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Towards A Third Way On Abortion


Haganrih
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Let's sum it up. First, pro-lifers (which pro-choicers would say I am one) believe that abortion is murder because they believe the soul enters the body at conception. Since there is no way to prove the existence of the soul there's no way to prove when it enters the body. Science plays no part. This is all faith.

 

Pro-choicers (which pro-lifers would say I am one) say that noone is FOR abortion and that it is mostly done early or in extreme circumstances. They say, rightly, that abolition Roe v. Wade would lead to dangerous back alley abortions and that the wealthy would still be able to get theirs done on the sly. They also, rightly, say that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is with education, easily available contraception and available health care.

 

There seems to be a kind of abortion, or aborter, that everyone would like to see avoided even if part of it is mythical...that is abortion as birth control. Also, while there is no way to prove the existence of a soul there is some common sense point at which saying that the fetus is NOT a human becomes ludicrous. It has fingers and toes, brain function, feels pain, etc. My wife has been doing ultrasounds for 15 years so I asked her what point that was. She said 8 weeks.

 

My suggestion is to eliminate abortions after the end of the 1st trimester (12 weeks) unless the following can be shown: rape, incest, birth defect, threat to the health of the mother.

 

Yes, this alternative would be uncomfortable for pro-lifers and pro-choicers. It would also be prefereable to both groups than the other group's demands. I think both sides could live with this option and it would be for the common good.

 

Thoughts?

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Seems to be a very sensible approach. Though, I'm a Protestant, I'm a fan of the Catholic Church's famed "consistant ethic of life"; i.e. opposition to abortion, captial punishment, and war. And, though I lean toward pacifism, I affirm the development of Christian "Just War" theory - which allows for the possibility of a potential situations meeting very stringent criteria in order to justify a resort to warfare (this said, very few conflicts would meet these criteria).

 

So, if they already allow exceptions to the rule in regard to war, then there is no logical reason for them to not allow the same for abortion.

 

With this in mind, I (a la Clinton) feel that abortions should be "safe, legal, and rare." I generally don't care to legislate these kinds of things, but I would personally prefer it if there were as few abortions as possible. I'd say, abortions in the 1st trimester ought to be allowed with no abortions after that unless it is highly certain that the fetus would be born with SEVERE birth defects (such as without a brain or with a high liklihood that it would not survive outside the womb beyond 6 months); or in cases of rape; incest; or if the health of the mother would is signficantly at risk.

 

Babies are now considered as being "viable" outside the womb at younger and younger stages of gestation, but they'll never be viable (IMO) within the 1st trimester.

------------

The other "third way"/compromise option that I've considered is employing a King Solomon-like "splitting the baby" decree (pun not really intended, but highly obvious): i.e. to allow abortions for every other person who seeks one.

 

Such a policy would equally frustrate both the ardent pro-lifers and pro-choicers,

and hence, serve to stimulate real compromise solutions such as the one described in the original post of this thread...

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I'm a pro-choice, pro-contraception, pro-education Catholic woman.

 

I also feel that abortions should be rare, because the fetus is a form of life, a potential person, and our lives, our bodies, are really not our own. We did not create ourselves, and because our human-ness connects us to the rest of humanity and to creation -- the mystical body of Christ -- the "it's my body and I can do what I want with it" argument doesn't really ring true.

 

And yet: I did not always feel this way. When I was in my twenties, alienated from my faith, self-centered and immature, and involved in a failing relationship, I had an abortion when I was nine weeks pregnant. I was physically healthy, and the father of my child even wanted to have the baby--although he ultimately supported my decision to abort. But I was just starting a demanding graduate-school program, and I feared that having the child would thwart my future career and keep me enchained in this bad relationship. I seriously considered giving the baby up for adoption, but since the father actually wanted to keep it, it didn't seem like a good option at the time. It's horribly ironic: I had an abortion basically as a form of birth control and because I would not have been able to give the child up for adoption. In retrospect I wish I had given birth to the child, but when you're young and pregnant and confused and emotionally messed-up, it seems like a quick fix.

 

I received no counseling, no alternative suggestions, before I had my abortion. I simply requested one, and was given an appointment date. I seriously think that I might have changed my mind if I had taken the time to examine options. It's also possible that I would have gone on and had the abortion anyway. But I think that offering women real options--individual and family counseling, various types of adoptions, pre-natal and post-natal assistance--could make a world of difference.

 

Yet I don't think that placing more legal restrictions on abortion is a good idea. Stipulating what situations warrant a post-first-timester abortion would simply encourage people to invent health problems that would enable them to have the procedure. There are so many unpredictable reasons why a woman may choose to abort. It may be the wrong choice, but having free will means having the freedom to make the wrong decision. I think the most we can do is be loving and compassionate and ensure that women are aware of the array of options they have concerning their pregnancy. We can work hard to convince and persuade, but not force birth through legal sanction. We can also donate money and time to programs that assist new mothers, particularly young single mothers and mothers in abusive relationships.

 

I think we also need to consider that we live in a pluralistic society, a society of believers, agnostics, and non-believers. There has been no agreement among scientists, theologians, philosophers and different faith traditions on when life begins. It's a huge, gray, ambiguous area. Because of this, abortion cannot really be compared with murder. There is definitely agreement among people of faith and of no faith that premeditated murder is wrong and should be illegal. But since there is no consensus on when pre-natal life begins, abortion should really not be subjected to legal restrictions. On the other hand, abortion is a moral issue, and concerned people and religious and political leaders have the right to denounce abortion and to try to persuade women to give birth.

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If the unborn is a human person, doesn't the government have a duty to protect that life?

 

Biologically, we know that the conceptus is alive, and we know that it has the DNA to classify it as human (human offspring is always human). Hence, it's a living human.

 

This should be central to the debate, IMO.

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I conceed that a fetus is a form of life.

I even conceed that, after a few days or weeks, it is clearly a fetal human life.

But, like our Jewish friends, I do not feel that a fetus is a human person (entitled to legal rights and privileges) until it first draws in the breath of life - i.e. at birth.

 

This said, it is now clear that babies can be born very prematurely and still be viable outside the womb. This is way I tend to frown on abortions after the first trimester.

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The unborn is a form of human life, but it is not (yet) legally considered a human "person." The courts have made no consistent conclusions on when unborn "personhood" begins.

 

The lawyers arguing the Roe v. Wade case contended that "Life is an ongoing process. It is almost impossible to define a point at which life begins or perhaps even at which life ends." Since there was no consensus--scientific, legal, or theological--on when life began, the fetus could not be defined as a person that shared the same rights as the already born, the lawyers argued.

 

The Supreme Court agreed. The majority opinion in Roe v. Wade was that the word "person" had "no possible prenatal application."

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I do not feel that a fetus is a human person (entitled to legal rights and privileges) until it first draws in the breath of life - i.e. at birth.

But then you're faced with the dilemma that you alluded to concerning premature birth: why is a premature baby entitled protection, but an unborn baby of the same age not? The only difference is location and the use of the lungs, which shouldn't be factors determining personhood (watch out all you iron lung users). Scott Peterson is facing one side of this argument: he's being charged for the murder of a fetus still in the womb. How can you murder something that doesn't have legal protection?

 

The unborn is a form of human life, but it is not (yet) legally considered a human "person." The courts have made no consistent conclusions on when unborn "personhood" begins.

The courts aren't infallible, just ask Dred Scott. Just like in his case, more clear thinking can be applied to this issue.

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True, the courts are not infallible because humans are not infallible. But my point is that when we live in a society in which some people deeply believe that the fetus is a person at conception while others deeply believe it is after the first trimester and still others deeply believe it is when the baby takes its first breath -- the courts attempt to legislate in a way that does not impose one group's belief system on others. And the best way to do that is to allow people to act on their own beliefs concerning their own personal reproductive processes while ensuring that the abortion procedure is accessible and safe.

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the courts attempt to legislate in a way that does not impose one group's belief system on others. And the best way to do that is to allow people to act on their own beliefs concerning their own personal reproductive processes while ensuring that the abortion procedure is accessible and safe.

I appreciate your viewpoint, curlytop, but it's impossible for the courts to be neutral in this case. By ruling that the unborn do not deserve protection, the courts have imposed one group's beliefs on another group, namely, the unborn. Allowing people to "act on their own beliefs" implicitly states that one group's desires trumps all else. Which is fine if the unborn really aren't deserving of protection, but disastrous if they are.

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Here's another way I've seen the argument explained, in terms of the rights of the unborn versus the rights of the mother:

 

"If a fetus comes to term and is born, it is because the mother chooses to forgo her own rights and her own bodily security in order to allow that future person to gestate inside her body. If the mother chooses to exercise control over her own body and to protect herself from the potential dangers of childbearing, then she has the full right to terminate the pregnancy . . .

It's actually quite simple. You cannot have two entities with equal rights occupying one body. One will automatically have veto power over the other--and thus they don't have equal rights. In the case of a pregnant woman, giving a 'right to life' to the potential person in the womb automatically cancels out the mother's right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

(quote from Bryan Elroy McKinley, http://elroy.net/ehr/abortionanswers.html.)

 

Here's another argument along similar lines: If I am walking by a lake and a man is drowning, is it illegal for me not to save his life when it is within my power to do so? It may be inhumane, it may be cruel, it may be immoral--but it is not illegal for me not to save his life.

 

Similarly, abortion may be wrong from a moral point of view. But not illegal from a secular "rights" point of view.

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giving a 'right to life' to the potential person in the womb automatically cancels out the mother's right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I'd say that a post-birth child is much more taxing on a woman's "life, liberty, and happiness." It's much more of a burden to raise and care for a child rather than carry it in your body. In both cases the child is attached to the mother: one physically, and one via responsibility.

 

If I am walking by a lake and a man is drowning, is it illegal for me not to save his life when it is within my power to do so? It may be inhumane, it may be cruel, it may be immoral--but it is not illegal for me not to save his life.

In such cases I'd bring back the long-forgotten tactics of shame and censure by the community to curb immoral but legal behavior. Our mentality today says that behavior that is immoral but not illegal should be tolerated and in some cases celebrated.

 

Similarly, abortion may be wrong from a moral point of view. But not illegal from a secular "rights" point of view.

Maybe we should shift the debate from "rights" language to talking about duty and responsibility (do I have the right to do something vs. is that something right). Similar to what I was saying above about there being no middle ground between legal and illegal. If we start talking about the duties and responsibilities mothers have toward their children, that could open up a whole new dialog.

 

(Plus, saying it's "wrong from a moral point of view ... but not illegal" would not have resolved the many injustices in our nation's history.)

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  • 2 weeks later...
I'd say that a post-birth child is much more taxing on a woman's "life, liberty, and happiness." It's much more of a burden to raise and care for a child rather than carry it in your body. In both cases the child is attached to the mother: one physically, and one via responsibility.

It is, but once the child has been born and is separate from the mother's body, the mother has still the choice to raise the child or to have the child be raised by others. Whether or not to accept that "burden" is still up to her.

 

I'm kind of going off on another tangent here, DJC, but here goes:

 

Many people who are pro-choice are not so much "pro-abortion" as they are concerned about finding a pragmatic middle-ground solution that, odd as it may initially sound, might prevent more deaths than a strict adherence to a "pro-life" stance would. For example: my church (Catholic) has recently made a saint out of a woman who gave birth even though it endangered her health and ultimately caused her death. Now, if that was her choice, that's fine. But is this a good moral "example" to use against Roe V. Wade? Is it better for a woman--who may have other children to nurture--to allow herself to die when her death is preventable? Moreover, would outlawing abortion really stop abortion? When abortion was illegal earlier in the twentieth century, women still went ahead with the procedure--often finding unscrupulous "doctors" to do the surgery. This often resulted in ruined reproductive health and even death--for both the woman and the unborn. Is it better for us to outlaw abortion, recognizing that it may result in the deaths of women as well as unborn children, or is it better to allow it to be an acceptable medical procedure, especially when there are women who may die as a result of being pregnant and giving birth?

So some people then say: Well, okay then, we should allow abortion only when we know that it endangers the woman's life. But what seems to happen then is that arguments start coming in about what and wherefore and why the woman's life is endangered -- is her life really endangered or did she just find a wily doctor who is making it appear so? -- and then more stringent regulations get added to the stipulations about the what is endangering a particular woman's life, etc., etc. What would end up happening is that those who are wealthy will do what they want, while those who are poor risk their health and possibly die.

But what if, instead, people of faith focused the heart of their pro-life efforts on providing pre-natal and post-natal assistance for pregnant women -- especially young women and poor women who are on their own -- inviting them with open arms to make the choice to give birth -- providing adoption assistance, if need be, or "parent training" and day care, if need be -- and certainly health care-- and I actually do see this happening in my own church today -- pro-lifers "putting their money where their mouth is," so to speak, and donating money and time to help make that birth choice the joyful choice that it should be -- not something forced or coerced by the government, but an invitiation to love.

And I believe that God never coerces, but always invites. And invites and invites and invites again, even in the face of our rejection and confusion. . .

My prayer is that over time, more and more women will choose to carry their children to term--but my prayer also is that women who need to terminate their pregnancy for medical reasons will not need to lie or do something illegal to save their lives. And I think that the best way for a nation to do so is to keep the procedure legal while increasing charitable efforts to assist women when they are pregnant.

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  • 3 months later...

If you intend to apease the anti-abortion people with this forget it, they're looking for total victory. Make birth control more avaiable, encourage talk of sex between generations, so teens feel comfortable asking for birth control. This openess would cut the preganacies in young women.

 

I've also noticed a pattern with my exgirlfriends. Those who we're virgins until 16 or later felt they were ready, those who lost it before 16 generally felt they rushed into it, and wish they waited. Many girls today start before they're 16. Adults should tell girls that they shouldn't allow pressure to rush them into sex.

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There are several things which seem to not have been adequately noted during the discussion thus far.

 

The first is when life actually begins (although it was noted that the judges on the U.S. Supreme Court apparently said it wasn't possible). Life begins when a huma has all the DNA it needs and beigns developping (ie: conception) A good analogy for viewing this is, a child and an adult are both human, but the child has not yet fully developpeed into an adult. However, the child has all the DNA to develop. Saying that before a certain age a child is not a child amounts to discrimination based on age.

 

This means that ANYTHING which stops impedes the progress of life AFTER conception is ipso facto (yes, breaking out my lack lustre Latin!) abortive.

 

Secondly, the idea that viability outside the womb is grounds for determining life is a faulty premise. It is faulty because if someone has already been born but becomes seriously ill (or enfeebled as in the case fo the ederly) our society does not completely abandon them of medical care. We don't pierce their skulls and suck their brains out with a vaccuum. Thus the premise of vialibity outside the womb is false because it is already not applied in an equal or equitable fashion to the rest fo the population.

 

Thirdly, the anaolgy of war to abortion is faulty because in a war you kill to prevent being killed (and I don't want to get into the reasons for the war and so on) but simply it becomes a matter of kill or be killed. In this way, Saint Gianna Molla could ahve lictly chosen a medical procedure to protect herself that would have INADVERTANTLY killed the child but the primary intention was to save her own health. However, by the grace of God, she chose to give her life fo rthe life of her unborn child. A sacrifice not unlike the sacrifice which Christ made for us on the cross. He could have chosen not to redeem us, but he sacrificed himself for us.

 

Fourthly, the question of the dangerousness of so-called "back alley abortions" has been raised. There are may women who commit "safe" and "legal" abortions thoughout the world, and there is a not negligible percentage who are in some way physcially harmed, and there are a fair number who actually do die. So, it is clear that these "safe" abortions aren't necessarily that safe. But, there are many things which we prevent people from doing in our society and that they do anyways at great personal risk. This argument cannot be used as justification to make an act legal or else every dangerous act woudl be made legal in an attempt to make it safer. It becomes a slippery slope that never ends. Without seeming callous, I would also like to add that the inherent danger of certain things can serve as deterrant to further reduce the number of abortions.

 

Finally, I think it is important to consider what role sexual license plays in thie whole mess. Someone talked about a consistent ethic of life and included war, capital punishment and abortion. It must be noted that a ban on the use of contraceptives is also included in this consistent ethic. Not just because, as I noted in my second paragraph that life beigns at conception, but becaue the use of contraception devlaues the sexual act and lessens the bond created between patners by removing the natural consequences of the marital act. When this aspect is considered it becomes important to note that pregnancy is in fact the NATURAL result of an act which the mother (in all but a very cases) willingly engaged in. But back to the importance of valuing sex. Abortion and contrception allow men to devalue women because they don't ahve to stick around be responsible when the result of their carlesseness is flushed down a sewer or thrown into a dumpster. This devaluing of women (and consequently of the only situation in which the full expression of sexuality has its proper place, namely marriage) by men has accelrated since the inventio of cheap and readily available contraception and the availability of legalized abortion.

 

One final thought, did anyone ever find it weird that you can be fined or even go to jail or being rough with a dog, but the governement will pay for you to murder your child. If the demographics don't destroy us, surely the good Lord will.

 

jamesamdg

 

more of my ramblings can be found at

jamesamdg.blogpot.com

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James, in my experience, there are many women who enjoy having sex for recreational enjoyment and/or relationship building. Such women would NOT agree that sex for such purposes that don't seek to produce a child is necessarily "devaluing of women."

 

But agreed, there are way too many straight men who treat women merely as sex objects, and there are way too many people who are far too promiscuous (have sex too often with too many partners).

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Hi everyone:

 

A small suggestion: listen more closely to women when they talk -- and how they talk, and act -- about abortion.

 

Whether they are prolife or prochoice, many women have a finer understanding that the decision to end a pregnancy is much more complex than hard-liners on either side of the issue make it out to be.

 

I appreciate the variety of contributions to this thread so far. But it's interesting that, as far as I can tell, I am the only women who has contributed to this thread thus far. I wonder why that is?

 

I find the same is true at my church. There are a number of men who will stand up during the "prayers of the faithful" and loudly denounce abortion and anyone who has anything, or has had anything, to do with it. Their tone is often angry, judgmental, and demeaning. They seem to forget the passage from 1 Corinthians, when we are reminded that we can speak as angels but still be a clanging bell if we do not have love. I recognize that this does not necessarily represent the male view. But it's interesting that I don't hear that kind of harsh judgment coming from women, generally. The women are out there praying the prolife rosaries and offering their homes to pregnant women in domestic violence situations and raising money to help women with post-natal care.

 

I have a friend at chuch who has had several abortions and who is now anti-abortion. She now visits churches and tells her story, bravely offering a viewpoint from someone who has had an abortion, who recognizes that women who make such decisions are not monsters or murderers, and her vulnerability, her wounds, and her understanding of the complexities of women's situations are so much more compelling and persuasive than harsh judgments and criticism.

 

Remember Mary, who ponders things in her heart . . . and Jesus, whose ever-flowing mercy is more powerful than condemnation . . .

 

Peace,

 

curlytop

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Abortion and contrception allow men to devalue women because they don't ahve to stick around be responsible when the result of their carlesseness is flushed down a sewer or thrown into a dumpster. This devaluing of women (and consequently of the only situation in which the full expression of sexuality has its proper place, namely marriage) by men has accelrated since the inventio of cheap and readily available contraception and the availability of legalized abortion.

 

I'll have to let my husband know that the vasectomy that he recently underwent so that I won't get pregnant and probably die as a result of a pregnancy, is in fact a DEVALUING of me and my life.

 

After all, I guess we could have chosen NEVER to have sex again? I'm sure THAT would make for a lasting and healthy marriage. :rolleyes:

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I'll have to let my husband know that the vasectomy that he recently underwent so that I won't get pregnant and probably die as a result of a pregnancy, is in fact a DEVALUING of me and my life.

 

Well as I guess as long as you're rolling your eyes at me while taking my comments to a place that clearly weasn't being dealt with in my post.

 

Gee, thanks.

 

Providentially, the Church deals with this very question when it deals with family planning. John Paul II has done a lot of great work on fleshing out this theology in his work on the Theology of the Body (which shouuld be mandatory reading for anyone who considers themselves Christian before getting involved in this sorts of threads)

 

There are methods of preventing pregnancy which are not contraceptive but which still do not allow for pregnancy to occur. The most useful of these (according to my research and in speaking with people I know who do it) is what is commonly referred to as Natural Family Planning (NFP). This isn't the long dismissed rythm method, but rather the Billings Ovulation Method which tracks a woman's fertile periods within her cycle. By not engaging in the marital act during these times a couple can avoid pregnancy whicle not interfering with the integrity of the marital act itself. This method can also be used when a couple is TRYING to have a child because it allows them to be more precise during the fertile periods of a woman's cycle.

 

However, it should be noted that NFP is not to be seen as a Catholic 'contraceptive' and its use should only be considered for "serious" reasons. However, those serious reasons are generally left to the consciecne of a couple and their confessor.

 

As a side-note, your probable death from pregnancy would count as serious reason to use NFP

 

Double side note, NFP when used properly is MORE effective than any articifical means fo contraception.

 

pax

 

 

ps. - I find it interesting that curlytop equates love with general niceness. Is it less loving to tell someone tha a sin is a sin? To give them knowlege which objectivly coudl help them to save their souls? That being said, calling someone a murder etc, is baasically useless because Saint Paul was a murderer too and he went on to become a great Saint. But, just because God forgives doesn't mean we don't have to acknowledge our sins (whatever they might be, I certainly have many vices, they just happen to be more private than abortion) God will not forgive unless asked, and you can't be forgiven until you acknowledge your sins and confess them.

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Required reading??? Didn't know we were here for credit... esp. via the catholic church and its social policy.... not exactly progressive. :)

 

BTW, James, I have a great friend who is catholic and uses the method you describe. It involves checking mucus throughout the month to estimate ovulation, etc. She has 3 lovely children. Was strongly advised not to have # 2 or 3 due to serious, life-threatening complications... not such good results... per contraception. (The kids are fabulous).

 

Back to my drum... radical compassion. Curlytop's friend sounds like s/o Jesus would hang with....

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I'm sorry for the sarcasm. I wasn't purposely intending to take your comments out of context. In rereading your post, I'm not sure HOW I took your comments out of context?

 

becaue the use of contraception devlaues the sexual act and lessens the bond created between patners by removing the natural consequences of the marital act

 

How did I misunderstand the above comment? I'm married. My husband had a vasectomy, which is a form of contraception. By your reasoning, his doing so "devalues" the sexual act by removing the "natural consequences".

 

I don't believe that the only reason to have sex is to create babies. The sex act between humans is different than it is between other species. Humans don't "do it" only out of biological urge or because of estrus (sp?). Sex is a way to express love. That's what it means to me. Should we really "lower" sex between humans to that of animals and only do it to perpetuate the species?

 

I'm only addressing contraception and NOT abortion. I certainly don't view abortion as a form of contraception.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Citing the pope isn't an especially compelling argument to a Protestant. (In fact, it isn't all that compelling to any no. of Catholics.) NOT meant at all sarcastically. Just a fact.

James, even if some of us may have mixed feelings about abortion, I don't think many of us are going to take the Catholic view on birth control.

I thought this thread had to do with trying to find a *middle ground*, imo sex for the purpose of childbearing only isn't exactly a middle ground!!

 

BTW, your point Aletheia, on enjoyment of sex and animals is pretty dead on. For example, you don't see cats enjoying "it". Male cats have a barb on the end of the ######. Yikes. OTOH some of the primates, particularly Bonobos do seem to enjoy it. In fact, unlike chimps they are the "make love not war" types.

 

OTOH, I don't agree with or believe in casual or promiscious sex. I think the consequences should be thought to be emotional, interactional rather than pregnancy. If pregnancy were the only point, then biologically (like in some animals) the chances of getting pregnant should be a lot higher than they are.

 

I also don't see that having sex for babies values women and having sex for other reasons like intimacy or enjoyment within a committed relationship somehow devalues women. What --are we baby machines, only good useful and wonderful for one thing? Actually sounds like a pretty sexist document to me! Does this make single (with no babies) women or childless couples somehow unimportant?

 

 

--des

Edited by des
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Hi everybody:

 

A quote from James' earlier post:

 

"I find it interesting that curlytop equates love with general niceness. Is it less loving to tell someone tha a sin is a sin? To give them knowlege which objectivly coudl help them to save their souls?"

 

I think you make a good point here. Yes, we should offer knowledge that can lead to salvation. It may not necessarily be so-called "nice" knowledge or knowledge that people want to hear.

 

But we also need to take a look at the manner in which we offer that knowledge. If we are not offering it with humility, compassion, and utmost hospitality, how are we going to be vessels of God's all-embracing love? If the people on the receiving end of our "knowledge" feel rejected and condemned by us, then what we have done is not loving. Knowledge offered in the spirit of love attracts and invites; knowledge offered in the spirit of hostility and judgment repels and creates resistance.

 

Love goes way beyond "general niceness." Paul gives us the attributes of love in 1 Cor 13: "Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. Love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

 

Jesus admonishes his followers to avoid condemning and judgmental attitudes: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Only those without sin --that is, none of us -- can throw those stones of judgment.

 

One of the most significant -- and for me, compelling and challenging -- teachings in the Christian tradition, be we Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or what have you, is that we are to be conduits of Jesus's mercy, and leave the judgment to God.

 

Okay, time for me to get down off my soapbox . . .

 

Regards,

 

curlytop

Edited by curlytop
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But while I'm here maybe I'll climb back on the soapbox to put my two cents in about contraception . . .

 

I think that Natural Family Planning can be a beautiful way for a couple to express their faith. People who choose to follow this method often find that it deepens their spirituality and enhances their respect for the power and beauty of sex . . .

 

But it's not for everyone. So it should not be demanded of everyone.

 

And many of you may find this interesting: the Catholic Church came so close to endorsing artificial contraception. In 1966, bishops on a commission originally appointed by Pope John XXIII voted nine in favor, three against, and three undecided on the issue of artificial birth control. But Pope Paul VI, in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, rejected the commission's vote and reiterated the official ban on contraception. This pronouncement came as a bit of a shock. Many Catholics of the time assumed that artificial birth control was on its way to being fully endorsed, and started using it. To this day, most of them still do.

 

And I have to admit that the ban doesn't make much sense to me. Through NFP, a couple is allowed to exercise a modicum of control as they see fit. So why not go ahead and allow a couple to choose a method that's more reliable?

 

Okay, the last of my two cents for tonight,

 

Peace,

curlytop

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Curlytop--

 

I think you hit the nail on the head. I've said before, people (or churches) usually go to one extreme or the other in every area of theology/doctrine. Regarding sin the two camps are "don't ever mention sin, you might offend someone" and "call out sin wherever you see it, no matter if you crush people in the process."

 

I love Jesus's example with the woman caught in adultery--he ministered grace to her, but he also told her to sin no more. Likewise, he pointed out that the woman at the well had 5 husbnads, and the one she was living with now was not her husband, but he extended grace to her.

 

Jesus, whose very life defines love, was never soft on sin. He began his ministry calling for repentance.

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