Friday, August 3, 2007

The Culture of Disrespect for Life

I want to thank Beth, of Five Ft Three, for writing a guest post response to my post about our rights to control our own bodies. I will probably respond in comments, when I have a chance, possibly even write a post in response, but for now, I leave it to everyone else. I would add again, I am accepting guest posts , including responses to the posts on this site.

From Beth's blog;
Some things you cannot change, ones height for example. Some things you can change, like people's minds. I would prefer not to be so short, but what can I do? Nothing! But maybe I can enlighten someone in my ramblings.


I am pro-life. Generally being pro-life means of course against abortion, and against the death penalty. But it means even more than that to me, it means having respect for all human life, from natural conception to natural death and everyone in between. I feel that many issues today that are becoming mainstream sort of ideas however are leaning towards a disrespect for life, and it is a disturbing trend for me.

This spiraling downward of respect of course started when Roe v Wade made abortion legal. Yes, I do realize that women were having abortions before January 22, 1973, however when something is legalized the stigma is gone and the whole process becomes rather socially acceptable. I say that attitude is unacceptable. Once we decided that a human life has no value because it is still developing within his mother’s womb, I think we started justifying all sorts of valuations on other people’s lives.

Take Terri Schiavo, many people said her life was worthless, because she was disabled. She was not the person her husband had married, and so judges and lawyers starting justifying ending this woman’s life, and not even in a humane way.

Then there are harden criminals, even some pro-life people justify their killing since they are not innocent. The devaluing of that criminal’s life is justified because of his or her crime.

Then we come to embryonic stem cell research, and suddenly a human life is made into a commodity (oh look, it DOES have value) but it is destroyed then in the name of science. Well of course we must justify this, we are saving people’s lives (or improving their lives) EXCEPT that we do it at the expense of another’s AND adult stem cells are a very viable option so I don’t understand why destroy life if not needed.

Now in DuWayne’s first posting to his new blog, he talked about assisted suicide, and although this disrespect for life is self-inflicted unlike the others, it still says we think there are lives not worth living.

The culture of disrespect for life isn’t just about ending lives, but also about not respecting the lives of the people we interact with every. DuWayne has brought up his own difficulty of growing up with ADHD, and how people who didn’t understand it made his life very difficult. People on the streets, well they are treated as bums, and why don’t they just get a job? That is devaluing a life and being disrespectful. I even fault fellow pro-lifers who parade pictures of aborted babies to make their point, talk about disrespect to that child! I prefer to show the amazing pictures from an ultrasound to show life in a beautiful and positive way.

So basically do I fault Roe v Wade for the shift in our thinking? Yes, I do. We have to stop justifying and assessing values on human lives and treat all people with the respect that we all would like ourselves.

6 comments:

Linkmeister said...

"This spiraling downward of respect of course started when Roe v Wade made abortion legal."

Well, that's a nice broad generalization. Um, Lynching?

I'm adamantly pro-choice and I am also pro-human rights. The distinction between we pro-choice folks and those calling themselves pro-life rests on the question of when life begins. I don't think a blastocyst (in the case of stem cells) is alive; nor do I think there's life as defined as an individual with cognitive skills until well along in the third trimester of gestation.

Beth said...

Well of course there is a difference of OPINION on when life begins, you kept saying you don't THINK a blastocyst is alive and you THINK life is defined as cognitive skills, but you have to be willing to concede you do not KNOW these things to be true. So how can you not err on the side of caution and give value to life at the first possible moment, realizing that we all started from the same fertilized egg and from thqat point on that we would never develop into anything but a human being, and there is no way we could ever say this exact date this exact blastocyst or embryo or fetus is indeed a person, therefore how could we ever unnaturally ever end that seed of human life?

Going back to my premise, how can we devalue a life just because it doesn't fit into some ideal of what we think a human being should be?

BobApril said...

Three rather major quibbles.

Take Terri Schiavo, many people said her life was worthless, because she was disabled.

I never heard that. What I heard is that she had told her husband that she did not want to be kept alive if her brain was already gone. It was. He fought her parents and an interfering government to carry out her wishes. Her life was not worthless, but in her previously-expressed opinion, it was already OVER.

Then we come to embryonic stem cell research, and suddenly a human life is made into a commodity...

You do realize that the embryos that scientists want to use for stem cells are embryos that are already being created for in-vitro fertilization, and are still being destroyed, right? As things currently stand, those embryos are dying to no purpose, and the only way to stop it is to ban IVF. Is that a requirement in your theory of respect for life?

Last, I think Linkmeister made a good point. There are plenty of historical examples of LACK of respect for life that now appear to be barbaric. Lynching, dueling, far more frequent and less controlled state executions, slavery, incredibly dangerous working conditions...claiming that respect for life is headed downward seems disingenuous at best.

Beth said...

Bobapril - if Terri Schiavo had those wishes she should have put them in a legally binding living will, otherwise we are taking the husband at his word and his role in her condition is suspect.

I do happen to disagree with the practice of IVF, but what is at stake is not the current lines but what is stopping embryos from becoming a commodity in the future, right now just President Bush's veto pen (thank God).

I will concede that there are other historic examples of disrespect for life, but that shouldn't mean that we continue the barbaric act of abortion just because bad things in the past were done to people. Can't we be better than that?

BobApril said...

...what is stopping embryos from becoming a commodity in the future, right now just President Bush's veto pen

But your objection to stem cell research appears to be based on a difference that makes no difference. The embryos are dying either way. If you're using a "slippery slope" argument (as in, "if we allow it now, then someday we might make embryos just for the stem cells") then you should say so. If your actual problem is with IVF, then you should say that.

This spiraling downward of respect of course started when Roe v Wade made abortion legal.
and
I will concede that there are other historic examples of disrespect for life, but that shouldn't mean that we continue the barbaric act of abortion just because bad things in the past were done to people. Can't we be better than that?

There's a huge difference between "Things are getting worse as a result of Roe v. Wade," and "Roe v. Wade is a sign that we still need to improve."

Oh, and I don't have a living will, either. I know who gets to make the call if I am brain-dead, and I've discussed it with her - last I heard, that piece of paper isn't binding unless the next-of-kin confirms it, anyway. Perhaps Mrs. Schiavo trusted her husband more than her parents did. In any event, let's move beyond the specific and into the general - what does your respect for life have to say about living wills? In such a case, it is the individual himself who is saying his life is "worthless." Is that, too, a terrible lack of respect for life? What about cases where the spouse is NOT under suspicion, but there's no living will? Should my wife get to make the call, in the absence of paperwork?

Beth said...

I believe in natural life and natual death. I would not have a living will, but I would have a DRN because I don't see using extraordinary measures in what is the body naturally dying. Natural life is why I also disagree with IVF. I hope this clarifies my position.