Comment: So, bear

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So, bear

Before I get started on today's TO DO list... I have now listened to Rand Paul's clip and read the exchange here between Henry and you. I guess I agree with Henry on most points, although I agree with you (for one) that this is not a religious issue, at least not per se.

You're right that there are people who are not religious who are anti-abortion, and there are religious people who are not anti-abortion, myself included. What *makes it* a religious issue is that some religions, e.g., Catholic and, it's my understanding, evangelical (and perhaps others) have taken a public stand. And as Christians, we're supposed to serve as an example. Forget that where abortion is concerned. It appears to me that the Catholic church, for one, wants the government to ban abortion for all, what it can't even convince its own to do themselves on moral grounds. That is, it wants the government to legislate morality. Actually, by definition, you can't. It's rather low on the scale of moral development to simply *obey the law*. Jesus had plenty to say about that. I'd say that from a spiritual perspective, morality only exists where there is freedom, that is, not motivated externally (by potential reward or punishment)but where someone is internally motivated by, say, truth, beauty, justice, love... to freely choose to take a particular course of action. Jesus wasn't perfect because He could do no sin; He was perfect because He did not sin although He was tempted as all human being are, and of His own free will He resisted the temptation.

Anyway, I'm happy to expound if I can, or answer questions about my thoughts on the subject (and it's not that I'm saying I'm right, just expressing my personal opinion), but here is why I do not think abortion to be outlawed. Where to begin...

I don't think there is anyone who would doubt that "life" exists as of conception. The issue here is "personhood." That is, the plant and animal kingdoms, along with humans, all have a God-given "life force" that distinguishes them from the strictly material world of minerals (that are formed differently), and so it's not that we simply protect life in toto but only human life. And so the question becomes, *when* do we become bona fide human beings in our own right.

Some believe that that happens at conception. Some say it couldn't without there being the structure and organs that define us as, physically, as human beings, such as a spinal cord or nervous system, that enables us to feel, or a brain, that enables humans to think. For others it's when the baby is formed enough in distinctly human ways such that it could live outside the body of the mother. For others, it's when a baby would be born and take its first breath; for some it's only as of then because they view a human being to only be a human being once it would be imbued with a spirit, which they believe happens *as of* that first intake of breath. Allow me to digress...

When we take in breath, something happens on a universal level. Literally, we become linked in some way with the destiny of all other breathing entities. There is a constant sharing. (There is some interesting etymology roots/links between "spirit" and words that have to do with breathing, notably, respiration, though many words pertaining to breath. This might not be the best entry, just the first, and a brief one, that popped up on google. (Follow through to two clicks: respiration, respire, spirit.) And we do have a *last* breath, that is, a last, dying breath. Just as some believe (me, included) that that is when the spirit leaves the body, or perhaps better said, when the body leaves the spirit! (Paul implies in 2 Cor that to be absent of the body is to be present with the Lord.) In any event, therefore, just as we are no longer alive human beings once we *stop* breathing, the parallel argument would be that we are not alive human beings before we *start* breathing. Okay, so...

1) We ALL agree that *life* exists as of CONCEPTION. And 2) We ALL agree that, as of our BIRTH and taking our first BREATH, we are a *full-fledged human being* in our own right such that we would be conferred the status of a "person" with respect to God-given given rights that the Constitution protects. Those can be considered "facts" or "truth." The whole middle area of gestation cannot be similarly established, that is, whether there is some time earlier than birth at which *life* would be considered akin to a *person* and, if so, when. I personally do not regard a ten-minute in-the-making zygot the same way I do a living, breathing infant. I'll prove it to you. These fertilization clinics sometimes do the mixing of a father's sperm and a mother's egg in a Petri dish. I'd risk my life running in front of a bus to save a newborn baby in the road; I wouldn't for a Petri dish with a microscopic embryo in it. I personally do not consider them the same.

I'm not saying that they aren't the same, just that *I* do not consider them the same. It's just my *opinion*. And when we are speaking of any of that middle-gestation period with respect to personhood, that's all it ever will be, our individual opinions on the matter (whether influenced by mere-mortal religious leaders' opinions on the matter or otherwise). As I see it, God knows, and only God knows.

I disagree with Ron Paul on the issue, and therefore you also, as to this not being a federal issue. I agree with Rand at least there! It makes sense to me that when we have a federal-level Constitution that protects certain rights of all persons, it's appropriate for there to be a *definition* for that purpose (for the protection of those rights). I feel that birth would be appropriate given that that is what, and only what, all Americans can unequivocally agree on. In other words, where any FEDERAL legislation, rights, or responsibilities would be concerned, they would only apply to people who are born. (For one, it would stop any monies from being granted for abortions.)

That is not to say that a state, if its residents should be so inclined, wouldn't be able to *vote* to extend legislation, rights, or responsibilities beyond that. I could move from, or to, another state if I felt strongly enough about it one way or another; I shouldn't be expected to move to another country should I disagree, given that democracy/majority rule does not necessarily define what *truth* is, but would merely be reflecting the majority opinion.

At the state level, however, I would still vote against anti-abortion legislation. There *are* differences of opinion among reasonable, educated adults (as to abortions altogether or as to abortions at one or another stage of development) - some who consider an abortion akin to murder, some who do not consider it murder but nonetheless feel it is immoral, and others who do not consider it either.

And so I feel it's a decision that needs to be left up to one's conscience. Given that some alternative *truth* can not be established, I do not feel that I would have a right to have my opinion dictate to other women what they should do if they held a different opinion, or visa versa. It's a choice that I feel is the mother's right to make. Personally, bear? I know that when I was younger I'd have had no qualms about having an abortion. But while I still do not consider abortion akin to murder, the jury is out on whether I feel it is (personally) immoral. (Except in the case of rape, it would be a choice to put oneself in a situation to *get* pregnant, i.e., begin the creation process, so there is that consideration.) These days, I honestly don't know what I would do in some extenuating circumstance. I just know that I consider it my right, as the mother, to make the decision.

As to religious groups that make abortion such as major issue, I'll just add here that I think it's a travesty that *priorities* are what they are; imagine if churches put as much effort as they do fighting against abortion into helping to change the circumstances of so many already living, breathing children of all ages in this United States living in severe poverty conditions. (Sorry, I just had to say that.)

When I joined the local tea party, one of the core group was someone who was an activist in the pro-life life movement. [Another digression... It was a public relations coup for the anti-abortion activists to come up with the term pro-life, which presumes unborn life at any stage to be equivalent in all regards to a newborn baby. I'm not anti-abortion yet consider myself pro-life. At the very least I do not believe the government has a right to terminate, or cause to be terminated, the life of any human being short of wartime. I'm referring to those on death row. In my book, what happened to *Terry Schiavo* was akin to murder. I'm against the president of the United States granting himself the right to assassinate American citizens. And I'm against pre-emptive wars, no less given the military's inability to control "collateral damage." I'll just never forget Madeline Albright's comment re the half a million Iraqi children who were killed: "Yes, we think it was worth it." (And yes, activists on the other side came up with their own p.r. coup calling themselves pro-choice, presupposing that we all had the right to make such a choice. Crafty, those p.r. people!)] Where was I... yes, my Catholic tea party/anti-abortion activist friend.

I called her one time and asked her to meet me at a diner; I said that I was pro-choice but that I was open to hearing whatever she might want to share with me. We spent a couple hours together, and she gave me some information to read, but there was nothing that changed my mind. The point is, I've been open to thinking that maybe I was missing something here. But no one yet has provided what I consider a convincing argument as to why abortion should be illegal. I do think that young women need to be better educated as to the possible health risks (physical and also emotional consequences), not that I'm saying it's the responsibility of the government except where students are already force-fed sex education. Furthermore, while I am 100% AGAINST mandatory sonograms (!) prior to an abortion, I do think that if we learned more about the actual gestation process, such beauty and complexity! - it's possible that *that* might influence some to make different choices. In fact, when I came across this TED talk, I forwarded it to that pro-life activist friend to add to her spiel. From Conception to Birth. (It's about 10 minutes.)

So, bear, that's the story. Almost noon? I guess I won't go back and read this over for typos - or lapses of logic! - or I'll never get done what I need to. Plus I want to check out that Tesla post I keep putting off. But I'll check back later to see your comments. I know that we disagree, and I respect your opinion, as I'm sure you know by now. But as you asked, that's where I'm coming from on the issue.

So have a nice day. And my advice, fill the lid of a jar with tuna or sardines and put it in the back of the carrier. I use brute force on my cat when he needs to go to the vet (because he's a pussycat, not feral), but I know that FISH is something he simply cannot resist.

Nor me. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir