So the judge presiding over the case of Scott Roeder, the anti-abortionist who is charged with assassinating abortion service providing doctor George Tiller, has ruled that the defense can use Roeder's belief that he was preventing the murder of unborn humans in their attempt to obtain a reduced level of conviction and sentence. Well let's see how this logically works out if Roeder in some way benefits from this strategy.
Let's assume Roeder is released sooner than he otherwise would have been sans the preventing future murders defense. Let's also assume that Roeder announces he intends to liquidate additional abortion providers (which he may well do). Since he will be openly preparing to commit murder then a pro-choice activist would be similarly justified in rubbing out Roeder, and getting a reduced level of punishment for the deed. Let's say that the pro-choice murderer then announces he or she will kill another anti-abortionist who has proclaimed that they will dispatch an abortion doctor. Obviously, it would be legally more tolerable for an anti-abortionist to murder the pro-choice killer. And on it goes. This is no joke. If Roeder gets, say, just five years, and someone then blows him away in the same state to prevent him from committing further murders, then why should that person not get the same leniency? This is the legal madness that the trial judge is opening the door to.
The ultimate legal justification in the eyes of hard-line anti-abortionists for killing abortion providers is that God considers the practice to be murder. Funny thing about that. Get some anti-choice literature and look for citations of Bible passages that actually denounce abortion. I guarantee you won't find any. Nowhere in the Hebrew and Christian testaments is abortion labeled murder or a sin. Nor does Jesus bring up the subject. This is why a few fundamentalists do not consider abortion a problem (same for Orthodox Jews). The scriptural passages anti-abortionists rely upon are general platitudes against killing innocents. I say platitudes because the Biblical God is not truly opposed to the murder of those who are guiltless. God wipes out all the world's pregnant women and children in a great flood, does the same in some cities, and kills off more innocents in Egypt. God explicitly orders Moses, Joshua and the Israelites to conduct a Nazis class campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing in unprovoked wars of conquest in which all pregnant women and children are hunted down and put to the sword, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The Israelite King Jephthah sacrificed his virgin daughter to God in exchange for success in slaughtering yet more nonHebrews.
In the real world that anti-abortionists believe God has designed, the human reproductive system the creator devised is so defective that the great majority of conceptions fail to come to term. The in-vivo loss rate is so high that the reason that most sexual intercourse when the woman is ovulating does not result in a known pregnancy may not be because of the failure to conceive, but because the conception fails to survive. If a creator is inserting souls at conception then he does not particularly care that most of them do not live for more than a few hours to weeks. The result of the normal wastage is the abortion of well over a hundred billion unborn
A much greater natal mortality rate is not possible because it would crash the population. Deliberate abortions are a modest fraction of those caused without human intent. Until recently half of children born died, with the loss to the diseases supposedly created by God totaling 50 billion. It is illogical and cynical to pretend that a creator deity is pro-life when he failed to ensure that the female reproductive tract is safe for the unborn, and does nothing to prevent the level of noninduced terminations from being about as incredibly high as they can be.
The frequency of spontaneous abortions, and lack of Biblical condemnation of the induced variety, helps explain why America began as an abortion friendly nation. There were no laws on the books, and Common Law barred abortion only after quickening. To the largely non-Catholic and entirely male founders, abortion was a women's affair they had little interest in. Abortion became an issue in the 1800s for two reasons. Doctors wanted to suppress the competition from midwives, who aided the abortions that reduced the greater fees to be gained from pregnancies. The influx of faster breeding "lower" immigrants inspired Anglo-Saxon nativists to decry the low fertility levels of their cohort, and anti-abortion laws were devised to correct the deficit (similar in motive to the outlawing of abortion in totalitarian states by Hitler, Stalin and Mao for nationalistic demographic purposes). Of the major wings of Christianity only the least Bible based, Catholicism, had a long-standing opposition to abortion, but even the Roman church has not been consistently pro-life. Evidence has emerged that in Nazi Germany church officials did not stop the discarding of infants of their female slaves where forced labor was the norm in Hitler's Deutschland when new mothers were forced back to work after a few days, an embarrassing atrocity the church has not owned up to (http://www.concordatwatch.org/showkb.php?org_id=858&kb_header_id=752&order=kb_rank%20ASC&kb_id=10191).
Immediately following the Roe versus Wade ruling evangelicals did not mount much of a protest, which was initially largely left to the Catholics. Conservative Protestants remained focused on criticizing the soaring divorce rates among the Greatest Generation until divorcee Reagan became their flag bearer. The movement then shifted to abortion under the aegis of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority which was neither a majority nor particularly moral -- who then made the anti-choice part of the Republican platform. This effort has been successful in whipping up abortion fervor into a major societal fear factor comparable to anti-black bigotry.
Both sides in the abortion debate are guilty of unreality. On the right the prohibitionists imagine they can make the procedure rare by outlawing it in the same manner as the ban on slavery. But the latter worked only because it is difficult to keep a lot of people enslaved without others noticing. Like use of alcohol and other drugs, abortion is too secretive to legally control. The slogan on the left that abortion should be "legal but rare" is similarly naÃ¯ve and unworkable. International and historical research has shown that abortion is always common whether or not it is legal. The reason is because women suffer from a terrible and awful problem- they are human beings who make mistakes like everyone else.
Lots of women have sex willingly and unwillingly every day, and often things go wrong one way or another. To expect women who wish to avoid pregnancy to not have sex is not going to happen. To expect couples to always and properly use protection is not going to happen either. Once unintentionally pregnant a large portion of women are bound and determined not to go through with it, and will do what it takes to terminate the pregnancy. Adoption is not a viable alternative in part because the number of unintended pregnancies is enormous, being well over a million in the USA alone (click here), and overwhelms many fold the potential adoptees. Tightly restricting the procedure only has the effect of making a lot of women miserable on multiple levels, and too often dead. The number of women who die from illegal abortions is in the tens of thousands a year globally (see last link) either because they botched the procedure themselves, or did not receive proper services from a qualified doctor in a safe medical context. This tragic and avoidable loss is one reason why a number of nations are giving up the futile attempt to simply ban abortions and are easing restrictions.
Although it is not possible to make abortion truly rare, it certainly is practical to reduce the level well below the American standard. In all other 1st world nations where abortion is legal termination rates are significantly lower, by up to half (http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP07398441_c.pdf). These relatively modest levels are achieved by extensive, pragmatic sex education that emphasizes condom use (http://www.gregspaul.webs.com/pediatrics.pdf; click here=printer). The wide use of the faith-based abstinence-only programs advocated by anti-abortionists at the expense of comprehensive sex-ed is an ironic but predictable failure that is boosting abortions.
The lack of interest in preventing abortion by an intelligent designer, the impracticality of making the private procedure rare by legal or persuasive means, and the past inconsistency in opposing abortion by pro-life organizations, indicates that the anti-abortion movement is not really about morality or even religion, but is a theocon power play intended to maximize control of the populace by the social right via the big government control they claim to oppose. Within this behavior controlling cohort the most extreme elements are willing to oppose a medical procedure for distressed women to the degree that they are advocating a wild west nation where pro-life terrorists can kill certain doctors at will.
It would be good if before commenting on this that one read the Philosophy and Theology article.