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The Incongruent Pro-Abortion Position

There is a violent contradiction at the heart of the pro-choice movement. Recent comments by two prominent liberals — the Democratic presidential nominee and the Democratic Speaker of the House — illuminate this incongruence.

First, take Barack Obama’s answer to this question, as posed by Rick Warren at the Civil Forum on the Presidency. Warren asked, “At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?”

Obama: Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

Obviously the “above my pay grade” line is getting a lot of press. But the heart of Obama’s response is textbook liberalism.

Question: When is a fetus a human being?
Liberal: No one knows for sure.

For the most part, that’s a good answer. The concept of ensoulment — when a fetus gets a soul — has been debated by theologians and philosophers for the longest. Does anyone know with certainty? Claiming ignorance is not the worst way to posture oneself in debate. However, Obama digs himself a bit of a deeper hole by trying to clarify the ethical ambiguity.

One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is there is a moral and ethical content to this issue. So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention.

Admitting the “moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue,” while appearing thoughtful, only compounds the problem. Why? Because liberals want to legitimize abortion. So despite his claim to not know when a fetus gets a soul, Obama opts to license its destruction. It’s kind of like saying, “I don’t know if anyone’s in that old apartment building, but the landlord has the right to demolish it.” While Obama admits the issue is “complex,” has a “moral and ethical content,” he nevertheless tolerates the “potential” annihilation of a “potential” person. It’s a terribly, terribly flawed position.

Then you have recent comments by House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, on Meet the Press. NBC’s Tom Brokaw asked Pelosi the same question posed to Obama:

Brokaw: “If he [Obama] were to come to you and say, ‘Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?’ — what would you tell him?”

Pelosi: “I would say, as an ardent practicing Catholic, uh this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And…Saint Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.”

Of course, Pelosi is now being rebuffed by the Catholic Church. But please notice the same illogic. When does life begin? Pelosi answers, “We don’t know.” It’s her follow-up comment that illumines the hypocrisy: “The point is that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.” In other words: Our inability to determine the timeline of human life should not prevent the mother from destroying it at any time.

If anything, not knowing when the fetus gets a soul is more of an argument to protect life at all stages. And that’s why the pro-abortion position is so incongruent. The only way for a liberal to avoid this hypocrisy is to simply state, without flinching, when human life begins. But since they cannot do that, and they refuse to renege their support for abortion rights, they are doomed to live in perpetual double-speak.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Nicole August 27, 2008, 1:47 PM

    Well said, Mike. And this is why I fail to believe their concern for our troops’ lives. If they won’t protect the “least of these”, then why should they care about any other lives? Life is either valuable at its beginning or it isn’t valuable at all.

  • Rebecca LuElla Miller August 27, 2008, 8:14 PM

    The interesting thing is, when Roe v Wade was passed, the choice people were all claiming that a fetus was not alive, or at least not human. Just a blob of tissue. The classic line was a woman having the right to do with her own body what she wanted. As if he baby was part of her.

    Science has made those positions untenable but that hasn’t changed the bottom line for the choice people.

    I actually think there are good Scriptures that make it quite clear. If John, still in his mother’s womb, could leap when a just pregnant-with-the-Messiah Mary entered, then it would be reasonable to think this was a response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Can one do that if he’s isn’t yet a person or doesn’t yet have a soul?


  • Kaci August 28, 2008, 8:07 PM

    Definitely. The arguments are all, at their core, entirely selfish. And to throw out the “rape or life of the mother” clause is to exploit assaulted women and husbands who must make the choice between child and mother for their own gain. Same with teenage/unwanted pregnancy. Seriously, biology class wasn’t that hard.

    Oh, did I type that? And hit Submit? 0=)

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