A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

March 15, 2007

Where Does Responsibility End?

A very interesting and thought evoking post made by Neil about abortion and the effects that seeing the unborn child has upon women contemplating ceasing the pregnancy.

While I am happy that these young women made a choice, that I would be more comfortable with from an ethical framework, there are considerations that need to be addressed after a woman chooses life.  You see, her responsibility didn’t end with that choice, it really just begun.  As most who read this blog realize, a voice of reason is not a rubber stamp for Conservative or liberal causes.  That is because too often, we forget that the great majority of truths in an social experiment, and democracy is the biggest one of them all, lie in the collective wisdom of the crowd, and is usually somewhere in the middle.

So, these women have made a choice, now can they care for that child?  What choices are we as a society going to make to support her laudable choice of life for a new human being, made in the image of God?  The best question may not be where did her responsibility end, but where does ours who support her choice to continue the pregnancy, and what are we prepared to do to support her and her child, as private citizens and as a society.

The responsibility for her, and millions like her, in actuality lay with those who would persuade her to bring a child into this world.



  1. “where does ours who support her choice to continue the pregnancy, and what are we prepared to do to support her and her child, as private citizens and as a society.”

    Nobody wants to answer that question because their minds are already made up. Once she chooses to have the child, then she will be labeled as a lazy welfare mother if the stays home to care and raise her baby, or she will be labeled as an uncaring feminist man-hating career woman if she puts her baby in daycare and goes to work. If her child shows any sign of being less than perfect, then it will be all her fault again for raising a fatherless child.

    For far too many in who are anti-abortion, the right to a decent life ends at birth.

    Comment by Just Passing By — March 15, 2007 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  2. JPB, Thanks for passing by again!

    You left out one option, that is seen in extremes that are incorrect, choosing adoption. She’s either the “virtuous sacrificial mother” or the “heartless she-devil that abandoned her child”.

    Neither are correct. The truth is she’s probably a scared kid, who made a tremendously valiant choice in having this child, and will be faced with a choice that no man, will every be able to fully contemplate, yet sadly, so many women are forced to everyday.

    May they find mercy and peace in their choices.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — March 15, 2007 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

  3. Hi Voice – thanks for the link!

    JPB – Yes, society has a way of making people feel badly no matter what they do. But the real issue question with abortion is, “What is the unborn?” If it isn’t a living human being, then do whatever you want with it. If it is a human being, then don’t kill her.

    Your sound bite about “the right to a decent life ends at birth” is just an ad hominem argument designed to make pro-lifers the bad guys. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Is it OK to kill poor, unhappy kids? Of course not. Then we shouldn’t justify killing the unborn just because they might be poor and unhappy. As the link shows, pro-lifers do plenty of things for these women and children with their own time and their own money.

    Comment by Neil — March 16, 2007 @ 12:01 am | Reply

  4. Neil –

    I feel I have gotten to know you very well, and I honestly believe that you do many positive things from your own dime, and there are many also like you. However, it is also true that many who advocate anti-abortion stances, often also have very derogative things to say about those in poverty. I know, I used to say things about them.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — March 16, 2007 @ 12:17 am | Reply

  5. Hi Voice – you are right, I would concede that point. I was just trying to split that issue out from the life issue. There are a host of remaining issues about what to do with people who make bad decisions in life.

    Comment by Neil — March 16, 2007 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  6. Neil –

    As a nation if we want to see abortions decrease, there needs to be some discussion about policy implications that remember that after the child is born, responsibility didn’t end.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — March 16, 2007 @ 1:26 am | Reply

  7. Hey all…

    while a lack of responsibility is not sufficient reason to commit murder, (which, I think we can agree, is what abortion is) it is a sobering thought. Another way people lack in their aid to the single mother is family support. When the father runs off, I think the family should be more willing to take a part in helping raise the child, if adoption is not considered.

    BTW voice, thanks for the link. I’ll be returning the favor. (though you undoubtedly get many more readers already than I do.)

    Comment by thelonedrifter — March 17, 2007 @ 12:49 am | Reply

  8. NP TLD.


    Comment by avoiceofreason — March 17, 2007 @ 4:16 am | Reply

  9. There is often the idea that we must support a new mother via government subsidies. I’m not hating on women on welfare – just trying to point out that there is another way of doing it. If there is a father, he should be paying child support. If courts have a hard time forcing him to do so, then there should be mechanisms to garnish his wages. (I’ve seen it happen with alimony. Why not child support, too?) Our laws could be improved to help courts cross state lines to pursue men who skip out on child support.

    I see a duty to help in other senses – education of kids (I spend a lot of my time tutoring and mentoring), subsidising state higher education so kids who want an education can get one. I’m all for fighting crime and, libertarian that I am, drugs; a mother who get government help with the rent check can’t do much for a kid who gets shot by a drug dealer. I also want to see more in terms of teaching single women how to protect themselves. You are nine times as likely to be killed in your own home by someone you know as on the street by a stranger; boyfriends and stepfathers of single moms are the greatest abusers of women and children.

    Here’s where I might fall into the “a decent life ends at birth” part: we simply do NOT do enough to teach young people that having sex often has the result of producing a human being who will be utterly dependent upon its parents for several years.

    Comment by theobromophile — March 17, 2007 @ 7:02 am | Reply

  10. #9
    That has to be the basis of sex education, if and when it exists in the public domain. While abstainance has merit, although it may be a bit naive to think that teens and young adults will stop eating the forbidden fruit, some candid discussion about the consequences of sexual contact need to be discussed.

    With regard to social institutions, I would love it if charity took care of everything, but let’s consider the prototypical single mom:
    a – poor
    b – poorly educated
    c – likely to be unqualified to earn more than minimum wage – and you know how many Conservatives feel about that being raised.
    d – highly likely she comes from a family with similar traits of her own.

    Now, I live in NY, so minimal rent is about 750/month.
    Food even with WIC and Food stamps $300/month

    Minimum Wage job pre tax NYS $7.15
    Take home pay for say 50 hours a week – she’s industrious about $375

    375 x 4 = $1500
    Outlays at least $1000

    Now add….
    child care
    doctor visits

    It’s a vicious cycle, and in my experience, many who are on the harder part of the pro-life bandwagon, and I don’t dance to that tune, although I am basically pro life, are also not too crazy when they see a young woman paying for groceries with cash and food stamps. I know, I lived among them for years.

    If the Conservative element of society want to see more pregnancies result in a live birth, understand that they buy the field, and are responsible for it, as many times, that mom may not be an overly responsible person.

    The sad thing is the cyclical nature of this problem, and no policy has come forth to lower this catastrophic trend.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — March 17, 2007 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  11. #9 – “we simply do NOT do enough to teach young people that having sex often has the result of producing a human being who will be utterly dependent upon its parents for several years.”

    Just to add a little levity to the discussion, speaking as the parent of a few late teens and early twenty-somethings, let’s make that statement ‘dependent upon its parents for several decades’ 🙂

    But to go back, I believe you are right. A number of states do garnish the wages for child support, but if the non-custodial parent is unemployed or does not make much, even that is not enough to survive on. If only the pregnancy could be prevented in the first place. My own mother had strong beliefs against premarital sex, but the one thing she made very clear to me as a teen was that even though she did not approve and viewed premarital sex as a sin, she wanted to make sure I never got pregnant without wanting to be pregnant. The education in self-esteem to avoid sex when I was too young, combined with the education in birth control for once I reached adulthood worked. I was fortunate enough to get this education from her. Too many don’t.

    Comment by Just Passing By — March 17, 2007 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  12. That is true JPB.
    Having three daughters, all of whom are grown, I hope I did my share and I know I still try to do so, in making sure they know that tehre is more to a basis of worth than a boy wanting to have sex with you. This is not easy for a dad to do with his daughter, but so many females enter into unwise relationships with unwise choices as the result due to the idea that they get affirmation from their boyfriend and from bearing a child.

    This is a systemic issue, and dealing with results is not going to stop the trend. Root causes need to be addressed.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — March 17, 2007 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  13. JPB, voice, and bromophile, excellent points all.

    This is a fundamental problem in many schools and areas of our education system. They often teach that sex is okay anytime you feel like it, as long as you use “preventative devices.” (Some of these are innefective or have dangerous side effects) Abstinence is laughed off as too old-fashioned. Apparently, old-fashioned also includes being responsible.

    Comment by thelonedrifter — March 18, 2007 @ 3:26 am | Reply

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