Smashmouth Incrementalism, Part Dos

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So I wrote this piece a few days ago, and it has engendered some responses. The best one I have seen was offered up by Toby Sumpter, with which I entirely agree. In addition to what Toby said, allow me to make just a few additional, scattered observations.

I have been ardently pro-life from the moment I first knew what the issue was. My wife and I were instrumental in starting the crisis pregnancy center here in Moscow. When abortions were still being done here in town, I picketed the clinic that performed them, and I have been arrested at a clinic in Spokane. I have preached on it, and written on it over the course of many years. Right-to-life has been the cornerstone issue of my political involvement for all the decades of my adult life. Not to overstate the case, but . . . “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17).

Now in McDurmon’s and Reasnor’s response to my piece they rejected, quite rightly, any approach whatever that concluded with “and after that you can kill the baby.” For not one moment in all these years have I countenanced that kind of thinking. After that, we demand the next thing.

There is a species of incrementalism—one suspects—that would be willing to quit the fight once we have an America that had no huge abortion mills, but morning after pills were the norm, and babies with the misfortune of having a rapist father were still fair game. That kind of tepid incrementalism ought never to be defended. Unprincipled compromises ought not to have principled defenders.

But flip it around. I mentioned the Gramscian cultural Marxists. When they demand that 10 million acres be set aside as a wilderness area, not one person in America believes that they think something like “and outside that area, you can cut down all the trees and lay asphalt a foot thick.” No—everyone knows that they are going to be back next year demanding more acreage, still in the millions. We trust them to act in accordance with their stated convictions. And in that trust, they have not let us down.

Impatient abolitionists appear not to trust any incrementalists, and in a number of cases I understand why. But, as Toby points out, we are all incrementalists. McDurmon and Reasnor distinguish their position from “overnightism.” Yes, exactly. Can we talk?

If someone has compromise in his heart, then geographical incrementalism (approved by McDurmon and Reasnor) could be just as problematic as that posed by “after twenty weeks” legislation. If there is an incipient permission to kill babies prior to twenty weeks in the latter, then how is the former not incipient permission to kill babies on the basis of longitude and latitude? And after that, “you can kill the babies conceived in New York State.” No to all of that kind of compromise. But the compromise is always in the heart, and not in the nature of the increment. Our reply should sound like Nancy Pelosi on gun control. And after that we will be back, demanding more.

So why did I write my piece? I was responding to what I regarded as some rhetorical missteps in our own circles. If you sow the wind, it is possible that you might well reap the whirlwind. There is at the very least a strong temptation contained within the term abolitionism, and I don’t think there is nearly enough awareness of the possible problem. So there I was, raising awareness.

Impatience is the hallmark of revolutionaries, not reformers. But I only want to be an incrementalist the same way that yeast works through the loaf incrementally. A year or so ago I got a request that I sign on to a petition for abolishing abortion in Idaho. I read it, thought it was poorly written and unbiblically draconian, and so I begged off. Next thing I knew there was an Internet agitation threatening to have our church picketed. Why picket abortion mills when you can picket “strategically inadequate” pro-life churches? That is the kind of impatience I am concerned about.

The historian Christopher Dawson once said that the Christian church lives in the light of eternity and can afford to be patient. Now I know that patience can look like compromise, and compromise can pretend to be patience. But there is a difference.

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Trey Mays
Member

Doug, thank you for responding to Joel’s piece criticizing smashmouth incrementalism (and a thanks to Toby Sumpter as well). I like Joel and American Vision and love what they do for Christian Reconstructionism, but I felt like Joel was doing exactly to “smashmouth incrementalism” what he accuses/complains about dispensationalists/premillennialists doing to “postmillennialism.” Emotional mischaracterization. It was unfortunate.

bdash
Guest
bdash

at the end of the day it is about manipulating and playing the game…
Doug obviously knows how to play it…

Kinda like New Zealand- very liberal
yet abortion is still a crime
you can get one after jumping through the loopholes- but it not recognized as a right

its important though
small wins…

asdf
Guest
asdf

The problem with this thought is that you don’t do it for any other sort of sin. If you have a man in your church who regularly watches pornography, you tell him that he needs to stop. Knocking it down to only two hours a week is not victory. It is not to be celebrated. You’ll still discipline that man until he really truly has stopped.

The situation isn’t over in New Zealand either, if what you said is true. They still need to be called to repentance, women and men and politicians alike.

bdash
Guest
bdash

except this is about dealing with it with the world
not internally with the body of Christ

using your example
no we do not tell a man who watches porn to stop thinking about sex…
we tell him to have sex with his wife, and if not married- to get married

the whole wet blanket thing does not work

bdash
Guest
bdash

as for New Zealand
the current Prime Minister does not believe in abortion and I doubt he believes in contraception either with the number of kids he has….

I doubt the USA would ever elect such a man to be the leader of their country

insanitybytes22
Member

So, he makes quite a good point here, “If we want the world to learn to love and honor motherhood and fatherhood, we can’t demand that they do that while not practicing that in our own ranks.” Our culture has a heart problem, not so much a legal problem. Sad to say, it is in our churches too, sometimes. The vast majority of those seeking abortion do not love and honor themselves, let alone honoring the idea of motherhood and fatherhood. If women fully understood their own worth and value, they would not be trying to execute a part of… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

Our culture has a heart problem, yes. Our culture also has a legal problem. They feed into each other, and to claim that we must focus entirely on one, to the exclusion of the other, is not faithful to our Lord. God lays commands upon individuals, and upon entire nations, and we are called to disciple both. Also, I must point out that you’re leaving out the context of Sumpter’s statement there: It’s important that we listen carefully to our fathers in the faith on this topic, especially those who have been arrested for protesting abortion in the past. Honoring… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“He’s very much talking about honoring our fathers and mothers as pertains to the legal fight against abortion.” I have a feeling he is not reducing that down to “honor your mother and father only as it pertains to the legal fight against abortion.” I think he is speaking of creating a culture of life and reflecting it with some integrity. You cannot create a culture of life by focusing on the legal aspects of abortion having to do with punishment and potential execution, because that is an attempt to create a fear based authoritarian culture of death. Not only… Read more »

Vva70
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Vva70

He’s not reducing anything. But the sentence you quoted was part of a particular context. You say that trying to fight the legal battle of abortion (while not ignoring the Gospel battle against sin, I reiterate) is “an attempt to create a fear based authoritarian culture of death.” Meanwhile, Paul says: For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“So the Scriptures seem to take a different understanding of punishment…”

But Jesus Christ came and blessed us with his unmerited favor. Our gospel IS the gospel of grace. Those who have murder in their heart and a blood lust for the heads of women, are twice the murderers they are, and have no business pointing fingers at anyone else.

Like it or not, people’s argument falls flat when they perceive themselves as the self-appointed handman of a wrathful Old testament God who seeks only to punish women for sin.

insanitybytes22
Member

Here is something else he said that I thought was fabulous,

“Part of what seems to be going on is a certain subtle form of sentimentalism combined with hyper-machismo. Here’s the deal: sin brought death into the world. We’ve been killing one another since Cain. We are all murderers in our hearts.”

That is an understanding of the true nature and need for grace. That is what will win hearts and minds.

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

Within the very verses I quoted to you, Paul spoke of the civil authority saying “For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” Paul speaks as one who has seen the risen Christ. He speaks as one who has shared the Gospel of grace as an apostle of Jesus to the Gentiles. And in the very words of Scripture, he says that the civil authority carries out God’s wrath. And yet you seek to avoid this by saying “Like it or not, people’s argument falls flat when they perceive themselves as… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“And in the very words of Scripture, he says that the civil authority carries out God’s wrath.”

Notice he does NOT instruct YOU to become the civil authority, “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

True. But our politicians and police and judges and other public officials are the civil authority in the sense that Paul speaks of. And we in American society, bear responsibility for our votes, our political donations, our activism, and our general political behavior, when it comes to selecting and influencing these leaders.

insanitybytes22
Member

Something else he said that was awesome, “The other way of overshooting would be insisting that mothers be prosecuted for first degree murder. Yes, mothers are complicit in the murder of their babies, but the Bible makes distinctions between certain degrees of guilt and Western law has developed those principles. Those sorts of violent or clunky tactics really do set the movement back. “

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

I agree with him on that. The attempt, to which Wilson also alludes in this post, to call for first degree murder charges to abortion in all cases, was neither shrewd nor Biblical. First degree murder would be appropriate in most cases for the “doctor” performing the procedure, but even with him there might be mitigating circumstances. I’d imagine that most women having first abortions would probably be closer to voluntary manslaughter. Boyfriends/partners, too, if they can be demonstrated to have aided and abetted the abortion (such as by paying for it or transporting the woman to it) should be… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree with you. I think the call for first degree murder convictions is a reflection of the frustration people feel over the unacknowledged culpability of women. But i think it is massive legal over-reach. In the centuries when abortion was illegal in the U.S. and abortionists were sent to prison, the women who had the abortions faced no legal consequences. Many state laws explicitly identified the woman as a secondary victim. I am sure that part of their thinking was pragmatic. The conviction of an abortionist usually required the testimony of his patient. What woman facing severe punishment would… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe, I don’t think it is only women who would be facing execution. The sites I have read in favor of executing women who have abortions are also in favor of executing the abortionist, the clinic staff, and the boyfriend who paid the bill. I don’t believe that many legislatures would vote for such measures, and even if they did, they would not pass court scrutiny. When serial killers don’t face automatic death sentences, they would hardly be allowed to impose them on women who have abortions. And first degree murder is a legal concept, not just a description of… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I agree that death penalty for abortive mothers isn’t a societal priority. But I think you are mistaken about the nature of first degree murder. It’s generally used for the premeditated taking of innocent human life. Securing an abortion is clearly premeditated. The only viable defense would be something like insanity, or perhaps “my worldview says that it’s not a person.” But then, claiming that a child in the womb is not a person doesn’t make it anything like an accident, does it? If you allow that sort of thing to determine what is and isn’t premeditated murder, well, it… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“I agree that death penalty for abortive mothers isn’t a societal priority”

Yeah, but “not a priority,” is not the same thing as saying it’s off the table. And therein lies the problem with several factions of the pro-life movement, it is not based on life, love, or grace, it is rooted in a desire to punish women. If the bulk of the pro-life movement ever got it’s heart right, abortion would fall. The reason why “punished with a baby” resonated so well with many folks is because it spoke to the heart lurking beneath the surface.

Nathan James
Member

MeMe said: “Yeah, but “not a priority,” is not the same thing as saying it’s off the table.” And if it should be off the table then a logical argument needs to be made to that effect. It’s no good condemning people as anti-woman. That is manipulative, if not outright slanderous, and doesn’t shed any light on the proper punishment for securing an abortion. I believe this reasoning is sound: 1. the appropriate penalty for murder is execution 2. abortion is murder 3. therefore those who solicit abortions should be executed If you want to dispute either premise or the… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Nathan, the claim that attempts to ban abortion (and execute women who have abortions) is an attempt to control women may be a bit simplistic, but it’s not entirely off the mark either. The real control issue is to continue to tie sex to procreation. At least some of the hostility to legal abortion is really directed at recreational sex, in which people enjoy sex (maybe but not necessarily with someone they are married to) but don’t have children as the result. In the old days, one of the deterrents to fornication was the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Now… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Still sounds like facile and manipulative propaganda to me. You did say it well, however.

I’ll take this opportunity to note that it’s quite unreasonable to suggest that a woman could abort the baby if she wants to, but the man simply has to face his responsibility if she chooses to keep the child. It’s quite a double standard. But then, men generate so much less sympathy.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Nathan yes, it is a double standard, but in this case it’s a double standard based on the biological reality that even a wanted pregnancy creates massive disruptions in a woman’s body and life, and men suffer nothing similar. The time for a man to make his reproductive choices is before the sperm leaves his body. And while legal abortion does give a woman a second bite at the apple of choice, that doesn’t begin to compensate for what a woman goes through in pregnancy and childbirth.

Nathan James
Member

I have trouble thinking that a person of your obvious intelligence can believe this double standard is fair. Appropriate financial compensation for ~3 months of pregnancy and an abortion procedure would be far, far less than 18 years of child support. I’m not sure “ironic” is a strong enough word for someone suggesting that restricting abortion is significantly about controlling women and at the same time advocating that a man be chained to child support for 18 years as a result of someone else’s choice to not abort.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Who said anything about it being fair? It’s not. Neither is it fair that some people are rich and good looking and I’m not. Life is unfair. So the question is not whether it’s fair, but whether it’s good public policy. Every man knows that any time he has sex with a woman, there is the possibility that she might become pregnant, and if she does, he will be on the hook for child support if she decides to have the baby. This is not some well-hidden secret; this is something that anyone who is minimally observant should know. He… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Now you’ve shifted your argument from “biological reality” to defensible, but arbitrary public policy. So I’ll simply restate the obvious: it’s incoherent to suggest that anyone could legitimately complain about an attempt to control women if they’re going to accept arbitrary control of men for the purpose of someone’s idea of a happy society. That’s a sexist double standard.

insanitybytes22
Member

If every man who had sex with a woman believed, I am risking marriage and a minimum of 18 yrs of child support,than we would have an equitable distribution of harm. The truth however, is that many men don’t think that way at all. If they did, there would be a lot less unprotected sex going on. The “control of women” that is going on is about perceiving her as the one who should step up and take responsibility and raise his child,and she should be punished if she doesn’t.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

It’s not arbitrary, except to the extent that biology is arbitrary. Pregnancy impacts women in a way that it does not impact on men. The double standard is simply a recognition of that fact.

What rule that you would consider non-arbitrary would you put in its place?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Krychek, I have been scratching my head about this one. It sounds like a reasonable argument until you start to pull it apart. “Is it fair that one sexual act can result in 18 years of child support?” is merely silly because fairness doesn’t enter into biological realities. “Is it fair that a man has to pay child support when he doesn’t get to decide whether or not the baby is aborted” is the underlying question. Well, maybe not, but it is a weird question to find on the lips of a pro-lifer. In fact, the more I think about… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Nathan, it seems to me that the only way to make this double standard “fair” would be to give the man an equal voice in the decision. This would surely produce an unfavorable outcome for anyone who would prefer that women not abort their children. I don’t know how many men are currently miserable because their girlfriends aborted their children, in spite of their willingness to undertake the obligations of fatherhood. But I do know that some men urge their pregnant girlfriends to abort because of their reluctance to play even a minor supportive role. Tying the duty of child… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Certainly that would not be in the best interest of the child. The double standard can be avoided in either direction. The correct solution is rather obviously to acknowledge that men and women undertake new responsibilities when their sexual activity produces a child, full-stop. The pro-choice crowd is inconsistent to support mandatory child support because it is their position that no child is produced by sexual activity at all. They claim that it requires several months of gestation and could still be prevented if the woman chooses to do so. Such an argument places the final decision as to whether… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, we do know better. But I still think it is problematic to link the question of a father’s consent to the issue of financial support–which was mandatory in many places long before legal abortion. In Britain and Canada, any time a woman applied for welfare she was required to name the father of the child. I think it is reasonable to ask if the father of a child should ever have veto power over its mother’s decision to abort, and if so, under which circumstances it should apply. But tying the duty of financial support to consent has the… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I hope you understand that I’m not suggesting the father be given a similar right of killing his child as we currently ascribe to mothers. What I’m doing is simply pointing out the incoherence of legalized abortion and mandatory child support.

The fact that pointing out this incoherence seems to suggest more children be killed is an indication of the deep immorality of our society. We can more easily picture our society killing even more babies than sparing those we now slay.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Nathan, everything connected to our abortion policy strikes me as incoherent not to mention schizophrenic. Scott Peterson is on CA’s death row because double murder qualified as a special circumstance. One of his victims was his unborn son. A father can’t block an abortion but in some states he can block an adoption that is clearly in the newborn’s best interest, regardless of whether he intends to exercise any right to joint custody or whether he has any relationship with the mother or whether he intends to be a part of the child’s life. I’m not necessarily arguing against those… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Nathan, your fundamental premise is flat out wrong. In order for it to be a true double standard, the two have to be what the law calls “similarly situated” and men and women are not similarly situated. Pregnancy and childbirth happen to women, not to men. If men got pregnant and gave birth too, then men and women would be similarly situated. But because they are not similarly situated, it is not a double standard to treat them differently, any more than it’s a double standard for a prospective employer to treat a candidate with a Ph.D. differently than a… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Not at all, Krychek. You’ve forgotten significant parts of what I’ve written in describing the double standard and you’ve lost sight of the argument. The man is (partly) responsible for the pregnancy, but if pregnancy is not a child, he can not be responsible for the child. Since the man and woman are both responsible for the actions that lead to pregnancy they should share the costs. The costs, as I’ve said, of a few months of pregnancy and an abortion are far less than equivalent to 18 years of child support. I never suggested that under either the pro-choice… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Whether or not the fetus is a child, and whether or not he’s responsible for the costs of pregnancy, there is no doubt that once the child has been born it is a child and somebody has to support it. Those somebodies are the people without whom it wouldn’t be here. If he doesn’t want to support a child, he needs to use birth control. And again, he knows up front that those are the rules, whether he agrees with them or not. It’s not unusual for the same act to have different consequences for different people. Sometimes that’s because… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Krychek, I’m still not totally understanding Nathan’s argument, so he can tell me if I’m getting it wrong. But think of the issue as philosophical rather than practical, and bear in mind that pro-lifers don’t draw a line, as you do, between unborn and born. So: (1) The law agrees with women that the fetus is not a child. Otherwise the law could not countenance taking its life. (2) But if the woman decides that the fetus is human and lets it live, the law agrees with her and compels the father to support it. So which is it? I… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Nathan, suppose that a casual fling results in an unwanted pregnancy. If she decides to abort, the man is off the hook and pays nothing. If she decides to keep the baby, it costs the man 18 years of child support. Under our laws, how would eliminating the legal obligation of child support not tend to increase the number of women who have abortions? Or, would you tie the duty of child support to a man’s having a voice in the decision? If a man has a legal voice in the decision, what should happen in cases where the man… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

At least some of the hostility to legal abortion is really directed at recreational sex

Let me stop you there. I am, as a Christian, in opposition to sex outside of marriage. I am not opposed to sex inside of marriage for reasons other than procreation (for example, in older couples where the woman is post-menopause). I am opposed to abortion regardless of whether the intercourse which produced the child was, per my understanding, licit or illicit.

So how do you propose to demonstrate that my opposition to abortion is really opposition to recreational sex?

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Vva70, I did not say that everyone who opposes abortion does so for that reason. I’m glad to hear that yours isn’t, even though I continue to disagree with you on whether abortion should be legal.

insanitybytes22
Member

“If you want to dispute either premise or the logic of the argument, I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.” Okay. I have now have no desire to bring a child into a world ruled by a kind of logic that is so devoid of love, compassion,and empathy, that it seeks to execute broken women who not only can’t see their own worth,they would actually feel immoral bringing a child into a world. What is wrong with the premise of your “logic” is that it arms the enemy and fuels the pro-choice movement. “It’s no good condemning… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Yeah, that’s not how reasoning works.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe, I am sure there are women like the ones you are picturing here. But there are also women–and I know a few–who were not broken in the sense you mean and who did not question their own worth. They had abortions because they did not want to give the fast track to partnerships at law firms or residencies at good hospitals. They did not want to be single mothers. And some were married and simply did not want a third child. Most women who have abortions for reasons of personal convenience probably don’t let themselves realize what they are… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

Yeah, but “not a priority,” is not the same thing as saying it’s off the table. And therein lies the problem with several factions of the pro-life movement, it is not based on life, love, or grace, it is rooted in a desire to punish women.

Should the death penalty be “off the table” for men who commit premeditated rape and murder of women? If you’re against the death penalty in all cases for all criminals, then just say so. That would at least be a consistent position.

insanitybytes22
Member

I am opposed to the DP, but the nature of my argument is that you are charged with winning hearts and minds within the culture if you wish to effect change. One reason why the pro-life message has failed to resonate properly is because it is far too often rooted in fear, punishment,and a desire to execute women. Justice as vengeance rather than restoration. Such things have driven me away from the pro-life camp, the majority of others who are far less empathic are actually now locked and loaded against it.

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

If you are opposed to the death penalty in general, then that explains some of your argument and attitude. Please show some charity in evaluating the arguments of others. We don’t have “a desire to execute women” in the sense of an eagerness to shed blood. Rather, we believe that the death penalty is a solemn charge that the civil authority is commanded by God to use in punishment of the most heinous crimes. If I believed it would be faithful to God’s commands to rule out the death penalty entirely, I’d be all over that. It would be so… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I understand that, VVa70. It is both charitable and fair to assume that people follow their religious beliefs and the dictates of conscience in deciding these issues. It’s not kind or fair to think that if you don’t agree with me, you must be some kind of monster. My church teaches that the death penalty is legitimate but that it is not mandatory. It says that even the OT has lots of exceptions. If there were no prisons, it would be okay to execute serial killers rather than let them loose to kill innocent people. But, because we do have… Read more »

bethyada
Member

The exceptions for the death penalty in the OT was for crimes that were not murder.

The Mosaic Law specifically says that the death penalty could not be exempted for murder.

(Whether this holds post Christ is a further issue, but we need to be clear on what the Law stated).

bethyada
Member

One reason why the pro-life message has failed to resonate properly is because it is far too often rooted in fear, punishment, and a desire to execute women.

Really?

The message has failed worse outside the US and I have never heard anyone talk about the death penalty for women in any pro-life groups or literature.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think support for executing women who have abortions is very rare in the U.S. Even the most radical group I am aware of does not call for it. Those who do see it as some future possibility rather than something that could be legislated immediately upon making abortion illegal. I don’t think people’s attitudes typically come from a passionate desire to make women pay. But even reasonable, kindly people can grow tired of being required to view everyone who has an abortion as an innocent victim. Even I can grow weary of that. Even though my own dear mother… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

But for at least thirty years after Roe, we never heard about punishment and vengeance. We heard about showing love and support to women facing crisis pregnancies. (And I agree that we should show love and support.) But despite the number of supportive options available to them, a lot of women have chosen abortion. We can’t say that the reason the pro-life message failed back in 1990 is that women were being threatened and punished; they weren’t, and nobody was talking about it.

insanitybytes22
Member

“We can’t say that the reason the pro-life message failed back in 1990 is that women were being threatened and punished”

We can. I just did. Many others have been saying it, too. And the evidence of that desire is right here in this very thread.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well of course you can say it, but can you offer the slightest bit of evidence? I am not denying that there are now some people with very punitive attitudes. I am not denying that NOW there are a few people who want to execute women who have abortions. What people say and think today has nothing to do with the point I was making. Which was: there was no public demand for the execution of women who had abortions in the decades immediately following Roe. So, whatever caused the pro-life message to fail in 1990, it was not that.

insanitybytes22
Member

“…there was no public demand for the execution of women who had abortions in the decades immediately following Roe”

How easily you gloss over all the arson, bombings,and outright murder. Also, calling for the DP is exactly that,a desire to punish women.

I’ll say it again, what has caused the pro-life movement to lose favor in the eyes of the general public since the 90’s has been exactly that, a heart issue that seems to place a higher priority on women being punished and threatened than it does on stopping abortion.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Arson and bombings were directed at abortion clinics outside office hours. There has been massive property damage directed against clinics, and there have been murders and attempted murders. This violence has been directed against abortion providers and their staff, not against their patients. This violence is appalling. But it does not prove that there was a public demand in the 1980s and 1990s for the execution of women who have abortions. It proves that there was hostility toward abortionists, and that some criminal fanatics illegally used violence against them. What on earth does that have to do with people who… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“An abortion killer could actually be sympathetic to women and want to save them from committing a dreadful sin.” Want to spin for some jihadists, too? I mean after all, they’re only chopping women’s heads off out of love and a desire to prevent them from committing sin. You and others do serve to remind me why I stay so far away from the pro-life movement. I’d tell you stories of the women I’ve met who carried a deformed fetus, often missing a brain, and the efforts they a had to go through, the moral confusion, the grief, the battle… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe, have you noticed that when someone asks you for evidence, you never say that you don’t have any evidence. You ignore their request and tell them how awful they are. You have no idea what I think should be done in the situations you mention. You have no idea whether I think Catholic hospitals have a moral right to demand that people carry around dead babies. The only thing you know for sure is that I don’t believe people were demanding the death penalty for women in 1990. If you have read other posts on here, you already know… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Nathan, I agree with you that disagreement about whether the unborn baby is innocent human life would not be an automatic defense. But the reason abortion looks so premeditated to us is that the fact that it is currently legal. It is hard to argue that a woman who looks up the address of an abortion clinic, makes an appointment, and undergoes whatever counseling and waiting period the law requires in her state doesn’t know exactly what she is doing. But, in a new landscape where there are no abortion clinics, premeditation would be much harder to prove. Did she… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Three responses to Jill: 1. I can agree that if abortion were strictly illegal it would be harder to prove when and if an intentional abortion has taken place. 2. It is not uncommon for investigators and prosecutors to grant immunity in exchange for testimony. There is no reason why immunity should be off the table even if the maximum potential punishment includes execution. 3. As to pregnancy making women crazy I’ll just say I’m skeptical about that. But then I’m skeptical about the insanity defense in principle, and even if we admit the principle, I feel we should wary… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Nathan, what complicates this issue is trying to fit abortion into our current criminal justice system. I can only imagine that people would generally support executing women who have abortions as part of a system based on a return to Biblical justice principles–i.e. a theocratic society. In such a society, there would probably not be so many qualifications and restrictions that take the death penalty off the table for all but the most heinous offenses. In my state, first degree murder does not qualify for the death penalty unless it is accompanied by special circumstances, all of which carry a… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I agree with everything you say here except the part about a theocracy being needed. I think any human society could easily conclude that execution is the fitting punishment for most murders. I think western civilization’s move away from the death penalty is aberrant.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Nathan, I don’t want to side track this discussion, so I’m not going to say a lot about the death penalty, but my opposition to the death penalty is based in large part on the fact that I’ve been in the legal business for 40 years, and over the past 40 years I’ve seen the screw ups the system is capable of producing. I don’t trust the courts to get it right. And it’s a bit surprising to me that conservatives, who don’t trust government to get anything else right, assume that somehow the state magically acquires the wisdom of… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Jill, the experience in some countries where abortion is illegal is that women who miscarry are presumed to have induced an abortion and have the burden of proving otherwise There are women doing long prison sentences for not being able to prove that the miscarriage really was a miscarriage. Do not underestimate the raw cruelty that ideologues and fanatics are capable of.

bdash
Guest
bdash

awww, which country and where?
a huge minority compared to the millions women have murdered

Nathan James
Member

This whole men vs. women thing is really twisted.

bdash
Guest
bdash

yes I understand
this idea that women should also be punished for murder is difficult to handle!

Nathan James
Member

I have no trouble with the idea that women guilty of crimes should be punished. What I have a problem with, and I think we all should, is viewing the world as a conflict between men and women. It’s an affront to the dignity of both sexes and wholly destructive of society. I beseech you (and others who engage in it) to cease using rhetoric that paints women and men as adversaries.

bdash
Guest
bdash

unless you are living under a rock
that is the conflict in the western world.
Women started it- men are slowly after 50 years beginning to retaliate…
I guess you just do not like the consequences of men retaliating to female nonsense.

Nathan James
Member

The fact that feminism has undertaken to destroy families and friendly social relations is no reason for some kind of man-ism to come along and help finish off the job.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Nathan, I couldn’t agree more. Very well said.

bdash
Guest
bdash

yes it is
men who do not retaliate are just submitting to feminism.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree, and I think we should resist the temptation to be pushed into it. On either side. It is unhelpful, and it tends to produce bad arguments based more on grievance than on logic.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, I agree. But I think that the number of Americans who actually want a Saudi-style criminal justice system is small. As you noted, the public’s enthusiasm for the death penalty is declining. I can’t see, under normal circumstances, a state legislature making abortion a capital offense, a jury imposing it, or the appeals system upholding it.

bethyada
Member

Could you name 3 countries where this is the case and point us to the relevant laws?

bethyada
Member

There are currently more than 700 women in prison in Mexico for abortions and miscarriages.

Well which is which?

And a miscarriage of justice is not the same as a draconian law that is enforced.

I don’t advocate punishment for a miscarriage, it is terrible. But there is no law saying miscarriages have to be proven as such. Moreover, theses pieces are written by people who are pro-abortion and take the accused at face value. Of course I am in no position to know, nor to I think the third world justice system is honest.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Even if a legal system is not hopelessly corrupt, it may not recognize the presumption of innocence. In the U.S., the state would have the burden of proving that a miscarriage was induced. Not necessarily true in other jurisdictions.

bdash
Guest
bdash

why not? It is so frustrating that women always get away with crime or get lesser punishments. an abortionist cannot murder without the authority of the woman murderers deserve the death penalty or life in Jail in fact I am confident mothers would like to know which other women in their neighborhood are willing to murder their children, it would greatly influence who they would allow the children to go and play MeMe like most women just wants women to not be punished for crime. kinda like all the women teachers who rape boys and get not even a quarter… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Looking it up online, I can’t see anywhere in the U.S. that a man has been executed for performing abortions in the last 150 years. A man who killed an abortionist was executed, but not the other way round.

I know women who have had abortions. Most women probably do know a few. I try very hard to think about it. But I have no reason to think they are more likely to murder a visiting child than any other woman is.

bdash
Guest
bdash

look up murder

bdash
Guest
bdash

Maybe you have no reason to think
but others would
I doubt most mothers would send their kids to play at another moms house knowing that she is willing to murder her own children!

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Would you concede that a woman who has had an abortion might be deeply repentant? Should she be kept away from children for the rest of her life, even though the abortion was legal?

There is no evidence whatsoever that women who have abortions pose any risk to their born children or to any other child. I would not, on the other hand, have let Andrea Yates babysit my child.

bdash
Guest
bdash

There is no evidence whatsoever that gay parents pose any risk for their child…
What about male pedophiles?

would you let your kids hang our with gay couples?

if she is repentant fine! hang out!

but common sense dictates one does not let their kids play in the house of a baby murderer

only on the 21st century is such common sense seen as outrageous!!!

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Bdash, I don’t think that every gay is a pedophile. But, even if I did–which I don’t–I live in Los Angeles. My child had gay teachers, gay doctors, gay therapists, gay vocal coaches, gay dance teachers, and gay film directors. I live in a condo with gay couples as neighbors. My child’s friends have gay parents. How on earth could I have prevented her from interacting with gays? By the way, my daughter was a very pretty teenager, and her looks sometimes made her a target for inappropriate adult attention. But never from lesbians. “By the way, before I let… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

bdash, I don’t support the death penalty for men either, and I do think women teachers who have sex with students should get the same sentence as male offenders. If that cheers you up any.

Jared Pine
Guest
Jared Pine

I found myself in 90% agreement here, but geographic incrementalism is not the same as the kind of incrementalism that is in a 20 week bill. Criminalizing abortion in one state says nothing positive about the morality of abortion in another state. However, a 20-week bill does strengthen the legality of abortion in the first 20 weeks.

Nathan James
Member

I don’t see that it strengthens such a view if the previous arrangement was that abortion was legal out to 40 weeks.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Where are these victories? Roe still stands and doesn’t look to fall anytime soon. Patience presumes some progress has been made, but on abortion the culture hasn’t budged for decades. You have about 20% who think it should be banned, 20% who think it should be completely unrestricted, and 60% somewhere in the middle. The cultural tastemakers are all with the second group there (which of course means that they can’t manage to shift the numbers either), but they are able to pull a motte-bailey type maneuver where they claim the 60% is also with them. Pro-lifers don’t have the… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Matt, I think the victories for the anti-abortion side have come from states imposing regulations that make it difficult for abortion providers to work. There are states where abortion, though legal, is hard to come by because of restrictions like requiring providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, which local hospitals then refuse to grant, And while that is not the same thing as a total ban on abortion, it does reduce the number of abortions in those areas. The analogy I draw is to capital punishment. Opponents of the death penalty have been unsuccessful in getting it banned,… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

There has also been a sharp reduction in the number of doctors willing to work at abortion clinics. Even if they don’t have moral issues with it, the need for constant security and the social shaming make it too much hassle.

Nathan James
Member

It seems like a stubborn form of silliness to suggest that movement towards the ideal is a contradiction of it.

It also seems willfully obtuse to not recognize the difference between individual repentance and the transformation of law in a democratic society. An individual may have sudden change of heart, but how could you expect 300 million individuals to have such a moment at the same time? Changing laws in a democratic society indicates a gradually shifting majority view. Why should a minority of truly repentant individuals not take incremental legal victories when they can get them?

Jane
Member

It also seems to place the principle of “abortion is bad” above the reality that actual abortions of actual children are bad. Now I agree that we are not pragmatists and that the principle should not be sacrificed, but this goes too far the other way. Scripture does not seem to suggest that stopping an evil is only good if it is stopped completely and for the right reasons. The Hebrew midwives were not condemned for rescuing individual babies through a subterfuge that really did nothing toward stopping the genocide, instead of putting their energies into pulling down the whole… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Or, as Voltaire said, “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

From American Vision’s website, Restoring America…”, 1-1/2 years ago, and I agree with it! “Finally for now, this is a long-term project. I am planning and working in order to make a better life for my children—but even more importantly, for my grandchildren, and their children. You will not take back America overnight no matter how you go about it, and anyone—especially a politician—who promises you that you can is lying to get your vote. But, you will never take America back without starting and implementing lasting changes, and this requires a multi-generational vision. Involved in this mentality is one… Read more »

Matt Yonke
Guest
Matt Yonke

Thanks for this, and your last post, Pastor Wilson. Having spent the last decade working in pro-life activism, the emergence of the hardline abolitionist movement in the last few years has caused a huge amount of division between anti-abortion Christians who should be allies.

It’s also lured folks into inaction when people are repelled by their tactics or put off by being ranted at about how they’re opposing abortion the wrong way.

Thanks for your decades of commitment to the cause!