General Question

wabbit's avatar

If someone is opposed to abortion based on their belief in the sanctity of human life, does this mean they must also oppose acts of warfare that result in the loss of human lives?

Asked by wabbit (40 points ) August 13th, 2012

If someone truly believes in the sanctity of human life, it would seem impossible for the same individual to support war and the death penalty. If not, how does such a person reconcile their belief?

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24 Answers

Nullo's avatar

Not necessarily. Say the other guy wants to kill you, for instance.

Coloma's avatar

It’s a pick your poison situation, and, as always, there is plenty of it.
I don’t support factory farming and eat very little meat, but yes, I can have a steak once a year and still not be a supporter, overall, of the factory farming industry.
I also have farm animals for pets, sooo, I do my part while still having a rare steak on occasion. pun intended.
I also believe in going as green as possible according to ones lifestyle,

I don’t use pesticides or herbicides on my property, I support the local wildlife and do not allow hunting on my acreage, but, I do drive a car as it is a necessity living in a rural community.
For the record I support a womans right to choose and I do not support the war machine or the death penalty.

livelaughlove21's avatar

The problem is that there’s hipocrisy in everything. “I’m against abortion because every life is precious….unless the person in question did something bad, then you can kill the bastard.” Sounds stupid because it is, but we all do it. “Cruelty to animals is bad….dang, this cheeseburger is delicious.” Looking for any logic or uniformity in a person’s way of thinking is a waste of time.

gambitking's avatar

I think the cornerstone of the abortion debate lies not in the killing of human life, which is precious… but in the empowerment of a mother to carry out the killing upon her own unborn child, which of course is completely helpless in the choice of its fate.

That’s a big difference compared to warfare.

JLeslie's avatar

People rationalize whatever their stance happens to be. Maybe they look at the fetus as an innocent life, while they see soldiers on the ooposite side similar to how we think of self defense. Or, they divide it up in their mind as good and evil, and it is ok to get rid of evil, even kill it.

Abortion in the US has become so political that it also has to do with siding with the side you want to be identified with an accepted by. I know people who say they are pro-life who have had abortions. They would never admit it to their friends at their church. I am talking about people who had pregnancies going very wrong, not just aborting because they didn’t want the baby, they all really wanted to have the baby, all purposely became pregnant. But, they need to believe they are pro-life and need to be accepted in their communities as pro-life. Of course there are people out there who will voice they support some exceptions for abortion, but almost never do they talk about a problem with the fetus, it is always life of the mother or rape and incest. And, even then, look at the nun who was excommunicated a few years ago for helping a woman get an abortion, because the woman’s life was at risk. The church didn’t care. She was already a mother, happy to be pregnant, and had a few other children she had to worry about.

ragingloli's avatar

No, they only care about the “sanctity” until they are out of the womb, from that point on, they can sprout pustules and die in a gutter for all they care.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli Maybe that whole notion of suffering is admirable helps? I always find it odd how Christians love that Jesus suffered so. And, when I think of a virgin girl having to birth a baby it freaks me out. It seems abusive. I once asked my Catholic friend about it, and she felt Mary probably was fine to go through any of the suffering it caused because it was for God. She also suggested maybe it was a painless birth.

bolwerk's avatar

The “sanctity of life” argument is mostly a smokescreen for misogyny. The vast majority of opposition to abortion has more to do with punishing women for having sex than it does with concern for the sanctity of life. Indeed, it doesn’t take a lot of backbending to think that you can’t be pro-life without being pro-choice. By and large, access to abortion guarantees a more sustainable existence for women, especially poorer ones.

It’s not to say there aren’t principled abortion opponent, but if you consider what the typical ardent abortion opponent is really thinking, there isn’t a lot of hypocrisy behind their enthusiasm for war and the death penalty.

Blackberry's avatar

Have a debate with someone who believes this and it is clear they haven’t thought it through very much.

But livelaughlove is correct that we all have our own hypocrisies.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Keep in mind that some (not all) opposition to abortion has NOTHING to do with the fetus and the life of the fetus.

It has to do with keeping women subservient to and dependent on their men.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I have a few people whom I would love to ask this question.

marinelife's avatar

You would think so, wouldn’t you?

Paradox25's avatar

There are many different reasons why people think the way that they do. Still however I think that information cascades are one of the most major reasons why people think the way that they do. An information cascade is basically the concept of agreeing/disagreeing with something based on what most others around you think, rather than researching for yourself. People do tend to agree with their peers out of fear of the consequences of dissent. People may agree with their peers by assuming that since the majority thinks a certain way, then there must be some truth to it. It might never occur to these types of people that the majority they relied upon to come to their conclusions might not have used critical thinking themselves, but instead came to their stances based upon more information cascades.

Obviously the more conformist or authoritarian one is, the more likely that person is to fall for information cascades. From being around the types of people that you’ve described above most of my life, I think I can truly tell you that information cascades likely have alot to do with what you’re asking. I think this type of issue goes deeper than cherry picking to support ones beliefs, despite any hypocrisy, since there has to be some type of motivation to want to cherry pick to begin with. Most of us want to be accepted by those around us, or at least not become a target, and by supporting information cascades we can accomplish this.

tinyfaery's avatar

Logically, yes. But in religion logic doesn’t matter.

Sunny2's avatar

You’d also think they would oppose capital punishment, but they don’t as a rule. emotional political reactions are not necessarily based on logic.

Nullo's avatar

@bolwerk So it’s misogynistic to think that maybe we shouldn’t be killing babies? ‘Cos that’s my only motivation. Funny how you know the insides of other peoples’ heads so well, especially without even sharing major ideologies.
The “enthusiasm for war” stops being hypocritical when you consider that sometimes it’s the only way to protect your and others’ life. Total pacifism works out to people dying anyway, either protecting you or under the guns of the invader, followed by your forced subjugation to foreign rule.
Unexamined here are the criteria of defenselessness and innocence, both key elements in many anti-abortion arguments: the unborn child has both attributes. An inmate on Death Row (assuming that the courts are just and effective) has neither.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Well that’s not how politics roles my fellow jelly. You see, Republicans need these babies to be born and raised through struggling families who statistically will consider joining military over college and thus serving as grunts to the imperialist agenda that is to protect the trade market globally.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo The OP makes a very simple logical point: the claim “all life is sacred and never to be taken” is necessarily in conflict with “war and the death penalty are sometimes acceptable.” This means that anyone who is both against abortion and for war or the death penalty cannot—on pain of contradiction—use the premise “all life is sacred and never to be taken” in their argument against abortion or as part of their rhetoric. You effectively concede this point with your own talk of defenselessness and innocence, so you’ve already given up the game.

Your argument against @bolwerk suffers from a similar problem. You state that finding war to be acceptable is not hypocritical due to the fact that it may be the only way to save the lives of oneself and others. Moreover, you appeal to a balancing act of other goods. The exact same style of argument may be given in favor of abortion. Sometimes abortion is the only way to save the life of the mother, laws against abortion work out to abortions happening anyway (just in more dangerous circumstances), and denying women bodily autonomy is also forced subjugation to misogynistic rule.

It is subjugation because autonomy is the liberty without which all other liberties are pointless. It is misogynistic because it is aimed only at women. And your putative motivation makes no sense because abortion—by definition—does not kill babies (“baby” being a synonym for “infant” or “newborn”). Thus I reiterate: your own argument concedes the point made by the OP, and it is also subject to reappropriation by its intended target. This makes it rather weak as an argument. It also suggests that you have missed the point the OP was making in the first place.

Coloma's avatar

Well….back to the original Q. and I can offer another example of how one can claim and be sincere in their convictions yet be able to bend with the shades of gray which color all beliefs.
I love nature and wildlife and live in an area with everything imaginable, from cougars to coyotes to rattlesnakes.
I believe everything has a purpose and no life form takes precedence over another, however….
I had my neighbor kill two rattlesnakes last night that were threatening my safety and that of my pets.

My cat was bitten a month ago and cost me a fortune, so last night when I heard the unmistakeable rattle coming from under my deck and discovered a monster rattler coiled up right under the bottom step, yep….called my neighbor over to shoot it.
Not 5 minutes later another one was rattling in the creek bed below my deck and my cat was only a foot away, did that one in too.
So, I can claim I love all nature and wildlife and that is a true statement, but, I can also blow off the vipers little head when it comes too close for comfort.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Coloma You are correct, but the OP asks about a widely used absolute statement. Saying you love nature does not commit you to never killing a snake. At most, it commits you to being a little sad at the necessity of occasionally killing a snake. Saying that all human life is sacred, on the other hand, does not allow for such a thing. The problem is that it is, by its very essence, a black and white statement. If we want shades of gray, then we need to hold different beliefs. Your more nuanced views, which allow for shades of gray, could be used as examples of this.

bolwerk's avatar

@nullo: Nobody is talking about killing babies. Zygotes and fetuses are no more babies than babies are teenagers. Your only motivation is asserting your power over another human being and, no, you shouldn’t do it.

And, as usual, it’s quite clear that the abortion opponents who get erect around projectile weapons are not at all concerned with defending the defenseless. It’s, again, about asserting power over other people themselves, this time the manifestation being nationalistic/jingoistic/imperial rather than personally finding your nuts shriveled at the idea of women enjoying sex.

shaunste567's avatar

There is a specific difference between to murder and to kill in defense

SavoirFaire's avatar

@shaunste567 Yes, there is. But that means you can’t really believe that all human life is sacred and never to be taken. That’s the underlying point that exposes such slogans as merely rhetorical.

bolwerk's avatar

@shaunste567: what @SavoirFaire said, plus things like the death penalty aren’t even defensive. And it is a hell of a stretch to say many of the wars anti-abortion authoritarians support are “defensive” (Iraq, hello?).

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