Some basic questions
Abortion access. Equal rights and
protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals
Two basic questions about abortion access:
- "When does human life become a human person?" Most people, whether pro-life or pro-choice can agree that a human ovum and a spermatozoon are forms of human life; they are both alive and contain human DNA. Women during their fertile years generate about a dozen ova a year; men generate thousands of spermatozoa per second. Few people are concerned about the vast majority of human life forms that die uneventfully without actually becoming a person.
However, just about everyone places great value on a newborn baby because she or he is clearly a human person entitled to human rights including the right to live. What people cannot agree on is when human life becomes a human person.
If a consensus could be reached, it might go a long way towards defusing controversy over abortion access. More information.
- "What is the best way to reduce the abortion rate?" Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers want to reduce the number of abortions. The real cause of abortions are unwanted, unexpected pregnancies: about half of these are terminated by abortion.
There are two obvious methods of reducing the abortion rate:
- Reducing access: Many in the pro-life movement concentrate on restricting or eliminating women's access to abortion. For example, laws in many states require women under the age of 18 to obtain parental permission or inform their parents before they can have an abortion. Some states limit access to young women who want to have an out-of-state abortion.
- Reducing the need: An alternate method is to prevent unwanted pregnancies from starting. This can involve: changing cultural expectations towards sexual activity, comprehensive sex-education, increased access to contraceptives, and programs to support pregnant women so that carrying a pregnancy to term becomes a realistic option for them. Many western European countries have such methods in place even as they provide free access to legal abortions; their abortion rate is a fraction of that in the U.S.
A basic question about equal rights and protections for gays, lesbians & bisexuals (GLBs):
"What is the nature of sexual orientation?" There are at least six sets of conflicting beliefs concerning the nature of homosexuality. However, most people fall into one of the following two categories:
- Many religious and social conservatives believe that homosexuality is a chosen, changeable, abnormal, unnatural behavior whose root causes are poor parenting and/or sexual molestation during childhood. According to their interpretation of about six biblical passages, same-sex sexual behavior is condemned and hated by God. It prevents a person from attaining Heaven after death. Because of the disordered nature of homosexual behavior, many lesbians and gays suffer from mental illness, and suicide rates are very high.
Giving homosexuals equal rights and protections would encourage more people to choose this behavior and thus endanger their life on earth and their immortal soul.
- Many GLBs, religious liberals, secularists, human sexuality researchers, and therapists believe that homosexuality and bisexuality are discovered, not chosen, and are fixed, normal and natural orientations for a minority of adults. The root causes are genetic and/or environmental conditions in the womb during pregnancy, and may perhaps include an unidentified environmental trigger in early childhood. People in this category who are Christian theists believe that, according to the Bible, God accepts persons of all sexual orientations who behave ethically. A homosexual or bisexual orientation does not cause mental illness or trigger suicides; homophobia from within the culture is the culprit.
Giving homosexuals and bisexuals equal rights and protection is a fundamental civil rights issue. Since an adult's sexual orientation has been shown to be detectable before school age, equal rights will not increase the number of sexual minorities.
A well designed study sponsored by a roughly equal numbers of individuals from each of the above categories might be able to develop a consensus on the real nature of homosexuality and bisexuality. With such a consensus, both sides could enter into rational dialogue concerning rights for sexual minorities. Until agreement can be reached about the reality of homosexuality, the two sides will probably continue to hide behind their barricades and throw verbal rocks at each other.
Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on 2010-AUG-22
Latest update on: 2010-AUG-22
Compiled by B.A. Robinson