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Terryl Givens Weighs in on Ethics of Abortion


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12 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

That said, does personhood change the issue? Does a person have a protected right to live inside another person?

Morally or legally?

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3 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

If you did not want the child, then why get pregnant? Surely, you get the idea that if you have unprotected sex there is a probability that a child - a new life - may be the result? How many different types of birth control are available for women? 

You cross the line when you get pregnant and you bear the consequences of that life. You kill it, then you should go to prison in the same way a man should go to prison for killing the child in the womb. 

How did human life become so meaningless? How is it that women can be so irresponsible and the only one that bears the consequences is the child in the womb?  

Yup, we will never comprehend each other on this issue. You demean life to the point that it has no value IF that life inconveniences the life of the mother. The convenience of the mother is the primary, all important "right" and children should die or be sacrificed so that she is never inconvenienced. No ethics there that I understand or want in a moral society.

In general, being loving and understanding will help result in healthier women and babies. Hopefully we can both do our part in our own spheres to advance that. Best wishes to you. 

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4 minutes ago, pogi said:

I understand the difference.  I don't understand the significance in terms of the child.  It doesn't make the life any less human and worthy of any less value.  Why should the womb devalue the life of the child?  Whether it was inside the womb or outside the womb, it would still be immoral to tear the baby apart limb by limb.  Why should the law be restricted to the outside of the skin?  (It doesn't, by the way.)  The law reaches into your body.  It does not stop at your skin. 

How does the law reach into peoples' bodies? What examples can you share?

 

5 minutes ago, pogi said:

You refuse to view this in terms of the child.  I understand why though.  Because the second you do, D&E becomes unacceptable.   I am trying to balance the rights and liberties and harms done to the woman and the child, you are looking purely through the lens of the woman. 

Ah but you don't really know why, Pogi, so please stop stating what I am thinking or why. I see the bodily autonomy of a human being as a fundamental right. Systemically, it is best to protect a woman's bodily autonomy, and the concerns about the survival of the unborn can be better mitigated when we do so. I see the focus on force as counterproductive, wasteful and frequently evil.

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Just now, Meadowchik said:
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I agree that there is a "significant difference between being inside and outside the womb."

But I am not sure the issue is so clear-cut.  When does personhood attach to the child, for example?

Yup, I asked you that question previously in this thread. Can't remember if you answered.

I don't recall seeing your question.  Sorry about that.

In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court  concluded that a woman’s liberty interest in terminating her pregnancy superseded the state’s interest in protecting the fetus, at least until the point of “viability” (the point at which “the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb,”), which was the Court’s proxy for the point at which the state possessed a compelling interest to protect the life of the fetus.  Roe presented a "trimester framework" that prohibited any state regulation of abortion during the 1st trimester, permitted regulations designed to protect a woman's health in the second trimester, and permitted prohibitions on abortion during the third trimester (when the fetus becomes viable) under the justification of fetal protection, and so long as the life or health of the mother was not at risk.

Roe was later superseded in 1992 by Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which replaced the trimester approach with a "viability" analysis, which SCOTUS declared to be "the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb, so that the independent existence of the second life can in reason and all fairness be the object of state protection that now overrides the rights of the woman."

So how does "viability" work as a placekeeper for the creation of "personhood?"  Not very well.  As I noted in July 2019:

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"Viability" is too vague and malleable a term.  From Wikipedia:

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Viability, as the word has been used in United States constitutional law since Roe v. Wade, is the potential of the fetus to survive outside the uterus after birth, natural or induced, when supported by up-to-date medicine. Fetal viability depends largely on the fetal organ maturity, and environmental conditions.[2] According to Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, viability of a fetus means having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus. Viability exists as a function of biomedical and technological capacities, which are different in different parts of the world. As a consequence, there is, at the present time, no worldwide, uniform gestational age that defines viability.[3]

According to the McGraw-Hill medical dictionary a nonviable fetus is "an expelled or delivered fetus which, although living, cannot possibly survive to the point of sustaining life independently, even with support of the best available medical therapy."[4] A legal definition states: "Nonviable means not capable of living, growing, or developing and functioning successfully. It is antithesis of viable, which is defined as having attained such form and development of organs as to be normally capable of living outside the uterus." [Wolfe v. Isbell, 291 Ala. 327, 329 (Ala. 1973)][5]

Various jurisdictions have different legal definitions of viability. In Ireland, under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, fetal viability is defined as "the point in a pregnancy at which, in the reasonable opinion of a medical practitioner, the foetus is capable of survival outside the uterus without extraordinary life-sustaining measures." [Definitions (Part 2)(8)][6]

...

There is no sharp limit of development, gestational age, or weight at which a human fetus automatically becomes viable.[1]According to studies between 2003 and 2005, 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 24 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive.[13] It is rare for a baby weighing less than 500 g (17.6 ounces) to survive.[1] The chances of a fetus surviving increase 3-4% per day between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and about 2-3% per day between 24 and 26 weeks of gestation.

If there is no "uniformed gestational age that defines viability, then that creates real difficulties in creating legal restrictions on when an abortion can be performed.

Is a baby born at 24 weeks "viable" or "nonviable?"  Hard to say, since 20-35% of them survive.

Moreover, what happens when and if medicine and technology advance to the point that a fetus can survive outside of the womb at a very early stage of gestation?

Hope this helps.

Just now, Meadowchik said:

That said, does personhood change the issue?

Yes.  Bodily autonomy is an extremely important principle in the law.  But it is not absolute.

Just now, Meadowchik said:

Does a person have a protected right to live inside another person?

To some extent, yes.  Even Roe and Casey conceded as much.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

How does the law reach into peoples' bodies? What examples can you share?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565785/

You talk yourself about the fundamental right to bodily autonomy.  That includes your innards, no?  The law therefore reaches into your body. 

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I see the bodily autonomy of a human being as a fundamental right. 

...unless we are talking about the bodily autonomy of a human being in the womb.  They don't count for some mysterious reason.

How do you balance that with the right to life?  It seems to me that life is more fundamental. 

A common saying is that your rights end where my (or any other nose) begins.  This means that your autonomy shouldn't trump any other right to life and autonomy.

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Systemically, it is best to protect a woman's bodily autonomy, and the concerns about the survival of the unborn can be better mitigated when we do so. I see the focus on force as counterproductive, wasteful and frequently evil.

If all you care about is protecting women's rights in this issue - so, what if the fetus is a female?  Shouldn't we protect her bodily autonomy then?   Why does the more developed women deserve greater rights to bodily autonomy and protection?  How is this equal rights?

Edited by pogi
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Ah but you don't really know why, Pogi, so please stop stating what I am thinking or why

I apologize.  

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

 Systemically, it is best to protect a woman's bodily autonomy, and the concerns about the survival of the unborn can be better mitigated when we do so.

Why can't these measures of mitigation be done otherwise?  Do we have to devalue the life of the baby to protect it, is that really the "better" way?

If the baby is not equally protected, it is devalued. 

Edited by pogi
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On 11/6/2020 at 6:50 PM, smac97 said:

I don't recall seeing your question.  Sorry about that.

In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court  concluded that a woman’s liberty interest in terminating her pregnancy superseded the state’s interest in protecting the fetus, at least until the point of “viability” (the point at which “the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb,”), which was the Court’s proxy for the point at which the state possessed a compelling interest to protect the life of the fetus.  Roe presented a "trimester framework" that prohibited any state regulation of abortion during the 1st trimester, permitted regulations designed to protect a woman's health in the second trimester, and permitted prohibitions on abortion during the third trimester (when the fetus becomes viable) under the justification of fetal protection, and so long as the life or health of the mother was not at risk.

Roe was later superseded in 1992 by Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which replaced the trimester approach with a "viability" analysis, which SCOTUS declared to be "the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb, so that the independent existence of the second life can in reason and all fairness be the object of state protection that now overrides the rights of the woman."

So how does "viability" work as a placekeeper for the creation of "personhood?"  Not very well.  As I noted in July 2019:

Hope this helps.

Yes.  Bodily autonomy is an extremely important principle in the law.  But it is not absolute.

To some extent, yes.  Even Roe and Casey conceded as much.

Thanks,

-Smac

Good points. 

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On 11/6/2020 at 7:00 PM, pogi said:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565785/

You talk yourself about the fundamental right to bodily autonomy.  That includes your innards, no?  The law therefore reaches into your body. 

...unless we are talking about the bodily autonomy of a human being in the womb.  They don't count for some mysterious reason.

How do you balance that with the right to life?  It seems to me that life is more fundamental. 

A common saying is that your rights end where my (or any other nose) begins.  This means that your autonomy shouldn't trump any other right to life and autonomy.

If all you care about is protecting women's rights in this issue - so, what if the fetus is a female?  Shouldn't we protect her bodily autonomy then?   Why does the more developed women deserve greater rights to bodily autonomy and protection?  How is this equal rights?

I don't see any examples of government reaching into our bodies there. What I see is government regulating the use of bodily tissues that are harvested from human bodies.

To see the difference, imagine that a certain cancer produces tumors that create highly profitable substances. Imagine that you have this tumor on your neck, but the government forces you to have it removed so it can have the tissue. That's not the same as the government regulating the sale of the tissue after you have already decided to have it removed.

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54 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I don't see any examples of government reaching into our bodies there.

We are talking about the law.  The law absolutely does reach into your body.  The law has a say about what you, or others, can or cannot do with the inside of your body.  Absolute bodily autonomy is a myth.  Your argument is that the law has no right to reach into your body.  Sorry, but it does.  Especially when the “tissue” we are talking about is another life that deserves rights just like the rest of us.

Are you comparing the government protecting a life that is not yours, but is inside you, to the government harvesting tissue that is your body for profit.  Just so I am sure as to what you are saying, the baby is the cancerous tumor in this scenario???  

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19 minutes ago, pogi said:

We are talking about the law.  The law absolutely does reach into your body.  The law has a say about what you, or others, can or cannot do with the inside of your body.  Absolute bodily autonomy is a myth.  Your argument is that the law has no right to reach into your body.  Sorry, but it does.  Especially when the “tissue” we are talking about is another life that deserves rights just like the rest of us.

Are you comparing the government protecting a life that is not yours, but is inside you, to the government harvesting tissue that is your body for profit.  Just so I am sure as to what you are saying, the baby is the cancerous tumor in this scenario???  

No I am asking you for examples. Give me examples of government reaching into our bodies. My fictional example is about showing you the difference between regulating the commodification of harvested human tissue, and regulating what we do with what's in our bodies.

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23 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

No I am asking you for examples. Give me examples of government reaching into our bodies. My fictional example is about showing you the difference between regulating the commodification of harvested human tissue, and regulating what we do with what's in our bodies.

The original question was if the “law” reaches in our bodies.  We can make laws that go inside.  Your argument is that the law has no right in there.  Sorry, but the law can and does go there.

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8 minutes ago, pogi said:

The original question was if the “law” reaches in our bodies.  We can make laws that go inside.  Your argument is that the law has no right in there.  Sorry, but the law can and does go there.

And I asked you for examples of what you mean. What are examples of the law reaching inside our bodies?

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

And I asked you for examples of what you mean. What are examples of the law reaching inside our bodies?

I already gave you a link.  Did you read the 5 principles of bodily rights?

You have bodily rights which extend inside.  Even your organs are protected by law.  Not even death strips you of those bodily rights.  The law clearly goes inside your body.

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15 minutes ago, pogi said:

I already gave you a link.  Did you read the 5 principles of bodily rights?

You have bodily rights which extend inside.  Even your organs are protected by law.  Not even death strips you of those bodily rights.  The law clearly goes inside your body.

Of course I read it. Principles are not examples. Give examples of the government reaching into our bodies.

What's the most comparable example you know of, as a medical professional, to government telling women what they can and cannot do with a pregnancy?

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22 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Of course I read it. Principles are not examples. Give examples of the government reaching into our bodies.

Rights = government protections by law.  If your organs are protected by rights, then the law reached inside, despite your claim that it can’t.  It indisputably does.
 

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34 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

What's the most comparable example you know of, as a medical professional, to government telling women what they can and cannot do with a pregnancy?

I have already established that the law does reach inside our bodies.  It therefore can protect a human life inside of you just as it can protect a human life outside of you.  

It is not your organs/tissue we are talking about so there is no direct comparison.   With informed consent you can do with your tissue (within limits) what you want.  This is not your tissue.  It is not you.  
 

Woman’s rights should protect all females. 
 

 

Edited by pogi
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14 minutes ago, pogi said:

Rights = government protections by law.  If your organs are protected by rights, then the law reached inside, despite your claim that it can’t.  It indisputably does.
 

I'm trying to hear precisely what you mean by the law reaching inside. I gave you a fictional example because I do not know of any government regulation that compares to controlling whether a woman remains pregnant.

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

I have already established that the law does reach inside our bodies.  It therefore can protect a human life inside of you just as it can protect a human life outside of you.  

It is not your organs/tissue we are talking about so there is no direct comparison.   With informed consent you can do with your tissue (within limits) what you want.  This is not your tissue.  It is not you.  
 

Woman’s rights should protect all females. 
 

 

It is exactly women's organs and tissue we're talking about. The human inside her is using her organs and tissue to live and having a direct and permanent impact on her body.

Can you give an example of the government controlling how a person can use the organs inside their own body?

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On 11/6/2020 at 7:47 PM, pogi said:

Why can't these measures of mitigation be done otherwise?  Do we have to devalue the life of the baby to protect it, is that really the "better" way?

Do you value homeless people by making homelessness illegal? I don't think so. And likewise, an abortion ban does not mean the unborn are more valued, and it is certainly not enough to value the unborn. Maybe it is better to have that anxiety as a general public, to be concerned and ever-vigilant, that maybe there is a poor soul in a bad situation desperate enough to end the human life inside her, and we allow that anxiety to motivate us to check on people, to care about them, and to help them. Compare that to feeling like we've protected the unborn with an abortion ban. We haven't stopped abortions. And it's much easier to just be complacent and believe that the law is the preserver of life, and not care as much about people around us.

It is very frustrating to see all the political will, time, and resources spent toward abortion bans when they could be better spent on systemic changes and specific efforts that help women and babies thereby reducing abortions.

Edited by Meadowchik
comma
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45 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm trying to hear precisely what you mean by the law reaching inside. 

I'm trying to understand what you mean when you state that the law can't reach inside.  I have demonstrated that the law doesn't end at your skin, as you seem to imply.

45 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I gave you a fictional example because I do not know of any government regulation that compares to controlling whether a woman remains pregnant.

Your example was not a good one.  It did not deal with foreign tissue/human life.  Not even close to comparing.  I don't know of any other example of another human being inside another body to compare it to.  Sorry.  My point is that the law can go past the skin, and that the the human being we are talking about is not you. 

45 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Can you give an example of the government controlling how a person can use the organs inside their own body?

It is not your organ we are talking about.  Please acknowledge that.  It is a baby. THAT is the target of the procedure...not your organ.

But yes, doctors cannot perform procedures on your organs that are intentionally life threatening to you or anyone else.  A doctor cannot remove your heart and give it to someone else, with the intent to kill you or the other person.  Doctors cannot legally use your organs to kill yourself or other people.  Sorry.  The law restricts it. 

45 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

It is exactly women's organs and tissue we're talking about. The human inside her is using her organs and tissue to live and having a direct and permanent impact on her body.

The organ (it is actually an organism) that is the target of the procedure in question is not you.  You are not having your organ removed. You are not killing your tissue.  Quit pretending like your body is the only one in question.  Be honest here. Quit ignoring the baby.  We have to balance the baby's body's with the mother's.  We can't pretend like the other doesn't exist.  It is a balance.  There is no balance with your approach.  IT is all one sided. You cannot kill your kids because they are hard on your bodies.  Stress has a direct and permanent impact on your body.  You can't kill them because they cause your body, and internal organs like your heart, stress.  Sorry.  

Edited by pogi
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8 minutes ago, pogi said:

I'm trying to understand what you mean when you state that the law can't reach inside.  I have demonstrated that the law doesn't end at your skin, as you seem to imply.

Your example was not a good one.  It did not deal with foreign tissue/human life.  Not even close to comparing.  I don't know of any other example of another human being inside another body to compare it to.  Sorry.  My point is that the law can go past the skin, and that the the human being we are talking about is not you. 

It is not your organ we are talking about.  Please acknowledge that.  It is a baby. THAT is the target of the procedure...not your organ.

But yes, doctors cannot perform procedures on your organs that are intentionally life threatening to you or anyone else.  A doctor cannot remove your heart and give it to someone else, with the intent to kill you or the other person.  Doctors cannot legally use your organs to kill yourself or other people.  Sorry.  The law restricts it. 

The organ (it is actually an organism) that is the target of the procedure in question is not you.  You are not having your organ removed. You are not killing your tissue.  Quit pretending like your body is the only one in question.  Be honest here. Quit ignoring the baby.  We have to balance the baby's body's with the mother's.  We can't pretend like the other doesn't exist.  It is a balance.  There is no balance with your approach.  IT is all one sided. You cannot kill your kids because they are hard on your bodies.  Stress has a direct and permanent impact on your body.  You can't kill them because they cause your body, and internal organs like your heart, stress.  Sorry.  

I am not ignoring that abortion involves killing a human being. I have consistently acknowledged the existence of that human life. And I am concerned about balance in the issue. You see it as balancing the woman's life against the life of the unborn. I see it as balancing our human response to abortion against the burden women experience in pregnancy. In the human experience, the cost of a pregnancy is born heavily and for the most part by the pregnant woman. You are not legislating the salvation of babies, just controlling women's bodies.

I think there is more benefit to the unborn on the whole in supporting women more, and less benefit to the unborn on the whole in abortion bans. That to me is where valuing the unborn comes in and where it matters the most.

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20 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I think there is more benefit to the unborn on the whole in supporting women more, and less benefit to the unborn on the whole in abortion bans. That to me is where valuing the unborn comes in and where it matters the most.

Again with the false dichotomy. 
 

We can use more effective measure without stripping human beings of rights to life, like the rest of us enjoy.  

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14 hours ago, pogi said:

Again with the false dichotomy. 
 

We can use more effective measure without stripping human beings of rights to life, like the rest of us enjoy.  

I do think there are problems created by criminalisation and the campaigns for criminalisation which make it counterproductive to reducing abortions and counterproductive to caring for the unborn.

15 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Do you value homeless people by making homelessness illegal? I don't think so. And likewise, an abortion ban does not mean the unborn are more valued, and it is certainly not enough to value the unborn. Maybe it is better to have that anxiety as a general public, to be concerned and ever-vigilant, that maybe there is a poor soul in a bad situation desperate enough to end the human life inside her, and we allow that anxiety to motivate us to check on people, to care about them, and to help them. Compare that to feeling like we've protected the unborn with an abortion ban. We haven't stopped abortions. And it's much easier to just be complacent and believe that the law is the preserver of life, and not care as much about people around us.

It is very frustrating to see all the political will, time, and resources spent toward abortion bans when they could be better spent on systemic changes and specific efforts that help women and babies thereby reducing abortions.

Think about public health in general. What works better? Criminalising bad health behaviors or encouraging good behaviors? Why not make it illegal to buy sugary soda or eat Twinkies and fried chicken? Might as well make it illegal and educate people about the harms of processed sugar and fried foods. We can do both, right?

Wrong. I do not think so. I have known families that literally lock the cupboard so they have total control over their children's access to food, and they did provide good balanced meals and snacks. Yet that level of control also interfered with their children's developing a healthy relationship with food. 

I think that criminalisation for abortion interferes with the most effective ways women can prevent abortion and the most effective ways people can help women. Criminalisation can cause some women to die, can interfere with medical situations where induced abortions are appropriate. And criminalisation is in my opinion part of a false panacea, diverting human action from what helps women and babies more.

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 For what it’s worth, here’s a great Facebook post from Hannah Seariac who is host of the FAIR Voices podcast.

 

“I am a faithful Latter-day Saint woman and I oppose abortion politically, morally, and religiously except in cases of rape, incest, or health of the mother or child.

As I have articulated elsewhere, I consider myself pro-life in a more full sense than anti-abortion in the sense that I support comprehensive sex education, many forms of elective birth control, ending police brutality, access to better education and health care, etc.. 

I do not advocate *just* to make abortion illegal, but also advocate for supporting women to become financially stable, literate, and autonomous, smoother adoption processes, education and birth control (not mandated upon private institutions for the latter to preserve religious freedoms, especially for Catholic et al. brothers and sisters), etc. all in tandem with making abortion illegal. Comprehensive pro-life approaches and not merely "make abortion illegal" approaches are critical in spreading the message that every life has inherent meaning. 

That being said, I still think making abortion illegal is critical because of my worldview. Lest I be accused of being pro-life only because I am religious, I shall add a disclaimer: I write this post specifically to those in my faith community and have in other places offered my reasons from an irreligious perspective. 

Laws exist to preserve the freedom of individuals; they maximize our agency provided that we do not harm one another. Not to sound brash, but you can't exercise rights if you are dead. Preserving the agency of women comes in the restrictions I mentioned above: rape, incest, or health of the mother or child. In other instances, the woman chose to engage in sexual activity. 

A baby differs genetically than the mother and yes, depends on the mother, but is not the mother. The unique DNA imprint of a baby means that abortion infringes upon the baby's ability to choose, as you cannot choose if you are killed. I support both the agency of the mother and the baby, but I do not find that supporting a mother in using agency to suppress the agency of a separate person is morally defensible. 

Regarding this matter, President Oaks says: "Using arguments of "choice" to try to justify altering the consequences of choice is a classic case of omitting what the Savior called "the weightier matters of the law."...If we say that we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God's servant shave defined as serious sins."

President Oaks articulates that all criminalization of behavior rests upon moral principles, so to a degree, we cannot escape legislating morality. In this instance, we protect an idea of freedom and choice derived from both the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Constitution. 

President Nelson says: "A woman's choice for her own body does not include the right to deprive her baby of life-- and a lifetime of choices that her child would make." It is true that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not favor a legislative position on abortion, so this is my opinion. 

My opinion is that the moral imperative against abortion justifies making abortion illegal. I do not think pragmatic impacts of policy justify an inherently immoral position when we could, in fact, achieve similar effects without having abortion be legal provided that we create more economic stability and improve adoption. I find abortion morally reprehensible and do not think my support of it is effective when I can support ending the need for it at the same time that I support ending it as a legal practice. 

I won't be boxed in. I will be pro-life in all instances where life can be preserved, but I will also support legislation that ends abortion as a legal practice because I do not think our society should support suppressing anyone's rights. 

I find that a lot of conservatives take an intellectually lazy position on this and I also find the justifications to keep abortion legal wrong. We need the best of both worlds: no need for abortion and abortion as an illegal practice. Being pro-life to me means actively finding ways to reduce the need for abortion while making it illegal because I want everyone's rights, freedoms, and lives to be protected.”

 

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