Abortion Sense and Non-Sense

My primary calling is to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who are broken over our participation in abortion.
Part of this task is bringing moral clarity to the question of whether abortion is wrong, and whether there couldn’t be some way that it is acceptable in God’s sight. That question haunted me for more than a decade after my abortion in 1978 as I tried to reconcile my choice in light of my dormant conscience and my guilty heart.

I landed in a place of saying, “Well, I’m opposed to abortion, but I can’t tell others what to do.”

I now recognize this former position as so morally bankrupt that I want to help you to refute this idea if this is your current point of view. This is for those still stuck in a moral morass, especially those who have been listening to spiritual leaders who are defending abortion. Reverend Carlton Veazey of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the defender of abortion in this exchange from NPR’s Tell Me More broadcast on July 18, adds to the moral confusion by employing poor logic and reasoning:

Here are just a few flaws in Reverend Veazey’s abortion defense:

• The most glaring logical fallacy is that two wrongs make a right. This is the heart of Rev. Veazey’s defense of choosing abortion: he charges that born children are being “aborted” by governmental neglect. In the aftermath of my abortion, while I wandered the spiritual wilderness of self-justification, I would sometimes repeat this idea, “If I am not willing to raise a woman’s child, I should have no say in her abortion decision.”

But the suffering of poor children is not pertinent to the loss of life of aborted children. This logic only works if you follow it to its conclusion—which means you believe poor children are better off dead than living in poverty. That is the opposite of the position of our Lord Jesus Christ who poured out his life for the poor. Every life has value in his sight. Christ called his people to love the poor, not to place our hope in the state to do so. Nor to advocate for their elimination.

 Veazey’s logic is based on a false premise. There are literally thousands of ministries and hundreds of thousands of volunteers helping pregnant women and their families every day in the pregnancy help movement. If Rev. Veazey is not aware of this fact, he should call 1-800-395-HELP and join in.

• Veazey also throws in a red herring. His trump card is the “moral agency” of women. Of course pregnant women are “moral agents,” that’s a basic condition of God’s design for all humanity—not some special pass designed to waive our moral obligations to others. But it sounds good, if your primary value system is feminist ideology over truth.

The merciful love of Jesus Christ has helped me see and accept that abortion–including my own–is deeply, deeply wrong, especially as an answer to poverty or the fear of poverty or other lifestyle concerns which drive abortion decisions. 

As to Veazey’s idea that women “need” abortion because political forces have denied them health care, Bomberger pointed out that the same facilities aborting black babies in disproportionate numbers are there to dispense contraceptives and other services as well, clearly exposing another false premise. Bomberger was perhaps too polite to point out the political nature of Veazey’s accusation.
My favorite moment of moral clarity is when Bomberger said, “I think death as a solution to any social ill is a really poor approach.”

No one can argue away those consequences. As the photo here (hat tip Therese O’Toole and Please Consider Life) so eloquently states: We will always remember the child we never knew

Yet we can be grateful that through the gifts of godly sorrow over the sinfulness of abortion, and the gift of repentance and faith, God’s grace is greater still.

Major kudos to Ryan Bomberger for his triumph in this interview. Read Ryan’s comments on NPR’s biased editing of the interview on his blog here.

Bomberger doesn’t need me to defend him, but it’s disappointing to think we’re all paying for NPR to broadcast such shabby treatment of this man. As I understand it, he is an adoptee and the father of adopted children. For NPR and its guest to create the impression that he, his family, or his work on behalf of black families equals neglecting poor children is absurd and an insult. Bomberger’s parents went out of their way–15 children adopted–to provide for the lifelong needs of children; he is also doing the same. His grace to withstand such an onslaught of hostile and dangerous non-sense from NPR and its guest is nothing short of heroic.

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2 thoughts on “Abortion Sense and Non-Sense

  1. I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I agree that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to believe that something is morally wrong but say it doesn’t matter if others do it. I agree that very little of what Reverend Veazey said made any sense; your analysis is spot-on and some of what he said I think could be fairly interpreted as insulting. I agree that the NPR host seemed harder on Bomberger than Veazey. And I agree that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for NPR.

    What frustrated me most about this interview was that both Veazey /and/ Bomberger were making bad arguments and assuming the worst in the other.

    Bomberger argues, for instance, that because Planned Parenthood was historically associated with a eugenics program against African Americans, because abortion rates among African Americans are so high today, and because abortion rates are so high among African Americans relative to Hispanics, that Planned Parenthood is targetting African Americans for abortions today.

    What are we to make of this? The first fact mentioned lends plausibility to the concluding claim, but the truth of the claim doesn’t turn on it.

    But, do the latter two facts justify infering claim? Not by themselves. There are cultural and historical factors (among other reasons) that could explain why African Americans get abortions at a higher rate than Hispanics and other racial and ethinic groups. Even if Planned Parenthood were providing all the abortions in US, we still wouldn’t know whether the reason for the discrepancy was due to targeting (and we further wouldn’t know whether Planned Parenthood intended genocide). We’d need more information. Maybe the evidence is out there, but Bomberger didn’t mention it, so at best the facts he noted lend plausibility to his claim. They certainly don’t prove it, and (arguably more) plausible competing theories are readily available.

    I also thought it was particularly uncharitable (and distasteful) of Bomberger to suggest that because Planned Parenthood has a very large budget, its primary interest in providing abortion is money-driven. Besides being a red herring, it just doesn’t follow that because an organization makes money off something, its primary interest in doing that something is to make money. For instance, would anyone seriously believe that churches solicit members primarily so that the collection plate collections will increase and therefore larger salaries can be paid? No way, but the argument is structurally the same as the one Bomberger provides.

    Indeed, if Bomberger were right about Planned Parenthood’s primary motivation, the targeting claim makes no sense. That is, if Planned Parenthood were primarily money driven, why would they spend their resources targeting a specific racial group and one that’s far from the largest in the US at that? (Continued below)

  2. I really wish Bomberger had stuck to the moral argument against abortion or had focused on providing more than weak, circumstantial evidence that Planned Parenthood is targeting African Americans for genocide (a serious charge!) rather than question the motivation of Planned Parenthood like this. The rightness of abortion doesn’t turn on the motivation of the organization providing them any more than the rightness of a hospital’s offering a life-saving surgery to someone turns on whether the hospital is motivated primarily by money or something else that’s not the patient’s best interest. (Aside: Our arguments are strongest when we assume the best intentions in our opponents and show them to be wrong through reason and evidence rather than engage in irrelevant and questionable attacks on their integrity.)

    I guess I’m writing this because I felt like there was nonsense from both interviewees in the clip, and, really, such a morally serious topic as abortion deserves better. I like that your blog consistently focuses on the morality of abortion. I wish these two had done that.