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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Response to a Pro-Choice Critique

I recently had some discussions with Pro-Choicers in a Facebook group. It didn't go so well. Pro-Choicers are usually not interested in discussing abortion, probably because they know that when it comes down to it, their position is the weaker one. Now, I'm an adult. I don't need to resort to childish name-calling when I write on abortion or when I write about pro-choicers. But it seems that the most potent weapon in a pro-choicers' arsenal is misinformation. And this doesn't become any more evident than when they try and claim that the Bible supports the pro-choice position. Here is my response to the note that they wrote, outlining four points which they believe support their position.

Pro-Choicer: "Point 1: The Bible doesn't view an embryo or foetus as a person.

"Exodus 21:22-25, 22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

"Basically it says if someone accidentally causes a woman to miscarry, then her husband shall determine how much the person will have to pay him to compensate him for the loss of what is essentially thought of as property. BUT if the man accidentally hurts or kills the woman, then he shall endure the same punishment: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life.

In other words, if the woman loses her eye, the attacker loses his. If the woman dies, the attacker also dies. If the woman MISCARRIES, well, the husband can demand repayment if he so chooses. IF they thought of the fetus as a life, they would have said, “If he kills the baby, he dies, too”. You hear that, Bible-thumpers? Your Bible says it's NOT a person. Not. A. Person."

Me: This person obviously copy and pasted this passage. I doubt they actually read it. First of all, nowhere in this passage does the Bible say an embryo or fetus is not a person. They are reading something into it that simply isn’t there in a feeble attempt to prove their point.

Secondly, this passage is not talking about miscarriage, necessarily, but the expulsion of the child from the womb prematurely (in other words, before they are ready to come out -- even if they come out and are able to survive outside the womb). In fact, what it is talking about is premature delivery. If someone abuses a woman, causing her to give birth prematurely, and there is no serious harm to the child or woman, then the husband can ask for whatever compensation he desires. However, if someone abuses her and she or the child is seriously injured or dies (e.g. she miscarries), then you are to repay life for life (or make right what is damaged).

The unborn child here is not thought of as property. If no serious harm is done in the premature birth (to her or the child), then the husband can seek compensation for any harm done. However, if she or the child dies or serious injury occurs, then it must be repaid, up to and including life for life.

PC: "Point 2: The Bible says life begins at first breath, not first f***.

"Genesis 2:7, 7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Life begins when a human draws his or her first breath, according to the Bible."

Me: Actually, respiration does happen in the womb (just not through the nostrils). So if breathing is necessary to be considered “alive,” then a child in the womb certainly qualifies. However, this verse is not saying that life begins at first breath. Adam is a special case. He didn’t undergo natural gestation like other humans, God just breathed into his nostrils breath so that he could live because, surprise, breathing oxygen is necessary for someone to survive on Earth. How else was God going to get Adam to live if He didn’t give him breath? There are plenty of other verses to show that God does consider us alive in the womb (e.g., Luke 1:41, where John the Baptist leaps in his mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, greets Elizabeth, John’s mother).

PC: "Point 3: The god of the Bible kills lots of children for stupid reasons.

"2 Kings 2:23-24, 23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.”

"This story is about a bald man named Elisha and some children who made fun of his shiny-top. Apparently God had a bug up his ass that day, so he decided to punish these children by killing them. But he couldn't just strike them dead quickly. God likes a bloodbath, so he sent out two bears to rip the children limb from limb. Isn't that how anti-choicers describe abortion? They should be all for that method! Their god certainly is!"

Me: This verse has nothing to do with abortion. If anything, it goes to show that God sees no fundamental difference between humans at any stage of development. (Also notice it doesn't say how old these boys are -- they could have even been teenagers.)

Like atheists and pro-choicers love to do, they miss the point of the story entirely and twist it around to try and prove their own position. The fact of the matter is, these children were old enough to know what they were doing.  Prophets were sent from God to personally deliver His message. Insulting His prophets was basically like insulting Him. These children knew this was a serious thing they were doing. However, unlike children in the womb they had a choice as to their actions.

PC: "Point 4: God tells Moses to abort an embryo/foetus created through adultery.

"Numbers 5:11-21, 11 Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah[a] of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

"16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.”

"If God was really against abortion, why would he command Moses and a priest to induce it on an unwilling woman?"

Me: Again, they’ve missed the point of this entry altogether. First of all, God is the giver of life so He is the only one who should take it away. God has killed people outside the womb, but that doesn’t mean that we can murder each other. If God causes an adulterous woman to miscarry, that’s God’s prerogative. It doesn’t give us the freedom to seek abortions ourselves. However, children was a big deal back then. A woman who had not conceived any children was basically an outcast (i.e. a curse among her people), so for a curse to come upon her so she miscarried and couldn’t conceive was a big deal. As I showed earlier, God sees no fundamental difference between humans at any stage of development. When David raped a married woman (Bathsheba) and had her husband killed, He waited until David’s child was seven days old post-utero before having the child killed as punishment for David’s actions (2 Samuel 12:18).

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