Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sex is Fun, So Abortion is Legal

I should tell you from the start that none of the following comes from my own head. I was listening to a John MacArthur sermon on the radio one day and he made the below point that I think is darn near incontrovertible.

Here is the basic thesis: the abortion debate is about sex, not abortion. The reason that there is any question about when a fetus becomes a real human being (and thus, whether it is ok to kill it or not) is because sex is so fun. The baby is seen as an unfortunate side effect of the romping good time of copulation.

Think about it like this: if human procreation happened through, say, an adult male and adult female running a mile together while holding hands, there would be no question about whether the resulting fetus was a human 3 months into pregnancy or not. Or take it a step further and imagine that the female had to swiftly kick the male in the groin for conception to happen. If the process was no fun, the result would be no question. The abortion debate is thus not the abortion debate at all; it is the sex debate. (NB: these counter-examples are not from MacArthur!).

Obviously I've made no scientific argument here and my only appeal is to human conscience. But it is intuitive, right? Sinful humanity wants to have sex, and they do not want any consequences or limits. All of this serves as one more reminder of the utter pervasiveness of sin in our world. It is a stark realization that if we must kill babies so that we can have more sex, so be it!


carissa anne said...

weird, huh, how we talk about abortion like the babies just appeared one day. it makes no sense (from a biblical perspective), but it makes a lot of a sense too (from a worldly perspective), that we've made babies and sex two completely different topics.

Kao said...

sex is not fun for rape victims, child brides, or women in abusive or patriarchal relationships.

A woman may not have the choice of when she has sex, she should have the choice of whether she bares the child of the perpetrator.

Kao said...

... and why do you say sex is a sin? Sex is not prohibited by the 10 commandments. There adultery is generally understood to be sexual intercourse between a man and a married woman who is not his wife. This is a rule made by impotent old men protecting their chattels.

Prohibiting abortion is about controlling women and making them have babies they don't want.

Carrie Marie said...

Kao is right, sex is not fun for abuse victims. But I do see where you are going with this Andrew....it all does come back to sin...even for abuse victims...sin.

Lord help us be a light in this dark world.

Andrew Faris said...


I don't want to get into the Biblical prescription about pre-marital sex. I'm going to take it for granted because I just don't have that much time. I think the texts are clear and it is incredibly special pleading in particular to limit porneia in the NT to not include premarital sex. I'll leave it at that.

Your other point is of more interest to me.

No one is saying that rape is fun for the victim. But first of all, let's shoot straight about the numbers: less than 1% of abortions are for this situation. Of course, you still want to be sensitive to the hurting individuals that make up that percentage, so you don't want to say, "Well, too bad for them."

So the solution is pretty simple: come up with an anti-abortion law that has a clause for rape victims.

That would be a good start at least, and would pacify many who understandably see some difficulty in those cases.

That said, I should admit that I am not in favor of allowing abortions in those cases, simply because I really honestly think that abortion is the killing of a fully human baby. In short, it's murder. Since when has murdering an innocent third party ever been the solution to the problem?

I am not trying to be insensitive to the rape victim here, but adoption is a real possibility. That condition, in fact, only is possible if you don't actually believe that the fetus is a human being.

Kao said...

Thanks for the response Andrew,

I believe you mean Biblical Proscription". From what I've seen, people generally use the term Biblical Prescription when referring to a metaphorical spiritual cure that is derived from Scripture. E.g. "A Biblical Prescription for Depression.

Whereas, the term proscription, when used in reference to the Bible, is usually synonymous with an injunction. Proscription is also defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a "decree of condemnation to death or banishment" and is a heavily politically-charged word frequently used to refer to state-approved murder or persecution. Proscription implies the elimination en masse of political rivals or personal enemies. (Wikipedia)

I'm surprised that you find the texts clear, since porneia is a Greek word that, in the context at the time of the writing, referred to temple prostitutes.

The injunction would at the time have been interpreted as forbidding the people from attending pagan fertility rituals and idolatry.

Pagans have always been proscribed as the enemy by the rulers of the People of the Book, often with directives to enslave, rape and kill them.

But of the cities of these peoples which Yahweh your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them — the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite — just as Yahweh your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against Yahweh your God (Deuteronomy 20: 16-18).

Of course those could just be colorful metaphors.

Interpretations of the meaning of porneia from Paul onwards have been arbitrary and have ranged all the way from masturbation and normal intercourse within the bonds of marriage to pederasty.

Punishments have ranged from mere chastisement to mutilation, excommunication, death and damnation.

Pretty harsh punishments, for the most part, for what should be a natural part of the human experience.

In any given age, these rules are always made in the context of a contemporary interpretation of these confusing texts by people who want to control the behavior of other people.

Anyway, regarding abortion, it seems you are open minded enough to allow for abortion in the case of a rape victim.

I commend your compassion. But clearly, putting the burden of proof on the victim and having her undergo the humiliation of a trial before allowing her the right to abort the fetus is not a way to prevent unnecessary suffering.

I agree that rape is probably the least likely scenario. But I can also imagine many possible situations where women, with very little say in the matter, can become pregnant where having a child will only make her situation worse.

Where do you draw the line as to who gets the right define what is a personal violation? I say each person should have autonomy over their own body.

I assisted at the birth of my two children and I've seen the sacrifice a woman makes to bear a child. It is the greatest gift one person can give another. But to force that experience on someone who felt it as a personal violation would be the worst form of torture. Worse than rape.

Since a fetus at that stage is not viable outside the womb I don't believe it is a human "being". I'm sure you've heard the argument and I don't expect we ever will agree on that issue.

I do, however, attribute a great deal of value to the potential human consciousness of a fetus; to the point where I would never want one hosted in an unloving mother.

During the writing of this, a couple of solutions to decrease the number of abortions have occurred to me.

I believe a common cause of unwanted pregnancy it is young people driven by their natural urges experimenting with expressing their affections with each other.

Unfortunately, if they are uneducated on the subject of sex and reproduction they will make uneducated decisions and without access to, or knowledge of, birth control they can get pregnant and spread diseases.

So maybe education is an answer. But as a last resort I offer another proposal:

Perhaps instead of aborting fetuses they should be transferred into the wombs of women who do want babies or, if none are available, women picked at random from the ranks of the "Pro Life".

theologyandculture said...

Hey Andrew,

I just put up a new post on the abortion issue on my blog, which I think you may find very interesting. Just wanted to let you know!