Madden: You’d never know there was middle ground on abortion

Liam Madden and family before birth of second child

by Liam Madden

Politicians often like to pretend that there is only good and evil. This helps them give false choices to the public. This is happening today in Vermont’s Congressional election.

Candidate Becca Balint wanted money last week, and she thought it a good fundraising tactic to ask for donations while claiming her opponent is “anti-choice.”

I am the person she is trying to stick that label on. She is being incredibly misleading.

Here’s why:

To be clear, I am for protecting more than 99% of choices about abortion, i.e., for all abortion choices prior to the independent viability of the child. And like most people, even those of us who consider themselves very pro-choice, I believe there are some—rare—reasonable exceptions that should be handled by regulations at a state level. While the extremes of both sides say X% of people are pro-life, or choice … they’re both leaving out of the conversation the vast majority of us who have thoughtful considerations that enableus to see the need for some nuance and openness in the discussion.

Even concerned pro-lifers will grant exceptions for rape, incest, and if the mother’s health is in jeopardy. And even a strongly-rooted pro-choicer—like me—believe there are valid considerations to be made for children who can survive outside the mother’s womb. In fact, 86% of Americans believe that a child becomes a person when they can live outside of the mother independently, according to a YouGov poll this year.

I think Balint doesn’t understand that 86% of people is an enormous middle ground—many of whom feel dismayed by the polarized, black-and-white fundamentalism on the extremes which wants us to fit into an oversimplified binary logic of “fully against” or “fully in favor” of one side or the other.

My wife gave birth to our second son this May. It is still incredibly fresh in my heart that pregnancy—and birth—and raising young children is an enormous responsibility, one that falls on women, especially. Seeing this, living it at this moment, I would not wish parenthood to be a choice forced on anyone who isn’t ready or able to take care of their babies.  It is also fresh in my mind how elated we were in the last trimester, when the time came when we knew our baby could survive outside of the womb.

I can acknowledge that both choice over our bodies, and protecting children able to live outside the womb are both sacred responsibilities. 

Categories: Commentary

18 replies »

  1. Dear Mr. Madden,

    Why is the subject of casual sexual relations left out of this conversation? Do two consenting people have personal responsibility beyond engaging in a sex act? Should we be realistic and admit the likely result that a human life will be created when a male and a female engage in sexual intercourse?

    Why do we talk about abortion as a separate issue? After all, if there was no casual sexual behavior and a full acknowledgement of responsibility, abortion numbers would be much lower. Babies would not be born where they are not wanted. Pregnancies would not just happen.

    Are we responsible for our indifference as parents for silently allowing our children to act like uncontrolled animals feeding their irresponsible desires? Are parents teaching their children to be self-controlled, dignified and responsible adults?

    You say you are for no abortions once the baby is viable outside the womb. Who gets to say when that is? Look up Baby Saybie who was born weighing 8.6 ounces and was the size of an apple.

    If she survived weighing only about a half of a pound, what stage of pregnancy will you agree on as being viable outside the womb?

    You are young Liam. Hopefully in time with more life experiences, you will learn there ARE some things that are black or white, Good or Evil.

      • Really….Pro Patricia. What are you saying? Are the free-market principles inherent in our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, so hedonistic as you seem to believe they are? Always a negative? I think not.

        ‘Technical definitions of hedonism within philosophy, which are usually seen as respectable schools of thought, have to be distinguished from how the term is used in everyday language, sometimes referred to as “folk hedonism”. In this sense, it has a negative connotation, linked to the egoistic pursuit of short-term gratification by indulging in sensory pleasures without regard for the consequences.’

        Vtbeliever: While you make an excellent point, your connotation of good and evil ignores ignorance. ‘God, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ There was a time, for example, in some past societies, in which giving birth when wolves were howling was deemed to be a harbinger of evil. Not only was the child destroyed, so too were so many wolves.

        What goes around, comes around. We are fast learning that ‘viability’ begins with our own existence. Abortion was never an issue until society learned that the reproductive process had less to do with wolves and storks and that the process could be controlled by our own actions… a form of hedonism in itself.

        Again, it seems to me that this entire discussion should be based on determining that point in time in which an individual qualifies for constitutional protection. So, I continue to pose this dilemma, especially to Mr. Madden:

        The decision with which we are faced today is determining whose personal reproductive autonomy we are protecting. The mother only? What about the unborn child? What about the father? Or grandparents? Or society at large? If a pregnant woman is murdered, it’s considered a double homicide. Why (and when then) does the unborn child lose its rights when it is only the mother deciding its fate?

        Solve this dilemma and adjust our law accordingly – at least until another dilemma ultimately, inevitably, becomes apparent.

      • Today we will be going over the fundamental mythology of our liberal society. What even is liberty if not an abstraction that can be interpreted in whatever way we want? Is it actual liberty if you’re allowed to do whatever you want, or is it just a new type of slavery to hedonistic means, through which a person will be tied to its inner insticts in the pursuit of pleasure?
        Liberty is a complex philosophical term that brings nothing but abstractions and petty claims. Do individuals really deserve Liberty? Is an individual born to be free?
        The fundamental idea of political Liberalism, which is that the state exists in order to protect the rights of citizens from each other and otherwise act as a neutral force in disputes. It does not exist to promote or suppress values or a particular vision of the common good. Each citizen has an equal right to advance their own vision of what is good, provided they do not violate any other citizen’s right to do the same.
        However, the Liberal state’s rejection of a common good has resulted in the eradication of a common good from society as a whole. Opposition to political enforcement of religious or social norms became opposition to so-called oppressive norms altogether. The continuing march of secular, “post-religious” values against Christianity in the religious sphere is merely one manifestation of the phenomenon. Large sections of the Right, even the dissident Right, take part in this march when they oppose Islam on the grounds that it attacks the Liberal tradition. They portray this tradition as being fundamental to Western civilization. When in fact, Islam’s opposition to liberalism is not its fundamental problem. While “migrants” constitute an opponent to Western nationalists, it is erroneous to head to the other extreme and back the spectre of progressive liberalism that has captivated the West.
        the Liberal typically reveals his inner anarchist, and suggests that the sovereign power of the people will preserve liberty. The liberal understanding of liberty is just negative liberty. A “freedom” from something rooted in familial bonds. It is concerned with the “empirical self”, the self as it actually appears to us. It tends towards individualism. By contrast, positive liberty is “freedom” that focuses on the real self, Positive liberty is the concept of a potential or ideal of a person which must be realised, and that the realization of this potential is to possess true liberty. Liberty, as we now know it in the west unfortunately is this negative liberty. 
        It’s seen as unquestionable as owed to all citizens: the right to peaceable assembly, the right to free speech, the right to a free press, and so on. The problem with these “rights” is that they are very enticing ideas that exist in the minds of Americans as a bundle of entitlements, as things that they are owed, rather than things that they must earn.
        The greatest problem with this notion of liberty as an entitlement is that once citizens start declaring rights as “universal” and “God-given” there is no mechanism to stop them from continually inventing new ones. The “right to pick your gender” or the “right to universal suffrage” are muddled ideas that our founding fathers in America never anticipated. The founding fathers almost certainly would not have approved of this, but they are ideas that have as much legitimacy as America’s own Bill of Rights: if liberals can conjure up new rights with a few quill strokes there is likewise nothing to stop liberals from doing the same thing later on. And so the list of entitlements owed to Americans steadily grows longer as its list of responsibilities dwindles.
        The ancient Roman, much to his credit, would sneer at our notion of liberty as a barbaric perversion. Imagine how, with his mediterranean temper, he would look in frustration listening to modern liberals explain liberty. In Roman minds, liberty had to be tempered with civitas, which is defined roughly as a body of citizens living under one common law; that is to say, citizenship provided liberties but it also conferred collective responsibilities. Liberty was not a wish-list filled with entitlements, it was a reward to those who served society and upheld the law. It is not hard to see why Rome built an empire on this definition of liberty; and it is ironic how modern liberals would condemn this notion of liberty.  Liberalism on the other hand destroys this potential and instead what you have is a sterile narcissistic culture motivated by desire. This is the key to the liberals materialistic common market, the consumer society of desires. All of this is as Edward Bernays understood it in his book on Propaganda. In reality the liberals view of liberty hasn’t exactly worked in practice, as it assumes masses will autonomously and rationally struggle to preserve their conception of liberty. They won’t when it’s predicated on the illusion of desires. The State can also escape these so-called checks quite easily, because it can indoctrinate its subjects with motherly care and it’s soft totalitarian power in institutions, economy, media, ect.
        The question is not whether a state should actively promote a conception of the common good, but rather what conception of the common good that state will promote. Liberalism is nihilistic statism, a state that denies that the state should have values. And we wonder why we’re ruled by sociopathic financier elites from the shadows.
        Further reading
        Liberty the God that failed-Christopher A. Ferrara
        The Servile state-hilaire beloc
        The national system of political economy-friedrich list
        Salazar and his work essay on political philosophy.

      • ProPatria

        Yes, life is complicated. But the rabbit hole described in your missive is incongruous. If Liberty (life, in fact) is the ill-fated illusion you and Edward Bernays believe it to be, why do you bother to tell us what you think?

        P.S. Speaking of incongruity: Bernays was instrumental in promoting female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist ‘Torches of Freedom’. Friedrich List was an apologetic, virtue-signaling, aristocrat who owned lots of property and prospered from the discovery of coal on his land, only later to become a Marxist, feign hostility to free trade, and then commit suicide. Christopher A. Ferrara is a traditional Catholic, anti-abortion, lawyer. Hilaire Belloc was one of many Catholic activists who argued that Darwinian ‘natural selection’ had been discredited. And Salazar, who on one hand followed ‘Catholic Social Doctrine’ and the respect of human liberty, was also a Portuguese dictator.

        I suggest you widen your horizons. But that’s only a suggestion. You, by virtue of your current constitutional protections, have the liberty to think and say whatever you please. Now we have to decide when those protections take effect in the course of other human lives…. born and unborn.

      • Okay Pro Patria: I’ll venture down the rabbit hole with you. What do you mean when you refer to ‘the real self’… as opposed, for example, to ‘the ideal self’. And what does this have to do with determining the individual protections afforded to us by the Constitution?

  2. Independent viability = no oxygen, no heat lamps, no saline drip, no resuscitation at every delivery, no mechanical ventilation….. hmmmm…. I don’t see a middle ground.

    • Dear Born dying – grateful for the resuscitation,

      Taking in your view, let’s get rid of ALL medical treatments, medications and practices that treat ALL the sick, diseased and vulnerable human beings. If they can’t get through on their own, let them die.

      I’m sorry you have fully bought into the promoted culture of death. You clearly have no understanding of the great value and worth of yourself and each and every human life, born and unborn.

  3. Becca Balint is the worst thing that could possibly happen to Vermont right now. Burlington is turning into a lawless drug and homeless ghetto. Other Vermont cities are too. The Bernie era needs a counter balance, of strong and Independent leadership. Sarah George is running mostly unopposed. Legal weed selling is here, Prodtitution is now legal in Burlington and Montpelier. No accountability for Crime. Great. Becca will overlook the Opioid addicted kids, begging for heroin money at stop signs. Count on that. Her sponser did. So did the main stream Democrats. Plus Bernie’s plan is for her to take his Senate seat when he retires. And just like Trump Disciples, the Bernie Disciples give her unlimited support without question?

  4. The Truth is the purveyors of death are worshippers of Baal and their false prophet is Yuval Noah Harari. The abortion issue is just another sick, twisted agenda of sick, twisted individuals. The same individuals pushing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and psychological abuse onto children as normal and acceptable. Evil demonic spirits – wake up!

  5. Dear H. Jay Eshelman,

    Thank you for your question. You said, “vtbeliever: While you make an excellent point, your connotation of good and evil ignores ignorance. ‘God, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ ”

    You are exactly correct. We are ALL flawed human beings. I don’t speak as a perfect person, but as person who came to the knowledge of the truth on this subject by hearing it from others who spoke truth. My hope is to do the same for others, to open their minds and awaken their consciences as mine was.

    So much sexual perversion has been easily accepted in our culture damaging many. Pregnancy is talked about as victim-hood, like a pregnancy happens to a woman by magic and a human child is seen as easily disposable for convenience.

    Again, thank you for making your point.

    • Re: “So much sexual perversion has been easily accepted in our culture damaging many.”

      This is indeed the case. But it’s a predictable social reaction to changes in our environment. And I’m not talking about Climate Change – although the current panic in that regard is related to our social behavior. And while we do differ from earth’s other creatures, our behaviors often react similarly to external conditions. If/when you get a chance, read Edward T. Hall’s book, The Hidden Dimension. It is an aggregation of various scientific studies of human and animal behavior. What we are seeing today is the culmination of a natural cycle in our social construct. It’s a textbook example of the breakdown in the social norms of our species resulting from overpopulation and stress. It’s nature’s way of coping.

      Nonetheless, as a society, we (our constitutional society) have some serious decisions to make regarding abortion that have been here-to-fore swept under the rug of vague and irresponsible legislation like Article 22. I can only point out that it is our faith and our Constitution that has successfully guided us over the centuries. If these ‘social norms’ breakdown, then we’ll be in real trouble.

  6. You Christians are literally scaring people who truly love this country far away from the party we need them in. Liam’s opinion is the answer to finally put this matter to rest. There are no gods.

  7. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, where there is no fear of God the person is free to create their own reality and morality and it is always downhill from there.

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