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Freedom of Choice Act

Before you read the following post please know its content is outside the normal scope of this blog. While I do think it is a worthy endeavor to engage the issues facing our generation, my main priority as a pastor is to, above all, make disciples of Jesus. So dont think the small groups guy has morphed into the “hot issue” guy. This is simply something that has been weighing on my mind for some time. Because of the sensitive nature of this issue, I have turned off the comment feature for this post.

It is rarely in the scope of this blog to tackle hot topic issues that run the risk of alienating people and being pigeon-holed as an “evangelical,” a term that has replaced in the public eye the “fundamentalists” of the late 20th century. 
However, I am choosing to give you my thoughts on what I consider the most important issue facing our generation. It is called the abortion issue and its latest conversation is surrounding the Freedom of Choice Act or Bill S 2020 IS. I encourage you to read the Bill as it sits before the senate right now. All references in this blog come directly from the bill as found here. My goal is not as much to recite the pro-life side of the issue as that would not be new and there are others who say it better than I could at this point.

What I want to do here is 1) make you aware to the language of the bill and 2) hopefully to convince you this is a human rights issue, not a personal autonomy issue. Initially this was going to be one post, but the amount of discussion I believe to be critically important to this issue has morphed this into a multiple part post using the division just noted above. Today is devoted to making you aware of the language of the bill…

The language of the bill

  1. Here is the summary of the Bill as stated in section 1: To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman’s right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.
    basically, the goal is to make a state-determined law a federal one. Notice the language…bear a child or terminate a pregnancy. I want to be careful to assume the mind of the author, but something is communicated here by using different words. Why not say terminate a child? Obviously such a phrase would make the bill morbidly laughable as no one (yet) in the Senate wants to terminate children. Watch out though, Peter Singer at Princeton University allows the “termination” of young children in his ethical system. His voice is influential and time will tell whose ear he is catching. take a look…
    “The most merciful thing a large family can do for one of its infant members is to kill it.” Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.
  2. These decisions (Roe v. Wade & Doe v. Bolton) have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions. Section 2 Finding #5.
    A false dilemma has been presented to you and I. According to this bill, CONGRESS (do not let the weight of that get lost on you) finds that over a million women were forced into illegal abortions. Women’s health is a poor but loud argument being put forth by this bill (7 of the 16 findings incorporate the “reproductive health” argument). Of course they were not just “forced.” That is absurd and a false dilemma. For example, the government currently has laws banning you from smoking heroin. This law does not force you to smoke heroin illegaly. It forces consequences upon you if you choose to smoke heroin. Two very different things. You do after all have the choice to not smoke heroin.

    Another example: If the government made breathing illegal, then a human would be forced to breathe illegaly as the only alternative would be death. But for 99%* of those 1.2 million the alternative to abortion was not death but an unexpected and probably unwanted change in lifestyle. Please do not let language fool you.
*(1% is reserved for ectopic pregnancies and other circumstances that threaten the life of the mother. It is not my purpose here to bring into questions the decision making processes of women in those situations) .

  3. Women should have meaningful access to reproductive health services to prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortions. Section 2 Finding #12.
    “need for abortions.” Again, there is no need for abortions in most cases, but a DESIRE for abortion. I will not break down what could be meant by “meaningful access” or “reproductive health services” though there is great irony in calling something that is designed to prevent reproduction “reproductive health.” Again more accurate language could be used (ex: reproductive prevention services) but by calling it “health” it appears to be a positive thing for the good of the woman.
  4. VIABILITY- The term `viability’ means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman. Section 3 # 3.
    There is plenty to unpack here as this is the crux of the issue. personhood here is determined by ability to survive outside of the woman. Notice,  personhood is being defined by his/her functionality, not by intrinsic value or make-up. That is, to those who wrote & support this bill personhood is not something you have, its something you do. This shift is very critical and logically appalling (could a fetus survive outside of the woman without a good amount of care? of course not and this is why peter singer’s argument makes more logical sense than the argument for abortion presented here). By using a generality like “reasonable likelihood” this bill seeks to give a great deal of freedom to individual physicians to decide when a human is in fact a human. This bill grants no room to the idea of the potential of a life only the present functionality of a life. So of course the idea of personhood beginning at conception is out of the question and replaced with a quite arbitrary and faulty notion of sustained survival.
  5. STATEMENT OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman. Section 4 a
    Having assumed viability based on functionality and thus complete freedom to terminate a child before this ambiguous functionality, the bill goes even farther. And what should scare us the most is those two little words “or health” for those words will create limitless freedom for women to have abortions at any stage in the pregnancy. I do not consider partial birth abortions any worse than first-term abortions for both involve the taking of innocent life. What you should see here is that though some supporters of this bill will claim to be against partial-birth abortions they are leaving a loophole the size of texas to go through to have such a procedure done. “health” can and will be stretched quite far to allow any who desire an abortion at any stage to have one.

This is by no means an exhaustive examination of this bill, but plenty for one post I believe. Later  I will get to part 2: why this is the greatest human rights issue of our day.

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