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Abortion, pt 2: the attack of compassion


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A comment made on my previous abortion post has been making me think. Actually, there are two comments that are doing this, but I'm only going to deal with one today.

The comment was made that fornication has consequences and that pregnancy is a punishment of premarital (unprotected) sex.

I don't like this line of thinking for the reasons I wrote on that thread. However, I have another response. Frankly, I don't know how good it is, but I think it might be worth pursuing:

Of course, we should be compassionate and care for our fellow people. It seems to me that the Gospel is unequivocal on this point. It seems reasonable that, if someone is suffering, we should do what we can (within reason) to help that alleviate that suffering.

An unwated pregnancy is suffering, both physical and mental.

Given that abortion is a question with no easy moral answers, shouldn't abortion be an option--a solution--for the easement of suffering? And, if it is, I think we should be okay with it.


7 Responses to “Abortion, pt 2: the attack of compassion”

  1. Anonymous Last Lemming 

    Applying your logic to other arenas, providing a heroin addict with his fix would alleviate suffering. Stealing $100,000 from the Sultan of Brunei and giving to tsunami victims would alleviate suffering. Are you prepared to argue in favor of those too?

  2. Blogger D-Train 

    Those are certainly mitigating circumstances, are they not? We'd be foolish to leave those considerations out of our decision calculus entirely. I wouldn't advocate those things, but it's much better to give that money to tsunami victims than to spend it on myself. Better enough to justify stealing? Don't know, but it's worth thinking about.....

    And if there are other reasons to support those ideas (such as, for example, the idea that the Sultan might use that money to support international terrorism), then the case might become convincing.

    Not saying that logic applies to abortion to a persuasive degree, but Pris is right that you have to think about it and include it in the argument.

  3. Blogger RoastedTomatoes 

    I'm very uncomfortable with abortion -- at least in part because my wife was an adopted child -- but I'm far more uncomfortable with the idea of pregnancy as punishment for sin. So, until the day you get married, pregnancy is a punishment. But the very night of your wedding, pregnancy becomes a divine blessing devoutly to be sought? Right...

    By the way, a quick parenthetical note: the morality of abortion is a different issue from the legality of abortion. In my political opinion, abortion should be safe, legal, easily available, and unheard of. The way to get to this goal, I think, is to devote resources to increasing the desirability of alternatives to abortion. For example, free condoms for everyone, right?

  4. Blogger D-Train 

    RT,

    I also am uncomfortable with abortion. I do think there's a legitimate interest in regulating abortion, but I want those circumstances in which the Church approves of abortion to be possible. Since we can't (and shouldn't) make law based on spiritual confirmations, the circumstances of rape, incest, gross deformity, and mother's health should be provided for.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous 

    An abortion may temperarily alleeviate her suffering but then she would continue to suffer from guilt. Every time she meets an adopted baby, or on her due date every year and especially when she has more children She will realize exactly what she did.

    And I have a question. How many abortions are because of rape insest or the mothers health? If a victim calls the police after she is attacked during the exam the give you somthing to prevent conception. I would like some statistics on that I read it was less than 1% but I cant remeber where.
    J

  6. Blogger Sarah 

    There's also the question of the suffering of third parties -- the unborn child, the father, etc. How exactly do alleviate the suffering of someone who was denied the opportunity to have a life on earth? How do you give recompense to a man who has lost the chance to raise his child?

    Placing abortion in the position of "alleviation of suffering" assumes there's only one sufferer to worry about, and raises issues of what exactly abortion is. I don't think that someone suffering from an unwanted pregnancy, for whatever reason, should be told "aha, here's how we can make your pain go away -- abort the baby!" Abortion itself is physically and emotionally traumatic -- a little like, say, the "cutting" or self-induced vomiting can be for people suffering from depression or eating disorders. The behavior increases and is part of the overall suffering.

    Anyway, I wouldn't posit abortion as a way to reduce suffering. It might be a way to solve one person's particular objective ("I don't want to have this baby" or "I can't bear to raise a deformed child" or whatever) but it's not going to make suffering go away.

  7. Blogger D-Train 

    Sarah,

    I generally agree with your sentiment. I do think, however, that it's essential to remember all sides of the issue in order to better understand why abortions take place and to more closely examine our own beliefs.

    Yeah, I can't even think what having an abortion must be like, but all reliable accounts don't make it seem like peaches and cream.

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