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Terryl Givens Weighs in on Ethics of Abortion


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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The personhood of the baby, the impact of abortion on her, often gets short shrift in these discussions, when it should be at the forefront.

Thanks,

-Smac

Or at least given equal attention.

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34 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

*** for tat?  The argument is tu quoque

Whatever you call it, you're doing it.

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Instead of allowing his case to be based on sound reasoning, he makes an ad hominem argument. 

I don't think he did.  Nor have I.

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He makes an argument from pain, which either is or is not a legitimate argument. 

His remarks about pain are responsive to the arguments presented by the Guttmacher Institute (that "a fetus cannot experience pain").  

A baby being circumcised is not being killed.  The personhood of the baby being circumcised is acknowledged.

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If elective abortion is wrong because it causes pain, then is not pain to any living thing wrong? 

The wrongness of elective abortion is about the killing of babies in utero.  That the babies suffer pain when being killed is part of the calculus, including the personhood of the baby.

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You seem to reject reasoning based on "anything like unto it" of D&C 59:6, which you yourself cited.

I don't reject reasoning based on D&C 59:6.

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Is reasoning by analogy off-limits?  You are using it here, Spencer. 

Analogy is fine.  But it has its limits.

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Spontaneous abortion is a normal bodily function in a woman who is pregnant -- the body making decisions at the cellular level on the fitness of a fertilized ovum to be brought to term. 

Which is a qualitatively and quantitatively different event from an elective abortion.  By way of analogy: A person who dies of "natural causes" has not been "murdered" or "killed" by affirmative human choice and action.

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It often takes place so early that the woman is not even aware that she was pregnant.  What is the actual status of that fertilized ovum in such cases, which may only last hours? 

I don't know.

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Is ensoulment irrelevant, and at what stage?

Again, as then-Elder Nelson noted:  "It is not a question of when 'meaningful life' begins or when the spirit 'quickens' the body..."

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What does loving our neighbor really mean?  What are the full implications? 

I'm not sure what you mean here.

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D&C 59:6 seems to acknowledge that it means much more than only aborting fetuses. 

Sure.  Euthanasia is also probably implicated.  Assisted suicide.  A number of things can be "like unto" murder.

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I raised a number of issues which actually impinge on that professed love, and you rejected them out of hand.

I don't reject them.  They just don't seem particularly relevant.  You raised them in the context of criticizing Givens for not raising them.

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Those are good arguments, Spencer, but not the only ones. 

Sure.  But I think they are the most correct ones.

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In a secular state uniting a diverse population under a secular Constitution, we might want to consider a very broad set of circumstances and opinions, not merely one narrow ideological approach. 

Sure.  But in the end, we still need to make decisions for our society, and those decisions can and ought to be informed by our individual moral compasses. 

And our individual moral compasses ought to point to what is right.  What God wants us to do. 

And discerning what is right and what God wants us to do is greatly helped by seeking out revealed light and knowledge, including scriptural passages and guidance from living prophets and apostles.

And the guidance we have received from the scriptures and from living prophets and apostles has been pretty clear and consistent.

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The electorate presumably has the right to decide such issues through its legally selected representatives.

Sure.  So if "the electorate" exercises that right in ways that restrict elective abortions, and if those ways are found to be constitutional...?

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The subject is elective abortion, a subject over which Roman Catholicism has far more power than does the LDS Church. 

Okay.  But you raised this point to criticize Givens, who didn't address Roman Catholicism.

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The subject under discussion here is elective abortion, not Terryl Givens. 

True.  But your post centered on Givens.  Mostly on what Givens did not say.

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The Roman Catholic Church says that elective abortion is murder, while Elder Nelson specifically says that it is not.  That difference is stark.

Not that stark.  Elder Nelson said:

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Now, is there hope for those who have so sinned without full understanding, who now suffer heartbreak? Yes. So far as is known, the Lord does not regard this transgression as murder. And “as far as has been revealed, a person may repent and be forgiven for the sin of abortion.” Gratefully, we know the Lord will help all who are truly repentant.

But he also said:

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The Lord has repeatedly declared this divine imperative: “Thou shalt not kill.” Recently he added, “Nor do anything like unto it.” (D&C 59:6.) Even before the fulness of the gospel was restored, the enlightened understood the sanctity of life. John Calvin, the sixteenth-century reformer, wrote: “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.”

The difference between the Roman Catholic position, and that of the Church, is one of degree, not kind.  And the difference of degree is not, in my view, "stark."

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You seem unable to decide, Spencer, whether the topic is Terryl's article, or the topic is elective abortion

The topic is Terryl's article, which is about elective abortion.

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Terryl and I were addressing elective abortion, a topic which is not limited merely to one article on the matter. 

Most of what you said consisted of complaining that Terryl did not talk about circumcision, animal pain, children being separated from parents at the border, etc.

These seem tangential.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Howdy, my initial response to your comments is that on article on abortion is seldom, if ever, also an article on all things. The fact that Givens focuses on the topic is the reason you condemn his piece as lacking?  Just a kind of unwillingness to address the topic.

As with most commentators, pro or con, there is a marked unwillingness to deal with the full implications of their positions.  I am insisting that, unless the full implications are addressed, then the moral stance taken is meaningless.

4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

I don't see any comparison between having your own body chopped up and vacuumed out of a womb and having a circumcision. One is a minor pain that is dealt with for an extremely short period of time and the other literally attacks one's pain receptors on all levels. We can remove almost all pain of circumcision if we chose to use a mild anesthetic. However, we cannot anesthetize the pain of chopping one's body up. 

The Jewish mohel does not use anasthesia, and a major argument against circumcision (a religious ordinance) is the pain.  You may not consider it enough pain, but a lot of people are exercised about it.

4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Is it murder? This makes me think of a very macabre "joke" - Two people go into an abortion clinic, but only one person comes out.  Is it murder? Of course it is murder and we all know it is. We don't need to answer when does the soul enter into the body or the much more silly question, when does life begin to answer the question. One person comes out. We have our answer. 

I think the Church accepts the possibility of an abortion in situations of rape, incest, or a mother's health without saying it is not murder. It seems to me the Church is seeking to choose between two horrible situations and allowing that a greater good or better, the least evil outcome to occur.  The Church does not favor abortion and it strongly encourages that the decision be taken prayerfully. 

In secular law, murder is the unlawful taking of a human life.  Elder Nelson said specifically that it is not murder to abort a fetus.  That is why the LDS Church (and not the RC Church) allows those exceptions.

4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

I don't think the RC or our Church addresses the concept of a miscarriage being similar or equal to an abortion. One is a natural event and the other is the result of the choice of a third party. The child has no voice; it is the very weakest of our race and others are making decisions about its existence.

Since miscarriages occur much more frequently than elective abortion, we have to ask why God would allow such fetal death?  If it is merely a natural event based on a bodily perception that the fertilized ovum or fetus is flawed and not worth bringing to term, then we already have our analogy to human decision-making.  We are aware of the one, but not of the other.

4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

My friend, I am sorry, but I think you went off the deep end with the other statements you made and I don't know how you arrived at them. I accept the Church's stand on abortion - which results in almost all abortions being illegal - .................

Actually abortion is legal in America, regardless of any church's stand on it.

4 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

.....................................

You could boil my position down to a desire that we as a society should not be so complacent about questions of life. This includes not just the life of a baby, but the life of our elderly.  

Of course, opinions cover a broad range, and the secular law reflects the will of the polity -- at least in America.

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15 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As with most commentators, pro or con, there is a marked unwillingness to deal with the full implications of their positions. 

I don't think so.  A commentator can lay out his position without being obligated to explore and explain every potential counter-argument or critique.

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I am insisting that, unless the full implications are addressed, then the moral stance taken is meaningless.

I think the discussion about abortion is an ongoing thing, including the process of addressing implications.  That does not mean that the "moral stance taken" at the outset is "meaningless."

Elder Nelson didn't address "the full implications," either.  Are you proposing that the "moral stance" he presents in his 1985 General Conference talk, is "meaningless"?  

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Now, as a servant of the Lord, I dutifully warn those who advocate and practice abortion that they incur the wrath of Almighty God, who declared, “If men … hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, … he shall be surely punished.” (Ex. 21:22.)

Well?

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The Jewish mohel does not use anasthesia, and a major argument against circumcision (a religious ordinance) is the pain. 

And yet the circumcision does not result in the death of the child, and the child's personhood is acknowledged by both sides in the debate.

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Since miscarriages occur much more frequently than elective abortion, we have to ask why God would allow such fetal death? 

But what we can't do is attribute ill motive or sin to God.

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If it is merely a natural event based on a bodily perception that the fertilized ovum or fetus is flawed and not worth bringing to term, then we already have our analogy to human decision-making.  We are aware of the one, but not of the other.

Not much of an analogy.  There is a big difference - both legally and ethically/morally - between a person dying of "natural causes" versus being killed by another person, with premeditation and malice aforethought.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

He makes an argument from pain, which either is or is not a legitimate argument.  If fetal pain is a problem to be avoided, then let us give weight to the full implications, instead of hemming and hawwing.  If elective abortion is wrong because it causes pain, then is not pain to any living thing wrong?  Or are the animal rights people wrong, and it is only a human thing?  You seem to reject reasoning based on "anything like unto it" of D&C 59:6, which you yourself cited.

Without getting into animal rights (which is a different moral ballgame for most), if it is immoral to intentionally harm and inflict pain on a baby after birth, I don't see why it should be less immoral before birth.  Pain simply aggravates the moral issue, it is not the main argument against abortion.  The issue is that it is the intentional killing of another human being, it is aggravated by the fact that it is performed in a way which causes the individual excruciating pain. 

The hardest week of nursing school for me was learning about D&E procedures.  I literally cried for days.  My conscience was on high alert and my soul mourned.  I think many people are not aware of what really happens.   Using forceps, the baby is literally torn apart, alive - limb by limb.  I think that we cannot have a moral conversation without watching the procedure and understanding what is really happening to a living, feeling, human being at this stage of pregnancy.

To speak of animal rights though, we don't kill animals for food by tearing them apart while they are still alive and feeling, one limb at a time.  No one would be ok with that.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

...................

His remarks about pain are responsive to the arguments presented by the Guttmacher Institute (that "a fetus cannot experience pain")

A baby being circumcised is not being killed.  The personhood of the baby being circumcised is acknowledged.

The wrongness of elective abortion is about the killing of babies in utero.  That the babies suffer pain when being killed is part of the calculus, including the personhood of the baby.

I am not a shill for the yokels at the Guttmacher Institute, nor for their opponents.  I was dealing with the argument from pain, which is only one argument against abortion.  There are many others, as you should fully recognize.

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't reject reasoning based on D&C 59:6.

Analogy is fine.  But it has its limits.

You find those limits applicable whenever broader implications are raised?

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Which is a qualitatively and quantitatively different event from an elective abortion.  By way of analogy: A person who dies of "natural causes" has not been "murdered" or "killed" by affirmative human choice and action.

..............................................  But in the end, we still need to make decisions for our society, and those decisions can and ought to be informed by our individual moral compasses. 

And our individual moral compasses ought to point to what is right.  What God wants us to do. 

And discerning what is right and what God wants us to do is greatly helped by seeking out revealed light and knowledge, including scriptural passages and guidance from living prophets and apostles.

And the guidance we have received from the scriptures and from living prophets and apostles has been pretty clear and consistent.

Sure.  So if "the electorate" exercises that right in ways that restrict elective abortions, and if those ways are found to be constitutional...?

Then that is the law, Spencer.  Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is and is not legal in America (even if our particular religion or irreligion differs), and that is what it means to live in a politically diverse participatory democracy.  The Law may not always jibe with our personal preferences, but we abide by it for the sake of societal peace.  Thus, although the LDS Church does not favor or approve of same sex marriage, it does not militate against it either (at least not since the landmark ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court).  The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, is openly hostile to normative American law on abortion -- and it is their right to do so.  I have no problem with people arguing vociferously about abortion, pro or con, but I do reject the notion that only one absolute POV is possible.

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

.........................

The difference between the Roman Catholic position, and that of the Church, is one of degree, not kind.  And the difference of degree is not, in my view, "stark."

That is special pleading.  The difference between murder and not murder is pretty stark, Spencer.

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The topic is Terryl's article, which is about elective abortion.

Most of what you said consisted of complaining that Terryl did not talk about circumcision, animal pain, children being separated from parents at the border, etc.

These seem tangential.....................

Yes, tangential and inconvenient implications for those who can only see elective abortion as an issue, and fail to see the interconnections of that problem with an entire societal failure to deal with broader questions.  What is even more challenging is the notion that our topic is only an article by Terryl and not elective abortion itself (you hemmed and hawwed egregiously on that self-contradiction).  You both cite and then reject reasoning by analogy.  Which is it, Spencer?

My biggest complaint about those opposed to abortion is their hypocrisy in not addressing the full implications of a narrow focus on only one aspect of societal failure -- which actually causes more abortions.

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1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I am not a shill for the yokels at the Guttmacher Institute, nor for their opponents.

I am not suggesting you are.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I was dealing with the argument from pain, which is only one argument against abortion. 

Givens was responding to the Guttmacher Institute's (false) claim that babies in utero cannot feel pain.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There are many others, as you should fully recognize.

I do.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Then that is the law, Spencer.

I'm glad we can agree on that.

So people like Terryl Givens, and Nathaniel, and myself, are free to advance arguments and reasoning that may culminate in such legislation.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is and is not legal in America (even if our particular religion or irreligion differs), and that is what it means to live in a politically diverse participatory democracy.

More or less.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The Law may not always jibe with our personal preferences, but we abide by it for the sake of societal peace. 

I quite agree.  

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I have no problem with people arguing vociferously about abortion, pro or con, but I do reject the notion that only one absolute POV is possible.

I have not expressed such a notion.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:
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The difference between the Roman Catholic position, and that of the Church, is one of degree, not kind.  And the difference of degree is not, in my view, "stark."

That is special pleading. 

It is not.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The difference between murder and not murder is pretty stark, Spencer.

The difference between murder and things that are "like unto it" is there, but I don't think it's "stark" (defined as "bluntly or sternly plain").

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes, tangential and inconvenient implications for those who can only see elective abortion as an issue, and fail to see the interconnections of that problem with an entire societal failure to deal with broader questions. 

Terryl Givens seems like an intelligent person.  I don't think you can say he "fail{s} to see the interconnections of that problem with an entire societal failure to deal with broader questions."

William Wilberforce was aware of the "interconnections" between slavery and "broader questions," and yet he fought, for decades, on primarily moral grounds, against slavery despite those interconnections.

1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

My biggest complaint about those opposed to abortion is their hypocrisy in not addressing the full implications of a narrow focus on only one aspect of societal failure -- which actually causes more abortions.

Hypocrisy is "a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess."  

That Givens did not address tangential issues of your choosing (say, children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border) is not evidence of hypocrisy.

There is nothing hypocritical about speaking against elective abortion if one is sincerely opposed to it.

THanks,

-Smac

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28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As with most commentators, pro or con, there is a marked unwillingness to deal with the full implications of their positions.  I am insisting that, unless the full implications are addressed, then the moral stance taken is meaningless.

The Jewish mohel does not use anasthesia, and a major argument against circumcision (a religious ordinance) is the pain.  You may not consider it enough pain, but a lot of people are exercised about it.

In secular law, murder is the unlawful taking of a human life.  Elder Nelson said specifically that it is not murder to abort a fetus.  That is why the LDS Church (and not the RC Church) allows those exceptions.

Since miscarriages occur much more frequently than elective abortion, we have to ask why God would allow such fetal death?  If it is merely a natural event based on a bodily perception that the fertilized ovum or fetus is flawed and not worth bringing to term, then we already have our analogy to human decision-making.  We are aware of the one, but not of the other.

Actually abortion is legal in America, regardless of any church's stand on it.

Of course, opinions cover a broad range, and the secular law reflects the will of the polity -- at least in America.

Robert, you are one of my heroes on this site. Given the import of the topic I would prefer to focus on it; though, I do recognize your position attempts to get at the underpinning philosophic assumptions and weaknesses/strengths. My aunt was rabidly against circumcision and it is worth a discussion, but just not here.

Miscarriages, the human body, and God. I guess that I have always thought of this body as very mortal and capable of not functioning properly all of the time. Given a perfect body, I assume there would not be a discussion about miscarriages. Does God allow miscarriages may be the wrong question. Did God give us mortal bodies with weaknesses? Yes and miscarriages are one of the many results of this body; sickness, deformities, etc., are all the result of this mortal body.  I think we strain our reasoning when we attempt to introduce this into the discussion about abortion.

I had not recalled a statement regarding abortion and murder from President Nelson. However, trying to find it I found the following:

"This matters greatly to us because the Lord has repeatedly declared this divine imperative: “Thou shalt not kill.”4 Then He added, “Nor do anything like unto it.”5 Even before the fulness of the gospel was restored, enlightened individuals understood the sanctity of human life. John Calvin, a sixteenth-century reformer, wrote, “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, … it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fœtus in the womb before it has come to light.”6

Man-made rules have now legalized that which has been forbidden by God from the dawn of time! Human reasoning has twisted and transformed absolute truth into sound-bite slogans that promote a practice that is consummately wrong."

That article bears heavily on this discussion and it would be worthwhile for each of us to reread this conference address.  

Abortion has been made legal recently in the USA. You are correct, but it is a relatively recent change in American law and may very well change in the future. I look forward to the day we have a greater degree of appreciation of the sanctity of life in the secular world of US laws. 

I would be hard pressed to find evidence that the nation, as a whole or majority, supported abortion on demand when it was legalized by the Supreme Court. Many would say the Supreme Court created the law out of whole cloth. There is no "right" to privacy in the Constitution. No such concept was recognized until 1890 when it was mentioned in an issue of the Harvard Law Review, written by attorney Samuel D. Warren and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis. There is a very considerable argument that this, Roe v. Wade, was judicial activism and nothing more. 

The Church teaches that abortion is sin even though the Church also acknowledges that exceptions can be made. My personal beliefs follow those parameters. I would not want to see abortion become completely illegal, but I would like to see it highly restricted and used in exceptional circumstances and never as a convenience. 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, pogi said:

Without getting into animal rights (which is a different moral ballgame for most), if it is immoral to intentionally harm and inflict pain on a baby after birth, I don't see why it should be less immoral before birth.  Pain simply aggravates the moral issue, it is not the main argument against abortion.  The issue is that it is the intentional killing of another human being, it is aggravated by the fact that it is performed in a way which causes the individual excruciating pain. 

The hardest week of nursing school for me was learning about D&E procedures.  I literally cried for days.  My conscience was on high alert and my soul mourned.  I think many people are not aware of what really happens.   Using forceps, the baby is literally torn apart, alive - limb by limb.  I think that we cannot have a moral conversation without watching the procedure and understanding what is really happening to a living, feeling, human being at this stage of pregnancy.

To speak of animal rights though, we don't kill animals for food by tearing them apart while they are still alive and feeling, one limb at a time.  No one would be ok with that......................

The animal rights people take very extreme positions on animal pain, and they are ignored by most people (such as you and me).  As a child at 6 years of age, I thought nothing of catching a big bullfrog with my fly rod in the swamp and hitting its head on a rock to kill it, then taking it home to Momma, who served me frog legs for dinner.  Same with a trout from a nearby stream.  I carried my Daddy's hatchet when we went out to the hen house to select a couple of hens.  I watched as he cut off their heads.  Then he took them to Momma, who sat at the back porch with a large galvanized tub waiting to pluck them.  She'd have them dressed and in the oven in no time.  That's the natural world I come from.  How about you?

If someone is sincerely opposed to abortion, my belief is that he will insist that no law banning abortion is permissible in the absence of a litany of other laws and funding in place -- to provide contraception on demand, full pre-natal and post-natal care, full financial aid to mothers who have no other source of support (food, rent, daycare, etc.), and immediate unfettered right to abortion to anyone who has been raped or is a victim of incest (no parental or court interference allowed) -- including full prosecution and long-term prison for the offending male.  Guaranteed.  Can we talk?

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19 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The animal rights people take very extreme positions on animal pain, and they are ignored by most people (such as you and me).  As a child at 6 years of age, I thought nothing of catching a big bullfrog with my fly rod in the swamp and hitting its head on a rock to kill it, then taking it home to Momma, who served me frog legs for dinner.  Same with a trout from a nearby stream.  I carried my Daddy's hatchet when we went out to the hen house to select a couple of hens.  I watched as he cut off their heads.  Then he took them to Momma, who sat at the back porch with a large galvanized tub waiting to pluck them.  She'd have them dressed and in the oven in no time.  That's the natural world I come from.  How about you?

If someone is sincerely opposed to abortion, my belief is that he will insist that no law banning abortion is permissible in the absence of a litany of other laws and funding in place -- to provide contraception on demand, full pre-natal and post-natal care, full financial aid to mothers who have no other source of support (food, rent, daycare, etc.), and immediate unfettered right to abortion to anyone who has been raped or is a victim of incest (no parental or court interference allowed) -- including full prosecution and long-term prison for the offending male.  Guaranteed.  Can we talk?

I draw a qualitative difference between animals and people.  See D&C 59:

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16 Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;
17 Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

Nevertheless, I oppose the needless infliction of pain on animals.  I have never hunted for sport.  I agree with the sentiments expressed in this article.

I reject the notion that you can or ought to dictate to others the terms upon which they approach the issue of elective abortion, and that failure to adhere to terms set by you negates their sincerity.  That seems very presumptuous.

Thanks,

-Smac

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

The topic, though, is elective abortion.  And yes, men also have culpability for advocating or encouraging or participating in abortions.

What if women who have elective abortions are inspired by God to do so?  Some, no doubt, pray for his help and guidance...so it may be that God is not opposed to them in the first place.  

I'm less interested in whether they should be legal or not.  But if there is a God, can we really consider them a morally bad choice?  He of course set it up so that abortion was the norm...It took humans to overcome his plan in order to figure out how to preserve the life of fetus' and mothers.  

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'm quite in favor of improved access to contraception (apart from abortifacients) and education.  But could you explain what you mean by "putting more onus on the man?"  Onus for what?  How would this happen?

Thanks,

-Smac

I'm not sure how it would happen, exactly.  But if certainly feels like women are left high and dry far too often.  If men had more responsibility for unplanned pregnancies maybe the woman wouldn't feel like abortion is a necessity.  

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12 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

................, I do recognize your position attempts to get at the underpinning philosophic assumptions and weaknesses/strengths. My aunt was rabidly against circumcision and it is worth a discussion, but just not here.

Miscarriages, the human body, and God. I guess that I have always thought of this body as very mortal and capable of not functioning properly all of the time. Given a perfect body, I assume there would not be a discussion about miscarriages. Does God allow miscarriages may be the wrong question. Did God give us mortal bodies with weaknesses? Yes and miscarriages are one of the many results of this body; sickness, deformities, etc., are all the result of this mortal body.  I think we strain our reasoning when we attempt to introduce this into the discussion about abortion.

We live in the flawed natural world.  Spontaneous abortions are normal.  Immortality is another matter, and I take it that spirit children are created far differently.

12 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

I had not recalled a statement regarding abortion and murder from President Nelson. However, trying to find it I found the following:

"This matters greatly to us because the Lord has repeatedly declared this divine imperative: “Thou shalt not kill.”4 Then He added, “Nor do anything like unto it.”5 Even before the fulness of the gospel was restored, enlightened individuals understood the sanctity of human life. John Calvin, a sixteenth-century reformer, wrote, “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, … it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fœtus in the womb before it has come to light.”6

Elder Nelson said "the Lord does not regard this transgression as murder."  That was in the article cited by Spencer Macdonald (the same one you quote here, I think).  As for John Calvin, like a lot of other hypocrites on moral issues, he was fully in favor of engaging in immoral acts, such as executing people by burning them at the stake -- for the crime of having the wrong theological ideas -- and he burned lots of them in Geneva.  He murdered people.  If we are going to have a society which holds human life as being sacrosanct, then let us actually implement that principle in our society.

12 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

.................................................

Abortion has been made legal recently in the USA. You are correct, but it is a relatively recent change in American law and may very well change in the future. I look forward to the day we have a greater degree of appreciation of the sanctity of life in the secular world of US laws. 

I would be hard pressed to find evidence that the nation, as a whole or majority, supported abortion on demand when it was legalized by the Supreme Court. Many would say the Supreme Court created the law out of whole cloth. There is no "right" to privacy in the Constitution. No such concept was recognized until 1890 when it was mentioned in an issue of the Harvard Law Review, written by attorney Samuel D. Warren and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis. There is a very considerable argument that this, Roe v. Wade, was judicial activism and nothing more. 

The problem with second guessing the Supreme Court is that it has the final say, not some writer in a law journal.  That does not mean that the Court is correct, only that they have the final say.  I frequently disagree with political and legal decisions and policies of govt.  The only recourse I have is at the ballot box, or in my weak comments in the blogosphere.  When I was studying the Law over half-a-century ago, I briefed a number of Supreme Court cases, and I was enthralled by the powerful language and reasoning of the justices -- particularly my hero, John Marshall (Chief Justice for 33 years).  Currently justices are selected based on their socio-political biases, rather than on their commitment to the majesty of the Law.

12 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

The Church teaches that abortion is sin even though the Church also acknowledges that exceptions can be made. My personal beliefs follow those parameters. I would not want to see abortion become completely illegal, but I would like to see it highly restricted and used in exceptional circumstances and never as a convenience.

A lot of political figures, such as Roman Catholic Joe Biden, and Baptist Jimmy Carter, have voiced their personal opposition to abortion (in fact I have never met anyone who favors abortion), but insisted that it be a matter of choice for the woman.  Biden paid for that political position by being denied access to the eucharist.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The animal rights people take very extreme positions on animal pain, and they are ignored by most people (such as you and me).  As a child at 6 years of age, I thought nothing of catching a big bullfrog with my fly rod in the swamp and hitting its head on a rock to kill it, then taking it home to Momma, who served me frog legs for dinner.  Same with a trout from a nearby stream.  I carried my Daddy's hatchet when we went out to the hen house to select a couple of hens.  I watched as he cut off their heads.  Then he took them to Momma, who sat at the back porch with a large galvanized tub waiting to pluck them.  She'd have them dressed and in the oven in no time.  That's the natural world I come from.  How about you?

I come from a similar world.  I am an omnivore, but I believe in the word of wisdom too.  I am mostly vegetarian.  Partly for health reasons, but also partly for moral reasons.  I think it is morally ok to eat animals, in moderation, but I don't think it is ok how we treat most farm animals and I actively support more humane farming by purchasing their products.  I think most people have compassion for animals and don't want them to suffer.  I am confident most people would be morally outraged if animals were killed in the same manner that a developing baby is during D&E.  Am I wrong?

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

If someone is sincerely opposed to abortion, my belief is that he will insist that no law banning abortion is permissible in the absence of a litany of other laws and funding in place -- to provide contraception on demand, full pre-natal and post-natal care, full financial aid to mothers who have no other source of support (food, rent, daycare, etc.), and immediate unfettered right to abortion to anyone who has been raped or is a victim of incest (no parental or court interference allowed) -- including full prosecution and long-term prison for the offending male.  Guaranteed.  Can we talk?

  I disagree.  I think one can be sincere about opposing abortion while disagreeing about methods of helping in these other areas.  Although, yes, I agree with some of these.

To look at the other side of things, if one is sincerely pro-choice then they should also rationally conclude and be against any litigation that makes it illegal to intentionally kill/torture another human being (by pulling them apart by their limbs while still alive) because they are perceived as an inconvenience and may negatively impact their personal life.  That is the choice we are talking about.  Can we talk?  Why is that choice moral in one situation but not the other?  It doesn't make biological or moral sense.  If you are going to call into question the moral sincerity of one side, perhaps you should consider the other side as well.

Edited by pogi
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22 minutes ago, smac97 said:

........... I oppose the needless infliction of pain on animals.  I have never hunted for sport.  .........................

Nor have I, and I appreciate the care with which Jewish rules of kosher slaughter minimize animal pain.  Children or adults deliberately inflicting pain on animals is a sign of deep-seated psychological problems.

22 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I reject the notion that you can or ought to dictate to others the terms upon which they approach the issue of elective abortion, and that failure to adhere to terms set by you negates their sincerity.  That seems very presumptuous...............

Why shouldn't I be free to express my POV, even if it doesn't accord with someone else's?  I feel free to call into question the sincerity of those who fail to abide by high moral and ethical rules, just as Jesus did.  We are always free to call into question the sincerity of those who reject obedience to the law, just as I call into question the sincerity of those who legally practiced slavery in countless societies throughout history (Athens, Rome, America, etc.).  As I said to Pogi,

Quote

If someone is sincerely opposed to abortion, my belief is that he will insist that no law banning abortion is permissible in the absence of a litany of other laws and funding in place -- to provide contraception on demand, full pre-natal and post-natal care, full financial aid to mothers who have no other source of support (food, rent, daycare, etc.), and immediate unfettered right to abortion to anyone who has been raped or is a victim of incest (no parental or court interference allowed) -- including full prosecution and long-term prison for the offending male.  Guaranteed. 

 

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2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

What if women who have elective abortions are inspired by God to do so? 

Well, that would seem to contravene pretty much everything God's prophets and apostles have said about the subject.

I am a big fan of personal revelation.  But it is not the sole means of discerning the will of God.  Consider these remarks by Michael Ash:

Quote

In a previous installment I explained that Roman Catholics take a three-legged tripod-like approach to determining truth—Scripture, Tradition, and the Pope. I believe that we Latter-day Saints are asked to take a four-legged approach to truth, like the four legs of a stool. These would include: Scripture, Prophets, Personal Revelation, and Reason. By utilizing the methodologies for all four of these tools, we have a better chance of accurately determining what is true.

The other legs of the stool (scripture, prophets and reason) function well in "vetting" personal revelation.  Utilizing all four "legs" is, in my view, a far more reliable mechanism for discerning truth than relying on just one of them exclusively.

If one leg of this "stool" is wobbly, if it is at odds with the other legs, then some serious introspection is in order.

2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Some, no doubt, pray for his help and guidance...so it may be that God is not opposed to them in the first place.

So the voluminous and consistent counsel from God's prophets and apostles on this issue is . . . wrong?

2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm less interested in whether they should be legal or not. 

Honestly, I'm sort of in agreement with you.  I think there should be legislation, but I'm more interested in efforts to persuade, to improve education and availability of contraceptives, and so on.

2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

But if there is a God, can we really consider them a morally bad choice? 

Yes, I think we can.

2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

He of course set it up so that abortion was the norm...It took humans to overcome his plan in order to figure out how to preserve the life of fetus' and mothers.  

He gave us agency, and a Savior.  He expects us to sort these things out and make reasoned, moral choices.  

2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm not sure how it would happen, exactly.  But if certainly feels like women are left high and dry far too often.

Not sure what this means in 2020.  With the advent of inexpensive and readily-available contraceptives, women having equal (or superior) educational and employment opportunities, etc., women are situated pretty well.

2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

If men had more responsibility for unplanned pregnancies maybe the woman wouldn't feel like abortion is a necessity.  

Could you elaborate?  What sort of "more responsibility" do you have in mind?  Child support is already available.

If men and women were more responsible in their sexual ethics, unplanned pregnancies and consequent elective abortions would be substantially reduced.

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I feel free to call into question the sincerity of those who fail to abide by high moral and ethical rules, just as Jesus did.  

But do you do so for both sides?

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16 minutes ago, pogi said:

....................  I think it is morally ok to eat animals, in moderation, but I don't think it is ok how we treat most farm animals and I actively support more humane farming by purchasing their products.  I think most people have compassion for animals and don't want them to suffer.  I am confident most people would be morally outraged if animals were killed in the same manner that a developing baby is during D&E.  Am I wrong?

  I disagree.  I think one can be sincere about opposing abortion while disagreeing about methods of helping in these other areas.  Although, yes, I agree with some of these.

To look at the other side of things, if one is sincerely pro-choice then they should also rationally conclude and be against any litigation that makes it illegal to intentionally kill/torture another human being (by pulling them apart by their limbs while still alive) because they are perceived as an inconvenience and may negatively impact their personal life.  That is the choice we are talking about.  Can we talk?

Sounds like there might be some room for negotiation on what form such laws might take.  One of the reasons why no such negotiation usually takes place, is the intransigence of both sides.  The all or nothing approach doesn't accomplish much.  If one wants to reduce the number and types of abortions, there are legislative remedies.

As with capital punishment (which I have always opposed), most people opted for it only because of the ridiculous tendency of courts and parole boards to release murderers from prison -- who would go out and do it again.  When legislators were willing to allow a sentence of life without parole, a lot of people got on board the no capital punishment train.

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11 minutes ago, pogi said:

But do you do so for both sides?

Of course.  You'll notice, however, that most social media platforms practice censorship.  I am very unhappy with that, since I see the monopolistic social media platforms as part of the public commons, the public street, where the First Amendment should be in full force.  Those social media platforms are a huge threat to the free marketplace of ideas, and this is increasingly the case at colleges and universities.  We are subject now to mobocracy and cancel culture.

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On 10/22/2020 at 3:20 PM, smac97 said:

On October 19, Terryl Givens published the following article in Public Square MagazineA LATTER-DAY SAINT DEFENSE OF THE UNBORN

The subtitle: "It has become popular for people of faith to seek a middle ground in the abortion debate of being 'personally opposed' while according choice to others. This is why I think that position is problematic."

I think the article is very much worth a read.  

On October 21, Terryl's son, Nathaniel posted the following on his personal blog: Pro-Life: A Fiercely Held Moderate Position

Nathaniel's article notes his father's piece, and also points to a post from Sam Brunson at By Common Consent that responds to Terryl's piece. 

All three articles are worth reading. 

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

"He (Terryl Givens) ultimately concludes that Latter-day Saints are obligated to oppose abortion and that there is basically no room for personally opposing abortion but supporting its legality and availability."

Not quite true.  The main reason given for personally supporting abortion is that it is often the easiest way for a woman to rid herself of what she sees as some personal problem related to her pregnancy, like not having much money to support the child or because someone else would not like the fact that she is pregnant which could cause her some personal problems.  So for her sees sees killing the child as the easiest way to get rid of her "problem" or "problems".

At which point we in society can either step in to try to help her solve those "problems" or just leave her to solve her own problems because the problems stem from her having a body capable of having a baby.

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Well, that would seem to contravene pretty much everything God's prophets and apostles have said about the subject.

I am a big fan of personal revelation.  But it is not the sole means of discerning the will of God.  Consider these remarks by Michael Ash:

The other legs of the stool (scripture, prophets and reason) function well in "vetting" personal revelation.  Utilizing all four "legs" is, in my view, a far more reliable mechanism for discerning truth than relying on just one of them exclusively.

I mean that's fine but believers extend far outside of Mormonism.  If a non_mormon Christian prays to God and is impressed that God has said an abortion for her is a good thing, and does it, then you can disagree that it was God if you want, but that doesn't do much but suggest you think you know God more than she.  The "god is unreliable unless someone else agrees with Smac" doesn't seem to get us very far.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

If one leg of this "stool" is wobbly, if it is at odds with the other legs, then some serious introspection is in order.

So the voluminous and consistent counsel from God's prophets and apostles on this issue is . . . wrong?

Very possibly.  It's been so in the past and will likely be so again, even if your a believer that's likely and possible.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Honestly, I'm sort of in agreement with you.  I think there should be legislation, but I'm more interested in efforts to persuade, to improve education and availability of contraceptives, and so on.

Me too.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Yes, I think we can.

He gave us agency, and a Savior.  He expects us to sort these things out and make reasoned, moral choices.  

Not sure what this means in 2020.  With the advent of inexpensive and readily-available contraceptives, women having equal (or superior) educational and employment opportunities, etc., women are situated pretty well.

Are you thinking of the US or the world?  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Could you elaborate?  What sort of "more responsibility" do you have in mind?  Child support is already available.

Child support being available might only be part of it.  I don't have much in mind because I don't know how we'd do this.  But if someone's sperm fertilizes an egg and a fetus results that sperm's owner should take on the responsibility of a possible baby waddling around.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

If men and women were more responsible in their sexual ethics, unplanned pregnancies and consequent elective abortions would be substantially reduced.

Thanks,

-Smac

Yes.  I'm glad we can find areas of agreement.  

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Why shouldn't I be free to express my POV, even if it doesn't accord with someone else's? 

When your point of view is comprised of personal attacks (accusing others of being "childish," hypocritical, etc.), then civil discourse becomes difficult.

Rather than rail against the character of those with whom you disagree on this issue, I would ask that you address . . . the issue.

2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I feel free to call into question the sincerity of those who fail to abide by high moral and ethical rules, just as Jesus did.  We are always free to call into question the sincerity of those who reject obedience to the law, just as I call into question the sincerity of those who legally practiced slavery in countless societies throughout history (Athens, Rome, America, etc.). 

Your character attacks are not persuasive.  They are, instead, pretty ad hominem.  You disagree with Givens, but rather than address what he is saying on the merits, you slander his character.  Not cool.

Thanks,

-Smac

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46 minutes ago, smac97 said:

When your point of view is comprised of personal attacks (accusing others of being "childish," hypocritical, etc.), then civil discourse becomes difficult.

Rather than rail against the character of those with whom you disagree on this issue, I would ask that you address . . . the issue.

Your character attacks are not persuasive.  They are, instead, pretty ad hominem.  You disagree with Givens, but rather than address what he is saying on the merits, you slander his character.  Not cool.

............

I cited Terryl's slanderous  ad hominems, which you seem to think are cool, and by talking frankly about that and the same type of critique for hypocrisy which I find so prevalent in discourse on this question, I am then to be condemned.  Sounds like a vicious cycle to me, Spencer.  I expect all parties to such discourse to follow the same rules.  Perhaps you don't.

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28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I cited Terryl's slanderous  ad hominems,

You did?

He cracks a joke about the lack of political diversity in academia ("political views are as diverse as in the North Korean parliament").

Other than that, whom did he slander?  Where are the ad hominems?  And where did you cite them?

28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

which you seem to think are cool,

I don't think ad hominem attacks are cool.

I am struggling, though, to understand why you keep resorting to them while also complaining about them.

28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

and by talking frankly about that and the same type of critique for hypocrisy which I find so prevalent in discourse on this question, I am then to be condemned. 

Nobody has condemned you.  

28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Sounds like a vicious cycle to me, Spencer. 

We're talking on a message board.  I have not been "vicious" to you.

Thanks,

-Smac

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