or two

with luv, 

BD 

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On 1/3/2021 at 6:26 PM, BlueDreams said:

Pogi, there is little other way to read this post to me as much more than a judgment call. I’m not angry or even all that offended. It is off-putting though and inappropriate IMO. You have no stewardship over me whatsoever, you don’t know me outside of a few conversations online, and you’re reading it from your own filter.  One that seems to keep putting me in the black and white assumptions of pro-choice or pro-life when I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t view myself as either since I see moral and logical holes in both.  

I am sorry if my post came off as judgmental, off-putting and inappropriate.  I don't claim to have stewardship over you - that was partly the point of my post, but perhaps I didn't make that very clear.  As I stated, I don't intend to judge you (that is not my role).  The reason I brought up bishops was not to suggest that you are are in sin with your position and need to repent, but it started out as a curiosity of thought about what consensus of bishops would look like on how they would address this issue, and partly in jest to see if your bishop could weigh in.  I am not saying that you should talk to your bishop about this regardless of how you feel.  On the contrary, you should follow what you feel.   I am however resisting the idea that it would be inappropriate given that this could be interpreted in different ways and is a topic which may be subject to church discipline depending on how it is interpreted.    I also stated, '"the reason I bring up bishops is because I view it ultimately as their role and calling to be judges in matters of potential church discipline...My position is that we don't hold the keys of a judge in Israel to make judgements in matters of church discipline for ourselves."   That is not how church discipline works - judging and disciplining ourselves.   That is my personal interpretation of the role of bishops - that it absolutely is within their stewardship.  I agree that bishops have been overburdened and have taken on too much of a role as a counselor/therapist and many other unnecessary roles.  The one role that we should not remove from them however, is the role of judge.  That is one of their primary roles and purposes.

This is also based on my personal interpretation of the church's stance on this issue of abortion.  You clearly have a different interpretation, both regarding the role of bishops and viewing this as a potential church discipline issue.   As I stated, "If you feel strongly that this is not an issue that needs to be looked at by a bishop, I am not going to judge you in that...".    I don't think that is my call.  I could be wrong in my interpretation, but I also think that you could be wrong in yours - and the bishop may be wrong in his interpretation too, but I view that as their calling and burden in regards to issues such as this.   What is your call, however (and I agree with you on this), is that you have to take responsibility for your own actions and that you do have a spiritual stewardship over yourself, and only you can decide what is appropriate for yourself to bring to the bishop and what is not, as guided by the spirit.  I am glad to hear that you take that seriously, and I believe you.  In no way do I judge you or think less of you for your decision.  That is between you and the Lord, and you are right, I am in no position to judge you on that.   I am simply stating my interpretation of the role of bishops in the church and the church's position on abortion.  You are right though, it ultimately is a judgment call -  in the same way that your position is a judgment call.  I just want to clarify that in no way am I judging you personally in ways that we are commanded not to judge.  This is about my interpretation of the church's position on abortion, and the role of bishops, in no way should my comments be interpreted to be a condemnation or attempt at stewardship over you.  I simply judge the issue different from you.  That type of judgment is unavoidable and perfectly appropriate.  I do judge some of the things that you said previously in defending the morality of abortion it in certain ways to be out-of-line with church teachings.  That is also unavoidable.  That is part of being human, we can't not make judgment calls which are the result of our personal interpretations.  That is different from judging you personally, however (which we are commanded not to do). 

Honestly, just so we are clear, I think you are a spiritual giant in many ways and I respect you and the spiritual choices that you decide to make for yourself on this matter, even if I disagree with your interpretation - but I can't pretend not to have my own. 

Edited by pogi
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On 11/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, pogi said:

That is not very specific, and you have provided no evidence that this has actually happened. 

You asked if your thoughts represented my position, and I rephrased to be more specific to my position. In fact, "not criminalizing abortion" is more accurate than decriminalizing. The latter implies that it is a crime. 

My position as stated is "Decriminalizing abortion will incentivize more positive action to help women."

On 11/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, pogi said:

Criminalization reduces criminal behaviors in general...except in abortion.  That is not reasonable.

Evidence for the effectiveness of criminalization as a motivation in behavior in general:

https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/deterrence.pdf

Specific to abortion:

https://rewirenewsgroup.com/article/2018/10/04/stop-saying-that-making-abortion-illegal-doesnt-stop-them/

https://lozierinstitute.org/how-the-legal-status-of-abortion-impacts-abortion-rates/

More specifically, I think that when people spend less time and resources on trying to criminalize it but still care about women and babies, they will have that additional time and resources to help women and babies, and do so more effectively. 

I think that, beyond that logical reasoning, the historical research supports this, with those countries having more restrictions being less likely to provide birth control access, and with those countries with less restrictions being more likely to have birth control access.

On 11/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, pogi said:

The majority of women in America view abortion as morally acceptable.  47% vs 45%.  This is an extremely troubling figure.  Even more troubling is that in the younger age group (18-29) 60% find it morally acceptable vs 38%.  This is the effect that legalization and pro-choice propaganda has on morality in America.  When we look at the whole population, the majority still view it as morally unacceptable, 47% vs 44%.  There is a troubling moral trend with women and young people in this regard. 

The majority of women in America are pro-choice. 53% vs 41%https://news.gallup.com/poll/244709/pro-choice-pro-life-2018-demographic-tables.aspx

There seems to be a fairly strong correlation to me.

Until you can address the moral issue, no social program will reduce abortion rates.  There is absolutely NO incentive to not have an abortion without moral or legal persuasion.  I think you overemphasize abortions among the poor and pretend like the well-to-do are not having them.  I don't disagree that abortions likely happen more among the poor, but most immoral behavior is more common among the poor.  That should give us plenty of incentive to try and solve the poverty problem in general, but not to legalize everything!  Even among women who have access to all necessary resources, too many still chose abortion.  Why?  Because they don't view it as a moral wrong and it is legal! No incentive not to.  Your methods simply wont work for that population.  Support of impoverished pregnant women and criminalization will work for both. 

Even if one believes abortion to be morally wrong, I don't see a problem at all with people becoming more and more pro-choice. Pro-choice and pro-life refers to the legal right a woman has to access a medical abortion. People can believe something is morally wrong and also believe that a legal attempt to stop that moral problem is even more morally wrong.

That said, I do not think abortion is morally wrong. I do not have a position on anyone's abortion except that they get to decide if it is morally wrong. Not you, and not me.

On 11/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, pogi said:

Making a choice about having a bank account doesn't quite seem the legal/moral equivalent of having a choice to kill an innocent human being that deserves rights and protection.

No one should be obligated to keep a human being inside their own body. 

On 11/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, pogi said:

To quote you: "Hold on. Here you are telling me what I think. Please do not do that."

I am making the human being in her womb the province of the state, just as it should be the province of the state when the fetus is attacked and killed by anyone OTHER than the mother.  I am placing a legal and moral expectation that she choose preserving life over killing life.  

Again, I am weighing risk vs benefit to the mother and the child.  How can you talk about "dehumanizing" when you give ZERO state protected rights of life to the child?  At least one gets to walk away as a living breathing human being with their life and limbs.  Should we give more legal protections to a womb (which is generally not in danger during pregnancy) or a holistic human life?  Speaking of legal dehumanization, which is more human, the womb or the child?

I had said:

Quote

You dehumanize her when you make her womb the province of the state.

The original US Constitution dehumanized people, regardless of what the authors thought. When you advocate to control a woman's ability to dissent to keeping another human being inside her body, you are advocating for control over her womb and herself. Regardless of what you are thinking about her, that position reduces her position from one as a human being with bodily autonomy.

If you would like a more impersonal statement, I can say that criminalization of abortion dehumanizes women. And I think that with re-channeled efforts to help women and babies that this is the best, most moral position to take, the best reconciliation to the problem of abortion. It does not dehumanize unborn human beings as it does not rely on denying personhood to be sound. It shifts the importance of the decision to women, and helping women and babies shifts the expectations, too. Women seeing women and babies being helped will have reason to expect better outcomes from pregnancy. Women and babies actually being helped would result in better access to birth control and less unplanned pregnancy. Women being the arbiters of a decision that other people care deeply about can shift the helpers' perspectives, and elevate women's status in society, which is important to elevating their well-being.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

You asked if your thoughts represented my position, and I rephrased to be more specific to my position. In fact, "not criminalizing abortion" is more accurate than decriminalizing. The latter implies that it is a crime. 

My position as stated is "Decriminalizing abortion will incentivize more positive action to help women."

More specifically, I think that when people spend less time and resources on trying to criminalize it but still care about women and babies, they will have that additional time and resources to help women and babies, and do so more effectively. 

I think that, beyond that logical reasoning, the historical research supports this, with those countries having more restrictions being less likely to provide birth control access, and with those countries with less restrictions being more likely to have birth control access.

Even if one believes abortion to be morally wrong, I don't see a problem at all with people becoming more and more pro-choice. Pro-choice and pro-life refers to the legal right a woman has to access a medical abortion. People can believe something is morally wrong and also believe that a legal attempt to stop that moral problem is even more morally wrong.

That said, I do not think abortion is morally wrong. I do not have a position on anyone's abortion except that they get to decide if it is morally wrong. Not you, and not me.

No one should be obligated to keep a human being inside their own body. 

I had said:

The original US Constitution dehumanized people, regardless of what the authors thought. When you advocate to control a woman's ability to dissent to keeping another human being inside her body, you are advocating for control over her womb and herself. Regardless of what you are thinking about her, that position reduces her position from one as a human being with bodily autonomy.

If you would like a more impersonal statement, I can say that criminalization of abortion dehumanizes women. And I think that with re-channeled efforts to help women and babies that this is the best, most moral position to take, the best reconciliation to the problem of abortion. It does not dehumanize unborn human beings as it does not rely on denying personhood to be sound. It shifts the importance of the decision to women, and helping women and babies shifts the expectations, too. Women seeing women and babies being helped will have reason to expect better outcomes from pregnancy. Women and babies actually being helped would result in better access to birth control and less unplanned pregnancy. Women being the arbiters of a decision that other people care deeply about can shift the helpers' perspectives, and elevate women's status in society, which is important to elevating their well-being.

 

 

Not to be political, but I think there are less abortions when planned parenthood is supported, they concentrate on helping women get the needed contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And you're spot on with saying it dehumanizes women. I had never thought of it that way, but you're right, because if a woman has a child that won't make it, if it were illegal, she wouldn't be able to abort until it was full term. And if she were raped or would possible die in childbirth she wouldn't get a say if she wanted to live. And I wonder about those babies born with horrendous problems, if it's fair for them as well. 

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30 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Not to be political, but I think there are less abortions when planned parenthood is supported, they concentrate on helping women get the needed contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And you're spot on with saying it dehumanizes women. I had never thought of it that way, but you're right, because if a woman has a child that won't make it, if it were illegal, she wouldn't be able to abort until it was full term. And if she were raped or would possible die in childbirth she wouldn't get a say if she wanted to live. And I wonder about those babies born with horrendous problems, if it's fair for them as well. 

Sure, and thanks for your comment, PP has been politicized but it is no more political than a discussion on abortion. It is an organization that provides women access to multiple services, which can include cancer screening, counseling, birth control, and yes abortion. I think it is very logical that places like PP which provide access to birth control help reduce abortion rates, but also can help improve the overall health of women. Planned Parenthood also offers prenatal care for reduced rates or for free, which can improve the outcomes for babies and women.

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