Republican Opposition to Abortion Based on Myths

Each major poetical party in the United States is accusing the other of something that party holds up as a badge of honor, and it all centers around their stance on abortion – infanticide versus women’s reproductive rights. So much depends upon how you frame an argument.

It seems strange today, speaking as a liberal, that Republicans would make abortion front and center their number one platform. After all, the country is mired in a war overseas and suffering domestically from an economic crisis. If abortion came to an end today, we would still be at war and our economy would still be in the tank.

There would be no significant improvement for Americans.

But that’s just it, say some of these Republicans. Bizarre though it may sound to the Post-Enlightenment mind, they actually believe that their god is punishing America for its immorality, and that if we as a nation just cleaned up our act everything would be okay.

What’s truly bizarre about this is that it all comes down to a law code embraced by one small religion during the Bronze Age – Israel. To make matters still more bizarre is that these modern Christians don’t actually endorse the Jewish law themselves. No, they cherry pick it, pointing out something here and there while ignoring the rest.

Examples of things outlawed and not:

  • It is not wrong to own slaves; in fact you can sell your own daughter into slavery
  • It is wrong to eat pork (no more bacon for you!)
  • It is wrong to eat certain birds
  • It is wrong to eat shellfish (be careful what you pick at Red Lobster!)
  • It is wrong to lie with another man as you would lie with a woman
  • There is no mention of a woman lying with another woman (no seed spilling is involved)
  • It is wrong to engage in incest
  • It is wrong to cut the hair over your ears or to trim your beard
  • You must stone your adulterous wife
  • You must stone your disobedient children
  • It is not wrong for unmarried people to have sex
  • It is not wrong to have more than one wife (polygyny)

It must be stressed here that nowhere in the Bible does God rescind some of these laws while insisting others be kept. Even if you claim Acts 10 negates dietary restrictions – which by the way flat out contradicts Jesus’ claim in Matthew that he came to fulfill the Law (5:17) and that not an iota of the Law should pass away (5:18) – God still doesn’t permit you to shave your beard or free you from stoning your disobedient child. Why then, if fundamentalist Christians believe that this god is punishing America for sin do they believe they as flawed humans have a right to decide which laws apply and why do not?

And the key point? Abortion, which fundamentalist Christians so fervently condemn as forbidden, isn’t even listed.

They will cover this embarrassment by claiming that the commandment “Thou shall not kill” settles things, but it does not. First of all, it doesn’t say “kill” it says “murder.” Okay then, they will say we are murdering infants. But from the perspective of Jewish Law, the Law of Moses, those laws that God himself wrote, the law we are arguing about, we are not murdering infants; the ancient Jews did not count infants as people, let alone fetuses: Leviticus 27:6 puts a monetary value on children, but only when they reach one month of age, and in Numbers 3:15 a census counts only those one month old and above – children under a month old, and fetuses, are not people.

In the Mishnah a fetus becomes a person only when “the greater part of the head” has emerged from the womb and it clearly states that the life of the mother has priority over the life of the fetus.

Furthermore, in Exodus 21:22-25 we are told that if a man accidentally kills a pregnant woman, he is guilty of murder. Tellingly, if only the fetus dies (miscarriage) he is not guilty of murder. The fetus is not a human being in Jewish Law. God (who is said to be the author of this law) nowhere condemns or bans the killing of fetuses. He doesn’t even condemn killing. There is loads and loads of God-commanded killing in the Old Testament, including entire cities, men, women, and children.

So while they are saying that the Ten Commandments are being violated daily and that God is punishing us for impiety, they are themselves violating laws that do exist and complaining about something that isn’t even in the law, and that was in fact not considered murder according to their god, who, by the way, also ordered human sacrifice be conducted on his behalf.

If this all isn’t enough to make you shake your head, I don’t know what will. And yet our entire political landscape has been set topsy turvy by Christian fundamentalists. Clearly, it is illogical to claim homosexuality is a sin while continuing to eat pork and birds and failing to stone your children when they talk back. God doesn’t say keep this law and ignore those. And homosexuality is another fundamentalist complaint. But as pointed out, their god doesn’t include lesbian sex as homosexual sex (no seed involved), nor does he say anywhere in the law that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. “Traditional marriage” is a myth. There are rules governing polygyny (Exodus 21:10, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, Deuteronomy 21:15-17, Deuteronomy 17:17) but it is nowhere forbidden. It was taking place during Jesus’ lifetime. Jesus not once mentions it.

We could at least expect fundamentalists to get their own religious scriptures right, but they can’t seem to do that. Far too often, the most fanatically motivated fundamentalists have seemingly not read the Bible at all. They will spout all sorts of things the Bible supposedly says but if you check you will see that it is not true at all, that they must have been told something by a parent or by an ill-informed pastor and they have carried the belief with them from that point on, not bothering to check facts themselves, rather like all those folks learning that God wrote the Constitution who say, “I was never told this before!” or Glenn Beck whining, “Why aren’t they talking about this?”

Because it’s not true. At least do the rest of us the courtesy, before you start trumpeted Mosaic Law as the solution to all our problems, to read it and get it right. If you endorse any of it you must endorse all of it, because your God nowhere gives you the freedom to cherry pick laws to keep while ignoring the rest. And if you can’t be bothered to pick up a book and read, not even your own holy book, at least do us the favor of keeping your tongues behind your teeth, and let the rest of us get some sleep.

27 Replies to “Republican Opposition to Abortion Based on Myths”

  1. I must correct you on a few things, Hraf:

    You are allowed to eat birds–you just can eat carrion-birds or raptors (so turkey and chicken are OK, but buzzards and hawks? Not so much)

    It’s only OK for unmarried people to have sex if the man pays the woman’s father a bride-price (in effect making a de facto marriage a de jure marriage). Shotgun wedding, anyone?

    Also, don’t forget that any woman who is raped in town must be stoned as a harlot (because, of course, if she was in town she could have cried for help no?)–but if she’s raped outside the city limit, then all her rapist has to do is pay the woman’s father a bride-price, and they’re considered married (and, of course, the husband can rape her all he wants because he now owns her).

  2. You’re right, Acid Queen. Thank you for making the correction. Leviticus 11:13-20 lists prohibited critters. Eagle, vulture, black vulture in Leviticus 11:13, Kites, falcons in Leviticus 11:14. Ravens and owls are also forbidden, as are cormorants, swans, pelicans, storks, herons and bats. Interestingly, locusts and grasshoppers are “okay” but all other insects are forbidden.

    With regards to premarital sex, from what I’ve read the issue was selling a false-bill of goods – in other words, claiming a girl was a virgin when she was not, not that two young people had sex. In any event, I can’t find a prohibition against premarital sex anywhere in the Law. The oft-used excuse of adultery does not apply because adultery by definition is with a married person.

    Thank you for bringing up the point about rape and harlotry. Kinda the same these days for Republicans, where a woman who is raped is a harlot and temptress and the rapist is the victim of a woman’s wiles.

  3. Thanks for this Hraf — I had forgotten much of this, and you make excellent points. I particularly love the part about a fetus not being human and a baby not being counted until its one month old. And to think the life of the mother was important- what next? So these modern day conservatives want to take us back to when, exactly?

    Your point about Glenn Beck et al made me laugh. I often find myself wanting to say, “You haven’t heard about it because it’s not true. You poor things.” What kind of deluded sheeple do you have to be to believe that Glenn Beck has a window into history that no one else has? Glenn Beck? Is he God’s chosen vessel? Apparently so. Who knew God had such a cruel sense of humor.

  4. Abortion is a wedge issue that the GOP uses in order to stir up anger and garner votes, just like the issue of guns. I’m quite sure that many of the ones yelling the loudest are either privately obtaining abortions or arranging for loved ones to get them.

  5. Thanks, Sarah. These people are busy re-writing American history but also re-writing the Bible to say what it’s convenient to say. Sadly, YHWH called for child sacrifice, as well as for the sacrifice of entire cities – they called it ‘dedicating’ a city to God. It’s kind of amusing watching them run circles around themselves trying to make it all mesh but they can’t do it and the trouble is most of them haven’t even read it. You can Google and find tons of sites saying “The Bible says abortion is wrong” – only it doesn’t.

    I think the main point is that the Bible wasn’t all written at once. It was written over a long period by many different hands and revised many times. There are two creation stories in Genesis, two stories about Job intertwined and mutually contradictory, there are three versions of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament: Exodus 20:2-17, Exodus 34:12-26, and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. So choose your poison.

    Glenn sure thinks he’s the Chosen One doesn’t he? I think the GOP/Tea Party has too many potential messiahs, for all the talk they made about us crowning Obama as messiah. I mean, you’ve got Beck, Palin, and a whole host of other messiah wannabes.

  6. Wouldn’t surprise me, Anne. There are more than a few conservatives who are socially liberal and more than a few who are hypocrites.

  7. The Protestants believe in scripture only. The Catholics (original Christians) accept both the Word and Tradition. In the Didache, the “primer for Apostles” and the oldest known writing of early Christians, Jesus specifically mentions abortions.

    I am socially “liberal” by issues, and still believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. To put people, no matter who, on one side or another isn’t a productive move.

  8. The problem is not being against abortion. If they truly thought life was sacred, then they would put their money where their mouths are by:

    (1) Supporting comprehensive sex education that goes a long way
    toward drastically decreasing the demand for abortions. They
    would have to go beyond abstinence only, and would emphasize
    responsibility for both boys and girls.

    (2) Supporting things like health care and education that make for
    a good quality of life beyond birth. That seems to be where their
    concern for children ends.

    (3) Supporting programs for young mothers that help them to find a path
    that leads them to make better choices and change the kind of
    self-defeating thinking that leads to repetition of poor choices.

    (4) Avoiding unnecessary, costly wars that send countless young men
    AND women to their deaths. Many of them join the military because
    their choices out here are limited.

    Unless they do these things, their opposition to abortion can only be considered a cynical attempt to stoke and capitalize on the anger that wedge issues like this one elicit. Being pro-life goes way beyond simply being anti-abortion.

  9. what is being hidden here by the Republicans is the right of choice. In this country the rights of an individual should be the highest priority. A person has the right to choose abortion or euthanasia or many other things. The Republicans do not want you to have that choice, so in my mind they are going against our own Constitution. This is less an issue about abortion as it is restricting you. Big government anyone?

    Sarah may recognize this, but here in the South our loving devoted Southern Baptist live by the new testament. However in restricting the women that attend their churches they invoke the Old Testament saying that women shall never dress like men and cannot come to church wearing slacks. You’re absolutely right in the fact that they pick and choose every single Old Testament law they want.

    Both Republicans and churches hired a tremendous amount of things from their followers. Peoples religions are not really what they think they are based on their beginnings. It’s obvious to me that the Christian religion is made up of pick and choose rules. we believe in the Jews but we really don’t want to be like them. never ask a supposed Christian to live by the tenets of his own religion

    abortion, like changing the tax laws, has been a Republican issue for 40+ years. And every year the people just nod their heads up and down while the elected representatives go to Congress and do absolutely nothing about anything.

  10. First, I’m not necessarily Anti-Abortion. I’m more of a “Pro-Education/Abortion As A Last Resort” kinda guy. So, I look to other sources to assist in my decision making process.

    I figure Nature helps out. If you’re a good “God Fearin'” Christian, well, God is in charge of nature? Right? And if your a despicable “God Hatin'” Aethist ;-) (jk) then the natural behaviors of Nature should hold some significance for you. Correct? I hope so. I think so. So………

    Nature is full of examples of how “nature” handles the whole “birth” process from conception to the new born little animal. I’m very familiar with this one so I’ll use it as my example. There are far too many sources so just google “killdeer bird protecting nest” and you can get some good visuals. (Here is one video. It’s actually a pretty good one covering the whole process. There are so many others.) http://bit.ly/9N79J0

    Their behavior as dictated by nature goes something like this. They build their nest on rocky ground so, their nest is made up mostly of small pebbles and feathers. (In this instance, Nature should have compelled her to build her nest a little further from the driveway and I wouldn’t have had to surround it with bricks!!) A little indentation in the ground that blends perfectly. Then, there are the eggs. The eggs look perfectly like little pebbles or stones. Nature’s looking pretty concerned about the unborn so far, wouldn’t you agree?

    Now, the eggs are laid and the birds share attending the eggs. When they feel the nest is endangered, the adult birds will go off the nest and go hysterical trying to imitate a wounded bird, running along the ground, flopping and flapping looking like they are injured trying to attract the danger away from the nest and onto themselves. And if you don’t follow them, and stay close to the nest, they will actually come running back in your direction, flapping and flopping trying to draw you away. I have honestly felt sorry for the adult bird and their desperate, almost hysterical attempt to draw you away that many times I just walk off to give them peace.

    Now, as the eggs approach hatching, it becomes much more difficult to get the bird to leave the nest. I have sat on a big, noisy riding mower, mere feet away from the nest taking pictures. The adult bird actually LOOKS frightened and will hunker down and spread itself out as much as possible offering physical protection to the nest. Finally, if I am headed on a collision course with the nest and a few yards away, the adult bird will leave the nest and go into its act.

    And finally, once the eggs hatch and being ground nesting birds with the little ones much more vulnerable, the baby birds are ready to leave the nest within 24 hours. This whole process is truly something amazing to see.

    So, I take some of my thoughts about abortion from the dictates of nature.

    First, I know of no other species other than Humans that seek out their own unborn and destroys them.

    Second, nature dictates to the mother bird that simply the PROMISE of life represented by these “inanimate” eggs is more important than her own safety and she will risk her life and safety to protect, not the actual, young lives, but simply the PROMISE of life these eggs represent.

    And nature, in its “wisdom” (?) takes every measure possible to protect the eggs and the little birds before, when, and after they are born.

    So, when I ponder the very difficult subject of abortion, one of the things that drives my conclusions are the processes of Nature. And I have concluded that while in some cases it may be a necessary evil, in the natural order of things, it shouldn’t be happening.

  11. Mam Grizzlies absorb their embryo into their bodies if they determine the time isn’t right or advantageous to give birth.

  12. So we are supposed to be no better than animals? We have intellectual capacity for a reason. By your reasoning men should club their women and women should eat their men after sex, since those things happen in the animal world. Also, different animals have very different mating rituals. Some mate and leave, others stay together for life so you can’t generalize even within the animal kingdom.

  13. Well said, Anne. They won’t pay for

    1) contraceptives or sex ed to stop pregnancy
    2) abortions
    3) for the children that come from their failure to pay for 1 and 2 above.

  14. Interestingly, in the ancient (Pagan) world, it was understood (as it is in modern liberal democracies) that a free woman’s bodies was her own. As Martin Goodman writes (Rome and Jerusalem 2007:234):

    “many in secular Western society would find the Roman attitude easy enough to recognize (if not always to approve). A (free) woman’s body was her own; she had the right to choose.”

    In the Roman world, the father picking up the child and acknowledging it gave it life. It was similar in the Norse world, where the act of a father in giving a child a name was the point at which soul entered the body and the infant became a human being.

    My point in saying this is that it is not religion (anyone’s religion) which should decide these matters.

  15. That is the saddest excuse for an argument against abortion I’ve ever read. The animals don’t do it? Seriously?

  16. No need to be nasty. I’m just saying I use a wide array of information when I consider these greater questions.

    If you want to insult me and take things to the absurd, that’s fine. That’s not the way I discuss things. But I see some lessons to be learned in the behavior of these little birds and the dictates of nature. And I find it sorta sad if all intelligent individuals can gather from watching the actions of these little animals is negativity.

    Information is a tool. Use it as you see fit. I am not arguing for or against abortion. I’m just saying it is an “unnatural” act.

  17. This is now my favorite website of all time (sorry, addictinggames.com, you were fun when I was young).

    This is exactly the type of article that SHOULD be published in newspapers, and should be used in the Abortion debates that have somehow made it back into the courtrooms of America. It needs to be pointed out that the modern religious-right leadership of America is no better than the violence-crazed leaders of Radical Islam in the Middle-East, because neither of them are being true to the religion that they preach. They are both warping, twisting, and adding on to the faiths that they lead, and because the very nature of faith is the removal of doubt, the people who follow them do not question their words! It has led to the destruction of freedoms in the middle east (women used to be nearly equal to men until within the last 2 centuries), the stripping of rights from our own nation’s people (gay marriage, private drug use, abortion, etc.) and nobody is willing to come right and say: “Listen, you people aren’t even reading your own book. Here, here, and here, it says that what you’re doing is wrong, and what you’re preventing other people from doing isn’t even mentioned, let alone called wrong or illegal. So what logic are you using to justify your actions?”

    So thank you, Mr. Haraldsson, for this post. It made my day that much brighter to know that I am not alone in the world and that somewhere out there are other people who aren’t blinded by ignorance and faith. This is something that I wish I could share with my peers, since almost all of them are hardcore right-wing Republican Christian conservatives (I live in Orange County, California), but unfortunately there aren’t enough** people like you working for Fox News so I know they would just ignore the whole thing.

    **By that I mean there are none. Fox News is like a black hole of ineptitude and ignorance. I’d call them imbeciles to their faces, but that word is longer than five letters so I don’t think they’d understand the message.

  18. Unfortunately logic has no place in Fundamentalism.One of the first things your taught is that to question the pastor is about the worst thing you can possibly do.Carefully orchestrated bible studies (Shepherding) are designed to brainwash the convert.(and trust me it works)And of course the push to get involved.To sum it up every thing is planned to cement you to the Church.Plus your tithe which quite frankly doesn’t always go where it should.The pastor of that church many years after I left was under investigation for misappropriation of funds.And by the way your Right.When the Bible is read it’s interpreted by the Pastor who has learned the art of twisting Scripture.

  19. What we are addressing is the blatant hypocrisy of the GOP that supports endless wars and oppposes health care reform, while being anti-abortion. They have been using this issue as one of the tools in their endless efforts to foment anger and division among Americans. I find your post interesting, even if I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

  20. There are millions of people who believe that life is sacred from conception to natural death who support parents in their struggles to provide for their families. There are millions who work with the elderly, the sick and the disadvantaged. We are present at the world’s natural disasters and as caregivers to those displaced by wars and famines. Please differentiate between those who are parasites to the anti-abortion belief from the true believers in the sacredness of all human life. I will not trash you because you believe that extinguishing a human life before birth is a “medical procedure.” Please allow me the same curtesy in my beliefs. We all have free will, and I fully support yours.

  21. TomandLou, you are referring to Protestant church techniques. The “Church” is generally a refernce to the original Christian church, the Catholic Church.

  22. I cannot argue with what you say. However in my opinion and I’m sure only in my opinion, this is about your rights as a person and a female. Or even as a family. To me your rights to get an abortion is absolute. That is not to say that I favor abortion nor would I ask anyone to get an abortion. But then again I feel the same way about euthanasia. So many people make the abortion issue about abortion when it’s really not. It’s about fighting to keep you from having and expressing your rights as a human being and an American citizen.

  23. actually there are many examples in nature where if the food supply is not adequate birds will push one or more babies out of the nest, other animals will abandon babies to ensure that the strongest survive under exceptional circumstances. Nature is not only kind and caring it is also ruthless. Nature will never sacrifice the many when it can save a few

  24. I can tell you it is a fact. I worked with Planned Parenthood in Missouri and Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis would see the same protesters outside day after day until eventually they saw them in the clinic with a “special” case.
    How ineffectual are the anti-abortion crowd that more than 37 years later they have been unable to overturn Roe v. Wade? They LOVE Roe v. Wade! For 37 years it has been their rallying cry. They would be at a loss if it were overturned.

  25. I’m sorry, but “poetical” party? Beyond that, I do agree that the Republican party, made up in great part of old white men and a few wealthy, arrogant women, needs to rethink its agenda.

  26. .

    Why do these “Evangelicals” (who, by the way have hijacked
    the Christian ‘Faith’ in America — making into a “religion” of
    both ‘worshipping-mammon and legislating-morality’) seem
    to arrogantly think that God is ready and willing to “punish
    America for all the aborted babies” — and YET also somehow
    manage to believe that God is (perfectly accepting of) and
    NOT at all willing to “punish America for any of the …?

    1) American Indians murdered for their land;

    2) People (of all “races”) held in slavery (chattel,
    indentured-servitude, debt, wage, etc.) in the nation;

    3) Abused and exploited vulnerable people
    (children, women, elderly, sickly, poor, etc.)

    3) Rape and destruction of the ecology
    (not to mention corporate-welfare
    at the expense of the most needy);

    4) Miscarriages of justice in the courts;

    5) etc. and so on.” ?!?!?!?!

    Why do they honestly (and arrogantly — not to
    mention ‘unscripturally’) think that God is ONLY
    concerned with the things that “bother them”?!?!?!

    In my opinion — those aborted fetuses will have a long line
    of OTHER INJUSTICES (MADE AGAINST MANY OTHER
    GROUPS IN AMERICA) to stand behind — before they get
    their chance to present their “demands to God for justice”.

    Also — why does it seem that the very same people who are
    against gender right’s, reproductive rights; sexual rights;
    work wage rights, education rights; social rights; equality
    rights; etc. — often seem to have ‘no problem’ at all with
    the many other SAD FACTS ABOUT AMERICA (such as
    the past slavery/segregation-system; the destruction of
    98% of the indigenous-people of the land; etc. and so on.)

    Seriously … talk about cherry-picking of ‘abominations’!

    They are simply Unbelieveable !!!!

    .

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