THOUGHTS & MUSINGS ON POLITICS & THE UNIVERSE

A BLOG BY SHANNON FISHER

Many People of Faith Are Pro-Choice

Unity

Why is it so often assumed that everyone who is pro-choice is a godless heathen? It is as if by supporting a woman’s right to make extremely personal decisions, a pro-choice advocate is presumed to be a baby killer. I understand that anti-choice advocates feel abortion is murder, but I don’t know a single person who would support something they considered to be murder.

The debate isn’t really, “Is abortion murder?” The debate is, “At what point does life begin?” Some believe life begins at conception and that abortion is taking a life. Others believe that until a fetus can survive on its own, it is part of a woman’s body – and that she should be allowed to make her own decisions about it. Both sides have the right to their perspective. Being an advocate for women to continue to have the right to make personal decisions is in no way immoral.

I believe in God and that the Holy Spirit flows through us all. I also believe in free will, both spiritually and legislatively. I am a compassionate advocate for young girls who will grow into adults and sometimes face less-than-ideal circumstances and difficult decisions. I want to ensure that options continue to be available for them when that happens. If that causes some to view me as morally lacking, they need to rethink their perspective.

Written by Shannon Fisher

Published in the Richmond Times Dispatch, 7/22/13

http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor-for-july/article_a88ec347-d38b-58b1-8b64-a29649ab3a72.html

16 comments on “Many People of Faith Are Pro-Choice

  1. John Barron
    August 17, 2013

    If we’re asking the question “when does life begin?” that’s easy. Medically and biologically speaking life begins at conception. This has been firmly established by medical science.

    Do you support a woman’s personal choice to drown her 2 year-old? Or is this really not about personal decisions? I’m not trying to be a smart ass, but I have a suspicion this isn’t about decisions since I suspect you are OK with denying at least some personal decisions.

    Like

  2. chicagoja
    August 17, 2013

    Life obviously does begin at conception, but what separates man from the animal kingdom? At what point do we become truly “human”? Nobody can answer that question which is why I have some sympathy for the pro-choice people.

    Like

    • John Barron
      August 19, 2013

      the only people for whom ‘when does someone become truly “human”‘ matters is to someone trying to kill one in the womb. This question doesnt come up in any other context and one’s ‘humanness’ is never questioned, always presumed, in every other situation. This should cause an intellectually honest person to question their motives for asking it in the first place.

      Like

  3. Karen Teegarden
    August 19, 2013

    After God formed man in Genesis 2:7, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being”. Although the man was fully formed by God in all respects, he was not a living being until after taking his first breath.

    In Job 33:4, it states: “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

    Again, to quote Ezekiel 37:5&6, “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

    Like

    • fishershannon
      August 19, 2013

      If one lives one’s life by taking the Bible literally – it is spelled out very clearly, as you have stated above, right there in Genesis that mankind is not a living being until taking his first breath. There is no other way to interpret that.

      Like

  4. Daryle Brown
    August 19, 2013

    Interesting how the comments section seems to be a side discussion of a point that the author never brought up, and whose argument is presented as fact both in the medical definition and also as a moral absolute. As a nursing student and a professional working for the health department, I actually know what the legal definition is – it’s called, “fetal viability.”, which is usually defined as 23-25 weeks of gestation – that’s the point where about 50-70% of fetuses will live outside the womb. As for moral certainty, I find the Bible to be particularly confusing, as the Israelites in the OT were sometimes commanded to kill the infants of their vanquished foes. However the NT seems not to address the sanctity of fetuses or infants at all. Darn that Jesus! However he does seem to dismiss the OT and go with Love thy neighbor and to turn the other cheek. But that just proves to me this: that people will “see” in the Bible what they want to see. Shrimp=good, something that is not even directly addressed in the Bible but I don’t like=bad! I see you try and do this with the definition of when human life begins, as well. Too bad that has been definitely established for legal and scientific purposes! But you can still have your opinions, too. Just keep them out of someone else’s body, please and thank you 😉

    Like

    • fishershannon
      August 19, 2013

      I think that is the key here, Daryle: the forcing of one’s opinion on another person. I agree to disagree on the issue – some people will always think a zygote is a person – but when those people attempt to force me to abide by THEIR beliefs…that is when there is a problem.

      Like

  5. Karen Teegarden
    August 19, 2013

    The start of life is defined as when the fetus can sustain itself outside the mother’s womb. Until this point, a fetus is very much dependent on its mother’s womb to the degree that it can’t operate as an independent unit. This is roughly at twenty five weeks, approximately two thirds into a pregnancy.

    Like

  6. fishershannon
    August 19, 2013

    Yes, viability is key here. I think that is ultimately where the legal and ethical line can be drawn. Without the ability to exist as a being on its own, a fetus is not a human being. At least, that is what Genesis says.

    Like

  7. Sally Mullikin
    August 19, 2013

    Being of faith or not, viability or not, pro-choice or not, the most personal decision a woman can make is not for righteous conjecture. We can hash and rehash the semantics and ethical implications from a theological guideline, however, it’s just not the same with every situation therefore regulation is difficult.

    Like

  8. fishershannon
    August 19, 2013

    Agreed, Sally.

    A zygote might be a form of “life” – but so is an amoeba, and so is a bug. As chicagoja said above, it is the humanity of that “life” that is in question. If people have differing views on what makes a fetus “human,” which we clearly do – to force your opinion on me and remove my ability to live under my own personal belief system (and, indeed, to make personal decisions therein) is oppression.

    My point is that, even within the religious community, there are differing perspectives on this issue. We all agree that killing a living, breathing human being is wrong. But…if we do not all agree that a fetus is a living human being, then we do not all agree that abortion is killing – and it is not right or just to take away the ability of all people to make decisions based on their own opinion because SOME people have opposing opinions.

    Not to compare the importance of the two situations, but for the sake of demonstration of a point – some people escort insects outside when they find them in their houses. Others exterminate them. Bugs are living beings; I think we can agree on that. If pesticides were outlawed because some people felt it was wrong to exterminate insects, would that be fair? Would people not feel oppressed and outraged that the government was trying to take away their own decisions about what to do in their own homes?

    This is how women feel about our bodies. We should have the choice of whether to nurture the fetus into a human being or expel the fetus before it becomes one.

    Like

  9. Chad
    August 19, 2013

    Shannon, I find it interesting that you chose to use “anti-choice” to refer to the group of people with differing opinions. It’s interesting to me because one could alternately use the words “pro-life” to describe oneself and “anti-life” to describe you. Well, clearly you are not “anti-life,” that’s just silly. But silly is what “anti-choice” sounds like to me.

    In fact, I’ve grown to dislike these labels, as they perpetuate a black-and-white scenario which doesn’t exist in the real world. I am both pro-life AND pro-choice, and I won’t allow myself to be lumped into a category of someone else’s definition. It means I believe in the sanctity of both life and individual choice.

    Of course, where it gets difficult is when the (potential) living, breathing, human being comes into the picture, inside the mother. As a man, I hope I’m not disqualified from having an opinion here–I assure you I’m trying to be as empathetic as I can be when I say that, personally, I can’t imagine myself in a scenario where I would want an abortion. Well, truthfully, I don’t really know, but that’s what my heart tells me.

    So why can’t everybody trust their heart? Why is the government involved here? Well, you said that we all agree that killing is wrong. But from a historical and societal perspective, I have to point out that the statement is incorrect. Not ALL of us agree that killing (hurting, torturing, imprisoning, raping) is wrong. That’s partly why the government exists–through laws and power, to keep the populace safe. Unfortunately, as you and I know, while the government excels at making regulations and laws, it usually fails at exceptions and special circumstances. And that’s why we get into arguments about what and when is life.

    I do believe that a mother-to-be must be able to effect her agency. How else can we live life but through choice? But I also believe that a moral people must have a government that protects its people, including unborn life. And perhaps those beliefs are against each other, but perhaps not. I can’t presume to solve such a conundrum once and for all. I don’t think there even is a single answer.

    And maybe this argument would be different were such a thing as “fetal adoption” available. Well, it might be different, but it would still be there. And we would do our best to balance our differing beliefs. Me, I’m taking the coward’s way out by saying “why can’t we have both?”

    Like

  10. fishershannon
    August 20, 2013

    I don’t think that’s the coward’s way out, Chad; I think that is what we are all ultimately seeking: a way to come to some sort of consensus of what is morally acceptable and how to regulate it. Men and women must both have input in deciding where we draw the line determining the need for protection by the government. This might be a debate that ultimately has no compromise unless we can find more folks like you who are both pro-life and pro-choice.

    If we could get both sides of the debate (there is very little gray area as it stands right now) to agree to at least consider that there might be a gray area, and agree upon the point at which it is morally acceptable to abort a fetus, we could successfully regulate abortion and put this issue to rest – leaving the remaining personal decisions women and their medical team (and partner, if he is involved).

    Unfortunately, abortion rights supporters fear all proposed regulation because of the “slippery slope” that often accompanies regulation of anything- and opponents of abortion feel that there is no point at which it is acceptable to have the procedure. Black. White.

    I see potential gray, potential having both, as a 20-24 week ban (with medical exceptions only when absolutely necessary). I see that as solidly battleship gray. I could personally support that as a national law not to be altered by state legislatures. If abortion opponents (and abortion rights supporters) would be willing to look at the issue with rational eyes and see that there IS a potential gray area, I think we MIGHT be able to come close enough to a consensus on what is morally appropriate that we could settle this firestorm of disagreement that rages through our nation. And it might at least be regulated well aside from the inevitably poor management of the exceptions and special circumstances you referenced.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see the anti-choice/pro-life folks as being willing to remove emotion from the equation enough to make a rational compromise. If they haven’t by now…

    And, yet, I won’t give up hope. To not have to have a perpetual societal and legislative fight over this sure would be nice.

    Like

    • Aaron Smith
      November 29, 2013

      as you said pro-life believe it is murder why would some one who see the child in the whom as a human being as alive why let any one kill him or her pro-life has said many times you don’t “it” give your baby up for adoption

      Like

  11. Aaron Smith
    November 29, 2013

    i am not going to get involved in the debate above i am personally pro life but i applaud the author for this one of the few articles that does not have name calling in it. but i will say this why are hundreds of men and women in jail for killing their unborn child out side of a abortion clinic or if the child is killed in a accident

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: