BREAKING DOWN CARL SAGAN’S LOGIC ON ABORTION Part 12 “This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan)

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Adrian Rogers


Carl Sagan pictured below:

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Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968. 

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Francis Schaeffer

I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan, and in his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

Image result for carl sagan ann

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

 

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Why do we set humans above animals?

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Adrian Rogers sermon on the Bible and Animal Rights is a perfect answer to Sagan!!

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

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Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) I shared my correspondence with Carl Sagan with Dr Rogers and the fact that many of my letters to Sagan contained material from Rogers.

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Carl Sagan “This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up.” A popular argument is if these young women avoid having these “unwanted” children then we would have less child abuse, but really it comes down to our respect for life!!!

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Child abuse has been rising dramatically in the last forty years.

In 1972 there were 60,000 reported child-abuse incidents in the U.S.  In
1976, the number had soared to over 500,000!  Child Abuse is now the fifth most frequent cause of death among children.  (Francis Shaeffer and Dr.  C.  Everett Koop, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?”, Crossway Books, Westchester, IL.)

In the film and book Whatever Happened to the Human Race? you will see Dr. C. Everett Koop make this comment (in 1979):

.There are those who try and justify abortions by saying that abortions get rid of unwanted children and therefore will cut down on child abuse, but consider this, since 1973 there have been 6 million abortions in the USA and there are therefore 6 million fewer children than there would have been without the liberal abortion ruling and yet child abuse has increased in incidents year by year from that date.

Great article I ran across on the www.thevillagechurch.net website:

Sanctity of Life

Author: Jared Musgrove Category: Culture, Theology

Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.

Let’s move on, shall we?

But we haven’t. For 40 years the conversation remains irrepressible in our public policy discussion, elections, films, sitcoms, newspapers and coffee klatches. We can’t move on because the issue won’t go away. Our consciences, individual and corporate, can’t let it.

We’re still talking about the sanctity of life because the mere mention of it generates a moral friction on our human souls – souls fashioned after the Creator God who makes human beings distinctive among His created order.

It is this imago Dei – image of God – imbued to human beings (Gen. 1:26-27) that makes us human in the first place. This is the genesis of the biblical worldview: that God created and imprinted His image upon each person, giving dignity and value to every single human life despite its stage of development.

In this biblical understanding, to attack an unborn or any “image-bearer” is to attack the very image of the creator God (Gen. 9:6). Assaulting or enslaving another human being is nothing more or less than an attempt to eliminate the reminder that we are created by and accountable to the one true God.

James tells us we kill because we “desire and do not have” (James 4:1-4). These impulses are birthed and fueled by our Genesis 3 desire to put ourselves in the place of God where no such warrant exists. We do great evil when we use or destroy lives to suit our whims and warped worldviews.

So it stands to us – the redeemed – to pray, defend and cry out for the unborn and oppressed. These fragile image-bearers cannot speak to policies and procedures created by an increasing culture of death, a culture that ruthlessly places human desires on the throne of creation while negating the significance of human life.

Take heart that this Herod-like hatred of human babies and beings is not without precedent in the history of God’s people. Such evil has been faced before, and the Lord has shown a great light and preservation of life in the midst of such darkness.

Russell Moore writes in the March 2009 issue of Touchstone magazine:

The so-called culture of death around us now is no different from that of the past. The hostility to human babies is happening exactly the same way. The Prince of the Power of the Air excites evil passions. Satan uses Pharaoh’s lust for military stability that says, “I don’t want another king,” in exactly the same way he uses a Southern Baptist deacon’s lust for maintaining his reputation to get him to load his teenage daughter into a car and driver under the cover of night to a clinic in a nearby city so no one will ever know she was pregnant. The blood of children flows, but the problem is spiritual to the core.

Like Pharaoh and Herod, we refuse to allow another king to rule on the throne of our lives and will go to murderous lengths to maintain (perceived) control. The depraved human heart is on display for all the world to see in abortion, slavery and human trafficking. Life is given lip service only to be denied true stewardship. The care and defense of life we are to uphold as image-bearers requires a holy love, patience and sacrifice that can only come from outside ourselves in the form of a righteous King.

Our gracious God invited us into the act of creation itself when He said, “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). This is the decree of true “rights.” We are to pray toward and encourage the multiplication of life under God.

Our love of the Lord compels us to keep talking and praying for the sanctity of life to be realized fully by an unbelieving world that suppresses and destroys the image of its Creator. We are called to intercede as the prayerful and public voice for those lives in the balance, for those who are unable to speak up for themselves.

As we pray for the work of God in revealing the sanctity of life to our culture of death, I share with you one of my most resonating petitions: that by the time my 19-month-old son is an adult, abortion would be as alien to him as segregated restaurants for blacks and whites are to his daddy.

We will continue praying for the sanctity of life this week at Elder-led Prayer – 7 p.m., Wednesday (Jan. 25), at each campus.

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