This Week’s Mtg: Abortion – “Life” Vs. “Choice” (11/18/10)

This was Ron’s idea, but the topic committee expanded it beyond his original “when does life begin” suggestion.  Why?  We worried that focusing on just one aspect of this issue would bias the discussion.  For example, if abortion is only about when life begins, then maybe our answers can only be about that, to the exclusion of other considerations like women’s rights.  Similarly, if the only topic is choice and privacy, then we’ve defined fetal life as secondary and thus expendable.  Abortion is a great topic to get into the potency of language in politics.

Anyway, I thought I’d open with 10 minutes of basic information:

  • How many abortions are there (lots), who has them (some surprises), trends?
  • What legal and practical restrictions are there on abortion? (Short answer: A lot) and what further restrictions are coming? (many, especially in some states)?

Then, I’ll try to manage our discussion around these three big questions:

  1. Why are there so many abortions?  Don’t we need to know the causes of abortion before anything else?   
  2. Why is abortion objectionable?  Because to many life begins at conception is clearly the big reason.  But, are there other reasons to be for or against abortion choice?  Are both sides’ motives entirely what they say they are?   
  3. Is there room for further compromise?  Or will the battle never end because the two sides are irreconcilable?

 

LINKS:  

Abortion is not an issue from another time, a relic.  It is still very, very potent to many people.

UPDATES:  More links

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3 responses

  1. For those who are interested in Amnesty’s position, see:
    http://www.consistent-life.org/ai.html

    This is what the Catholic church thinks: (partial quote from Bishop Skylstad)

    It is with a sense of great alarm that I write to you about the proposal by some within
    Amnesty International to abandon the organization’s traditional neutral stance on abortion,
    replacing it with an assertive policy of advocating abortion on demand as a “human right.” The
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops believes a change in policy will erode the human
    rights of the most vulnerable members of the human family: unborn children. It will also
    jeopardize Amnesty International’s excellent record as a champion of human rights. To abandon
    this long held position would be a tragic mistake, dividing human rights advocates and diverting
    Amnesty International from its central and urgent mission of defending human rights as outlined
    in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. It is with a sense of great alarm that I write to you about the proposal by some within
    Amnesty International to abandon the organization’s traditional neutral stance on abortion,
    replacing it with an assertive policy of advocating abortion on demand as a “human right.” The
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops believes a change in policy will erode the human
    rights of the most vulnerable members of the human family: unborn children. It will also
    jeopardize Amnesty International’s excellent record as a champion of human rights. To abandon
    this long held position would be a tragic mistake, dividing human rights advocates and diverting
    Amnesty International from its central and urgent mission of defending human rights as outlined
    in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.

  2. Thanks, Jim. Am I right that what this is about is that a few months ago Amnesty adopted a plank that calls for abortion access in limited cases only: rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother? Or was it the life AND health of the mother, which is much broader?

  3. You are right; it is for rape and incest only. There are those who wish to expand it however.

    Thought folks might be interested in this piece, from Thailand:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/22/world/asia/22iht-thai.html?ref=global-home

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