Monday, October 15, 2012

Game-changer: George Weigel's debate argument on abortion

George Weigel imagines that Paul Ryan gave this answer to the Vice-Presidential debate moderator's last question about abortion:

RADDATZ: This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion.

RYAN: None.
(Ms. Raddatz’s jaw drops. The vice president is rendered temporarily speechless. The audience gasps. Congressman Ryan lets his surprising answer sink in a moment and continues.)
Let me explain, Martha. When I say “none,” I’m speaking about abortion, as I assume you were, as a public-policy issue. My opposition to the abortion license that Roe v. Wade created is based on science and reason.
Biology and embryology teach us that the product of human conception is a human being — nothing more, but certainly nothing less. No scientifically literate person denies that; it’s a fact, not an opinion. As for reason, well, an elementary sense of justice — of fairness — teaches us that innocent human life is inviolable and merits the protection of the laws. That’s the same sense of justice that tells us not to discriminate against another because she’s not a he, or because her pigmentation is different from mine, or because his parents came to this country from Belarus ten years ago; it’s the same sense of justice that has made America the most racially egalitarian society in human history. Science and reason have made me a pro-life public official. Science and reason are what the Supreme Court ignored in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and in 1992 inPlanned Parenthood v. Casey. The so-called pro-choice position is the unscientific position, and it’s the unreasonable position.
But my faith does shape my thinking on these questions, and let me tell you how. What my faith adds to the mix is a deep sense of compassion and an urgent sense of responsibility for women caught in the dilemma of a crisis pregnancy. My faith teaches me that those women in crisis pregnancies should not be left alone, clinging to some spurious “right.” My faith, and the experience of the pastors of many denominations with whom I’ve discussed this, teach me that the termination of a pregnancy by abortion often multiplies the trauma of unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation, not only to that unborn child, but also to his or her mother.
My faith, which instructs me to honor the dignity of every human person, helps me understand the implications of what science and reason teach me. And one “dignitarian” implication of science and reason is that the pro-life position is the pro-feminist position, because abortion on demand has been a great deal for irresponsible and predatory men — and a very bad deal for women.
And I’m not alone in this, Martha. There are thousands of crisis-pregnancy centers across our country, where women who have been abandoned by those irresponsible or predatory men can find the compassion and care they deserve from people who take the unique dignity of women seriously — people who are eager to help a woman in a crisis pregnancy bring a child to term and then put that child up for adoption, or bring a child to term and then raise it with love in a caring community. In all the arguing about abortion these past 40 years, the tens of thousands of volunteers who staff those crisis-pregnancy centers are almost never mentioned. But they are real American heroes, offering women in crisis something more — something more humane — than a technological quick fix to a terrible problem.
No woman in America has to face a crisis pregnancy alone. That’s something we should all be proud of. And we should thank God for inspiring men and women across America with the faith to go beyond the obvious facts of science and the obvious dictates of reason in offering compassionate care to women in crisis pregnancies.
Weigel explains:


It would have been instructive to hear Vice President Biden attempt a response to this. By immediately taking the Catholic-weirdness card out of Martha Raddatz’s hand — and the hands of every pro-choice Catholic pol from sea to shining sea — that kind of response might have radically changed the terms of the abortion debate. Biden would have been unable to dance the Cuomo-Kerry shuffle; nor could he try a Pelosi and suggest that the pro-choice Catholics are the real “social-justice Catholics.” Such a response would have underscored the grievous errors of both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It would have unveiled the true face of the pro-life movement, after decades of cultural and media distortion, and a new and entirely welcome debate — a who’s-the-real-feminist debate — would have ensued.
America is slowly moving in a pro-life direction even as we become a more secular country, in terms of both personal practice and the ambient public culture. Making absolutely clear that the pro-life position, as a matter of public policy, is the scientific and reasonable position — and that this is why educated, serious, and reasonable people hold it in increasing numbers — not only calls out the Joe Bidens of this world for their misrepresentation of the Catholic Church. It also sets the political and cultural foundations for moving beyond Roe and Casey in the years and decades ahead.

Abortion is the fundamental social justice issue. The scientific fact is that human life begins at conception. The basis for social justice is respect for the right to life for all human beings, and ensuring that the weak do not suffer harm for the benefit of the strong. 

The pro-life argument is a seamless argument drawn from science and ethics. The only coherent objection to it is to deny that the most vulnerable human beings have a right to life. 

Abortion proponents should be forced to come clean with their real argument-- that strong human lives have more rights than weak ones, and that weak human beings are expendable if the strong find it convenient. 

36 comments:

  1. The whole question was designed to portray opposition to abortion as merely a matter of one's religion, and thus a personal matter. I object to abortion on the same grounds as I object to killing an adult: it's murder. It may be a precept of my religion (Thou Shall Not Kill) but it's not "merely" a precept of my religion.

    Ryan knocked it out of the park. That wasn't a question as much as a pitfall that he thankfully didn't fall into.

    JQ

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    1. Liberals insist that we keep religion out of the debate, then when we do, they accuse us of secretly harboring religious objections.

      It's similar to the way they treat minority conservatives. Conservatism is supposedly an all white movement, but when we point out the minority rising stars--Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Alan West--they dismiss those as tokens who were trotted out for the cameras. They ridicule us for not being more diverse, but then ridicule us for orchestrating fake diversity. What they really mean is that minority conservatives are authentically minority because they are conservatives.

      Ben

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    2. @JQ: People like Bill Maher don't care about abortion for the same reason they don't care about killing the elderly or others. They're pro-death and they want to kill "the right people."

      You are consistent and so are they.

      Joey

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  2. Reason and science...liberals hate both.

    Joey

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  3. strong human lives have more rights than weak ones, and that weak human beings are expendable if the strong find it convenient

    Which is why you oppose universal health care. Got it.

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    1. I won't speak for Egnor, but I want everyone to have health care. I just believe that the government screws up everything, which is why I want them to stay far away from the health care industry. Further than they are now, actually. They're too involved in it. It has nothing to do with "opposing" health care for anyone.

      JQ

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    2. My view as well:

      Universal health care is essential.

      Keeping the government away from health care is essential.

      There are many approaches-- health care savings accounts, etc. that would be very effective.

      Socialism is not the answer.

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    3. It seems that Medicare insurance has far less overhead than private insurance. What's not to like?

      Some much needed facts for you to read

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    4. Paul Krugman is hardly a reputable source, and private health care isn't all that private. They are bound by all sorts of state and federal laws that drive up the cost.

      JQ

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    5. Well, Krugman is a pretty good economist according to his peers that nominated him for his Nobel prize.

      What drives up the cost of private health care is greed. Making money over people's sickness. Denying people coverage to make an extra buck.

      Delete
  4. Troy: Your country euthanizes babies. Your country has socialized medicine, or universal healthcare as you call it.

    http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/11/30/203858.shtml

    So what's universal health care got to do with it?

    JQ

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    1. So pre-birth infanticide (a procedure commonly referred to as abortion) was the slippery slope that led us to post-birth infanticide. I predicted that many years ago. Don't worry, the babies they're killing are terminally ill. So it's not like they're murdering infants. Sick infants don't count.

      TRISH

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    2. From that article:

      The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

      You'd rather have your child spend another week in agony before it dies? I find that rather cruel and selfish. And unlike me, you believe the child is going to a better place. Or do you think your god will send the child to hell?

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    3. I knew you were going to come back with that one, Troy. You're so predictable.

      First of all, can we now admit that we're murdering infants? It's no longer a question of whether we'll murder infants, but which ones. Answer: the sickly, weak ones are the ones we kill. In other words, >>strong human lives have more rights than weak ones, and that weak human beings are expendable if the strong find it convenient.<<

      Secondly, even the best trained doctors cannot tell you if someone is truly going to die. They can guess, but their guesses are frequently wrong. My mother had a stroke in 1971. The doctors told her that she wasn't going to make it. My brothers and sisters and I got together and decided, unanimously, that we were not going to give up on our mom. She lived until 2001. She got to see her grandchildren. She saw my brother get married. She still had thirty years left in her; the doctor just didn't know.

      These people are trying to convince themselves that killing children is not really killing because they were going to die anyway. Bullshit. They're murdering children.

      Nor do I believe for a moment that this has anything to do with saving the child some pain. It has to do with saving the parents the trouble. What if the child survived but grew up handicapped? And of course, it's about saving the state MONEY.

      >>I find that rather cruel and selfish.<< Letting a child live is cruel and selfish in Troy's upside down world. Killing him is not. How is it selfish, Troy? Tell me that. What am I gaining?

      If the child is going to die of natural causes, then let him die of natural causes. But give him a chance to beat the odds. It isn't your job to mete out death to anyone.

      Years ago I predicted that we would get to this point and people called me crazy. They told me it would never happen. We're now killing children.

      Now answer my question: what's universal health care got to do with it?

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    4. Good to know that Troy supports killing babies. He's with Bill Maher. Let's start killing people.

      @JQ: I have a similar story. A friend of mine was born with a heart condition. The doctors didn't expect him to survive infancy. He's now 30 years old and he's getting married in the spring. It's a good thing his parents didn't euthanize him.

      Joey

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    5. First of all, can we now admit that we're murdering infants? It's no longer a question of whether we'll murder infants, but which ones. Answer: the sickly, weak ones are the ones we kill.

      Legal euthanasia is not murder.

      Secondly, even the best trained doctors cannot tell you if someone is truly going to die.

      Do you think the doctors would sign off on euthanasia if there was the slightest doubt? You're a cynic.

      it's about saving the state MONEY.

      Yeah, right. A dozen cases of euthanasia is gonna save a lot of money. Billions are spent on prolonging the lives of the elderly by a year, and you think children are killed to save a bit of money. Dude, you need to get your head examined. I hope your insurance covers it.

      Letting a child live is cruel and selfish in Troy's upside down world. Killing him is not. How is it selfish, Troy? Tell me that. What am I gaining?

      To spend some more time with your child before it dies. That's gotta be worth something, and you lose that if you end the child's suffering.

      Now answer my question: what's universal health care got to do with it?

      Who says it does? I think it has nothing to do with it.

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    6. Look up
      Child K
      . They called it a mercy killing. Oh, how sick he was. And once they got people to buy into the idea of killing sick infants, they were killing handicapped children as old as sixteen and it was all nothin' doin'.

      I think everyone has stories about a friend or relative who was supposed to die then didn't.

      Little John

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    7. >>Legal euthanasia is not murder.<<

      I'm intrigued by this, so let me expound a little.

      The definition of murder is unlawful killing. See Merriam Webster: >>the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.<<

      Thus, killing someone legally is not murder. In this case, they took something that would be considered murder in every other country in the world, and was considered murder in Holland until the new law was passed, and legalized it. They legalized murder, and therefore it is no longer murder. It was murder until the moment that it wasn't. If you read the article, you'll know that the people didn't wait until it was legalized to begin killing.

      Holland legalized the murder of babies and Troy's witty repartee boils down to, Hey it's legal! Yeah, we know, smart guy. That's the problem.

      The same logic would apply to any other law that legalized killing. If a law were passed legalizing the killing of blacks or Jews, then the killing of blacks or Jews would no longer constitute murder, because murder is, by definition, unlawful.

      I knew an Australian once who told me that it was legal for a white man to shoot Aboriginal Australians well into the twentieth century. Perhaps bachfiend can confirm this for me. If that's true, then killing Aboriginal Australians was by definition, not murder.

      That is what has been done in Holland. The authorities have decided that one class of people can be killed with legal sanction. Everyone else on the planet still calls that murder, as do I. But in Holland, it's not murder.

      JQ

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    8. Martin Luther King, Jr, from a Letter from a Birminham Jail:

      >>We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.<<

      JQ

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    9. That is what has been done in Holland. The authorities have decided that one class of people can be killed with legal sanction. Everyone else on the planet still calls that murder, as do I. But in Holland, it's not murder.

      Euthanasia is legal not just in Holland. I believe it's legal in parts of the US as well. For the same reason: compassion and mercy.

      On the other hand, in Holland the state doesn't execute people, let alone mentally handicapped ones, unlike in the US, where politicians like W Bush get to gloat about it and still be elected to the presidency by the likes of you.

      You think you have the moral high ground - I think you don't.


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    10. JQ,

      I doubt that it was legal for a 'white man' to shoot an Australian Aborigine well into the 20th century. Australia's history of massacres of Australian Aborigines isn't a good one, but European settlers were successfully prosecuted and executed by hanging for the Myall Creek Massacre which happened in 1838.

      The Wikipedia has a list of Australian Aborigine massacres, which is probably incomplete.

      Delete
  5. Since Christianity is based upon what is true about the nature of the world and the nature of mankind, the rational man will expect that "the Christian answers" can generally be found without any reference at all to Christian dogma.

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  6. troy is referring to the Groningen Protocol, which is a euthanasia protocol for handicapped children.

    I take care of these children on a daily basis-- mostly babies with spina bifida (who are most of the babies killed in Groningen Hospital).

    They are not in pain. They can lead good lives. In fact, one of my neurosurgical colleagues (she's a chairman of neurosurgery in the midwest) has spina bifida. She's a brilliant surgeon and scientist.

    Killing handicapped babies is cold-blooded murder. Nazi stuff.

    Question for troy: why are you so concerned about the (non-existent) pain of handicapped babies, but you don't give a shit about the pain experienced by a baby during an abortion?

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    1. They are not in pain. They can lead good lives.

      Not in severe cases.

      you don't give a shit about the pain experienced by a baby during an abortion?

      Who says I don't? It's my understanding that fetuses are nearly always terminated before their nervous system has developed to the point where pain can be experienced.

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    2. we don't know for sure when pain can be experienced. It's probably earlier than most people think.

      Everyone agrees that from 20 weeks on, pain can be experienced.

      In the US, there are 10,000 abortions annually after 20 weeks. 5000 of them are after viability (23 weeks). The babies are ripped apart before being pulled out in pieces.

      "Pain", troy?

      Irony: you use "pain" as a justification for killing babies after birth, and ignore "pain" when killing babies before birth.

      Sounds like you just want to kill babies, and make up reasons as you go along.

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    3. Sounds like you just want to kill babies, and make up reasons as you go along.

      Sounds like you are an imbecile.

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    4. troy:

      Surely you have some facts and coherent arguments to justify killing?

      Delete
    5. Dr. Egnor, Troy subscribes to the lebenunwertes Leben philosophy of National Socialism. It's a good thing we have doctors like you who know better.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensunwertes_Leben

      >>Of the five identifiable steps by which the Nazis carried out the principle of "life unworthy of life," coercive sterilization was the first. There followed the killing of "impaired" children in hospitals; and then the killing of "impaired" adults, mostly collected from mental hospitals, in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas. This project was extended (in the same killing centers) to "impaired" inmates of concentration and extermination camps and, finally, to mass killings in the extermination camps themselves.[1]<<

      You subscribe to this silly, outdated thing called the Hippocratic Oath:

      >>I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.<<

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    6. Dr. Egnor, Troy subscribes to the lebenunwertes Leben philosophy of National Socialism. It's a good thing we have doctors like you who know better.

      No, I don't subscribe to that. Sounds like you subscribe to the Denkenunwertes Leben philosophy of the Internazionale Dumbkopf Bewegung.

      By the way, Egnor is not really a doctor, he's a Master of Disease (MD).

      I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

      As if that's the real Hippocratic Oath. It's just a Catholic parody on it.

      Delete
    7. The original Hippocratic oath proscribed abortion.

      That's been (dishonestly) removed from the modern version.

      Delete
    8. Michael,

      'Everyone agrees that from 20 weeks on, pain can be experienced'.

      No. I have read it argued that it's only at 24 weeks that the CNS has developed sufficiently for the fetus to feel pain, so 'everyone' isn't true, or at least you need to specify who 'everyone' is.

      20 weeks is the cutoff point in many states for 'choice', including my home state of Western Australia. A minister in the British Conservative government is proposing to bring 'choice' back to 16 weeks, apparently to bring it into line with some other European states.

      I don't have any personal stake in abortion, but I think that women should have the limited right to choice. I think 20 weeks is reasonable, but 16 weeks would be acceptable too for choice. 39 weeks would be completely unacceptable.

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    9. What objective standard determines the fine line between choice and murder?

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    10. Michael,

      Well, since you've implicitly defined 'objective' to mean 'godgiven' and since there's no fine line, then your question is, as usual, meaningless.

      Delete
  7. Troy, what do you use to clean your Hitler mustache? Also, what size jackboots do you wear? Just wonderin'.

    Joey

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    1. Do you fantasize a lot about mustachioed men in jackboots?

      If you must know, I wipe my mustache clean on your mother's pussy while she licks my size 12 jackboots.

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