September 12, 2009

Further Questions on Torture and Abortion


As a follow-up to my previous post on torture and abortion, here are some of my questions for those who oppose one but defend the other.

Questions for those who are anti-abortion but believe torture can be justified:

1. If abortion is immoral (in part) because the procedure deliberately inflicts severe pain on a pre-born human being, why is it permissible to deliberately inflict incredible physical and psychological pain on a prisoner while torturing him or her?

2. If abortion is truly "worse than slavery" (an outlawed form of torture) as many pro-lifers say, should women who obtain an abortion be treated as criminals on par with someone who is found guilty of owning slaves?

3. If torture can be justified for pragmatic, utilitarian reasons (i.e. to prevent terrorism and save lives), what's wrong with the pragmatic, utilitarian reasons for abortion (i.e. to prevent poverty and unwanted pregnancy)?

Questions for those who are pro-choice but anti-torture:

1. If torture is immoral (in part) because it inflicts cruel, degrading and traumatic pain on a human being, why is abortion not also immoral, particularly in cases where the pre-born child has developed to a stage where trauma and pain can be experienced?

2. Why should prisoners of war have a greater right to life and dignity than pre-born children? Is one more human than the other?

3. If abortion is a matter of personal choice, why shouldn't torture be a matter of government discretion on a case-by-case basis?

28 comments:

Ethan said...

Responding to question 3 in the first set, the reason of saving lives seems of greater importance than preventing poverty and unwanted pregnancy. Saving lives seems like a particularly compelling pragmatic reason.

Still, torture is guaranteed evil without a guarantee of greater good (saved lives) as a result.

The Common Loon said...

You make a fair point, Ethan.

My personal view is that there are certain immoral means (rape, child abuse, torture etc.) that are never justified regardless of the ends, but even if one were to go with a utilitarian/pragmatic line of reasoning, state-sponsored torture has other negative consequences to consider:

1. The reliability of the information obtained, since tortured prisoners might say anything just to stop the pain.

2. Under the psychological distress of torture, a prisoner may not have the mental capacity to distinguish between truth and falsehood, or to even convey the truth.

3. If the torture goes so far as to incapacitate or kill the prisoner, you won't be able to extract any information from them.

4. Hostility and violence directed at U.S. troops overseas or other Americans living abroad is more likely to occur when we are viewed as a nation that tortures its prisoners. This could end up doing more to harm rather than protect national security in the long run.

5. In order to develop the "proper" torture techniques, the government would have to enlist the services of doctors, psychologists and biomedical researchers who would be placed in situations that could compromise their responsibility to act as agents of healing.

6. We stoop to the level of our enemies. John McCain has been a longstanding opponent of torture because of what it says about the moral character of our country. If we torture our prisoners, we lose the credibility to demand that American prisoners be treated humanely when in the custody of foreign governments.

Ethan said...

These are good reasons to avoid torture, Dan.

Are you aware of any biblical references to incidents of torture?

Also, you've been making reference to pragmatism and utilitarianism (views which seem less respectable among Christians) when some might view this reasoning to be a matter of deontological ethics (which does seem more respectable), where a higher moral law (ex. you shouldn't murder) trumps a lower one (ex. you shouldn't torture).

The Common Loon said...

As far as biblical references to state-sponsored torture, I only know of those in which Christians are the victims of torture, such as Paul being beaten with rods and of course, Jesus before the crucifixion.

Scripture doesn’t specifically prohibit torture, but it does tell us to love our enemies, care for prisoners and not to mistreat the vulnerable. The Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit pornography, but it tells us not to lust.

I do agree there is a place for deontological ethics in Christian thought (the stories of Corrie Ten Boom lying to Nazi soldiers about hiding Jews in her home come to mind). It’s true that some moral laws can be trumped by others in certain situations. But I question the idea that every moral law is subject to change if “outranked” by a higher one. In other words, certain practices are always wrong in every situation.

For example, let’s say we wanted to rank the following 5 practices on a scale of immorality from most to least objectionable: murder, rape, child abuse, torture and adultery. If we concluded that rape was #2 and child abuse was #3, would it mean we could endorse rape or child abuse in certain cases if it was guaranteed to prevent murder (#1)?

Ethan said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Dan.

It would be interesting to know what ancient cultures (including Israelites) thought of torture.

Regarding your question about whether rape might be justified if it was guaranteed to prevent murder, that's a good question. If rape was the only way to prevent a murder (hard to see how that might be), then I wonder what the difference would be with what Ten Boom did. You're suggesting that because rape is much more harmful than lying, it's never justified. Similarly, something very harmful like murder is never justified.

But then I think of how Abraham chose to in a sense murder Isaac for the higher moral law of obeying God. Perhaps every moral law (including murder) IS subject to change if outranked by a higher one, at lease in some circumstances?

The Common Loon said...

Wow, Ethan. This has become quite a thought-provoking discussion! I never thought I'd hear you imply that prohibitions on rape are morally relative depending on the situation. Is that really what you meant to say?

On the subject of ancient cultures, my guess is that torture was more accepted that it is today. After all, criminals were brutally and publicly crucified, women were property, genocide wasn't a "war crime" and polygamy was the norm. I'm also assuming there was no "child protective services" to investigate abuse or civil rights statutes to prosecute racial discrimination!

In my view, the biblical stories of Abraham/Isaac (or Rahab lying to protect the spies) do not put an asterisk on all moral laws. Murder is also a difficult topic to compare with other sins because of its close association with the larger, complex question of when killing another human being is and is not permissible. This often opens up an ethical can of worms involving issues like self-defense, law enforcement, capital punishment, manslaughter, war/pacifism, gun ownership etc.

Rape and child abuse seem like better examples because they are easier to isolate as immoral acts. Let’s say a very wealthy person offered me billions of dollars to build hospitals in Africa and save the lives of ten thousand starving children as long as I raped 3 women and violently abused 3 children. Would this be morally justified since I’d be saving 10,000 lives while permanently damaging only 6? After all, no one is being murdered.

Unless rape and child abuse are sins that are always immoral, you would have to say it’s worth the trade-off, right?

Ethan said...

Hi Dan,
I didn't mean to say that prohibitions on rape are morally relative. I guess I was just trying to explore that possibility in view of examples like Abraham/Isaac and the atomic bomb.

Thanks for your example about hospitals in Africa and rape. That was very helpful. I wonder what to do if he threatened to murder 7 people if I didn't rape 6. I wouldn't rape them. If he ends up murdering 7, that's on him, not me. I can see why people claim rape and child abuse are always immoral. I think that's right.

Ethan said...

I wonder how we know which practices are always immoral and which ones aren't. There's the intuitive, gut knowledge (perhaps part of the image of God imprinted in us). Then I suppose that with lying we have the Biblical story of Rahab and the spies. Then there's the consensus of other down through history. Any other things?

The Common Loon said...

Fantastic question, Ethan. How can Christians know whether to put a sinful practice in the "always wrong" category or not? I would imagine many Christian ethicists have written lengthy books and dissertations trying to answer this very question.

One of the best criteria I've come across is the Wesleyan Quadrilateral consisting of Scripture, reason, experience and tradition. While Scripture alone is authoritative, we need the lens of tradition (theology) to help us understand and interpret the Bible correctly.

But since tradition is not infallible, reason and experience serve to test our interpretations of Scripture, challenging false assumptions when necessary. Experience (which includes our personal relationship with God) helps to confirm theological truth while providing practical wisdom for how the Scriptures apply to real life situations.

razzendahcuben said...

I'll make some comments:

I'm not pro-"torture", but I want to point out that abortion isn't immoral because it inflicts pain on a pre-born human being. It is immoral because it is pre-meditated killing without just cause.

Women who obtain an abortion should be tried as murderers ... obviously. Not sure why that's such a difficult one for so many in the pro-life crowd. Now if laws suddenly entered the books I don't think it should be applied ex post facto.

In none of your articles have I found a clear definition of torture so its hard for us to say whether torture is justifiable. Is "hard physical labor" torture? Isn't it causing psychological and physical stress like any other kind of torture, just at a lower level of intensity?

Torture for the purpose of extracting information has no scriptural basis, even if used by the governments. But this is an argument from ignorance.

In Leviticus, the principle of retributive justice (Lev. 24:17-20) could possibly include torture, then, if the crime involved torture.

We might say that none of the Levitical civil laws have any application today. We might say that Romans 13 is purely pragmatic; whatever prevents evil-doing is permissible. But torture could possibly prevent evil.

So I'm not sure at this point. Good to see others thinking through it, though.

The Common Loon said...

razzendahcuben,

Thanks for stopping by.

You said: Women who obtain an abortion should be tried as murderers ... obviously.

If so, this would be a very radical position indeed, one that even the most staunchly conservative members of Congress and leaders of the pro-life movement do not support. What about instances of those who use the “morning after pill" in cases of rape or incest, should such women face criminal charges as well?

Now, should we strive to restrict abortion procedures and promote life-affirming alternatives such as adoption reform and support for low-income women and their children? Absolutely. But treating the women as murderers goes too far.

Abortion on demand is a tragic, violent and immoral practice, but I do not see it as criminally equivalent to first-degree murder. Imprisoning thousands, if not millions, of young women every year is not the solution.

razzendahcuben said...

Common Loon,

Thanks for your response. You raise interesting points which I would like to discuss with you.

I am aware that your position is the common one. I do not know why, however. You would agree that abortion is murder, even pre-meditated murder, so how does it not qualify as first degree murder? Are young girls really as innocent as we make them out to be?

I think one could easily argue that most criminals perform their criminal acts out of desperation and therefore should not be tried. Instead, we should give them "reform and support" to help them out of a lifestyle that created such desperation. That sounds very gracious but also creates an environment in which wicked men have no reason to curtail their wickedness.

Regarding your last sentence: I personally don't think that young girls are so evil that such harsh laws would have no effect on their decision-making.

The current abortion industry does unspeakable evil each year, but in God's sovereignty it also provides an opportunity for us to be merciful and ministry those who have had abortions. Regardless, I cannot frown upon these girls for escaping justice because 1) they will receive justice from God one day and 2) through Jesus Christ I have also escaped the penalty I deserved!

What do you think?

The Common Loon said...

I do not agree with the phrase "abortion is murder" because I don't believe abortion is morally or criminally equivalent to murder. I prefer to say that it's a tragic and immoral practice that should not be available on demand as just another type of birth control to be purchased on the open market.

While it's true that that pre-born babies in the womb are sacred human lives worthy of affection and protection, there is something particularly special about birth that makes a newborn more fully human than an embryo, zygote or fetus.

I can't really explain it beyond that, but I think this is part of the reason why so many pro-lifers realize that while abortion does violence to innocent life, it's not on the same level of criminal severity as killing a 2-year old child.

Another part of the equation is that when an unplanned child is conceived irresponsibly, the woman nearly always bears a disproportionate amount of the social, economic and psychological consequences, both during the pregnancy and post-partum. A woman who seeks and obtains an abortion is much more like a second victim than a cold-blooded killer.

This is why even before abortion was legalized, women were usually granted immunity from criminal sentences. The pain, trauma, regret and self-loathing is already more than enough to bear.

razzendahcuben said...

No pro-choicer doubts that the fetus is human. Your position is indistinguishable from the very people I thought you opposed.

Irresponsibility has consequences. The consequence is either 1) the socioeconomic burden of another child in the world or 2) the brutal killing of this child.

Murder by definition is pre-meditated killing without just cause; what is your just cause for killing the child?

The Common Loon said...

I never said that abortion is justified, only that women shouldn't be convicted of first-degree murder for having one.

If you want to lump me in with the pro-choice camp because I don't support felony convictions for women who obtain abortions, you must also say that James Dobson, Francis Beckwith and every pro-life Republican in Congress is "indistinguishable" from those who defend abortion rights.

razzendahcuben said...

If abortion is unjustified pre-meditated killing then by definition it is first-degree murder.

So either you need to justify abortion you or need to simply admit that it is first-degree murder that should not be punished. And it seems like you are comfortable with the latter.

Anyway I just wanted to raise some points. You can have the last word. Farewell and God bless.

The Common Loon said...

We obviously have different definitions of "murder." Yours seems to include everything after conception (embryo, zygote, fetus, etc) whereas mine does not. Something does not have to be first-degree murder for it to be immoral.

By the way, do you personally know any women who have ever had an abortion? If so, is she a dangerous criminal who should be locked up in prison? If her boyfriend threatened her into having the abortion, should he be prosecuted as well?

razzendahcuben said...

If you're going to ask me a question then I guess I'm entitled to respond?

As I mentioned, no one denies that the fetus is a human. It contains its own set of DNA; it is not an appendage. The argument whether the human is a "person". This is an arbitrary stricture but even if the pro-choicers want to play this game we still know from Ps. 139 that the fetus was David, not just a mass of tissue that would one day become David.

Now you say that the post-natal child is "fully human." Here you must create more strictures based on criteria such as location, size, dependence, or cognitive development. Do you have a way to justify the non-existence of personhood based on any of these criteria? I've asked for a justification for your position at least three times now and each time you respond you simply evade the question.

Regarding your last paragraph: obviously she is dangerous to her unwanted children---she has a history of murdering them. And yes, of course her boyfriend should be persecuted. I'm not happy to say these things, but the truth is that sin has consequences and we need to come to terms with that. Do you think that this is any easier for me than for you?

I would imagine that I personally know many girls who have had abortions. Generally women don't trumpet that fact about their past, however, so they have not shared it with me. For all I know, that sweet middle-aged lady who teaches children's Sunday school may have had an abortion.

The Common Loon said...

I think we're talking about two different things here:

1) Whether abortion on demand is morally justified. In other words, is it right or wrong? I think we both agree that it's wrong.

2) Whether women who obtain an abortion should be prosecuted for first-degree murder. You say yes, I say no (as do most anti-abortion activists). Does this mean I'm "justifying" abortion? Not at all.

For some reason, you seem to be interpreting my 'no' on #2 as a 'yes' on #1. But as I've said before, something can be immoral without being a Class A felony. You continually press me to "justify abortion" (which I assume means saying 'no' on #1) but I'm not going to defend a position I don't even agree with. Our disagreement is on #2, not #1, so please stop putting words in my mouth.

If you want my justification for point #2, I've already said that imprisoning hundreds of thousands of women every year would be counterproductive, not to mention impractical for our already overloaded prison system. I don't want my taxes paying the cost of housing, feeding and monitoring an extra 1.3 million inmates every year. This doesn't even include those who have used the "morning after pill," who I guess would also be murderers in your view since the pill can prevent a fertilized egg (embryo) from implanting in the uterus.

Here’s my point: Being pro-life does not mean lumping all women who obtain abortions into the same criminal category as serial killers who commit murder without any help from an abortion doctor. If the sweet lady who teaches Sunday School at your church (or mine) has had an abortion in her past, she's not a menace to society who needs to be locked up. Let her keep teaching those kids about the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Save the prison cells for those who really deserve it.

If your church is anything like my conservative evangelical one, it probably includes some who have either worked or volunteered at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center. I wonder if those counselors (who are truly the ones helping to save pre-born lives through compassionate outreach) would agree with your idea of prosecuting and imprisoning the desperate, frantic and confused women who come through their doors looking for safety and direction.

razzendahcuben said...

Thus far I've asked for justification regarding three different propositions:

1. The fetus is not "fully human"
2. Abortion is not first-degree murder
3. Abortion is evil but should not be punished

Thus far you've only provided justification for the third:

... imprisoning hundreds of thousands of women every year would be counterproductive, not to mention impractical for our already overloaded prison system. I don't want my taxes paying the cost of housing, feeding and monitoring an extra 1.3 million inmates every year.

If you think you've presented a legitimate justification for 3 then I'm led to believe that you regard young women as either 1) incredibly evil (i.e., they love their evil so much that they would continue doing evil even though they'd be severely punished) or 2) incredibly stupid (i.e, they are mentally unable to think through the consequences of their actions).

If the threat of punishment had no effect on people's actions then the entire legal system would be worthless. Or are you willing to admit that, yes, such laws would drastically reduce the number of abortions? Are you aware that when abortion was banned in Poland that the abortion rate immediately went to almost zero?

Having an abortion is not like sneaking out for a drink at a speak-easy or getting high in your friend's bedroom. It requires equipment and know-how, other other the mother too will get severely hurt, physically and mentally. Yes, an illegal underground abortion provider network might form, but to think that such a network would provide the exact same number of girls with the exact same number of abortions each year is, well, patently ridiculous.

If the sweet lady who teaches Sunday School at your church (or mine) has had an abortion in her past, she's not a menace to society who needs to be locked up. Let her keep teaching those kids about the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Save the prison cells for those who really deserve it.

Begs the question. Of course she's not a menace in your eyes. She hasn't murdered anyone according to your view. But whether your view is correct is precisely the point in question.

Continued...

razzendahcuben said...

I wonder if those counselors (who are truly the ones helping to save pre-born lives through compassionate outreach) would agree with your idea of prosecuting and imprisoning the desperate, frantic and confused women who come through their doors looking for safety and direction.

Once again, you act as though women who have abortions are innocent little angels that "somehow" got pregnant through no fault of their own. It seems to elude you that wicked lifestyles have dire consequences. Please read Proverbs 1-2 and tell me what God thinks of evil and its consequences.

Where did you get this idea that most girls seeking an abortion are just bewildered 15-year olds afraid of getting thrown into motherhood too soon or afraid to reveal to everyone a "mistake" that occurred at someone's birthday party when spin-the-bottle got carried away? Sin is life and death, and nothing makes that sordid truth more literal than abortion. Girls aren't stupid; they know what sex and pregnancy is, they know what abortion is, and they know how one can lead to the other.

(An aside: Why do you support groups like IJM and Evangelicals for Human Rights if you don't think that evil-doers should be brought to justice? The double-standard is surreal.)

Hester Prynne wasn't a menace to anyone. Had she been given the option to abort she might have been. But the shame of a scarlet letter is far less shameful than the ever-haunting thought that she could have brought a child into this world, had she not chosen to destroy it. Don't take my word for it! There's more than enough reading material out there on the psychological trauma of abortion.

Common Loon, you have to realize this: there is ALWAYS justice for evil. And justice for evil-doers was either served 2000 years on the cross when the Son of God stood in the place of some, or it will be served for all of eternity in Hell. You do no one any favors by pretending that girls, even the most naive, can get away with foolish choices.

Right now we have no laws punishing those who abort, so of course all we can do is show forgiveness and compassion. Interestingly enough, I do know young people (including girls) who have confided in me regarding the poor choices they made regarding sex. Had one of them told me they also had an abortion, do you think I would have sternly wagged my finger and said, "You know, really you should be put to death. Guess you're pretty lucky to live in America." No. Of course I would show her compassion, just as others have shown compassion to me despite my wickedness. But my hope is that if our laws were just these girls would not make such foolish choices.

It's interesting that you used the word "compassion". Compassion is not the same as grace. Compassion implies that suffering is going on. If you were to be compassionate toward a girl who had aborted it would have nothing to do with her abortion but rather her situation in general (i.e., she is poor, was unaware of the trauma resulting from abortion). Likewise, God's relationship with His enemies is not settled on the basis of compassion. God being compassionate toward us does not absolve us of our wickedness nor does it bring justice. Justice came through the cross, and righteousness comes through our union with Christ. So be careful when you accuse me of lacking compassion. It is perfectly possible for me to be compassionate and still solemnly state that justice must be met.

Much more could be said but I'll end here.

The Common Loon said...

Razzendahcubben, my dear brother in Christ-

This conversation began with a very civil and respectful tone which I fear might be difficult to recover at this point. It began when you asked for my opinion and I offered it as authentically as I could.

Despite our agreement in several key areas, it now seems you will be satisfied with nothing less than placing me in one of two boxes (good or evil) on the sole basis of my views concerning criminal prosecution for women who obtain abortions. Hopefully I've misunderstood you on this point.

I've provided my opinion several times yet you continue to put words in my mouth. I never said that people bear no responsibility for their mistakes. I never said that laws don't affect behavior. I never said that God doesn't demand obedience and justice.

I agree with you that enacting laws restricting the procedure would help decrease the number of abortions performed every year. This is not the same as prosecuting the women for murder. There's some nuance there.

If you can appreciate the nuance between compassion and grace, surely you can understand the difference between an embryo and a newborn. If there's no difference at all, you would have to say those using the morning after pill should be prosecuted for murder. Perhaps we can respectfully disagree on whether embryos should have the same rights as newborns.

Out of curiosity, who are the pro-life leaders, organizations or ministries you support? Surely you must realize they do not agree with your views on prosecuting women who obtain abortions for murder.

Please remember you are a guest on my blog. I do not censor anyone, but I ask that we engage each other's ideas with Christlike kindness and respect. If we disagree, so be it. You're still my brother in Christ.

My name is Dan by the way. What's yours?

becs said...

razzendahcuben,

Guess I'll have to tell my just-raped friend that her choice to take the morning-after pill may land her on death row. Thanks for your "compassion."

Perhaps we need to tell our sex-crazed young women that they need to keep their hormones in check, watch what their eyes see and keep their legs closed. Women, stop pressuring your boyfriends to have sex!!

razzendahcuben said...

Hi Dan,

Please allow me present some final points and then I'll let you have the last word.

First, I understand exactly why you feel I'm putting words in your mouth. I'm unearthing your presuppositions---ideas that you assume when you argue but you do not explicitly state. The most obvious example regards your justification for 3. You argued against this saying that the prisons would overflow, even providing the number 1.3 million. Its not hard to see that this assumes that banning abortion would have no effect on the crime rate. Now in your last comment you nonchalantly state that you never said that laws don't effect behavior. Its true that you never explicitly stated it but its also true that you assumed it.

I don't know what else to say, Dan... this is debate. This is the world of ideas. Its ugly, messy, and uncomfortable. But we have to deal with it. Ideas make the world go around; they cause civilizations to rise and fall, wars and persecution to begin. How many millions of people died in the 20th century because of the simple presupposition that capital should be commonly owned? How many millions of children have died in America since 1973 because some men in black robes presupposed that the government can create rights? In both cases the presuppositions were wrong, yet millions still died and are dying today.

As far as I understand it, the morning after pill terminates a pregnancy. It does not prevent a pregnancy, like a contraceptive might. Therefore it is murder. Once again, if an embryo is not "fully human" then please provide a justification. An embryo contains a complete set of DNA. So genetically it is complete. Even pro-choicers agree that the embryo is a human. They deny that it is a person. What constitutes a person? Whatever let's them get away with saying that abortion ends life but does not kill a person. Arbitrary strictures created through pre-conceived goals. But science cannot define personhood, only God can. And scripture indicates that the fetus has a soul. If having a soul does not make one a person then I don't know what does.

Yes, there are differences between the embryo and newborn: location, cognitive and physical development, and dependency.

Yes I realize that many Christians do not have a consistent view of abortion and justice. I only recently got my first "real" job so financially I've been limited, but I currently support or soon will support Compassion International, IJM, Kiva, and Answers in Genesis.

Now for 1 and 2. Thus far you've either dodged the question by employing a red herring (e.g, "if you think this then what about X, Y, and Z leader that disagrees with you") or asserted mere opinion ("I don't think you can lump abortion with serial killers"). I can only take this to mean that you have no justification. Once again, I'm at a loss as to how you can passionately oppose domestic violence and torture but then show such passivity in justifying your tolerance of abortion.

Farewell, brother. If you have a need, my email is the same as my user name + @gmail.com.

razzendahcuben said...

Becs,

Why would it land her on death row? There are no laws stating that a girl who aborts should be put to death.

We should show compassion, grace, and forgiveness to those who have had abortions. But that does not change the fact that they have done evil and need to repent. Like I explained to Dan: justice is always served. And as for your friend, justice was either served on the cross 2000 years ago when God crushed His sin, or it will be served in Hell as God's wrath is poured out for eternity.

These are very solemn issues. Love and truth, not glibness and sarcasm, is needed.

razzendahcuben said...

*God crushed His son, not His sin...

The Common Loon said...

razzendahcuben,

Thanks for stating your thoughts clearly and considerately. I respect that you’re trying to be consistent even if it means imprisoning women who take the morning after pill and prosecuting them for murder. While such a view is clearly out of step with even the most conservative leaders of the pro-life movement, I give you credit for accepting the logical conclusions of your claims.

I’m sorry that you feel I’ve evaded your questions. Please trust that I have not tried to do this intentionally. I realize that my appeals to compassion and pro-life consensus have not swayed you, but I remain convinced that a consistent argument can be made asserting the immorality of abortion, the personhood of a fetus and the harmfulness of charging abortion-procuring women with first-degree murder.

I encourage you to continue learning about the pro-life movement, especially from writers and scholars who can offer far more intellectual depth than I ever could. Perhaps this is why I continue having difficulty reconciling your view with those who have studied, researched and debated this issue at great length. I may not be equipped to offer the type of reasoning you demand, but perhaps I can point you to those who can.

On the topic of criminal prosecution for women who obtain abortions, Francis Beckwith discusses this concern in his book entitled Defending Life (Cambridge University Press, 2007). I’ve only read excerpts online but I think Dr. Beckwith provides the kind of logically coherent and philosophically robust rationale you seek. He has a first-rate scholarly mind with expertise in applied Christian ethics and legal matters.

Rather than copy & pasting large chunks of material here, I’ll offer a few links that may help. The first one is cached from Justin Taylor’s old site describing Beckwith’s view:

http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:gDB9BgjQj4gJ:theologica.blogspot.com/2005/02/if-abortion-becomes-illegal-again.html+between+two+worlds+beckwith+abortion+illegal&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

The second one is a slightly longer excerpt from Beckwith’s book, but to find it you’ll have to scroll down to the comment he posted at 5:20 pm on 1/21/09 in response to the original post:

http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/01/21/how-to-stump-anti-abortionists-with-one-question/

The last one is a slightly different take from another pro-life blogger:

http://jivinjehoshaphat.blogspot.com/2005/02/challenge-from-jt.html

Please feel free to respond if you wish, otherwise, thanks for critically engaging me on this important topic. There is much on which we agree and despite our disagreements, I imagine you and I would get along just fine if we ever met in person.

Blessings,

dan.

razzendahcuben said...

We would get along fine, Dan. Go ahead and email me, that way I have your email address at least. I am interested in learning more about social causes and the Christian life, so if I ever have a question I could email you.

Thanks for the resources. Dr. Beckwith is an interesting fellow. Recently converted to Catholicism, actually.