Friday, September 12, 2008

Obey the Law

The 12th Article of Faith relates our belief in sustaining our government. It says, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

In the Doctrine and Covenants 58:21 we read, “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.”

In Colorado, the legislature passed a law prohibiting new drivers under the age of 18 from transporting any passengers for the first six months after they receive their driver’s license. After the six-month period, drivers are allowed to drive one passenger until they have held their license for a full year. After that, there are no passenger restrictions.

The reason the legislature passed this law was to prevent young drivers from piling the car full of other teenagers who may distract the driver and, hopefully, avoid an accident with a car full of kids. While this makes sense, isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to make sure their children are driving safely and only driving with those who the parents feel can drive responsibly? The message from our state government seems to indicate that they don’t trust parents to make sound judgments about their children.

Another problem with this law is that our high school is more than 25 miles away. Instead of being able to carpool, kids must each take a vehicle to town if they need to stay after school for activities or want to attend other school-sponsored activities like football games or theater productions. Not only is that using more fuel, but now we have four or five inexperienced drivers on the road instead of one. We also have that many more drivers looking for parking places in a city that already has a shortage of parking spaces.

This law has created problems as well as an inconvenience for many of us that live outside the city limits. Nevertheless, it is the law and it is my responsibility to obey it. If I don’t like a law, I must work to change it, not break it.

Another law that I believe actually tramples on the rights of another is the right for a woman to abort a baby. In Colorado this year, we will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that defines life as beginning at conception. Those who oppose this amendment are claiming it’s unjust and denies a woman her right to terminate a pregnancy. I have asked opponents to define when life begins, but have yet to receive any kind of an answer. When does life begin? Is it when a baby first moves? Its heartbeat can be detected? It breathes on its own? Exactly when does life begin if not at the moment of conception?

As a mother of ten, I can honestly say that after fertilization, nothing else happens to the baby inside my womb, except that it grows. Just as any living thing needs time to grow, so does a child.

If this amendment passes, it will then make abortion illegal in the state of Colorado. That would be a great thing. Too many women use abortion as birth control. Too many men and women want to engage in procreative behaviors but refuse to take responsibility when a baby is conceived. Too often, our society condones irresponsible behavior and encourages escape from consequences of our actions. This amendment, if it passes, will finally give rights to the child that’s been created. Those who create babies should be required to either care for that child or give it to a couple who will, not exterminate it because it's an inconvenience. It’s very simple. If you don’t want to make a baby, don’t have sex.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we value all life. We do not support the practice of abortion, but we still must honor, sustain, and obey this law because, unfortunately, the law of the land allows abortion.

I hope that Amendment 48 will pass in Colorado. Not only will we then be able to save thousands of babies each year, we will see that we can and should change bad laws through the proper channels.

Return to the neighborhood.

27 comments:

A Farmer's Wife said...

This is an EXCELLENT post! Thank you!

GinaL said...

You don't provide one rational argument for Amendment 48. Quoting from the bible is not a substitute for a convincing, reality-based argument. This is not a Christian theocracy where "potential" life can have the same rights as an actual person. Your religious beliefs should be your own--not in our state Constitution.

Diana Hsieh said...

Are you willing to punish a woman with the death penalty or life in prison for aborting a non-viable ectopic pregnancy? To ban the birth control pill and IUD? To ban in vitro fertilization?

If you're not, then you shouldn't vote for Amendment 48. Those would be the real-life consequences granting fertilized eggs full legal rights. To kill or harm a fertilized egg would be a criminal offense under Colorado law, regardless of the circumstances.

The fact is that Amendment 48 is deeply, profoundly anti-life. For the details, read "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person," an issue paper by Ari Armstrong and myself. It's available for download at:

http://www.SecularGovernment.us/docs/a48.pdf

You have no right to force your religious views on the rest of the people of Colorado -- just as Muslims have no right to force Christians to pray to Allah five times per day.

Diana Hsieh
Founder, Coalition for Secular Government
http://www.seculargovernment.us

Jewel's Gems said...

A most excellent blog, Rebecca!

Lori said...

Rebecca,
The comments on your blog demonstrate the deeply divisive nature of this topic. You have done a good job of stating your position and I agree with you. Until we value the life that God has given to each of us with laws that protect the unborn, our nation is at risk of losing the protection of God. Also, the need for our society to take responsibility for their actions and be accountable, is tremendous. It fills our courts and jails with "innocents" who refuse to take accountability and change their poor choices. Way to go in standing for the right despite the criticism of those who are misguided in this area.

Rene Allen said...

While I am unaware of the particulars of Amendment 48, being a resident of another state, I can see in this blog microcosm the heated argument that must be happening in Colorado as election day nears. I am an MD, a female gynecologist. Early in my residency I decided not to perform abortions. The argument of when life begins seems specious to me and a distraction from many of the other factors at play in the abortion issue. Unquestionably, a fertilized egg implanted in a reasonably healthy uterus will under most circumstances become an embryo, then a fetus, and finally an infant. A voluntary disruption of this process at any point will obviously terminate what I consider to be a most remarkable, biolological event, the creation of a life.
I also believe, that abortion is poor birth control, although ironically, that is exactly what it does, controls the number of births. It is not a contraception and should not, therefore, be categorized as one. A deciding factor for me in choosing not to do abortions was a reverence for the process that takes place after conception. Those who choose to define the contents of a gravid uterus as "products of conception," the term used by the pathologist to describe what is delivered to him in a jar filled with formaldehyde after a pregnancy termination, are also defining their position on what is undeniably among the most incredible events in all of science.

Primarymary said...

Rebecca,
Thank you for your excellent blog. I totally agree with you. If a woman makes choices that find her pregnant, she should have the baby. There are plenty of people who want children and can't have them, who would make wonderful parents for these children.
Aside from the beliefs we have as LDS women about when life begins and and that abortion is against the laws of God which have already been well stated, I'd like to add a quote from Mother Teresa, made in Washington D.C. 3 Feb 1994.
“If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other? … Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”

Tristi Pinkston said...

A few points to make as I follow this interesting thread:

1. Ginal said: "Quoting from the bible is not a substitute for a convincing, reality-based argument." I'm sorry, Ginal, but your argument is not based on reality either. Rebecca quoted the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants, not the Bible.

2. Diana said: "You have no right to force your religious views on the rest of the people of Colorado -- just as Muslims have no right to force Christians to pray to Allah five times per day." Diana, I'm a little confused as to how this blog in any way resembles Jihad. The Muslims are willing to kill people who don't believe the way they do. They have no problem blowing up buildings and hundreds and hundreds of people in the name of religion. All Rebecca did was state her feelings on her blog. Surely you, as a believer in pro-choice, also believe in freedom of speech. It's the same Constitutional right that allows you to leave comments on blogs that allows bloggers to state their beliefs. As far as Rebecca forcing her beliefs on others, if you don't like the content of a blog, you don't have to read that blog. In fact, you can even start one of your own, and call it "I Hate Anti-Abortion Blogs." When you do that, though, just make sure you spell my name correctly.

Kari Pike said...

Thank you for your great comments, Rebecca...and Tristi...great response! I second your comments.

Candace E. Salima said...

Ginal and Diana are clearly women who have no problem supporting and indulging in the wholesale slaughter of infants, by naming them embryos and refusing to accept they children beginning the course of their God-given life.

When people demand you cease expressing your opinion, beliefs and values it's because they don't believe you have a right to them because you don't agree with them. Not only is that wrong, it violates everything America stands for.

And so, stand strong Rebecca. You are correct in everything you say. Especially in demanding that the life of a child be held sacred. And the fact that five cars now have to do what one did, don't all the liberals want us to stop driving? Hmmm. Nothing like making a poor situation bad.

Sariah S. Wilson said...

I do find the arguments either way interesting. And I'm for abortion being illegal except in special circumstances, as the Church has clearly outlined - which is not in step with the majority of conservative pro-lifers that think there is never any reason to terminate a pregnancy.

I think speculating about the moment an embryo becomes life is also interesting, and as a mom who has done in vitro, it has caused me to think of it differently. An email I got a while back from an LDS gynecologist helped put some thoughts in perspective - such as the length of time it takes for an embryo to split after conception to become identical twins. Were two spirits living in a single embryo until it split? Do they enter after the split?

What about an embryo like my last miscarriage that never had a regular heartbeat? Did a spirit live there? Why would the Lord send a spirit to a baby he knew would never live outside me, never have a body of its own?

I do not have the answers, and as far as I can tell, neither does the Church. In fact, they have steered quite clear of the question of when life begins (although individual prophets, such as Brigham Young, have speculated). But either way, I'm not sure that matters. It is interesting, but not the point.

I do agree that abortion is wrong, and the way that it is used as birth control is also wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rebecca for your courage and insight! Can you believe we live in an age where the life of a CHILD is actually in question? The fact is, as soon as a woman conceives, she can miscarry. In essence, the “fertilized egg” dies. If something can die, doesn’t it mean it was ALIVE?
And as for “imposing” our beliefs on others, ALL laws are the act of imposing your beliefs on someone else. The idea we should not murder our next door neighbor is a belief, obviously, not shared by everyone. And yet we do our best to impose our will on them. And there are plenty standing in line to impose laws regarding what we drive or the temperature we keep our houses. Laws are implemented to save every tree frog, yet a human lives are discarded in droves!
And I simply don’t believe women will be given the death penalty for terminating an ectopic pregnancy. Or any of the other threats. It’s nonsense.

Caroline

Kathie said...

Rebecca,
You have as much right to express your opinion as anyone else. I find it increasingly disturbing that so many people in the US seem to have major issues with what I view as freedom of speech. Whether I agree with you or not, I respect your right to voice your opinion. I did not find that you were "forcing" your opinion on anyone, but some of the other commentators seem to have difficulty with the concept of freedom of speech. I am not a US citizen, I do not live in the US, but I watch your political process with great interest and I am extremely disturbed by what I see as a growing trend of intolerance of dissenting opinion. I think Americans should be made aware that there is a big gap between "tolerate" and "condone".
You will no doubt receive lots more criticism of your post. The critics have a right to their opinions as well - the essence of free speech.
Keep on posting!

Crystal Liechty said...

Good blog, Rebecca! Never be afraid to say what you believe. My only concern with this new bill is: what about birth control?
Other than that, I whole-heartedly agree that abortion is wrong. To me it is simple: if the child were allowed to live until, say 5 years of age, and then you asked it if it wanted to die, what would it say?

And as for women arguing that not being allowed to have an abortion is giving the woman a life sentence-- this argument is so disgusting I don't even know how to argue it. Other than the fact that there's always adoption, any woman who doesn't see their own child as an unbelievable blessing has less right to life than the child, in my opinion.

Shawnette said...

In today’s society where a woman has countless ways to prevent pregnancy if she were responsible, rights to an abortion should not be spouted off as though it is anything more than murdering an innocent party for the irresponsible whims of those who had unprotected sex. I know an extremely large number of conservative pro-life people and none of them dispute that if a woman has been raped, incensed, or her life is in grave danger due to the pregnancy, that an abortion should not be seriously considered. This is common sense and has nothing at all to do with people who have every chance in the world to practice safe sex, but CHOSE not to. That is where the woman has her choice! Not after the fact when she has already assisted in creating a LIFE.
Again, I want to reiterate that pro-life does not mean that a woman is going to be sent to jail for aborting an ectopic pregnancy.
It doesn’t matter when the spirit enters the body or not, the fact is, as Caroline so eloquently states, that if the baby can die, then it certainly is alive. If it is alive, and that life is taken for no other reason than selfishness, then that is murder.
After reading through these posts, I don't see that anyone atacked anyone elses freedom of speech. If someone presents me with a viewpoint that I disagree with, I will stand for what I believe in. That is freedom of speech.

Janette Rallison said...

Great blog, Rebecca!

Anonymous said...

It is fascinating to me that there is even a question as to when life begins. With everything man has done to elevate himself to the position of "God" while denying His existence, "Man" cannot create life. We can try to put all the elements, compounds, chemicals,proteins,fats and put them in a jar but it will not create life.
The very cells that make up the sperm and the egg, involved in the creative process, are in and of themselves, "alive", and the union of the two create "life", that left undisturbed in its embryonic state, will grow to become a universe of living cells, yet, an individual, unique in all the universe. Life began way before sex was involved. We just become partners with God in the creative process of a new individual by having sex.
Now to the other issue, to those who believe in abortion, for it truly is a belief and a religion. It has its preachers, dogma, chapels, temples and its alters (they just try to take God out of it). Look at the issue-- abortionists enact laws to end the embryonic process even up to partial birth abortions (that means killing live babies, killing the process of life) and then tell Right to Lifers to shut up and sit down, that we don't have the right to enact laws that defend the rights of an unborn child, (that means freedom of speech is limited to those who believe in abortion). Now let's review.. abortionists kill defenseless individuals that can't choose for themselves and then deny people the right to free speech. While the Right to Life people are trying to defend the rights and life of unborn children who can't speak for themselves. Who would you call a realist? Who would you call "good" or "evil"? Who is "forcing" their beliefs and religion upon whom? Get a "Life" and protect it.
--DeWalt Love

La Mujer Loca said...

You said it, girl! Keep it coming.

If we don't protect our children--especially when they're in the womb--who will? Terminating a child's life, whether in the belly or not, is a most horrible act. The "mother's rights" agrument is cracked. The mother already made her choice when she chose to do something that could result in pregnancy.

A fellow ANWA member.
www.stephaniepiilani.blogspot.com

La Mujer Loca said...

You said it, girl! Keep it coming.

If we don't protect our children--especially when they're in the womb--who will? Terminating a child's life, whether in the belly or not, is a most horrible act. The "mother's rights" agrument is cracked. The mother already made her choice when she chose to do something that could result in pregnancy.

A fellow ANWA member.
www.stephaniepiilani.blogspot.com

La Mujer Loca said...

You said it, girl! Keep it coming.

If we don't protect our children--especially when they're in the womb--who will? Terminating a child's life, whether in the belly or not, is a most horrible act. The "mother's rights" agrument is cracked. The mother already made her choice when she chose to do something that could result in pregnancy.

A fellow ANWA member.
www.stephaniepiilani.blogspot.com

Kellie Buckner said...

Excellent post! I totally agree. The choice is made when the woman decides to have sex. If she didn't want a baby, then she shouldn't have had sex. Period. I agree with what Caroline said, too. If something can die, then it must be alive to begin with.

Nichole Giles said...

Rebecca,

Isn't it funny how people choose to read something, and then leave comments about how you are forcing your opinion or beliefs on them? Or maybe a better word is ironic. I love free speech.

I agree that the legislature often makes laws that may sound great on paper, but make no sense in real life.

Which is why it makes so much sense to elect a real-life "hockey mom" (or soccer mom, or gymnastics mom, or...) to a position in the white house.

One point that fails to be brought up in the abortion issue is that while it may become illegal, those "special circumstances" that keep being mentioned will not automatically become criminal offenses just because of that. They will remain "special circumstances." Non-viable pregnancies, life-threatening, or rape circumstances will be dealt with on a case by case basis, and a medical decision can be made with the help of doctors.

Good post.

Nichole

Randall McNeely said...

Rebecca,

A fantastic blog. Thank you for bringing the voice of reason to such and issue.

It's an interesting phenomena to me that people who are pro-choice can never bring them self to use the words human, or baby, or any other word that implies human life in any sense of the word. Instead they use words like "fertilized egg," or "fetus".

A several years ago, when I was at BYU, I had the opportunity to do an internship in Washington DC under the Washington Seminar Program. As part of the program we would have classes every Friday on various subjects. Usually the subject would be something that had opposing views. We would listen to one viewpoint in the morning and one in the afternoon. On one particular Friday, abortion was the subject of discussion. We first visited a Planned Parenthood office and listened to one of their "professionals" talk about abortion and a woman's right to have one. Throughout here speech she must have used the words "fetus" and "fertilized egg" a hundred times. When we finally got to the question and answer period at the end, I'd had it. I raised my hand for the first question and was picked. As I had the floor I pointed out the phenomena I described above and then asked the following question: "When an embryo is formed in a woman, what kind of embryo is it? Is it a pig? Is it a dog? A cow? Or is it human?" I watched our host go from pale white at the shock to nearly purple as she gave the only answer she could. I then followed up by stating that by killing a fetus, or a fertilized egg that is already in an embryonic state, they are in fact killing a human. I then sat down. I needn't elaborate on the fact that I didn't get another chance to ask anymore questions.

Thanks again for a great post. Keep plugging away and standing up for what's right

Randy

Karen Hoover said...

I don't usually jump on-board when it comes to political hot topics, mostly because I hate confrontation and debate, but this is a topic I feel rather passionate about.

I'm one of those mothers who was never able to give birth to their children. My sons came by way of adoption and I hate to think how empty my life would be if their birth-mother had chosen to abort. Life is life, no matter when it begins, and though there are many who do not appreciate the gift they are given, those of us who yearn for children and are unable to have them would be lost without adoption opportunities.

Excellent post, Rebecca. Thanks for having the courage to say what you believe.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Rebecca

Wow - you sure hit the jackpot on hot topics! I totally 100% agree with you.

I believe there needs to be more control over who is allowed to have an abortion. If it's a thirteen year old who was abused, a woman who has been raped, or a mother who wants her child desperately but whose life is in danger to even give birth - these females should have a choice. They may choose to have an abortion, then again they may not. I was a volunteer at a women's shelter. There are terrible things that happen. I've met women become pregnant against their will who hold it together enough to have the baby then place him for adoption - and I've met others that every second, every minute of that pregnancy was so devastating to them and kept the abuse forefront in their minds, that they became so depressed they wanted to commit suicide. Each of these situations is difficult and certainly a special circumstance. I would hope this law for allows for circumstances such as these.

Abortion should never, ever be thought of as birth control. That is just absolutely selfish and irresponsible. If someone wants to have sex, then they shouldn't complain if they end up carrying a baby for the next nine months.

Excellent blog, Rebecca.

Oh - and about the new changes for teen drivers, I've been seeing these types of proposals come up in Missouri and Kansas legislature as well. But so far they haven't gone anywhere. I think we have too many farming families who would freak out if something like that passed! :)

Jennifer said...

While I totally, 110% agree with you about abortion, I do wonder how this particular law would work. How will those special circumstances be decided? How do we know if a woman's life really is in danger or if a doctor just said it was? Will the legislature account for people who have been raped? And how will we know if a woman was really raped or if she just said she was so she could have an abortion?

So, in other words, I can see why the law would be controversial in that way. But I don't see how anyone can say that the "fetus" isn't a baby until what? It breathes air outside of the mother's body? If a baby can be born at 15 weeks and live and breathe, how can they justify killing a similar baby who just happens to have not been born yet? How can they charge a woman with murder if she gives birth and then kills the baby, and yet allow another mother to have an abortion at the same point in her pregnancy, who just happens to have killed it right /before/ it was born instead of right /after/? It's disgusting.

Angela said...

Hey Mamma.

Awesome job! As your daughter, and as one who was once just a fertilized egg in your body (yes, disgusting, but think of it that way) I'm so glad you are against abortion.

By the way, I decided to come visit because we're having a debate of our own on Facebook, and I'm horribly outnumbered. But I couldn't stand it anymore. I'm speaking out too. People should accept the consequences of their actions.