It has recently been proven to me in a conversation on facebook that I use some language surrounding pro-life issues differently than the majority of Americans. Here are my definitions, and I refuse to waver from them based on mere democratic peer pressure.
Abortion- the active taking of a life of a fetus. NOT included are operations to remove an already dead fetus.
Birth control- artificial techniques used to provide moral assurance of not getting pregnant. Natural Family Planning is not included because there is no such moral assurance, even when done correctly, God could still give you a little miracle. Female and male hormonal therapy for various cancers and other complaints also does not count, because the intent isn't moral assurance of not getting pregnant. The reason I say moral assurance is because other than full surgical sterilization, there is no known method of reversible birth control that can provide absolute assurance- and in fact, when used correctly, condoms have a worse error rate than NFP (1% for full NFP with callendars, temperature, and data analysis, 3% error rate for manufacturing defects in condoms).
Death Penalty- A duty based act of a legitimate government to remove an individual's life to protect other members of the society. Outdated, because any government with modern post 1802 technology in metal working can substitute a sentence of Life in Solitary with No Hope of Parole Or Escape. Plans forthcoming in a future blog posting for a jail cell of my own design that can provide absolute assurance against escape or parole, or even further contact with the rest of the human species.
Just War- a war fought, against a legitimate government intent on invading other nations, to prevent invasion. I hold to Augustine's original definition, which forbade a just army from fighting foreign wars or invading another nation in return, and using techniques that show love for the enemy including bringing wounded soldiers from the battlefield into local domestic hospitals, regardless of which side the soldier was originally fighting on. More modern definitions are available for debate, but I find most of them highly suspect and full of the type of foreign entanglements that made WWI, WWII and the Cold War so hard to deal with. I'm not even for the so-called War on Terror, for I can see how modern information technology can give us a conception-until-natural-death record for every human being on the planet, and that would eliminate any possibility of a terrorist act.
Euthanasia- the ending of pain for a terminally ill patient. I was once in the anti-life camp on this topic, but modern post 1995 advances in hospice technology and pain management have made my original views about quality of life vs quantity of life completely obsolete. As has my own diagnosis of disability. Thou shall not know the hour or the day isn't prophecy- it's promise- and it's the way human beings were meant to die, not knowing ahead of time.
I hope referring to these definitions in the future, will help avoid some rather unpleasant what-if scenarios presented that are outside of these definitions, as well as clarifying my own positions on these topics.