I wish a robot would get elected president. That way, when he came to town, we could all take a shot at him and not feel too bad. –Jack Handey
Question #3030 posted on 02/07/2004 12:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

First off let me congratulate the Captain on his actually doing somthing to help the world. I sheepishly admit that I haven't done nearly as much. As I recall, I wasn't criticizing him in particular, but rather a general group and generalizations do tend to lead to problems. I'm also glad that he knew abortion was wrong without having to heavily weigh it. The reason it took so long for me is that it is a complicated issue as the Captain has pointed out--such as in the cases of rape or incest.

Now let me point out some of your misconceptions about me or at least about my views, Captian. First off I do not claim that many children die because of guns. Many is a relative term anyhow and many is too much if you're the one who's hurt. I realize the absurdity of removing all possibilities of death. The question becomes which ones we can reasonably remove. Again, I think guns belong with law enforcement. The question is whether the benefit to private citizens outweighs the cost of even one child in an accidental shooting. I believe the benefits of those other things do outweigh the costs, but the benifits of guns is questionable to me. I realize that you will likely disagree and can respect that. Just understand that I do not see enough of a benefit. Do the benefits of marajuana outweigh the present costs it poses to society? I don't think so, but that's my opinion. If only one person per year died from abortions, would it then be okay? I'm sure that you're not arguing that, but I want to point out that it is not the numbers that I'm really trying to argue but rather pros and cons of each individual decision. I don't like playing the "well so and so is worse" game. It really doesn't defend anyone in a court of law--at least it shouldn't.

As for abortion, let me say this. I understand that it is a terrible thing to be raped, but it goes back to attacking one of the pseudo reasons that many of you conservative types hold--that you are protecting the unborn child. I don't see how you can really believe that you are protecting the unborn and yet allow abortion under certain circumstances. While protecting the unborn may be RELATED to your reasoning, it is not the reason for it. It is as you said--because the prophet said so. If the prophet said abortion was okay, you'd probably say so too. It is a matter of FAITH for you, and not reason (at least I don't see how it could be otherwise, but then I'm not omniscient like you guys). Logic tells me that I do not have the right to kill little babies to prevent me from suffering even if the start of the suffering was not my fault. It's not theirs either. I will respect your position when you fully admit that it is completely a matter of faith and following you conscience and not because you are really championing the rights of the unborn.

By the way, I think the problem might be better solved if scientists could develop some kind of artificial womb that would allow the child to develop in the case of rape and such. Then the victim doesn't have to suffer and the child gets a chance at life. But then, even that solution has its problems.

Captain, I almost always disagree with you, but at least you seem to be informed about stuff. I don't really want to force anyone to my beliefs, but I hope they can at least try to understand where I'm comming from. I think I understand your view, and where I don't I still try.

- the moderate

A: Dear moderate and the captain,

I know this debate has mostly been between you two, but I wanted to put my two cents in. On abortion, at least. I'm not going to talk about gun control here.

I have discussed the issue with numerous people and looked at the arguments on both sides, and find that the arguments that most (not all, but most) people put out revolve around two things: freedom and equality. By freedom, I mean freedom from the consequences of your actions. Throughout history, one of the possible consequences of having sex was getting pregnant. Sex is pleasurable, preganancies are not, so here you have a situation where people could be very anxious to free themselves from the consequences of a choice from they made.

And that's where equality comes into play. Because throughout history, men have been more or less able to do so. You sleep with a woman, you get her preganant, you move on or deny any allegations she brings against you. No child to take drain your wallet or suck up your time, and no social stigma, either. The plot of "The Scarlet Letter" is an excellent example of this situation. The woman is stuck with all the consequences of an action both the man and the woman chose to participate in. Abortion has brought women DOWN to the level of men, providing that long sought after equality.

To me, that's the one of the strangest twists of modern history. Women have sought equality with men on all levels, even if meant degrading themselves to the scum men all too often are. Unfortunately, women have been only too successful in their "equality by subtraction" efforts. Instead of allowing women to abort babies, society should be working on forcing men to take responsibility for their actions. That's something you won't see mentioned in an online abortion debate forum (at least, I've never seen it), but it really is relevant to the point.

I think that's one of the biggest hypocrisies of extreme pro-lifers. By extreme, I mean the type who kill and threaten abortion doctors. I don't care who you are, you can't kill and go about calling yourself pro-life. But on to the hypocrisy at hand. Society has a double standard. Feminists seek to remove it by lowering the standard of women to that of men. By and large, they have been successful, because removing a double standard promotes freedom and equality (even if they are of the baser sort), and our country is all about freedom and equality. All too many pro-lifers are not seeking to remove the double standard by pulling men to a higher level, but have contented themselves with fighting to keep the double standard in place. I think that's why they lost the abortion battle when it came to the courts.

So if abortion is to be about choice, which the pro-choice crowd obviously claims that it is, it doesn't seem quite as hypocritical to me to allow a raped woman to abort but not some one who is pregnant from an affair or one night stand. One of those people didn't choose to have sex, the other did. If someone wants to be relieved of the consequences of a choice they did not make, that seems fair to me. When people are relieved from the consequences of choices they did make, society degenerates into a litigious state where everyone becomes a victim, suing restaurants for making the food they chose to eat, electric companies for putting electricity through the wires they chose to touch, school teachers for failing assignments they chose to cheat on, and so many more examples that I can't even go on to name them.

Ah, but you have taken an anti-abortion tack based on the right of babies to live. I must agree, it is harsh that an unborn child becomes a victim of rape in addition to the woman carrying it. An artificial womb, followed by adoption of the child into a loving family provides a possible solution, if one that is still fairly distant. Fertility clinics and in vitro fertilization have blurred the line of when life begins and what is morally meaningful life (is it a fertlized egg? or is it a viable fertilized egg? or is it a viable, implanted, fertilized egg?) to the point where I do not have the time or space to discuss it here.

I think that most members of the church would say that once a spirit is assigned to a body, then the destruction of that body, at whatever developmental state it is at, is the sin of killing or something like unto it (See D&C 59:6). But we do not know when spirits enter bodies. There is much speculation (mostly based off of 3 Nephi 1:10-14, I believe), but no prophet has issued a definitive statement on the subject.

So that's my take. I believe that I have respected your views while presenting mine.

--Der Berliner
A: Dear self-proclaimed moderate (although your beliefs boarder the fringe in the left and right movements),

I really don't care if you disagree with me, it is the baseless misconstruction and skewing of my beliefs that I must combat.

When it comes to gun control, you have obviously never really studied out the issues. I doubt if you could understand a logical argument for gun control. You have been swept away in a tide of deceit and are unable to discern the truth. (Logical to remove? More children choke and die on hotdogs every year than are shot by guns. It would be easy to get rid of all hotdogs)Therefore, I will not waste my time on you. My neighbors' lives were saved about three years ago when they were able to ward off three armed teenage intruders with a handgun. That family is very grateful that your ideas are not implemented. If they were, I wouldn't have those people around anymore.

The abortion issue is very different, and since you said you didn't respect my beliefs, I will not respect your illogical gibberish. You are not trying to understand what I said and are only trying to find fault. You said all people who agreed with my stance on abortion were "right wingers." I mentioned that president Hinckley happened to agree with me and you then decided that my stance was not logically based but faith based.

I take extreme exception to that comment. I have come to my conclusions based on my own personal experiences. I am not a blind follower as you insinuated, but someone who as studied out the issues and has made his own decision. I believe the general attitude of the church is too liberal toward abortion (not the stance of the church, but the opinions of the church members). In cases of rape or incest abortion is not always the answer, but sometimes it is necessary. I don't think Der Berliner's comments are very pertinent to this debate so I will not comment on them.

Today I read a story about an eight year old girl in NY who had been raped repeatedly by her mother's boyfriend. The attending physician claimed that the girl would have either physically or emotionally been killed by carrying the pregnancy to term. This is similar to the one that I mentioned last time about the 9 yr. old girl in St. Louis.

Do you have any idea what it is like to be sexually assaulted? Have you ever been called into the emergency room at 4 in the morning to be with a friend who was to scared to tell her parents what happened? Have you ever seen the emotional and physical consequences of a rape? Until you can say yes, I don't know if you are even worth talking to. Everyday paramedics, medical professionals and others are forced to choose between which of two patients will die. It is very sad, but it happens. How do they decided?

I view the decision faced by a rape victim exactly the same. If the victim is emotionally and physically strong enough she should probably carry the child to term. But, as is often the case, the victim is so emotionally damaged that bringing the child to term would cause permanent physical or psychological harm. It is the same choice that the paramedics are forced to make.

Both are living beings, both have rights, but by living one may kill the other. Who are you to say that an eight year old girl must be so traumatized that she will never be able to live a normal life?

I have always put my actions where my mouth is, do you? Have you done anything to save these children's lives? How about you go tell a rape victim that she has to carry the baby to term. You seem content to call people "conservative types, right wingers" and to say they have no real arguments but faith. My conviction on abortion are such that I would continue to espouse them even if my beliefs were in contradiction to those of the church. It is convenient that we have similar stances (and since that will win about 95% of arguments here at BYU I play that card frequently). Those unborn children have rights and I don't have the right to kill one of them. I view it as cold blooded murder and believe the individuals and doctors who perform abortions are guilty of such.

I do not disguise my faith as a logical belief. I do, however, understand that there are decisions that have to be made in order to preserve human life. Many of these decisions are difficult and many may result in a life being lost. It is a difficult decision, but it is one that needs to be made. A non-decision could very well cost the world two lives. Which is worse?

I speak from unfortunate experience, I have witnessed the tragedy of sexual assault in my personal life and fully comprehend the devastation that would follow if a victim was forced to carry the child to term. Faith influences my life, but conviction moves me. My conviction is that these children have a right to live whenever possible. Now no more name calling unless you can back your words up with fact and action.

PS this is to der Berliner-- the score of abortion doctors to abortions is 8 to 30 million. Nearly everyone (99.999%)in the pro-life movement agrees that killing the abortion doctors is wrong, so it is not a relevant topic when discussing most pro-lifers.

The captain