To What Extent Should Parents’ Religious Beliefs Affect a Child’s Well-Being?

Mariah Walton was born with a birth defect that could have been fixed rather easily, if her parents had only allowed it (if there’s an ad in the video, it’s worth waiting through it):

I take parents’ rights very seriously, but how many examples of children being harmed by their parents’ belief in faith healing do we need before we step in? And is there any point at which faith healers will acknowledge that they were wrong? Or is it like prayer, where no response simply means the request wasn’t according to God’s will, or the person’s faith wasn’t strong enough? Do they never stop to wonder why life expectancy was so low back when virtually everyone had to rely on faith and superstition to heal the sick?

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143 thoughts on “To What Extent Should Parents’ Religious Beliefs Affect a Child’s Well-Being?”

  1. I take parents’ rights very seriously, but how many examples of children being harmed by their parents’ belief in faith healing do we need before we step in?

    We shouldn’t need any examples of this to know that it is wrong. These are the same people(I think it’s an easy assumption) that are pro-life and opposed to abortion. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know that this does not compute.

    And is there any point at which faith healers will acknowledge that they were wrong?

    No. Because….

    Or is it like prayer, where no response simply means the request wasn’t according to God’s will, or the person’s faith wasn’t strong enough?

    Either it wasn’t God’s will to perform physical healing, only perfect healing in heaven, OR it’s the victim’s(yes, they are victims) fault. Sin or lack of faith. Take your pick.

    Do they never stop to wonder why life expectancy was so low back when virtually everyone had to rely on faith and superstition to heal the sick?

    No. They believe medical intervention is meddling in the process. Meddling in the process only shows a lack of faith. It’s better to live a short earthly life and go to heaven than live a long earthly life and go to he…

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  2. Thanks, Nate.

    This is a difficult problem. I don’t think there’s an easy solution.

    Parents raising their first child are, almost by definition, inexperienced parents. They are bound to make mistakes. So we don’t want to criminalize making mistakes mistakes, else all parents would be criminals.

    But the concern is with horendous mistakes that are a dangerous threat to the child, and where there is plenty of information around so that the parents should know better. I wish there were an easy way of avoiding this. The churches really should be involved in preventing such problems. But, too often, it is some of the more extreme churches who set up these problems

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  3. It’s child abuse…plain and simple. If an adult parent chooses to forego medical treatment for faith-based reasons, they have that right. But to deny health care to a child is abusive. If somebody who was not religious did the same thing, they would be prosecuted, and rightly so. This is a clear violation of our Constitution’s explicit injunction for the separation of church and state.

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  4. I cant see the video down here .
    However ….all religion is child abuse. Period.

    In democracies there are laws protecting kids against forced labour and a parent would be prevented from allowing their kid to do such work. Yet religion gets a ‘bye’. Why on earth for?

    I wonder if we will get a visit from the one who considers religion and god belief is good for your health?
    Hmmm…

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  5. Ruth mentioned abortion, so I couldn’t help but think about that.

    If abortion is okay, then why would withholding medical treatments be wrong, especially if the parent is trying to do what’s in the best interest of the child?

    What if the opposite occurs, the parent decides to follow the doctor’s advise, but it then turns out later that it was a mistake, and that no treatment would have been better?

    If a parent should do everything they can, including overruling religious conviction for the sake of their offspring, why wouldn’t that carry over to abortion as well?

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  6. …why would withholding medical treatments be wrong, especially if the parent is trying to do what’s in the best interest of the child?

    Let’s take abortion out of the equation for a minute. Define the best interest of the child. Are we talking eternally or are we talking immediately? Are they doing what’s in the best interest of the child or what’s in the best interest of their faith?

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  7. I recently included a post about this on my blog. I referenced this article which indicates this family lives in Idaho. What really blew me away is the Senator of Idaho commented that the church that promotes this teaching (Followers of Christ) are “very nice people.” He also blamed outsiders for stirring the pot on this issue, even challenging the Guardian’s right to take an interest in the story, asking “what difference does it make to you?”

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  8. Ruth, personally I think what’s best for the child is what’s best for them physically, since I don’t believe in an eternal, spiritual life.

    But of course, others do believe in that, and believe that the here after is vastly more important to the here and now.

    Removing abortion from the table seems to make it easier in my mind, but with abortion, I can’t help wonder if there’s some contradiction there. Purposely ending the life of offspring, where with religious zealots, they’re not purposely harming anyone, and even think they’re helping – eve if they’re wrong.

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  9. I think what’s best for the child is what’s best for them physically

    I would have to extend that William – I think what’s best for the child is what’s best for them physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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  10. I don’t think the “faith” issue is as complex as we make it seem. The real issue is the false post-enlightenment divide between faith and science. Without that barrier, medical treatments are the answer to prayers.

    Reminds me of while I was in England, I saw in a church, unironically, “Thank God for James Young Simpson’s discovery of chloroform anaesthesia.” Because yes, that would have been a game changer, thanks be to God indeed. And so is our technological and medical advancements around heart care.

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  11. Balance in all. A person that do not want to heal will never heal. Healing begins in the mind and nobody can heal us except ourselves. God is inside all of us, is pure love, not greed, nor passion, is truth, not lying, does not belong to any religion, is oneness, is not clinging to our fake egos, but is open for deep understanding.

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  12. When science becomes worshipped like a religion it can also become child abuse, especially if its priests who we think are close to gods are connected with the devil inside of the pharmaceutical industry.

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  13. Having deep faith in something without first doubting and investigating is not actually possible. If faith occurs before investigation it will not be a thorough deep faith. That goes for all. For scientists and for religious. In meditation we can go deep.

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  14. Are you a vegan? If vegan; Do you end the life of plants? Are male lions evil ending the life of young lions? Who should be the judge?
    Are all humans evil being part of the destruction of “Gods creation”?

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  15. Just so I’m clear, I’m not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. I don’t really want to get into an abortion debate. I’ll just say that an unborn fetus is a potential human being. Until it has reached viability and autonomy it isn’t a person. People who are already born, people who are already here on earth with us, are not potential human beings anymore. They are human beings. Thus, I am also pro-life.

    Maybe when people become as concerned about the people who are already people I’ll change my mind about that. It’s hard to listen to anyone criticize a woman for making the right choice for herself when those same people couldn’t care less about her or her baby once she has it.

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  16. @ ratamacueo

    Maittrya Buddha – which god, and why do you believe that? Do you have evidence for your claims?

    It don’t matter what the breed of fundi … they are somewhat like roaches.
    Except they appear to be more dense.
    A question that will remain forever unanswered, brushed off in hand- waving obfuscation and theological rhetoric.

    If it smells like bullshit …. You know the rest, right?

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  17. It don’t matter what the breed of fundi…

    Somehow I thought Buddhists were a bit more Zen than this. Until today I’d never met an Evangelical Buddhist. o_O

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  18. Ruth,

    I wasn’t really trying to get into an abortion debate either, but the mention of abortion along with this issue just made me think.

    I don’t throw stones at people who have abortions. I don’t want their kids either. But, I think a fetus or whatever you want to call it in the womb is a human life, and there are some who try to equate it to fingernails or hair, or other minuscule parts of a woman’s body and I think that’s just untrue, and attempt to make it less gruesome – albeit there are clear differences between aborting a child to save the mother than aborting a child because it’ll be a hassle. If a woman were to cut herself, and I don’t even mean cutting off a limb or trying to commit suicide, but just cut herself, that very few people would proclaim, in her defense, that a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body – they’d recognize that as a sign of some problem, and that the woman needed help.

    Then I think with human lives that made it out of the womb, we clearly see that neglect for whatever reason from an adult toward their child is a problem, and here we’re not even talking about the intentional harm of the child, but mere neglect. We’re all up in arms over it – yet, most of us are really still as indifferent as we would be with a fetus – i don’t want their kid and I don’t want to foot the expenses to care for them,

    I guess I’m “pro-life,” but not in the sense that I’ll fight over it or demand punishment for those who exercise a different choice, but only in the sense that at this moment I see value in human life, and have a hard time saying an unborn human life is less valuable than a born human life.

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  19. I view the abortion issue like this:

    There are many people in my city who need a kidney transplant. I have two healthy kidneys. If I donate one of my kidneys, it would save a life. Should the government force me to donate a kidney?

    I think most of us would say no. Even though donating one of my kidneys would save another human being, I should still have a choice in whether I want my body used in that way.

    When a woman is pregnant, the embryo / fetus / child can only survive if it spends months using her body as an incubator. It’s invasive, and there are health risks involved. Therefore, I think she should have the right to decide if her body is going to be used in that way or not.

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  20. Hm, I’ll ponder it.

    Again, I’m not militant or rude to others about it – just want reiterate that – just talking here.

    So, while one of your kidneys might save a life, the life is not one you had a part in before. Maybe it’s more like one of us stepping in to help that girl who’s dad wouldn’t take her to the doctor – he should do it, but if he wont, I don’t want to be forced to either – she’s not my kid and I have my own issues to deal with.

    A fetus, or whatever, is a life that depends on the mother. My toddler depends on me too, so mere dependence isn’t the determining factor, I think. Maybe in this case, the mother is more like the dad who wont take his kid to the doctor.

    I don’t want to step in take care of all the babies that are going to be aborted, but neither am I willing to step in a care for all the abused children, or the kids whose parents are religious zealots who don’t believe in modern medicine. But I am willing to care for my own, without question.

    I am not sure if life support is a factor either, but I’ll think it over. Is it a life? is it human?

    and if the pregnancy has a chance of harming or killing the mother, then I’d personally see abortion as difficult choice made in order to save life, even though it takes one at the same time – so I’m not really talking scenarios like that here.

    But, if woman tried killing herself or cutting herself, or wanted to walk into bear’s den, do you think that should all be supported as her right to do what she wishes with her body, or would you think she might need help?

    And I do see why people would want abortions. I’m not trying to set up legislation, or even trying to stop them, but to just think it through and discuss for myself, I guess.

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  21. I agree Nate, but can’t she decide to practice safe sex so she isn’t put into this situation ? I know birth control isn’t 100% but even Bill Clinton when President said he would prefer abortion to be used less frequently.

    Pro Choice people tend to argue that a woman should have control over her own body. I agree totally. In many (not all) cases, she had control when she got pregnant . I’m just agreeing with Bill Clinton that there are ways to reduce abortion without abolishing it. That’s by making better choices earlier. AND I think it is BOTH the woman and man’s responsibility and goal to NOT bring an unwanted life into this world. No, it cannot be achieved 100% but it should be the goal.

    BTW, I’m speaking of abortion here in the USA . The worse thing that ever happened to 3rd World Countries was when the Catholic Church sent missionaries to tell the people it was wrong to use any birth control. This subject is for another time.

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  22. Oh, absolutely. Birth control is always far preferable. And I think there’s more that can be done in our country to increase sexual education, access to birth control, etc. It’s not like there are women sitting around saying “I think I’ll try to get pregnant this weekend so I can have an abortion.” No one wants an abortion. But sometimes, whether it’s due to lack of foresight, poor education, or just lack of access to birth control, a woman gets pregnant when that was not her intention at all. If we could safely and easily remove the fetus so it no longer relied on her body for survival, then I think everyone would be in favor of that. But that’s just not scientifically possible right now. And while I agree that the life growing inside her is human life, there’s also her life to think about.

    But yeah, I agree with you. Almost everyone can get behind preventing the pregnancy altogether, and I think that’s where the real focus should be.

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  23. When you say, “her life to think about,” are you meaning her life as in opposite of death, or as in quality or freedom of life?

    I can get reasons for abortion, and why it’s no easy choice. These are reasons why I’m glad I dont have to face that decision, and why I wont picket outside of abortion clinics, or attack a person he chooses abortion.

    But at the same time, if i tried I could similarly find reasons to kill anyone or in committing most crimes. These reasons make it understandable, not justifiable, if that makes sense.

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  24. When you say, “her life to think about,” are you meaning her life as in opposite of death, or as in quality or freedom of life?

    I mean both. Modern medicine has made childbirth much safer, but it still has plenty of risks that go along with it. Not to mention the upheaval it can create in a person’s social and economic standing. I just keep coming back to kidney donation. That’s the analogy that’s helped me make the most sense of this very complicated issue.

    Back to the original topic, I don’t think parents should be able to keep their children from medical treatment because of their religious beliefs. There’s too much evidence showing the effectiveness of modern medicine and too much evidence showing the ineffectiveness of faith-based healing to continue allowing people to keep medical treatments from their children.

    But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all religious teaching is child abuse. In a way, I see why people say that, because it’s teaching kids to rely on superstition in their decision making. But throughout most of human history, it would’ve been those of us who are nonreligious that would be seen as the abusers. I think you have to let parents be parents and hope that the children will grow up and be able to think critically for themselves.

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  25. I’ll just exit the conversation.

    before I saw abortion mentioned, I saw this as pretty black and white, but after abortion was brought up, I am having a hard to separating the issues.

    I want to ask things like, “if a woman’s social and economic and emotional factors are justifiable factors in her aborting a human life, then why wouldn’t a parent’s emotional, economical and social factors justify them when they decide that listening to their consciences, rooted in faith, is best for their child by foregoing modern medical treatments?”

    I know I’m verging on the outer edges of the topic, but I can’t seem to separate the two now.

    I’ll just excuse myself.

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  26. KC – atheist psychologist, Valerie Tarico, has a series of posts about the abortion issue, including some fascinating information as to the near 100% effectiveness of a particular kind of IUD in terms of birth control. I found these fascinating, well-researched, and very informative. They may be found at: https://valerietarico.com/category/reproductive-health/ – browse through the list. Personally, I’d recommend reading them all, I have.

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  27. I’ll catch hell for this, but I can tell you from personal experience that there are some women simply too lazy or unconcerned to bother remembering to take a little pill every day. We humans went for a million years having no sure way to control birth – we pulled out, we counted days, we used sheep intestines – and one day, someone invented a tiny pill and said that if sexually-active women took it every day, there are significant odds that no pregnancy will occur. I have four daughters because all too often, unknown to me, the birth control pills stayed buried in the underwear drawer.

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  28. I don’t think you will. Faith is a huge hurdle to jump, and I now think that most can’t jump that high.

    We’re breeding ourselves into population issues, and modern technology is as much to blame as Catholic Birth Control Doctrine.

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  29. Time and education. It would help a lot if someone could get this 20th Century Pope (as opposed to all of the 19th Century ones we’ve previously had) to come out in favor.

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  30. “We’re breeding ourselves into population issues, and modern technology is as much to blame as Catholic Birth Control Doctrine.”

    You certainly have a point there, William

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  31. Maybe even step out on his balcony, whip open his robe and show us how to put one on —
    [I’m gonna get excommunicated for that, and I ain’t even Catholic!]

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  32. It seems I set off a firestorm by even mentioning the word abortion. I wasn’t attempting to hijack the OP, merely pointing out that the same people who believe that you can pray yourself well are the same ones who seem to value life so much that they oppose abortion. If they are that concerned with life and who should have it, it seems to me that they would be concerned enough to use any means necessary or pertinent to preserve it. It just seems kind of backwards to me, is all. It wasn’t to draw a comparison between whose life is more or less valuable.

    Arch, did your wife want to get pregnant? Is that why she didn’t fulfill her responsibility and take her little pill every day? Because, y’know, it was her responsibility wasn’t it? Those people who pulled out, counted days, and used sheep intestines? You know what you call those? Parents.

    I have a friend who faithfully took her birth control every day. After she found out she was pregnant for the third time she sat down for a good cry and decided to have her tubes tied when the baby was born. I have another friend who didn’t know that when she had strep throat and used antibiotics it rendered her little pill null and void. After she had a good cry she decided to carry the child to term and had a beautiful baby girl.

    I, myself, would take in and adopt any number of babies because I actually want children and can’t have them. I just find it interesting that men, and I’m not saying any of you would or have done this, can participate in the merrymaking and walk off like nothing ever happened. You can just disappear without a trace, never having to take responsibility unless you want to.

    There are myriad reasons why women get pregnant in spite of trying any number of ways not to. But women are supposed to just keep their legs closed unless they can afford the consequences, eh?

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  33. @ Ruth, “You can just disappear without a trace, never having to take responsibility unless you want to.”

    I totally see where you are coming from Ruth. And I’m certainly glad I included this in my comments. 🙂 “AND I think it is BOTH the woman and man’s responsibility and goal to NOT bring an unwanted life into this world. No, it cannot be achieved 100% but it should be the goal.”

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  34. @kcchief1, I appreciate that you, nor likely anyone else who has commented on this would do that. From what I have read of all of you, you take/took responsibility and face/d life together with the woman who is the mother of your children, whether you are still together or not. It cannot be overstated that not all men are as responsible. The mother of your children is obviously not facing the same hurdles or complexities as a woman who is likely seeking an abortion.

    I, personally, think the goal should always be less or no abortion and more family planning and birth control options. But that little pill isn’t the be-all-end-all, either. It carries a whole host of other health concerns. Long term use increases cancer risk, the risk of blood clots, and other long-term health issues. Long term use also can lead to infertility, meaning never having children at all just because you didn’t want to for a while. It’s not so black and white as it may seem.

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  35. Arch, did your wife want to get pregnant? Is that why she didn’t fulfill her responsibility and take her little pill every day?

    The reasons were at least twofold:

    1) She felt that a new baby was a good way to hang on to me.

    2) She had a psychological quirk (one of many) – after a baby reached two, it was no longer as cute as it was, so it was time to have another and turn the older ones over to me.

    After our four, she had two more by different men, after we broke up, and this didn’t count the one she had before we got together.

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  36. I sent Nathan the link to this story yesterday because it was both interesting, sad, and something we’ve discussed before that has been difficult for me to reach a clear conclusion on. Like Arch, I get really fired up when it comes to kids and religion. I think I’m more against it than Nathan. But when arguments are made about what would happen if we were forced to do the opposite of what we believe…well, it’s hard. Not because I think in anyway that my position isn’t the best one, only because I don’t want anyone else (like a government) telling me that my kids have to attend/believe/learn religious dogma as facts.

    I never saw the story about parents withholding medical care turning into an abortion conversation. But I guess I can see the bridge. Growing up I never I thought I would ever say that I’m both pro-life and pro-choice. But that’s really where I sit now. And I view it as a pretty moderate one. I don’t know that I could ever have an abortion, but then I’ve never been in a situation in which I needed to make that decision. I can sympathize, but not empathize, with the millions of women who have been there.

    Quickly, the biggest points that I thought of when reading through the comments:

    1. Like KC said, reproductive biology is a responsibility of both men and women. Though I think often times it’s said that way, but not fully believed. Where I live, when a young girl/woman gets pregnant accidentally/single status, etc. the female really carries the majority of the shame, guilt, and consequences. Maybe not all, but definitely most. “Boys will be boys and all that, but girls are, well, what a shame…”

    2. I feel pretty confident in saying that having a child affects both partners in a relationship. I just feel it affects the female more and I have evidence for that. Not only have I given birth to three of my own, but I work as an RN in labor & delivery and teach childbirth classes. Pregnancy, even uncomplicated ones, can be difficult. There are years of lasting effects on all systems in the body. Our thyroids and metabolisms are changed with each; osteoporosis is more of a problem in women, especially those with multiple pregnancies. There’s the usual physical changes regarding stretch marks, weight changes, stretching of tissues, ligaments, etc. Bladder and bowel incontinence, hemorrhoids, acid reflux, and so on. Every woman’s experience is different.

    I have a wonderful partner and father to our kids, but I still feel that having kids changed me in more ways. I was the one responsible for that child’s development in the uterus during pregnancy, and afterwards I was their primary source of nutrition and daily care. I was the one planning daily activities around another little person’s care. I like that in many ways. I felt empowered and needed. But it can also be draining physically and emotionally. And while some (not all) dads are really involved and supportive I have still heard them say things like, “I give her a break every day so she can go to the gym”. Really, how nice of you to “give that break”…there just feels like less responsibility there to me. How often are men asked if they’re going to “go back to work” after a baby is born? How many dads halt their careers to be full time caregivers?

    Very, very often when a young girl is pregnant and comes through childbirth classes the young dads aren’t there. The girl’s mother may be, but seeing those young dads just isn’t as common. Even if they’re still involved with the young girl and plan to be there for birth, they aren’t the ones coming every week, learning about labor and child care.

    3. Pregnancy and childbirth is 13 times riskier than a safe/legal abortion. Most abortions are performed prior to 13 weeks gestation, and most can be done medically (not surgically) so it’s no bloodier/more “violent” than a menstrual period. Simply check out Wikipedia or a Women’s Health website to learn more REAL facts about abortion.

    4. Different women use different types of birth control for many reasons. I don’t speak for all of us. We each get to speak for ourselves. But there are side effects to using birth control. Most forms are super effective when used properly, but we are talking about adjusting the body’s normal occurrences from the last several million years of evolution. And while the side effects been reduced over the last couple of decades they aren’t gone. IUDs can be rejected by the body and cause weeks of bleeding and cramping before expulsion; there’s an increased risk of infection and STIs especially if a female has more than one partner during the five year use of that IUD. Oral contraceptives/hormonal pills, and implants can cause headaches during the “off week” of supplementation, some report mood swings, water retention, nausea, etc. There are some truly great side effects to using birth control besides controlling ovulation:decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer is one. I’m just saying it isn’t always easy or fun to do so. How many guys would “remember to take a tiny little pill each day”, or want to do so if they didn’t like some of the side effects?

    And again, having an egg and sperm meet up takes both a woman and a man. If a man (ahem, Arch) doesn’t want to create life/potential life then maybe said man would do best if he took control of his own swimmers instead of solely leaving it up to the lady of his choice. There are vasectomies, condoms, and hey, scientists are even working on a pill for men!

    5. The number of abortions world wide each year has been on the decline. And that’s mostly due to the education and access to birth control. But still about 50% of the pregnancies each year are unplanned/not desired. And of course there are the rapes, incestuous situations, and threats to the woman’s life. There’s more we can do to educate, prevent, and give access to birth control and get those numbers even lower. Like Nathan said, no one wants to have an abortion.

    It’s the most difficult for me to watch the 14, 15, 16 year old girls having babies. I can’t say that if it was my daughter who had been raped by a step-dad or something that I wouldn’t consider it and discuss it with her. Because even having the baby adopted, well 40 weeks can be a long time to be reminded of a bad incident, not to mention those long term effects.

    Well, that was longer than expected. (I know, I know, that’s what she said…but just because she said it doesn’t mean she meant it…hahaha)

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  37. I was the one planning daily activities around another little person’s care. I like that in many ways. I felt empowered and needed. But it can also be draining physically and emotionally.

    And what really drives you nuts (just so you know I’ve been there), is not having anyone to talk to all day who uses more than single-syllable words!

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  38. So, psychological issues and character judgments notwithstanding, your wife wanted these children. Abortion was never a consideration. And apparently, neither was birth control. It was neither laziness nor lack of concern(unless you count her lack of concern for you, which I do), but deliberate.

    Good lord, as badly as I want children, when my (now ex) husband and I were having problems he dangled the baby carrot in front of me thinking it would fix it. I declined the offer. I can’t imagine wanting to hold onto someone who doesn’t want to hold onto me. Yowza!

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  39. Also, and I only ask because you are MENSA material and all that, but it took four times for you to realize what was making those babies?!?

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  40. I just want to say that Lauren makes some very good points, I cant help but comment on the part about Rape, incest, life of the mother, etc…

    These are all, in my mind, reasons behind a decision to abort that I would never argue with, however, if everyone agreed that exceptions should made made for each of those cases, that wouldn’t settle the issue. We use those as examples why abortion should be a choice, because they’re sensible, but then usually want to extend that choice for much less sensible reasons.

    Again, I wont throw any stones, but I can’t help but see a bit of hypocrisy (lack of a better word).

    Ruth mentioned the contradiction between those who believe they value life so much that they think all abortion is wrong, but who wont give their children adequate health care – I see that point, but just think that the inconstancy may work both ways – “there are those who care some much about the lives of convicted murderers and rapists, but think that aborting a child is right there with getting a hair cut.”

    And again, I’m not trying to institute set rules and regulations. And I have doubt at all that women have more of a burden when it comes children – but i didn’t set it up that way, and I’d hope that however it affected me personally wouldn’t change an objective outlook on it. Now, whether or not I adhere to my own personal moral code is my business.

    But so far, I’m not sure my conscience would be pure if I took part in an abortion other than to protect the life (opposed to death) of the mother , but I believe my conscience would be clean if I killed a person for specific reasons.

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  41. EXCELLENT information, Lauren! You brought out points that I instinctively “knew,” but hadn’t really thought about.

    The thing that gets me in these type of conversations is that it’s frequently the MAN who is against abortion — the one who has little to no stake in the matter from a physical standpoint.

    BTW, sometime back I wrote a post about a woman who killed six of her newborn babies immediately after they were born. She either strangled or suffocated them, wrapped their bodies in a towel or a shirt, put them in plastic bags, and then packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home.

    While many are adamantly against abortion, in a case like this, wouldn’t it have been better if she had ended the life of the fetuses — which are arguably human — than waiting to kill what most certainly could not have been mistaken in any way, shape, or form as being HUMAN babies?

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  42. Nan,

    We’re often so focused on life of the mother as an exception that we forget the quality of that life and the psychological and mental health of the woman involved.

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  43. I think there are exceptions, but also once excepts are made, they can keep being made and for pretty much anything.

    Why not kill her new born babies? They depended on her. They were hers. Who knows how much suffering she spared them from. If only she had terminated their lives earlier.

    All that’s fine, except now we wont listen to any exception for a person who refuses medical treatments to their children for spiritual reasons, who also care for them to the utmost in every other way. It’s usually those who aren’t spiritual or religious minded who criticize those parents. It’s tough choice, why not let them make it?

    Think about the mental and emotional struggles the parents would endure by believing they went against their god and secured a place for them and their children in hell? It’s a lot to live with. Had they aborted their children, there’d be no issue at all.

    Both are tough. I guess I decided I don’t care enough to judge either. Abort your kids, don’t abort them. Take your kids to the doctor or dont. I guess I just dont want to be told what to do.

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  44. I just want to say that Lauren makes some very good points, I cant help but comment on the part about Rape, incest, life of the mother, etc…

    These are all, in my mind, reasons behind a decision to abort that I would never argue with, however, if everyone agreed that exceptions should made made for each of those cases, that wouldn’t settle the issue. We use those as examples why abortion should be a choice, because they’re sensible, but then usually want to extend that choice for much less sensible reasons.

    While I agree that a reason outside the usual rape, incest, life of mother might not be “sensible reasons” for me, to say that for someone else feels wrong. How can I decide for someone else what a sensible reason should be? What about a young, 13 year old girl, who had a rough few years as kid, and then was brought up by a grandmother that was very religious, and didn’t believe in educating the girl about safe sexual practices beyond abstinence only. The young girl feels emotionally neglected in life, and unfortunately she reaches out to another young guy her age to physically and emotionally connect because there are several things missing in her development. As she’s turning 14 she gets pregnant and has a baby this past January. Is it sensible for her to carry a pregnancy to full term? Especially since her body isn’t fully able to support another being? How will her pelvis recover since it’s full maturity isn’t reached until somewhere around 16 years old? Is it sensible for her to be a mother that young? Or for her grandmother to have to care for the newborn? It wasn’t rape, or incest, just two kids barely into puberty, no proper sex education, lack of supervision, 5-10 minutes, one egg, one sperm…but what a huge life consequence.

    These may be less common examples, but my point is what may be sensible to me may not be to another. And like you said, I too don’t feel comfortable regulating that.

    And as Nan and Ruth said there are many other factors to take into account besides the actual life of the mother. The quality of that life, the ability or position she may be in at that time, the situation that newborn is brought into, the quality of the newborn’s life long term. Will it continue the destructive cycle of the previous generation? That’s quite a sentence to place on someone. Really it’s placing big consequences on more than just one person, many people are affected. And I agree with Nan, and probably most people really, that it seems less horrific if those six babies had died before birth rather than after. How tragic!

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  45. “there are those who care some much about the lives of convicted murderers and rapists, but think that aborting a child is right there with getting a hair cut.”

    I’ve never heard equating an abortion with getting haircut. I feel confident saying that most women who get them put more thought into it, and realize it’s more permanent than a new style.

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  46. lol, well I guess I’ve never heard anyone equate an abortion to hair cut either…. I just mean that when they say, “can’t tell a woman what to do with her own body” is a bad excuse. I think they’re trying to make it sound insignificant and small.

    Because if a woman gets a hair cut or cuts her nails, no one cares or should care.

    If a woman tried to kill herself or cut herself and otherwise harm her body, no one steps in support with “can’t tell a woman what to do with her own body.” Instead, i think most people rightly see a big issue and think she needs help.

    Which of those is abortion most like?

    I just think it’s a dismissive and poor excuse, whether or not I can agree that there should be a choice.

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  47. and yes, there are many reasons to get an abortion, some I see and some I dont.

    In that some token, should be stand in judgement of the utterly religious who refuse medical treatments to their own children out of love?

    I’d call it ignorant love, but still love.

    Can we condemn one but condone the other?

    That’s really my only question and point?

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  48. All that’s fine, except now we wont listen to any exception for a person who refuses medical treatments to their children for spiritual reasons, who also care for them to the utmost in every other way. It’s usually those who aren’t spiritual or religious minded who criticize those parents. It’s tough choice, why not let them make it?

    Think about the mental and emotional struggles the parents would endure by believing they went against their god and secured a place for them and their children in hell? It’s a lot to live with. Had they aborted their children, there’d be no issue at all.

    But in my experience we do give exceptions to those that refuse medical treatment for their children. We have parents that are Mormon that come in and sign refusal of care consents regarding blood products before the infant is born. Those parents have their rights to make those decisions. So do those that don’t immunize. Seems crazy to me, but they have that choice. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights I think the area is kind of gray. It just seems unfair when those young babies and children like the one in the original post don’t/can’t have a voice yet, so they have to rely only on the voice of deluded parents.

    And would the parents be held by their god as being responsible if the state stepped in and enforced the medical care they were so against? Couldn’t they see that it wasn’t their choice therefore they shouldn’t face consequences?

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  49. sure, but in this blog article we’re discussing whether they should. I think most of us feel like they’re crazy and the kid’s health should trump their religions…

    But the majority of us also seem to be willing to take a different approach when it comes to an unborn child’s health.

    I guess I want to be sure I’m not basing my opinion off of emotional arguments similar to the ones I’ve heard, and once made myself, in defense of or support in religion.

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  50. In that some token, should be stand in judgement of the utterly religious who refuse medical treatments to their own children out of love?

    I’d call it ignorant love, but still love.

    Can we condemn one but condone the other?

    I don’t see them as all that similar. We know that medicine works, and we know that lack of treatment is dangerous.

    Abortion is different, because even though we know an abortion will kill the fetus, we also have the rights of the mother concerning her own body.

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  51. “And would the parents be held by their god as being responsible if the state stepped in and enforced the medical care they were so against? Couldn’t they see that it wasn’t their choice therefore they shouldn’t face consequences?” – lauren

    who knows, depends on their religion I guess.

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  52. “Abortion is different, because even though we know an abortion will kill the fetus, we also have the rights of the mother concerning her own body.” _ nate

    well yeah, but then there’s the parents rights to raise their children as they see fit and their right to their religion.

    If we can forego any potential rights of a human life because it;s unborn, why couldnt do the same to child who’s still under the oversight of its parents?

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  53. If we can forego any potential rights of a human life because it;s unborn, why couldnt do the same to child who’s still under the oversight of its parents?

    I can understand a person having objections to abortion. Let’s get that out there. However, I think there’s a world of difference between “potential rights” and actual rights. In most cases abortion is only performed before the fetus is viable.

    I’m not trying to get you to change your mind about abortion, William, but can you honestly say there is no difference between a fetus which cannot survive outside it’s womb and the girl in this video(or even a newborn baby, for that matter)?

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  54. no, I’m with you.

    Sure there’s a difference, but i am sure why i think so.Is there an actual shift in value, or is it only perceived because it’s tucked away, with an identity that’s harder to see?

    But even when we talk about rights, I’m somewhat confused. Are we meaning legal and constitutional rights, or some higher and natural order of rights that each person is endowed with just because?

    But i do see a difference. I’m just not sure it’s a distinct as we’d like. Again, I wouldn’t fight over this or verbally or physically abuse anyone over it. I understand there’s different reasons for it, and I wouldnt scold any one for making the choice.

    I do not think a lot of the excuses given for are good ones, but then, what i think doesnt really matter.

    again, i’m just talking through my own thoughts.

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  55. I’m talking strictly about legal constitutional rights.

    And, again, I’m not talking about value. I’m talking about empathy. Empathy for a child who faced a lifetime of suffering because her parents were so damned sure that they were right. Perhaps if the state had stepped in it would have been a burden off the mind of those parents. They could have kept their sacred cow and their child could have a better quality of life.

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  56. She also had two miscarriages during those 10 years. She was a walking baby factory. With our last daughter, she went in at four in the afternoon, and by six, she and I were having pizza at a restaurant.

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  57. I can get down with that. And that’s how I see it personally.

    But then I guess personally, it what i would assume to be most rape cases, I think the same would be true too though. Find someone other way of caring for the life besides terminating it.

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  58. But then I guess personally, it what i would assume to be most rape cases, I think the same would be true too though. Find someone other way of caring for the life besides terminating it.

    Are you saying that a woman who is raped should carry the child to term and find some other way to take care of the child? So, no empathy for the woman? Just an unborn fetus that wouldn’t know the difference? That’s the point. Once a fetus reaches a point of viability it does know pain, it does know the difference.

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  59. I sent my last comment too early by mistake – sorry.

    In response to Ruth’s comment about constitutional rights and empathy, I personally agree.

    But I also have empathy for a life that wont get to have a name, or be hugged by its own mother. One who cant defend itself and wont have a chance to experience any part of life outside of the womb.

    My empathy doesn’t make right or wrong.

    and laws can be just or unjust. I guess i’m more interested in what is truly just and what is truly good sort of thing. But even with constitutional rights, children under a parent’s care don’t have the same full rights as the adult caregivers.

    I guess I’m talking what should be if a utopia were real.

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  60. and let me clarify, please just disregard the comment with rape in it. It was sent accidentally and prematurely – it didn’t even make sense.

    but, to clarify that specific point of rape, what i think is that if abortion was illegal, that exceptions should be made for life of the mother, rape, incest, etc. just to be clear on that. How awful. I could never throw any stones there.

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  61. What do you think our laws and constitution are based on? Where does our sense of morality come from? Do you believe there’s a higher power who has set some objective standard of morality?

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  62. I do not. I could be wrong, but I dont think there’s an intelligent force that set anything in order.

    But i believe in goodness and morality – those things are as real as we make them, if nothing else.

    I think it’s too complicated to sum in one comment – but I think a lot depends on a lot of stuff. I don’t think we’ll ever reach a clear consensus on it either, which is one reason I’m not militant or overbearing with my opinions toward others., or try not to be.

    But i think many of the excuses for abortion across the board are weak and match those that the religious often to use to excuse their belief or what a good god would or wouldnt do.

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  63. Find someone other way of caring for the life besides terminating it.

    Sure, that would be ideal. But I think it minimizes (maybe unintentionally) the massive burden that goes along with carrying a child to term. It’s no simple matter.

    And that’s also why I keep coming back to the kidney example. I don’t want to kill people with kidney failure — I just don’t want to have one of my kidneys taken without my consent. In the same way, no woman wants to kill a fetus — she just doesn’t want to be pregnant. I don’t see how we can tell her she doesn’t have the right to make that decision, unless we also say I don’t have the right to hang on to both of my kidneys.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. i think kidney’s and a fetus are different, especially when we’re talking about keeping a kidney and aborting a fetus.

    Sure it;s complicated, so are a lot of things.

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  65. a kidney is in your body. your talking about being forced to remove in in order to aid in the life another person who isn’t naturally dependent on you and a life you had no part in creating. and to remove your kidney, would be intrusively. you have to take action to save the life.

    A fetus is removed intrusively. It’s a life that the host body took part in creating and the fetus is dependent on that host body for care. You have to take action to terminate this life, not save it. saving it would take no action.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. but, if kidney’s and a fetus are the same because both involve life or death, why wouldnt children (like the subject of this post) be rounded up in that too?

    a parent shouldnt have to be forced to forfeit their right to religion and parental guidance just to save a life.

    I dont know man, i wont go to war over this, I just cant quite get behind justifying it as if an unborn human is just like random tissue that can be cut away for any reason while we act as if all human life is extremely valuable and all means should be taken to care for those lives.

    I just dont see abortions as being on the same level as being forced to give up a kidney to save a strangers life.

    Liked by 2 people

  67. At what point do you think an action is abusive? Is anything done in “love” considered not to be abusive? Is neglect abusive? Is withholding medical assistance abusive? The question in the OP is to what extent should a parent’s religious belief affect a child’s well being.

    According to the line of logic you’ve employed parents should have a right to raise a child the way they see fit. Don’t wanna feed em? It’s nobody’s business. Don’t wanna educate them? Nobody’s business.

    I don’t think it’s an all or nothing proposition. Of course we all agree that parents should have some rights regarding their offspring. But I think we all also agree they shouldn’t be carte blanche either. Raising a child is a responsibility and, for most a privilege, not a right. Nobody guarantees you the right to have children, nor does having tiny humans guarantee that anybody will be a good parent.

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  68. a parent shouldnt have to be forced to forfeit their right to religion and parental guidance just to save a life.

    Is the right to religious belief and parental guidance more valuable than life, itself?

    I just dont see abortions as being on the same level as being forced to give up a kidney to save a strangers life.

    Is that where the line is? Strangers or family? Is a stranger’s life less valuable than that of an unborn fetus?

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  69. http://www.openbible.info/topics/rejoice_at_passing_and_weep_at_birth

    well, if one is to cry at birth and rejoice at death, I don’t really see the problem. ?????
    from a christian perspective, wouldn’t the fetus go straight into the arms of jesus?

    also, I often hear, god determines when a person dies, so maybe it’s just the fetus appointed time????

    some children are just unwanted, and are brought up that way, knowing they are unwanted.
    trust me, it’s a real drag.
    honestly, if I had known beforehand in the womb what i would be dealing with in my christian family, I would have self aborted.

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  70. I was thinking about this a little more. Isn’t this whole issue a prime example of the PofE in process? I mean, wouldn’t what’s truly just be preventing suffering when and where we can? If we see suffering and turn our heads isn’t that evil?

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  71. I am not really advocating for parents to be able to do anything they like, nor am I advocating for a religious parent to withhold needed medical care from their children, but instead I’m playing devil’s advocate by trying to apply one standard across a board of parents and their born children along with parents and their unborn children.

    I am really confused how we can just say the religious parents are wrong in this case because it harms their kid, but then say it’s wrong to take that position against a mother who aborts (kills/harms) her unborn kid. I just don’t get it.

    With one, we’ll defend the pregnant mother by saying her emotional well being must be considered, or something along the lines of ‘sparing the child a difficult life,’ or that the mother has a right to choose, or whatever – but then say that the Born child’s life trumps all of those things when it comes to the religious parents.

    Again, personally, I think the religious parents are crazy and would have no problem telling them that for the safety, health and well being of your kid, they will receive medical treatment.

    But, if i were to suggest that for the pregnant mother, I’d be accused of wanting to control a woman’s body (which is a stupid argument) or criticized for being man and wanting to violate the mother’s personal rights – never mind the small human who evidently has not even the most basic right to survive.

    I just don’t understand the difference. and yet again, that being said, despite my inability to see a clear enough distinction, I still am not dogmatic enough to picket, protest or fight over it and have not been, nor will be rude to people who have abortions.

    I think most the arguments in support of abortions are emotional and more closely resemble arguments given my religious people in support of their religion.

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  72. “Is that where the line is? Strangers or family? Is a stranger’s life less valuable than that of an unborn fetus?” – Ruth

    I think my above comment actually addressed this, but I did want to run through this specifically.

    I think we’re being honest, then yes, to me my children’s lives are worth more than any stranger’s life, of course.

    In our current society, we pretty have everything we need; no lack of drinking water or food, or snacks or shelter, with very few exceptions. So we can all get along and see the value in every life, with few exceptions. But if we were to lose any or all of those things, then we’d kill others in order to protect those precious resources for ourselves and those that are ours.

    I think this is absolutely true.

    It also why I struggle to understand abortion in the majority of cases. It’s also why I struggle to understand it when people suggest that the life of an unborn fetus is less valuable than… whatever.

    Where do you think the line is? Between birth and unborn only, or elsewhere? If there is no line (which I could get behind) then unborn and born alike are equally valuable, and excuses for harm or neglect are all pretty weak.

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  73. I guess the question is whether or not we’re placing value on being human or placing value on life.

    No one will dispute that when a an embryo is formed that unique human DNA is formed. It is no longer exactly the mother and it is no longer exactly the father. It is a unique human cell.

    I think the difference is when you think, scientifically, life begins. Is it when that unique human DNA can survive without a host, or is it when a unique human DNA is formed? A dead person is still a person, though they are dead. They are still cells that make a unique, distinct, human. Are they living? No.

    So, no I don’t think it is between birth and unborn only. I think it is between when those unique human cells can survive without a host in which to do it. Simply put, I don’t think you can apply the same ethical standard to a zygote or an embryo as you do a fetus which has developed to the stage where it is viable outside the womb. A zygote or embryo is not alive in the same way that a fully formed human being is. Notice, I did not say fully developed.

    What gives value to a zygote or an embryo? Is it the fact that it has potential to be a fully formed human? Is it the fact that it has the potential for life?

    Liked by 1 person

  74. we can look up the definition of “life” and I think see that a fetus or embryo would apply.

    being on life support, I dont think, disqualifies that life; astronauts, scuba divers, and sick people all rely on life support – their “life” isn’t diminished. The rare cases where this is different, is when someone is on life support and not expected to get better, or where it merely keeps blood and oxygen flowing, but there;s no brain activity, etc.

    Most unborn babies are expected to be born.

    So again, the problem may be me, but i just see these as excuses that dont hold up under closer review.

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  75. “What gives value to a zygote or an embryo? Is it the fact that it has potential to be a fully formed human? Is it the fact that it has the potential for life?” ruth

    is a child fully formed? The male brain isnt fully formed until somewhere around 21 on average.

    or is there stages of human development and formation and are they pretty much arbitrary, and if so, could we keep drawing arbitrary lines as they help us?

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  76. A zygote or embryo is not alive in the same way that a fully formed human being is. Notice, I did not say fully developed.

    Sounds a little like word-crafting, Ruth, relying heavily on semantics.

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  77. No, a child isn’t fully developed. It is a fully formed human being. There is a difference. There are stages of human development AND human formation. No, they are not arbitrary.

    You are assigning “more” or “less” value to any life as it relates to your own personal emotional situation. Strangers have “less” value to you. You are basing “value” on your own emotions. How is that just or right if that’s what you’re interested in? Your emotional attachment or concern to specific humans doesn’t diminish the value of the life of other people who you have already admitted that you think you could kill and have a clean conscience for your own arbitrary “specific reasons”. I guess I’m having trouble seeing how your standard of which lives are and are not valuable isn’t arbitrary.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. My third daughter was two months premature – her lungs were not fully formed/developed – and she was kept alive on life support for a month. She seems to have benefited from that:

    OK, so she’s a little nuts, jumping out of a perfectly good plane, but nobody’s perfect —

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  79. If you are of the opinion that unique human cells are valuable then I guess so.

    Again, I’m not pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice. I’m not out championing that abortion is the best thing since sliced bread or encouraging anyone to have one. I am pointing out that there are other ways to look at this thing.

    We want everything to be black and white even while we decry how gray it all is. It just isn’t so cut and dried.

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  80. A zygote and an embryo are human zygotes and human embryos that are living.

    They’re human, just in different developmental stages than babies, toddlers, teens and adults.

    There are two difference senses in which i am referring to the value of human life and I dont think it’s a contradiction or difficult to understand.

    1) is on a personal level, where I love and give preference to some people over another, and an example is by me giving preference to my children over a stranger. And if there was only enough food or water for either my children or the stranger, but not both, I’d pick my children every time and would do what ever it took to better their chances at survival. This isn’t wild or crazy.

    2) is the recognition that while I dont know the stranger, someone else does, and they are someone’s children and loved and of tremendous value. It’s not hard to see why we place value on human life and why we’d be incensed at abuse or neglect like what is discussed in the above video, because it’s a life that is being put in jeopardy for no good reason, because very few reasons trump or outweigh the value of life.

    Yet, my difficulty is when I see zygotes and embryos that are undeniably human, and undeniably living, being treated as if they are not either, where any ole excuse will do to justify their termination.

    If we value life so much, and if you value the life of stranger just as much as much as you value the lives of your loved ones, then I do not understand why that value stops inside the womb at a human life that is defenseless and more innocent than any other. I dont understand why excuses are used to defend that termination that wouldnt be satisfactory in the termination of any other life.

    we dont have to agree and we clearly do not, I just dont understand why we dont, and dont understand how my position is hard to understand.

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  81. My third daughter was two months premature – her lungs were not fully formed/developed – and she was kept alive on life support for a month. She seems to have benefited from that…

    Yes, and she is breathtaking.

    I never said I thought that abortion was acceptable at any time during pregnancy, though. I think the difference, which I’ve not articulated well, is personhood. By the time your daughter was born, she was a fully formed human even if parts of her little body weren’t fully developed. “Life support” isn’t the line that determines whether human cells are a person or not. It’s the thing I’ve been trying to describe inadequately. She was also viable outside the womb. No amount of artificial life support will keep alive a zygote or an embryo.

    Let’s be clear, here, I don’t even think the issue with abortion is about killing. We kill all the time without a second thought. War, self-defense, accidents, etc. So if it isn’t killing then what is it? Are we equating abortion with murder? If so, where is the murdered person?

    No, it isn’t a semantics issue. It is a biological, brain formation issue.

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  82. Ruth, I guess I still just dont understand. Human brains arent fully formed until adulthood – that itself isnt the determining factor, and then we could also talk about the mentally impaired who’s brains will never reach “full development.”

    The distinction is in the womb or out of the womb, unless we also talk about later term versus early pregnancy.

    and yes, we kill all the time for reasons we justify – self defense, war, punishment – and you’re saying that “killing” only relates to “human personhood” and that zygotes and embryos arent “persons” despite being living humans?

    I’ll think on it

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  83. and yes, we kill all the time for reasons we justify – self defense, war, punishment

    Most of the killing we do – and I’m certainly not OK with most of it – involved the resolution of a threat, real or perceived.

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  84. we dont have to agree and we clearly do not, I just dont understand why we dont, and dont understand how my position is hard to understand.

    No, we don’t agree and that’s perfectly fine. I understand your position even though I don’t agree with it. I’m not sure why my position is so difficult to understand.

    And, to an even larger degree I don’t understand why a “lesser of two evils” is so difficult to understand. There may be a multitude of reasons why I might disagree with the choice to abort, yet is it up to me to decide? No, it is not. There are a multitude of reasons why I would not make that same decision, yet I am not in the position to have to make that decision. It is easy to sit in judgment. It is more difficult to have to live it out.

    You see, I’m not advocating for a “save a life at any cost” position. I believe people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, for example, have every right to pursue death on their own terms. I am advocating for a position of eliminating suffering by whatever means we have at our disposal. I have, in recent months, been working with the local DFCS and I see an immense amount of suffering of children at the hands of unfit parents. These are lives that were given a chance to survive. But at what quality? I’m not suggesting we euthanize them, I’m suggesting that perhaps women who make the decision to have an abortion have a better idea of what they can and cannot bear than I do or than you do. I’m suggesting that women have babies all the time they don’t want that end up in the foster system.

    I ask you which is worse, since were talking ethics here, having an abortion or bringing a child this world knowing it has a snowball’s chance in hell of having a good life?

    In 2012 1.1 million babies were aborted. Now, I realize that there are families out there who would adopt some number of those. But all of them? Hardly. Then what? Your suggestion was to find some other way to deal with it. You don’t want to raise these children. You can’t say as a moral position that women should “find some other way to deal with it” if you aren’t on the bandwagon of being that other way.

    Women are in the unenviable position of being damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Cut welfare. Women shouldn’t have babies they can’t afford. Yet, if they abort they’re also wrong for that decision. What’s even worse is that even if they carry a child to term and place it for adoption they’re judged as horrific for having a baby they didn’t want. “Why’d you get pregnant if you didn’t want a baby,” they say. Children who are adopted, even though they’ve been given a good chance at life often feel unwanted anyway when they learn that they were adopted. So even adoption often isn’t a perfect solution. And to my point about these children in the foster system, where are all these supposed adoptive families? Why are there any children in foster care if it’s so easy to just find some other way to deal with it? And why is it that so many who are willing to adopt only want a newborn?

    I’ll tell you why. We’re caught up in the idea of potential. Once that potential is, in our opinion, spoiled it’s no longer of value.

    One thing we can agree on is that, like you, I’d like for there to be less abortion. Education is the key to that. Education and access. I’d rather my tax dollars be spent on free birth control and reproductive education.. I’d rather young women weren’t shamed for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. I’d rather young women weren’t shamed for needing assistance if they do become pregnant. I’d rather men didn’t say things like, “no, I don’t want to take care of someone else’s kid, but abortion isn’t right.” I’d rather women weren’t made to feel like it was a moral failing on their part that they dare to like sex. I’d rather more men took responsibility for their part in pregnancy.

    I’m suggesting that perhaps, even if you believe as you say, perhaps you might understand the ethical dilemma involved.

    Liked by 3 people

  85. Ruth, I’ve been reading along and I have to say this — you express yourself on this topic quite eloquently.

    It isn’t just a simple matter of whether abortion is right or wrong. It goes so much deeper than that, but too many are so ensconced in their perspectives/beliefs on the subject, they are unable to look beyond their immediate viewpoint.

    IMO, your statement, It is easy to sit in judgment. It is more difficult to have to live it out. sums up the entire discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  86. and you’re saying that “killing” only relates to “human personhood” and that zygotes and embryos arent “persons” despite being living humans?

    No, I’m saying that murder only relates to human personhood.

    Have you studied any of the biology behind when the brain stem forms and the various stages of development? Or are your arguments based solely on the belief that if it’s human and it’s a living cell it’s morally a person for purposes of ethical consideration?

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  87. Ruth, I guess I still just dont understand. Human brains arent fully formed until adulthood – that itself isnt the determining factor, and then we could also talk about the mentally impaired who’s brains will never reach “full development.”

    Perhaps we have a different understanding of the words formed and developed. You are using them interchangeably. I am not.

    A person who is mentally impaired has a fully formed brain. A human can have a fully formed brain, even while it isn’t fully developed. A fully formed brain has all the components necessary for human life even if it never reaches full maturity.

    A zygote or an embryo doesn’t even form a brain stem until about 7 weeks after gestation. That means cells are growing and dividing and they are human cells, but they don’t have their own brain. The vast majority of abortions occur before this happens.

    Like

  88. Ruth,

    I may not be able to address everything you said, although I’ll try.

    I feel the need to again state that I am not demanding a law be set or that we picket and clinics or bash anyone who’s had an abortion – not at all. I’m sharing my current views and thoughts on abortion and seeing if conflict or connection is my views and thoughts on parenting styles of people who have born children.
    Have I studied Brain formation of zygotes and embryos? I have not in any really depth, and probably too lazy to do so. Since I’m not a doctor or advocating any legislation, I just don’t feel the need. But I see a developing human. I don’t throw stones or curse those who see something else, but I just don’t see how it’s not a human life.
    I do not see how we can try to set or discuss the need to set laws that protect the lives of religious families’ children, when can make any excuse to minimize the life of an unborn human. I just personally don’t get it.
    No, I would not adopt a baby, or at least I haven’t yet, even though I think abortion isn’t well defended in most cases, and something I would probably define as “wrong.” On that same token, I’m not willing or able to foot the medical bills of religious families who refuse medical treatment to their kids. I don’t think that makes me a jerk. I don’t think that my willingness or unwillingness to do something has any real bearing on what’s right or wrong either, so I am sure how me being a man with an opinion has anything to do with it.
    Have you offered or tried to pay the medical bills of kids who’s folks won’t have them treated? If not does that invalidate your position that the kids should still receive medical care?
    Nan said,
    “It isn’t just a simple matter of whether abortion is right or wrong. It goes so much deeper than that, but too many are so ensconced in their perspectives/beliefs on the subject, they are unable to look beyond their immediate viewpoint.”

    Right, my point is why can we say that when it comes to abortion, but not when ot comes to other situations like the one where religious parents refuse medical care to their children? The rules change. We don’t care about the parent’s perspective or their beliefs, we care about the human life and what’s best for it in terms of living vs dying or being physically harmed – we do the opposite with abortion. I don’t know why.

    “it’s not fully formed…” yeah, I guess I have difficulty with the terminology. Formed vs developed… and I wonder if it really matters. So human life that isn’t fully formed isn’t a person and can be killed for any reason, but a human life that isn’t fully developed can’t be killed for any reason and is or can be argued to have personhood?
    From the position I understand you to be arguing for, these religious families should do whatever they can to ensure the health and welfare of their children, but, had that same family only aborted that same child – no harm no foul?
    I am sure I missed some things – sorry, it wasn’t intentional.

    Like

  89. “I ask you which is worse, since were talking ethics here, having an abortion or bringing a child this world knowing it has a snowball’s chance in hell of having a good life?: – Ruth

    which do you think is worse, a chance at doing something or no chance at doing something; a chance at living, or no chance at living?

    I think that life is typically better than death. I do agree are there circumstances like you mentioned such as someone suffering with a terminal illness, or moral wound, etc.

    I think killing an unborn child or a very young child or anyone with the justification that, “we’re saving them from a horrible life,” sounds a lot like some cult leading killing his followers because “it was the only way to save them.”

    and maybe the mother is the only one who knows best, however define “best,”and while I’m not throwing stones at those who make that hard choice, i still think it’s wrong. I have that view about other things too, do you not?

    should there be more supportive programs for mothers, especially if we were to say no abortion? sure. But mothers and fathers should take more care with birth control too. A lot of things should take place, and I’m not sure it’s good justification to excuse one bad act with, “but there’s other bad acts too.”

    And I’m not talking about making laws or punishing anyone (which is where I think the previous paragraph would apply), I’m talking about whether there’s a right or wrong, and asking why we can take a position that supports life in one area, while talking a position that supports death in another?

    Like

  90. “A zygote or an embryo doesn’t even form a brain stem until about 7 weeks after gestation. That means cells are growing and dividing and they are human cells, but they don’t have their own brain. The vast majority of abortions occur before this happens.”

    I wouldn’t say “vast” but Ruth is correct. The majority are performed before 7 weeks (52.6 %) which means 47.4 are performed after 7 weeks. I’m concerned with the ones which are performed afterwards. I think most would agree.

    Percentage of 2012 Reported Abortions by Weeks of Gestation* (CDC):

    -6 wks 7 wks 8 wks 9 wks 10 wks 11 wks 12 wks 13 wks 14-15 wks 16-17 wks 18-20 wks 21+ wks
    34.9% 17.7% 13.2% 8.7% 5.8% 4.8% 3.6% 2.7% 3.5% 1.8% 1.9% 1.3%

    Liked by 3 people

  91. Sorry this has turned into an abortion discussion, but I think we all agree that the kid who’s parents refuse medical treatment for religious reasons should still receive medical treatment, despite her parent’s reasons, or emotional and mental states, etc.

    A woman has a miscarriage. Did she lose a baby or just a part of her body; some special cells?

    does she have less right to grieve than a mother who lost a baby to SIDS? Should she only be expected to grieve as much as she would for a stranger who died?

    A pregnant woman is murdered. Should the murderer face one count of murder or two?

    A pregnant woman is assaulted. Her baby dies, but the mother lives with small injuries. Should the assailant be charged with assault only, or also with murder or manslaughter?

    Is there a or should there be a difference between later term abortions or some earlier stage, and if so, why?

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  92. @kccheif1,

    I got my statistics from the CDC, too.

    In 2012, the majority (65.8%) of abortions were performed by ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and nearly all (91.4%) were performed by ≤13 weeks’ gestation. Few abortions (7.2%) were performed between 14–20 weeks’ gestation or at ≥21 weeks’ gestation (1.3%).

    So I’m wondering why these don’t exactly jibe with yours? Weird.

    Like

  93. William,

    We don’t agree. That’s fine. I thought you were asking me to explain better my position. I don’t think that will help any since your opinion is already formed and it doesn’t appear any other position is valid in your mind.

    A woman has a miscarriage. Did she lose a baby or just a part of her body; some special cells?

    Again, she lost the same thing that is being aborted. It is, in fact, called spontaneous abortion. The value she, personally, places on it doesn’t change the biology. That is not to make insignificant what is most assuredly significant to the woman involved.

    does she have less right to grieve than a mother who lost a baby to SIDS? Should she only be expected to grieve as much as she would for a stranger who died?

    I’m not sure what her grief or lack thereof has to do with whether what she lost was a baby or not. She should be expected to grieve in whatever way she needs to and as much or as little as she needs to. Again, if she is grieving, what is she grieving? She pictured holding a newborn at the end of nine months. That is what she is grieving. The baby she thought she would give birth to. That is the loss. If what she miscarried didn’t have the potential to become a person there wouldn’t be much to grieve.

    When you picture what a person who experiences a miscarriage is grieving, what do you picture? Is it a zygote or a newborn? Is an embryo or is it the ghost of the five year old that embryo represents?

    You are making an emotional argument, not a biological one. Hell, I grieve the child/children I’ve never been able to produce. Do I not have the right to do so? I grieve the fact that I’ll never hold a newborn, that a child will never call me mama, that I won’t get to name my baby, that I won’t get to watch them grow, go to school, graduate, become productive citizens and even that I’ll never be a grandparent. Yes, I can get quite emotional about it.

    A pregnant woman is murdered. Should the murderer face one count of murder or two?

    A pregnant woman is assaulted. Her baby dies, but the mother lives with small injuries. Should the assailant be charged with assault only, or also with murder or manslaughter?

    Is there a or should there be a difference between later term abortions or some earlier stage, and if so, why?

    These are very complicated questions with very complicated answers for which I do not pretend to have all the answers. In short, though, I do think that when the assailant is charged with murder or manslaughter, depending on the stage of pregnancy, that they are being charged based on emotion and based on what the woman or the woman’s family feel they have lost and not necessarily based on biological facts in an attempt to achieve the harshest punishment possible in to secure justice for the family and their loss and/or perceived loss.

    I do think there is a difference between early and late term abortions, as do most people. I have heard arguments to the contrary but don’t agree with them myself except in cases where the health of the mother is concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  94. I haven’t read the last several comments yet, but I wanted to go ahead and address this particular statement of William’s, because I think it’s the real crux of the discussion:

    Right, my point is why can we say that when it comes to abortion, but not when it comes to other situations like the one where religious parents refuse medical care to their children? The rules change. We don’t care about the parent’s perspective or their beliefs, we care about the human life and what’s best for it in terms of living vs dying or being physically harmed – we do the opposite with abortion. I don’t know why.

    To me, the only real difference is that an embryo/fetus is still inside the mother. It can’t survive without the use of her body. Once a child has been born, everything changes — the child is viable and can be cared for by someone else. So medical treatment can be given to a child without affecting his/her parents. But you can’t keep an embryo alive without forcing the mother to remain pregnant. If she does not want to be pregnant, then you’re violating her own personal liberty.

    Liked by 1 person

  95. A pregnant woman is murdered. Should the murderer face one count of murder or two?

    In the Scott Peterson case, he was charged with two, but in many courts, the murderer is charged – wrongly, in my opinion – with one for fear of setting a precedent that might be used down the line to overturn Roe v Wade.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. “We don’t agree. That’s fine. I thought you were asking me to explain better my position. I don’t think that will help any since your opinion is already formed and it doesn’t appear any other position is valid in your mind.” – Ruth

    I’m venturing off topic, but wanted to say what you said is fine. I don’t think me explaining my position any better will help since your opinion is already formed and it doesn’t appear any other position is valid in your mind.

    actually, i just wanted to see how easy it would be to turn that around.

    I dont think I made any more emotional arguments than you have.

    Your biological arguments are essentially, “lack development in the brain stem = non-person.” You can show how the brain stem developments, but that’s not the same as showing the life is less valuable than a person with a fully developed brain.

    So I guess i don’t agree with position on abortion completely. I mean, I think you and I agree that abortion is better avoided, and that a person seeking abortion is making a hard decision and shouldn’t be demonized or punished for it. But I guess we part ways in identifying where the human value of life begins, and by what means we can use to determine that.

    It’s okay. I’m not making any laws.

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  97. nate, yeah, that was the meat and potatoes of what I was asking and the point I was trying to make.

    I see your point and the distinction, I just don’t know that I buy it right now.

    I almost feel like that makes it all the more tragic. That’s not completely an emotional argument either. Biologically we want and need our offspring to survive. Something seems off about wanting to terminate that offspring and the reasons for that termination most often seem emotional – not biological or even logical. the unborn depends completely on this woman for survival and care.

    again, life of the mother and few other exceptions I get completely. there usually are exceptions for almost everything.

    I don’t know. maybe the brain is a good place to draw a line. maybe in or out of the womb is. I really don’t know. For me, i cant help but see a dependent and defenseless human life, and have a hard time saying it doesn’t deserve the same level of care as child that has been born.

    I can agree to disagree.

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  98. I can’t imagine myself ever being in favor of an abortion either. But to me, the reasons for the abortion are almost beside the point.

    If I don’t want to give up my kidney for some other person, I don’t have to give reasons for that. I don’t have to explain what else I might like to do with that kidney. It’s simply a given that I have the right to make decisions about my own body, even if that decision costs the life of someone I could otherwise help. If a woman decides that she does not want to be pregnant, then I don’t see how we can force her to be.

    It’s such a complicated issue… that’s why I think the decision is best left to the woman who’ll have to live with the consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

  99. I’m venturing off topic, but wanted to say what you said is fine. I don’t think me explaining my position any better will help since your opinion is already formed and it doesn’t appear any other position is valid in your mind.

    actually, i just wanted to see how easy it would be to turn that around.

    Actually it isn’t really all that easy to turn around as that isn’t my position.

    I have said in various comments here:

    I can understand a person having objections to abortion.

    and

    I, personally, think the goal should always be less or no abortion and more family planning and birth control options.

    and

    I understand your position even though I don’t agree with it.

    So I can understand your position, see how you came to it, and empathize with your feelings about it all while disagreeing with it. I don’t have to agree with a an opinion for that opinion to be valid. It just seemed that you completely dismissed any opinions that you didn’t agree with as if they weren’t valid as “weak” and “just excuses”.

    In summary I can completely understand, see how you came to, and empathize with your position that unique human cells= person = wrong to kill even if I don’t agree with that.

    It also seemed to me that your entire argument was based on your personal feelings that unique human cells = person = wrong to kill and not necessarily any biological reasoning. My apologies if that is inaccurate.

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  100. and I have said numerous times that I can understand reasons by they’d make a difficult decision to abort and which is also why i wouldnt throw any stones, so I dont really follow the critique.

    and sorry, I think you’re a very intelligent person and always like what you have to say, but a few of the reasons for an abortion I did think were weak. the one about brain development may have merit, but I just a cant align with it right now.

    you said,

    “It also seemed to me that your entire argument was based on your personal feelings that unique human cells = person = wrong to kill and not necessarily any biological reasoning. My apologies if that is inaccurate.”

    but where does the biological development of the brain determine the value of human life, or is that a personal feeling on it?

    I could argue that the biology of zygote and embryo is human and is living, which is, I guess, what i was saying. It’s not so much a feeling, as a fact.

    it’s human and life, BUT this or that. In the womb, or only 8 weeks old, or whatever. We’re dealing with a human life, so I question whether those BUTS are arbitrary or valid. Could we make a BUT anywhere else?

    I dont know. But I am not sure selecting a point (if that’s all we’re doing) and then ascribing, “it’s a tough choice for the mother” makes it okay or valid.

    I do agree it’s a complicated matter. I still dont get how nate’s kidney is similar (sorry nate ;)) and you and I see this somewhat differently, and I’m sorry for that too.

    But it is really is okay. We dont have to get each other here.

    hope you all have a good weekend.

    Like

  101. Not sure why the difference in stats Ruth since we both used the same site. It is a mystery. Regardless I did say you were right that a majority of abortions are performed before 7 weeks.

    And I think most here agree there should be fewer . I applaud everyone here for displaying a civil tone in their comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  102. And I think most here agree there should be fewer . I applaud everyone here for displaying a civil tone in their comments.

    I think so, too, kc. Which brings me back to the original question posed by the OP. The question is, why is there so much abortion? Here in the US, at least in my state, birth control is easily accessed. And who doesn’t know that sex makes babies unless you do something to prevent it?

    I think a main culprit is religion. It shames people, not just women, for thinking about sex, especially if you aren’t married and most especially young people. Most abortions are performed on women in their twenties. I know women who have had abortions and I know women who have, at least, considered abortion. All of the ones I know didn’t do it or consider doing it because a baby would be a hassle. They are all religious.

    This may seem weak but religious young people are told over and over how sinful they are for even thinking about sex. They intend to save themselves for marriage. When they get into a serious relationship they are ill prepared to deal with the hormones and urges that come naturally. They are too embarrassed to seek out birth control because that means they’ll have to actually tell someone that they’re thinking about having sex, even if it is their doctor(who they likely go to church with).

    This needs to stop. Families and educators need to stop fantasizing about all these little girls being “pure” and start treating their daughters, sons, and pupils with respect. Arm them with the information and, more importantly, the autonomy and dignity to make their own informed, mature decisions when it comes to sex. Because what ends up happening as a result of trying to keep sex as some dirty little secret is that young men and young women don’t have adult conversations about preventing pregnancy with each other.

    So the more I think about this the more I’m wondering how much parents’ religious beliefs should impact the health of their children. It’s not just about praying away cancer, or holes in hearts, or even the flu. Praying away pregnancies becomes a reality, too.

    And I really think that’s the conversation that needs to be debated, not necessarily abortion, itself.

    Liked by 6 people

  103. That depends on your own definition of a “god”. Do you mean a Demiurge? The thing that matters to you most of all is probably what you believe yourself.

    Do you mean the god “money” being worshipped like a god by too many?

    Do you mean the all mighty “Russells teapot” god in orbit in space?

    The answer will be different depending on definition.

    Like

  104. I was responding to this statement of yours:

    Balance in all. A person that do not want to heal will never heal. Healing begins in the mind and nobody can heal us except ourselves. God is inside all of us, is pure love, not greed, nor passion, is truth, not lying, does not belong to any religion, is oneness, is not clinging to our fake egos, but is open for deep understanding.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    So no, the question of “which god” you were referring to and why you believe the claims you made depends not on my definition, but on yours.

    I would argue however that the idea of a “god” as “the thing you worship” is not a god in any meaningful sense. At the very least, it is a separate concept from the idea of a “god” as a powerful, conscious, potentially non-corporeal being.

    Liked by 1 person

  105. I think the difference in statistics might be the difference between “less than” and “less than or equal to”. Looks like your numbers match when you add 6, 7, & 8.

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  106. william,

    (Disclosure:) for the most part, I find myself agreeing with Ruth’s conclusion, but not with all of her arguments.

    If you’re interested, this debate (between two atheists) changed my thinking on the matter.

    “Abortion Debate at Texas Freethought Convention, Matt Dillahunty vs. Kristine Kruszelnicki”

    Like

  107. ratamacueo,

    I appreciate the link and will have to watch later as I am not able to at this time.

    I am not staunchly opposed to abortion, but that’s mostly because there’s issues that arise with uncontrolled population growth, but that comes more from an idea about resources, etc, much like the way game officials regulate hunting and all that.

    But the ethical side of me still thinks it’s important to associate value with human life, and I currently believe that there are inherent problems when we begin making exceptions.

    I still don’t like nate’s point where he likens it to giving his kidney to save the life of a stranger.

    1) the life of the stranger has nothing to do with him, but the inherent responsibility of parents to their offspring isn’t just a human concept, but one of most animals in nature as well.

    2) to remove nate’s kidney requires action to save the life of that stranger, where as with abortion it requires action to terminate the life of that offspring.

    3) to remove nate’s kidney requires intrusive action, which could lead to complications. This is where it gets stickier, because some abortions can be intrusive where as earlier abortions may only require a pill, some abortions may reduce the chances of complications and some pregnancies could increase the risk of complications, but still, nate being forced to remove his kidney to give to stranger is not quite the same as a parent being compelled to care for their children.

    4) if you make a mess, it’s yours to clean up. If a stranger makes a mess, you can help clean if you like, but it’s not your responsibility. So a stranger needs nate’s kidney, it’s not nate’s responsibility to risk his life or health for the stranger. Nate decides to have sex with someone, get’s pregnant, then I do think there is some inherent responsibility there from nate to that life that results from nate’s actions and genes.

    And then we usually hear abortions defended by citing rape, incest or life of the mother. If each and every one of those was granted, that wouldn’t be enough – people would still want them for all the crappy, selfish and less than noble reasons – but I think overall that’s realized which is why the arguments mostly contain rape, incest, life of the mother, because the other excuses sound a little too petty and shallow to validate the termination of a human life.

    People don’t want to practice self control, but they want to do what they want to do while eliminating the obvious consequences so that they can continue their life without getting fat, getting saggy boobs, or enduring a financial burden, or being tied town, or whatever… And while I do recognize not everyone who gets an abortion is so shallow, there are those who certainly are. I do not know the statistics, but I imagine the percentage of these type of shallow people is higher than the percentage who actually abort due to rape, incest or life of the mother, but I also recognize that I could be wrong about that.

    But i’ve gone over these, so I apologize for being redundant. And I know this is a touchy subject and that some of what I said will go over badly. I dont intend for it to, but it’s difficult to lay some of this out in a way that is happy 🙂 – so I apologize for that as well.

    I’ll watch the video when I get a chance.

    thanks again.

    Like

  108. I’m sure I’ve commented on this before but …

    I will agree with you (and many others) that there are several ethical issues surrounding abortion. But as a woman, my position has been and will remain … it’s my body, my choice.

    Like

  109. So far I’ve only been able to listen to both opening statements. One is clearly better at public speaking than the other, but so I far I can’t say that I align perfectly with either one.

    I won’t go into why I disagree with the pro-choice guy, even after I listen to the entire debate, but all I want to do is to again say that I am not in support of legislation on this matter, and that for this post, I was more interested in comparing the abortion arguments and situations to a parent’s obligation for their born children, like in the original post.

    We just may not reach an agreement on this, and I don’t think that’s a problem. I’m not throwing stones or advocating punishments or incarceration or even laws.

    I would also suspect that within the pro-choice community there are disagreements as to whether there are limits, like late-term vs early stages, etc – and within the pro-life camp, there are those who see no exceptions and those who do see some exceptions, so this is anything but but and dry.

    I do have my opinions and I feel like they’re well reasoned, rational and defensible – just as you all view yours. I’m cool with that.

    Like

  110. If your God is “powerful & conscious” you must ask yourself in meditation, like Jesus, if your idea of God, which I believe is the Demiurg, is a good God or a naughty God.

    Like

  111. I don’t have a god. There are no gods that I believe in. If you claim otherwise, the burden of proof is on you to prove it – but first you should explain the claim.

    Like

  112. I can not prove it scientifically, but maybe a scientist of the brain can.

    I have tried to falsify it, to a level where I now have very little doubt.

    God is our own higher long-term consciousness, higher than our false short-term egos.

    You yourself can maybe also prove it to yourself in silent meditation if you have the motivation to experience such enlightenment.

    Like

  113. I can not prove it scientifically, but maybe a scientist of the brain can.

    I suppose you’re alluding to the notion of a soul. As far as I know, neurologists have yet to show the human mind to be anything other than a function of the brain. This is the bulk hypothesis, and it is consistent with the fact that brain damage can alter personality.

    However, even if the existence of a soul could be demonstrated, how/why should that lead us to believe in any gods?

    I have tried to falsify it, to a level where I now have very little doubt.

    What did you try to falsify, and how did you try to falsify it? Is your claim falsifiable?

    God is our own higher long-term consciousness, higher than our false short-term egos.

    I don’t know what this means. It also sounds so different from any other (attempted) definition of God that I know of, that I think using that label (and all its associated baggage) in this way is more confusing than helpful.

    You yourself can maybe also prove it to yourself in silent meditation if you have the motivation to experience such enlightenment.

    How would one perform such meditation? And why should we think that performing such a task would lead to truth regarding your claims?

    Liked by 1 person

  114. Actually, ratamacue, he’s voicing just one of the many, many approaches I’ve been reading about recently, from a book called The History of God (I’ll be elaborating on this when I finally get my own website up and running). Between about 300 AD and 1500-1600 AD, in the Muslim world, the Christian World, and the Jewish world, as well as in India, new and differing viewpoints arose in an effort to define god, to decide who and what god was, what effect (if any) we have on him/her and what (if any), he has on us.

    They are far too numerous to go into here, but what I’m hearing from Maitreya is the belief that each of us are manifestations, emanations if you will, of an infinitely multifaceted god, and by introspection, self contemplation, one can see the god particle (not the boson) in himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  115. @arch

    Oh man, the stupid book. I have the misfortune of knowing about this book via my adventures in reddit.

    It’s just a bunch of junk science, appeals to emotions and junk philosophy (I am not trashing philosophy, just that this book’s usage of philosophy is so bad it is criminal).

    End of the day, it distills to “I have seen the truth, join me and you will see the truth too”.

    Like

  116. Thanks for the info, arch. Can’t say I quite get it yet… Let me/us know when you get your site up.

    Do you think anything you’ve said here answers my specific questions to Maitreya, or contradicts anything I’ve said?

    Like

  117. Arch, is it the Karen Armstrong book? It’s been quite a while since I’ve read it, but I seem to remember it being pretty good.

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  118. Powell, you must be referring to a different book – so far (and I’m 2/3 through), I’ve seen no science, no emotions, and she doesn’t mention her own philosophy, just enumerates and describes the existing philosophies ranging from Aristotle to, I must presume, the present.

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  119. Not really, but then I don’t really have a dog in this race, I just heard, coming from Maitreya, something much like I had just read earlier that morning, and I was just trying to explain where he was coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

  120. Yes, Nate – for some reason, I couldn’t remember her name. Former nun for 22 years, right?

    Like

  121. The idea of a soul or no soul is not important. It is a pseudo-discussion. In theory “a soul” could refer to our consciousness, our thinking-patterns, patterns that can be rewired in Meditation.

    I think therefore I probably exist. My thoughts exists, my consciousness or my “soul”, if you wish, exists. Non-existence is thereby falsified.

    Meditation is best performed in a silent monastery or if you are very self-driven, committed and motivated, then alone in silence preferably under a tree in nature.

    The only way yo know what meditation is, is to experiment on your own if you are motivated.

    It is like the experiment with a kilo of cotton and a kilo of iron. Before experimentation people believed iron fell much faster. The only way to know is to do.

    Breath deep, watch things as they come and go. Sit for 20 minutes at a time, walk very slowly 20 minutes, do postrations slowly to an empty chair or an enlightened symbol.

    Do not believe anything! Try and observe without judgment!

    Like

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