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Mon Jan 2, 2012, 06:33 PM

 

History of Pro-Life movement

It seems half of Republican voters are one-issue prolife voters now which makes it more important to understand for Dems/Independents than any other issue. I have been Prochoice my whole life I think and cant figure out why they can be so caring about the fetus yet so uncaring about the BORN and the environment.

So does anybody know the history of the Pro-life movement?

Wasnt it primarily or originally a Catholic/Pope issue? Did the Evangelicals co-opt it from them as a way to divide them from the rest of the Protestants? How did it become so strongly allied to the Republican Party?

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Reply History of Pro-Life movement (Original post)
ErikJ Jan 2012 OP
Viva_Daddy Jan 2012 #1
cbayer Jan 2012 #2
Starboard Tack Jan 2012 #3

Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 12:23 AM

1. The Anti-abortion movement began in America during the 19th century.

It was begun by physicians wanting to rid their "profession" of midwives, "quacks" and homeopathic doctors. All but a few Protestant leaders ignored the movement, saying it was "a personal, moral decision."

Check out James C. Mohr, "Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), pp. 161-163.

There is no record of any ancient law (Jewish or Gentile) which recognized the fetus as a "juridical personality," i.e., a legally recognized human being. Even the Catholic Church accepted the doctrine that the fetus was not "ensouled" [called "the quickening"] until about the 5th month (although there were some, like Augustine, who argued that life began at conception).

The "quickening doctrine," formulated by Thomas Aquinas, was known as the Doctrine of Passive Conception. Pope Innocent XI, responding to the widespread disobedience to the Church's ban on abortion, issued what today would be considered a "very liberal" edict on the matter. He explicitly allowed abortion before "quickening" and said that even afterward "no abortion is homicide" because "the fetus...lacks a rational soul and begins first to have one when it is born. (Emphasis added)" This edict remained in force for two centuries, until 1869 when Pope Pius X ruled Pope Innocent had been mistaken. Pope Pius X believed that the soul was received into the embryo at conception.

Actually, the "Pro-Life" campaign was developed more for political purposes than for moral ones. Right-wing strategists like Paul Weyrich and Terry Dolan recognized its “political potential” long before the 1980 elections. A post-election study by NCPAC (National Conservative Political Action Committee) found abortion to be the most effective single issue to prompt Democrats to vote Republican. While these right-wing strategists did not "invent" the anti-abortion movement, its main POLITICAL PURPOSE was to unseat incumbent Democrats and "liberals" from Congress just as, in the Nineteenth Century, "professional" physicians used anti-abortion laws to rid themselves of competition from midwives and homeopaths.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 12:45 AM

2. Excellent analysis here.

And the religious right were used in this effort. Hopefully, they are none to happy about it and will see their way out of the wilderness.

Kudos to you.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 12:50 AM

3. Excellent post.

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