Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Response to Pro-Lifers: Pro-Death? - by Rick Thomas

There is an unsettling preference by quite a few in the Church and the on-line community in particular, to call the morality and decency of the left-view point into question. This is unfortunate. For this reason, I have decided, at least for the extent of this article, to claim the title of "Pro-death" - since I find myself in a contrary position to that normally taken by those who refer to themselves as “Pro-life” on just about every issue.

I am Pro-death. On one level, this means that I am not anti-abortion. Sure, I disagree with people's reasons for abortion most of the time, but I feel that it is their choice to make (I don't believe that human life starts at fertilization). I can't see an unproblematic, fool-proof way of proving rape and incest — especially in the case of those who are victimized and unable to produce DNA evidence before it’s too late — and therefore can’t understand how one could legislate abortion on more than a superficial level. Therefore, I don't think it is a reasonable or helpful legislation to society as a whole. For this reason, I am generally in favor of not legislating abortion — though I think there should be some sort of parental consent, doctor's consent, etc. So, I am Pro-death on the issue of abortion.

But, is that all?

Am I also Pro-death on the issue of animal rights? I would never choose to define myself that way - I do it, because it seems that my point of view is against the stand taken by Pro-lifers. I feel that human kind's gross misuse of animal products and its blatant disregard for animal life is detestable. I am not a member of PETA and disagree with their occasionally violent approach, but I do think that legislation against over-consumption is a good idea — even if that meant putting some industrialized beef farmers out of business. I could only imagine how the families of the poor unemployed beef farmer might suffer when Dad's current livelihood is brought to a halt. I do consider myself an animal rights activist. There is a prevalent stereotype that animal rights activists have no problem potentially killing or maiming children to try and stop animal research. I could argue that, but won’t bother at this point. I am already claiming to be pro-death, after all.

I am also pro-death because I see some amount of value in stem-cell research (as I see some amount of value in animal research — if done humanely and respectfully — for important reasons, and not cosmetics and other useless products). I don't consider embryonic stem-cells to be in the same class as a live human. Pro-death, all the way.

I am also Pro-death when it comes to the human population. My wife and I have decided to have only 1 or 2 children by means of natural birth, and to adopt another 1 or 2 from suffering countries. We feel honestly that increasing the population of the earth at this stage is irresponsible, particularly when there are so many children that are not receiving the basic needs of human life and are dying in third-world countries.

I further feel that trying to "reduce our carbon footprint," besides being very in vogue right now (green is the new black), is a seriously important commitment for people of faith to make. We are the stewards of this planet and have a responsibility to it. There comes a certain point where we cease being responsible and instead, become addicted or obsessed to a certain way of life that has been engrained in us by generations of Christian breeding mixed with the supreme quality in neo-natal and pediatric health care. The earth has been replenished. It doesn't need to be destroyed by us — God's crowning creations. In fact, I'm so Pro-death that I'd encourage others who are in a position to seriously ponder making a similar choice, as I sincerely feel it to be right — at least for me and my family.

Following my 1-2 children, I plan on procuring some change to ensure that I don't have more. Indeed, I will intentionally do things to stop a pregnancy from occurring. I will interfere with the natural processes of human sexuality and reproduction and, "play god" to some extent to ensure that my wife and I don't have a pregnancy that we're not prepared for. I see very little difference between unfertilized reproductive cells, and fertilized ones. If this makes me pro-death, then so be it. However, I am positive that most people, in and out of the church, make a similar choice all of the time.

Indeed, Scripture states:
“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” (D&C 104: 17)
Remember that this was revealed in the early 1830's, when the population of planet earth had just reached 1 billion — as opposed to the 7 Billion that it will reach in 2012 — about 200 years later. There definitely was enough to spare in 1830. Now, the tables have been turned -- thanks to our gross over consumption. I believe it is "moral" to place the earth and its needs above the desire to have continually larger and larger families. Is this really Pro-death?

I am also Pro-death when it comes to dying. I sincerely believe that when a person is in constant pain, suffering, sorrow, and physical anguish — when it will NOT get better over the course of his or her natural lifespan — that it is only charitable and loving to allow that person to gracefully exit this life. I’ve read what the official church's stance is. That has no bearing on what I sincerely feel in my heart of hearts to be the most charitable and loving approach. Pro-death, one more time.

Because of my stance on these issues, does that make me a champion for human death? I recognize that my opinions will often differ from many of yours — maybe even all of you. I do not, however, truly feel myself to be Pro-death. I simply feel that I view things from a different perspective. Extremes on both sides (blowing up a research lab to blowing up an abortion clinic) are wrong. Avoiding those extremes, let’s work to garner a healthy respect for BOTH points of view, rather than make one the champion of life and the other the champion of... death.


Jack said...

I generally agree with your statement about legislation regarding abortion. It would make it much harder for abortions in the case of rape.

However your statement regarding your "belief" that life doesn't exist within a fertilized is troubling. You are basing your views on abortion about something you just believe and don't actually know. In other words since none of us really know when life begins wouldn't it be better to err on the side of life rather than just assume this fertilized egg has no right to life? I think that argument by the left is a very weak one.

Hunky said...

I find your viewpoints very contradicting. On one hand, you say that there should be no legislation controlling abortion, and then on the other there should be legislation passed to reduce consumption of animal products?? Please explain the guiding principle behind this point of view.