Wednesday, June 06, 2007

American Life League And Poverty

Jill at feministe posted about American Life League's press statement concerning poverty:

Abortion is an act that takes the life of an innocent human child," said Erik Whittington, American Life League's youth outreach director. "It is shameful that Christians would rally around the physical needs of the poor and ignore the deaths of untold millions of babies. Abortion is poverty and the number one priority of our day should be its demise."

This past weekend, Sojourners opened Pentecost 2007: Taking Vision to the Street, a conference aimed at placing "poverty at the top of our nation's agenda." Today, Sojourners will host a march that will run from National City Christian Church to the Upper Senate Park. American Life League, through its youth outreach project Rock for Life, will be there to present to conference attendees the importance of putting abortion, not poverty, at the top of the list of social concerns.

"Mother Teresa, the universal icon for fighting poverty once said, 'It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.' While we commend Christians for working towards eliminating poverty," said Whittington, "we must not forget that abortion kills a human person, and leaves the mother spiritually and psychologically broken. Abortion ends the lives of more than 3,500 American babies a day. This bloodshed dwarfs any other issue, including poverty."

So. As Jill points out, this has been a week of utterly astonishing comments from various wingnuts and anti-feminists. Mr. Whittington also has not thought this thing through: A major reason given for abortions is economic hardship. Thus, poverty relief should lead to fewer abortions.

I got curious about the American Life League. Their website states that they don't believe in abortion under any circumstances, even when the mother's life is threatened:

ALL is opposed to all abortion, contraception and other threats to the human person and the family. This total protection approach separates us from many of the other major groups. ALL will not support abortion-related legislation that contains exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother, fetal deformity or other such condition.

You can find the ALL associates in various states on the website. You can also find the best way of treating ectopic pregnancies, where the fetus will always die:

Using the Thomistic Principle of Totality (removal of a pathological part to preserve the life of the person) and the Doctrine of Double Effect, the only moral action in an ectopic pregnancy where a woman's life is directly threatened is the removal of the tube containing the human embryo. The death of the human embryo is unintended although foreseen. Put another way, if there were a way to save both lives, which, of course, are of equal value, one would be obliged morally to do so. At this time, this is not possible.

It is acknowledged that it has become commonplace even in Catholic hospitals to open the tube and "suction out the human embryo" or administer methotrexate either via mouth or laparoscopy. Both of these procedures directly attack an innocent human life and are intrinsically immoral and never can be justified. In fact, they violate the Fifth Commandment, which under all circumstances prohibits a direct attack on innocent human life. There are absolutely no exceptions to the 5th Commandment as described.

While removing the tube containing the human embryo results in the death of a human being as does suctioning out the human embryo or administration of methotrexate, one cannot ethically conclude that all the actions have the same intended end result. The reason for this is that the "means" used to accomplish the "end" are not the same.

Refusal to make this distinction results in a Machiavellian approach employing any "means" to the "end" including the direct assault on the human being intended to result in his death. While it is acknowledged that removal of the tube containing the human embryo may result in sterility, it is not morally justified to directly attack human life by suctioning out the human embryo or administering methotrexate even though fertility is preserved.

Fascinating. I like the way these guys view women's lives: no contraception and if you get pregnant nobody will care about your life unless the fetus is going to die anyway, but even in that case your future fertility can be sacrificed. Why do they bother calling their organization ALL? They should insert some sort of a qualification that the "ALL" doesn't refer to women's lives or health.