One of the most controversial topics in America and all over the world today is the issue of abortion. Purely by the nature of the topic itself, many questions about morality are raised that are very difficult, and sometimes even impossible to answer. However, the fundamental question that needs to be addressed in order to make any substantial arguments either supporting or opposing abortion is this: is abortion killing?
As killing is defined as depriving of life, then it must first be known if an unborn child is alive. What constitutes human life? Scientifically, life is characterized in terms of growth, reproduction, metabolism, motion, and response to outside environment. From the moment of conception, a human grows and adapts, gradually evolving into a fully formed being that shows all these features of being alive. At conception, some facets of “life” are not yet shown, but there is no other logical or scientifically supported point to draw the line.
If a fetus is only regarded as human once it’s fully formed, how and when does a human that is not alive become one that is? Where precisely do you draw the line? Some will say that because there is no official definition of life, it is not up to the general public to decide whether or not it should be legal to abort. If, because there’s doubt about what composes life, and the decision is left up to the parents as to whether the fetus is human or not, that is saying that it’s human only if the parents say it is. If your parents were to decide that you were not human, does that mean they have the right to legally kill you?
A very popular argument towards this stance is that it should be considered life only when it can survive without the woman’s body. It is known that many premature babies can survive outside of the womb at as young as 5 months, and yet, an alarming amount of abortions are performed at or after this point. Also, a child is not truly self-sufficient until long after they are born. They rely on the care of an adult for many years after birth. Under the argument that is it not alive till it can survive without its mother, it would be reasonable to support killing anyone who is dependent solely on another person.
The word fetus comes from the Latin word meaning young one, or young child. Those who say, “It’s not killing a child, it’s aborting a fetus,” are merely using synonyms that sound less horrific, as a synonym of abort is terminate, which is also synonymous with kill. The age of a child or where it is located should not determine whether it is alive or not. Until we have hard facts allowing for certainty about when human life begins, the benefit of the doubt should go towards preserving life.
Another claim is that a fetus is merely a parasite, using the mother’s body against her will. Therefore, forcing a women to carry out her pregnancy is unconstitutional, because no one has the right to use another’s body against their will. An unborn child should not be equated to a rapist. A baby is not intentionally using the mother’s body, it was put there by circumstances having nothing to do with itself. Why should an innocent child be punished for something that happens due to no fault of its own?
A pregnant women can be charged with murder if she purposefully inflicts injury upon herself that results in the death of a fetus she is carrying. A killer is charged with two counts of murder when he or she kills a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Murder is when a person’s life is taken against their will. Abortion is not a natural death and was not by the babies choice that he or she died. So why is abortion not considered murder?
Even if it was admitted that a fetus is being given the right that no other human being has, to use one’s body against their will, it must also be admitted that a mother is being given the right that no other human has, the right to take someone’s life. The rights of one person only apply to the point where they infringe upon another’s: a fetus is unconsciously using a women’s body “against her will,” a women is consciously deciding to take the life of her child.
In any other circumstance, no one would support putting anyone’s other rights above the most fundamental, constitution right: the right to life. Another constitutional right is the pursuit of happiness, but none would support killing another if it made them happy. Unfortunately, this is often what abortions come down to. The mother’s pursuit of happiness is put before the baby’s right to live.
In this manner, it is reasonable to presume that life begins from the moment of conception. The majority of Biology studies and scientists agree. However, it should be noted that while no matter what age a child is aborted at, it is killing, there are extenuating circumstances and issues of value in the action that would sometimes cause abortions to be allowable, though none the less tragic.
An issue as complex as this is principally impossible to categorize it into good and bad, black and white. Truthfully, in matters that have so much effect on so many different things, there is no such thing as black and white. To be reasonable, you must see everything in shades of gray.
Pro-Life does not equal Anti-Choice. Anyone consenting to have sex is acknowledging the fact that they might get pregnant. Whether they use contraception or not, everyone who consensually has sex knows that there is always a possibility of a pregnancy, therefore, their choice has been made. The intent of this statement is not to suggest to when women have sex, they must do so for the purpose of having a baby. What is meant is that to have sex is to accept the responsibility that it could possibly happen. When women make the choice to have unprotected sex, they know that it could result in pregnancy. Even with protection and the greatest of precautions, there is no sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy. In this way, they already made their choice. After this point, it is no longer their choice to make, because it no longer only concerns their life, but the life of another.
After this has been recognized is where the extenuating circumstances come into play. What if it was not the woman’s choice to have sex? What if the women was raped? This is one of the few instances when abortion should be allowed. The termination of an innocent child is still tragic, but as stated above, why should anyone be punished for something that happens due to no fault of their own? That includes women: if the pregnancy occurred due to no fault of their own, it is not fair to punish them. Because of this, it should be allowable to abort under the circumstance of rape.
Another difficult gray area surrounding abortion is that of when the mother’s life would be in danger if she carries out the pregnancy. One of the most severe cases is that of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic means “out of place.” In an ectopic pregnancy, a zygote implants outside the uterus. None of the areas outside of the uterus has the space or nurturing tissue that the baby needs to develop. As the fetus grows, it will eventually burst the organ that contains it. This can cause severe bleeding and endanger the mother’s life. Usually, ectopic pregnancies do not result in a live birth.
In ectopic pregnancies, statistics show that without an abortion, death for both mother and child is likely. Generally, there is no possibility for a suitable transplant of the fetus to a more suitable location, so by forcing the mother to follow through with an ectopic pregnancy, the mother’s life would be put at risk for nothing.
It is not just to insist a mother put her child’s life above her own, so in cases of ectopic pregnancies and other complications where the mother’s life could be severely endangered by having the baby, abortions should be allowable. If the goal is to preserve human life, it is not society’s place to decide which actual life should be considered more valuable.
These hard cases, such as rape and life of the mother, make up less than 1% of all abortions. The 1% of tragic events that would make it necessary for some people to have an abortion should not justify the other 99% of abortions that are based purely on the comfort of the mother. So much consideration has been put into the feelings of the woman, and the body of the woman. Well, who speaks for that child? Who voices for the concerns and the feelings of the child, and the body of the child?
Why does society think that just because a fetus cannot talk, or do what we do, makes it any less of a person? A life is a valuable entity, and more consideration has been put into how it will effect the woman’s life than how it will affect the child’s. In our society, the fact that becoming a mother will affect a person’s reputation, burden them financially and emotionally, change their future, thereby changing their life, has become more important than that the alternative, which will END a life. A change in a life has become more significant than the destruction of a life.
Mitigations such as over-population and child abuse and too many unwanted children are often made, that subjecting a child to a life of misery because they can’t afford it is worse than killing. Such misfortunes as these happen all too often. However, the possibility that the child may go on to have an amazing life, does not give anyone the right to decide whether they deserve to die, before they’ve had a chance. Every human deserves the chance to live. Society is not in a place to decide what the quality of their life might be, before they’ve had a chance to make it for themselves.
As far as unwanted children, there are three families looking to adopt for every one baby put up for adoption. If one doesn’t have the means to care for their child, then adoption is always an option. If one doesn’t want or can’t keep their child, there is someone out there who wants to, who can, and who might never be able to have their own children.
Everyone deserves the chance to live. In a perfect world, there would be no need for abortions. Unfortunately, we do not, and never will, live in a perfect world. There is large doubt that abortions without extenuating circumstances will ever be fully outlawed anywhere. Because of this, rather than being radical and taking an “all or nothing” stand-point, it is reasonable to accept that the value of an abortion on the child should be taken into account as well. Value in this case signifies how the fetus will be effected by the procedure, outside of the life or death consideration. If any abortions are allowed that are based purely on motherly comfort, they should be done as soon as possible so that baby will not be subjected to pain. It is debatable about when a fetus is actually capable of feeling pain. Studies show that at 8 weeks the neuro-anatomic structures needed to feel pain are present. What is needed is a sensory nerve to feel the pain and send a message to the thalamus, a part of the base of the brain, and motor nerves that send a message to that area. These are present at 8 weeks. The pain impulse goes to the thalamus. It sends a signal down the motor nerves to pull away from the hurt. Yet, many other scientists say that while these are all present, the cerebral cortex is not developed enough to process these signals until as late as 29 weeks.
Make the decision about which scientific theory you will support after viewing one of the many abortions on ultrasound videos that are available. In one ultrasound view of a 12 week fetus, the reaction when being invaded by abortion (extraction) instruments was the following: as the needle that is injected first to erupt the water bag is inserted, the fetus’s heartbeat accelerates, almost doubling in rate. Then, it begins to move around in the uterus to avoid the foreign object that is intruding its environment. After erupting the baby’s protective fluids, a second instrument is introduced into its environment that will now chop it up and suck it out (the extracting tool…it is like a small suction instrument that also has a small blade inside of it, that rotates and cuts as it pulls). This is introduced and the fetus struggles to move away from it, and the instrument inevitably finds it and gets the soft matter, which is its body. Once it touches the baby, the mouth of this fetus opens wide and forms a scream before its body is sucked out. Then, the third instrument is introduced, after it is bodiless and the head remains, to grab the head, crush it and pull it out.
How such a reaction could be construed as anything but pain and sensitivity to touch is beyond comprehension. This is the reaction of a 12 week fetus, the more advanced the stage of development, the more severe the reaction. If anyone makes the choice to be selfish enough to have an abortion performed not because of reasons beyond their control, they should take care not to do it at a time when they would not only be taking the baby’s life, but torturing it in the process.
This is why the Freedom of Choice act being proposed by President Obama should not be passed. When this act is passed, it will take away rights of states to make laws regarding abortion. The major downfall to this is that it will federalize any and all abortions. That includes the termination of a full term baby through partial-birth abortion. Abortions on full-term babies consists of one of two procedures: an acid-acting formula injected into the womb to burn the fetus and cause death by suffocation, the mother then delivers the dead baby, or, the baby is turned around in the womb and born feet first, because technically it is not considered a person until it is fully born, keeping the baby partially born by having the body come out first. Once the body is out, the same suction instrument used in an early term abortion to withdraw out the body parts is then inserted into the lower cranial part of the head, which falls at the back of the neck, upper spine area, and then they extract the brains of the infant, therefore birthing a now dead baby.
It will also annul the federal law that now protects doctors and nurses from having to participate in abortions if they do not wish to and still retain their job. At the moment, a doctor has to right to refuse to participate in any medical act that may be against their moral fiber. If this act is passed, they can lose their job if they refuse to perform abortions.
Doctors will be forced to live by a hypocritical oath to “do no harm.” If a doctor believes that abortion is murder, they should not be forced to go against their oath and their values to support the “choice” of another. The Freedom of Choice only gives choice to one group of people, the mothers. It denies choice to doctors who may be strongly opposed to abortion, and it denies the choice to live to the unborn children who are never given a voice. There is no equality of rights in denying the choice of all others so as to grant it to one.
Some people who are pro-life will say that since abortion is now legal, the fight is already lost, and it is no longer their business. But if you find an action unjust, it is your responsibility to make it your business, rather than sitting back and losing all faith in humanity and ending up in a society you have no say in.