Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Is Making Abortion Illegal Legislating a Religious Viewpoint? [Clinton Wilcox]

The pro-life position entails that since unborn human beings are full human persons at fertilization, if you kill an unborn human being at any point in his/her development, you are committing an act of unjustified homicide which should be forbidden by law. Of course, many pro-choice people believe, not having actually listened very closely to the pro-life argument, that the pro-life view is grounded only in a religious belief. So they respond that we cannot legislate a religious point of view into law.

Of course, they are correct. But what they miss is that we are not trying to force people to become Christians, or worship Yahweh, or pray the Lord's Prayer three times a day. If the pro-life argument is correct, that human beings are full human persons from fertilization, then the law of the land can reflect that. As I've heard LTI's president Scott Klusendorf mention in a debate against Malcolm Potts, the law does not have to take a position on the soul to make murder illegal. If the unborn are full human persons as adults are full human persons, then the law is justified in making abortion illegal, just like it makes infanticide illegal, and just like it makes murder of older people illegal.

Consider a Venn diagram with two circles that intersect (hopefully my mathematical friends will be proud of me). In the left circle is the set "God's laws," and in the right circle is the set "humanity's laws." In the middle is the intersection between the two. We are not trying to legislate something that is merely God's law into the law of the land (again, we are not trying to make people follow Christian rituals or worship Yahweh). We are legislating one of God's laws into the law of the land, both of which intersect. Murder, rape, and theft also oppose God's laws, but they are laws that we should also institute into the laws of the land. Abortion is no different, as it is the intentional killing of an innocent human person.

The pro-life position naturally entails that abortion should be illegal. If the pro-life position is correct, then our government has no moral choice but to make the act illegal.


  1. i think you need to fix the second to last sentence.

    1. Can you be more specific, please?

    2. P.S. I think you have made a mistake in your 2nd to last sentence: "The pro-life position naturally entails that abortion should be legal."

  2. Where are these "humanity's laws" codified? You say murder is against "humanity's law," but actually in the name of humanity assisted suicide and euthanasia (mercy killings) are being legalized all across the West (they are already legal under communist governments).

    As West becomes socialist, government (taxpayers) paying for health care and upkeep of those who can't support themselves (welfare), governments are instituting rationing or triage--so that murder IS the health care or welfare (if woman is pregnant). Citizens used to welfare and no religious obligation to care for their kin, also don't want to pick up the tab (surely, Mom/Baby wouldn't want to live this way (poor or disabled)).
    Seems to be a consensus that if one is in the womb or only has 3 mos to live or is "brain dead" (diagnosis by a doctor) then it is okay to murder one. W/this view has also arisen "the right" to commit suicide--especially if you are terminally ill or permanently disabled. Even a rise now to kill the mentally ill.

    You yourself in this article have already used term "FULL human person" in conjunction w/word "if," ['If the unborn are full human persons'] as if that were a question or as if some are not 'FULL' human persons.

    I would say this consensus has been sold to us by Jews in the legal and medical professions and is based on their RELIGIOUS law:

    "Jewish tradition is sensitive to the sanctity of life, and does not permit abortion on demand. However, it sanctions abortion under some circumstances because it does not regard the fetus as an autonomous person..."WHEREAS, Judaism does not believe that personhood and human rights begin with conception (the premise that personhood begins with conception is founded on a religious position which is not identical with Jewish tradition);

    "Halakhah clearly permits, and even mandates, abortion in any case where there is danger to the mother's life, from conception until at least until the head of an infant emerges in childbirth.

    "What about cases where a test indicates the child may have a genetic disorder, such as Tay Sachs? Does a family's ability to economically support an additional child have any relevancy? If a pregnancy or additional child may result in psychological harm to the mother, is this comparable to physical harm? Is abortion following rape or incest allowable?"

    There's a reason Jesus came to perfect the law. You might think you can make a society (club, association etc.) based on some kind of rules/ consensus of their own, but at any time the club that has no authority higher than itself can vote to change those laws--that is what has happened in the West. Stealing is also a relative term. Also thievery is a relative term: in U.S. legal to steal from the taxpayer and future citizens, i.e. $17-20 trillion in debt. Also demonstrators trashing property--then "insurance" pays for it. Sure there's other forms. "Rape" is against the law--but again who defines what it is and who it applies to? Prostitution is now "sex work" or "sex trade."

    P.S. I think you have made a mistake in your 2nd to last sentence: "The pro-life position naturally entails that abortion should be legal."

    PPS Since God is the one who gives you the victory, very surprised so many Christians want to toss Him overboard when fighting His battles. GLorify Him w/out mentioning Him--sounds like a good plan to me.

  3. "government has no MORAL choice but to make abortion illegal"

    "Moral: concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character... a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do."

    Why does the government want to be moral? Vs. economical, for instance?
    In addition, w/out God (objective standard) morality becomes self-referential/subjective--people are not their own best judges because judgments tend to be biased. But what about a society? Same rule applies: what's good for them IS moral.

  4. In the 2012 VP debate, Joe Biden said that due to his religion, he personally considered abortion wrong, but that he did not have the right to impose his religious beliefs on others.

    Just now in the 2016 VP debate, Tim Kaine said the same thing.

    Pence was good, but with Biden fresh in memory, I think he could have been better prepared to reply to Kaine.

    Let's suppose that God's laws and a science-based law of the land do NOT intersect. Even then, is the Biden-Kaine position self-consistent? No. I think that Ryan in 2012, and Pence in 2016, should have replied:

    "Catholicism teaches that an unborn child is a human being, or at least has the same right to life as a born human being. You say you believe that. But if you believe it, then for you it is not JUST a religious belief -- you really believe it, and your legislative policies should proceed from that belief. Whether you originally acquired your belief from your religion or from your schoolteachers, if you really believe it, moral integrity demands that you act accordingly, and if you don't really believe it then you shouldn't be claiming to be a good Catholic.

    "Moreover, in order for any society with any diversity to hold together, the views of one group must prevail over the views of another. Presently in the US, some pro-lifers believe they should stand in the doorways of clinics and block them, but pro-choicers impose their beliefs on those pro-lifers.

    "In Canada not long ago, an immigrant couple were convicted of the 'honor killing' of their daughter. The couple sincerely believed that it was their moral duty to kill their daughter. But the majority in Canada -- fortunately, in the case of that issue, unfortunately perhaps on other issues -- imposed their views on the minority. Sometimes it is good to impose views."

    1. "science-based law of the land"

      What do you mean by this?

    2. "What do you mean by this?"

      It refers to Clinton Wilcox's "If the pro-life argument is correct, that human beings are full human persons from fertilization, then the law of the land can reflect that" and is intended to mean the same as that law. (In Wilcox's framework, "law of the land" can also be termed "humanity's laws.")

    3. I don't actually think there are any science-based laws of the land. Laws, themselves, are not grounded in science but in philosophy.

    4. "I don't actually think there are any science-based laws of the land."

      As far as I have seen, "pro-life argument[s] . . . that human beings are full human persons from fertilization," if not religious, always refer to data such as this --

      "Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual"

      -- and "the law of the land can [then] reflect" such arguments.

      "Science-referential law of the land"? "Science-oriented law of the land"?

    5. Science can determine what a human being is; it can't determine how we should treat those humans. That's a philosophical question.

    6. "Science can determine what a human being is; it can't determine how we should treat those humans. That's a philosophical question."

      I completely agree, and my only question is, if we make a law of the land based on a philosophical argument that draws on embryological science, and if "science-based law of the land" is not an acceptable label for that kind of law, then what label would be acceptable? Would "science-referential law of the land" be acceptable?


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