A Response to Jill Stanek
I appreciate your stand for the right to life of prenatal children, but I think that you have misunderstood the arguments against incremental legislation. The argument has never been that incrementation is itself immoral but rather that the type of incrementation being pursued by many pro-life leaders is immoral. Groups like AHA, Personhood USA and the Personhood Alliance recognize that state level personhood amendments are incremental. They simply do not view this type of incrementation as immoral.
The state level amendments allow are simply a way for each state to ban all abortions within its jurisdiction, and the local initiatives currently being pursued by the Personhood Alliance provide means for individual municipalities to ban all abortions within their jurisdictions. This is a moral form of incrementation, for its implementation would not involve a failure to defend the right to life of those to whom the leaders of the individual states or municipalities have a moral obligation.
Bills like the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, on the other hand, do involve a failure to defend the right to life of those to whom our leaders owe a moral obligation. I am certain that you agree that political leaders have such an obligation to uphold the right to life of every individual human being within their jurisdictions both because that obligation is dictated by God and because it is recognized in the Constitution. Given this fact, then, it naturally follows that any incremental bill which fails to meet this obligation is immoral. The question is not whether a given bill is incremental or not but rather whether the incrementation sought to be implemented by the bill is moral or immoral.
You made reference to a few different analogies in your article, but I think that the situation which currently exists in our nation can be better understood through a direct correlation. Instead of comparing abortion to the holocaust or slavery, let's just take the current crisis and all of the efforts to fight it and simply change the age of the children involved. All of us in the pro-life community agree that their is no moral difference between a prenatal child and a child of any other age, so changing the ages of the children involved will not have any effect on moral arguments.
For the sake of argument, therefore, let's change the legality of abortion at any time up to birth around 40 weeks to a law permitting the killing of children at any time up until their fourth birthday. Similarly, let's change the Partial Birth Abortion Ban to a ban forbidding the killing of a child on their fourth birthday even if the fourth anniversary the actual minute of their birth has not yet arrived. We could also view the informed consent laws to laws requiring the parents of children under the age of four to be given information regarding the killing of their child before they make the decision to have their child killed, and we could even require them to wait 24 or 48 or 72 hours after receiving that information before they follow through with their decision. And since you mentioned the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in particular, let's go ahead and view this act as a bill proposing that no child can be legally killed by his parents after the age of 2 instead of the age of 4.
Now, in this type of situation, would you say that changing the age at which it becomes illegal for a parent to kill his child from the age of 4 to the age of 2 constitutes an achievement of the government's responsibility to meet its moral obligation to defend the right to life of all human beings within its jurisdiction?
The AHA and the personhood movement have answered this question with a resounding, No! But I am curious as to your thoughts on this correlation. Would you support a bill that changed the age for legally killing children from 4 to 2? Would you vote for a man seeking the presidency who said that he thinks parents should only be allowed to kill their children up until the age of 2? Would you consider someone pro-life if they defended such a bill as much as you have defended the Pain Capable Act?
Please understand. I am not saying that I do not consider you to be pro-life. I simply think that your passion has prevented you from understanding those with whom you disagree, and I think that if you would take a moment to consider how you would respond in the above correlation you may have a better understanding of why the AHA takes the position that it has taken.
You can read more about my fight against abortion at the Personhood Initiative website.
1/9/2015 03:20:52 am
1/9/2015 04:04:04 am
A clear and measured response from Jill. Balls in your court, Bill. I'm especially interested to hear a rejoinder to the fact that you can't save all the babies either.
1/9/2015 04:50:18 am
Thank you for commenting, Jill. I will do my best to answer your questions, and I hope that we can discuss this civilly.
1/9/2015 04:50:56 am
This brings us to your question about saving babies at one clinic instead of at all 729. The answer to this question depends on what individual or organization is doing the saving. If you were to ask if it is moral for Planned Parenthood, to save the babies from one of their clinics but nor all of them, then the answer would be, No. Planned Parenthood has a moral obligation to protect the lives of the babies in every single one of their clinics. They cannot stand before God and claim to be innocent just because they saved the lives of some of those that they were planning to kill.
If we agree to things that say" and then you can kill" we are NOT on God's side.
1/9/2015 05:54:08 am
Jill, people have been telling you for years that this has nothing to do with incrementalism. So at this point, I think it's safe to say you're being dishonest. This has always been about moral vs immoral incrementalism, compromised vs uncompromised incrementalism.
1/9/2015 01:08:30 pm
If one is to set out to restore our legal codes in America to a truly "pro-life" status, the first thing that must be done is to purge every statute that grants a governmental license to kill any classification of human persons, at any stage of development.
1/25/2015 11:02:16 pm
It's frustrating to listen to Jill because she doesn't understand the positions of AHA and Personhood. They are slightly different BTW, but both agree that incremental change FOLLOWS a call for total abolition. Total abolition never follows a call for gradual change. It's a truth in philosophy and social science called: "dialecticism." We will move people toward the center by advocating truth. We can't convince people of truth by advocating half-truth. The difference with Personhood is that we agree we can support some "Personhood complaint" legislation that does not end all abortion as long as the language is not morally compromised. Most AHA people don't agree with that. But we agree that our strategy is not to move incrementally and hope that a total abolition will follow in people's minds. Compromise just breeds compromise -- especially when exceptions to murder are codified in the letter of the law.
2/14/2015 12:38:23 am
One can only conclude that Jill is being dishonest. As Abolitionists have explained ad nauseum our position and how Jill and others like her misrepresent it, and then Bill explained it very clearly here, yet Jill fires back with the exact same straw man retorts she began with. Jill, you are either incapable of basic comprehension (and I don't believe this is the case) or in your overwhelming pride you cannot proceed in any other way to defend your position except to knowingly misrepresent ours. I encourage you to honestly examine your own motives here and turn away from pride and the fear of men and adopt a Godly and righteous position regarding child-sacrifice.
2/14/2015 07:50:52 am
Someone please get Mr. Harmon a box of Kleenex for his big tears that no one understands his movement. It is the fundamental cry of all small, fringe movements that they are misunderstood but what is unique about AHA is they rely so heavily on the "movement vs. organization" meme that the actual movement becomes a wax nose. Depending on who is speaking you can bend that proboscis whichever way is needed at the moment. I can't think of any other movement currently active that is more quarrelsome or has alienated more people that would naturally align with them ideologically. Ring me when even one nationally known and respected pro-life leader starts flogging for the AHA cause.
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Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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