ABORTION: The most contentious, confused and misunderstood issue that continues to divide us

Abortion: The most contentious, confused and misunderstood issue that continues to divide us.

 

By Thomas Keane

AKA DoubtingThomas

 

The volatile and never-ending issue of whether or not a woman has the right to terminate her own pregnancy now seems to be centered on the question of when during the prenatal development the fetus is considered viable or human. For a very long time it was accepted that one wasn’t actually ‘alive’ until they were born and took their first breath. This was even supported in scripture; Adam only “became a living soul” once God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” (Genesis 2:7). However, now some ultra conservatives actually argue that humanity (life) begins at conception. It’s not hard to imagine these same people grieving over the millions of potential humans that are lost every single time a man ejaculates.

Whether it is more willful to suggest that life begins upon that first inhalation or when the spermatozoon joins with the ovum to form a zygote is all dependant on one’s own bias. As for where the law/government stands on the issue; as is often the case, it is somewhere in the middle. The determining factor seems to be the point at which the fetus can survive outside of the womb. It has been well established that any premature birth can, and often does, result in some sort of negative developmental issue, whether in infancy, childhood or adulthood. The most common afflictions are cerebral palsy, vision and/or hearing loss and learning problems. And yet none of these potential disabilities are taken into account when judging viability. In fact, the main factor that influences whether or not a woman may be allowed to request an abortion is simply the number of weeks of gestation that have elapsed in her pregnancy. In most U.S. states that magic number is twenty-one. If the fetus makes it into week twenty-two, the choice of whether or not it can be terminated is taken from the woman and given to the doctor.

For pro-lifers, the idea that they are standing up for the rights of the fetus, who has no voice of its own, is an inspiring one. But is it also misguided? If it really is about the rights of the fetus and the fetus has no ability to express or even form its own opinion, does it really make the most sense that someone with no connection to the mother or any knowledge of the circumstances should be making the decisions? If the fetus is incapable of declaring an opinion for itself, doesn’t it seem reasonable that the person who should be allowed to decide for the fetus would be the woman whose body sustains and contains it? Is there a more logical candidate? Would this not be the case if we were discussing another living mass of cells residing within someone’s body, such as a tape worm (parasite) or a tumor? Shouldn’t this be the main focus when considering the topic of abortion, not whether or not the fetus is human, not when life begins, but who has the right to make the decision seeing that the fetus has no ability to do so for itself?

If the decision on what can be done with what resides within a woman’s body is to be given to another, who should it be? A stranger? The government? A priest? The church? A parent? A doctor? A Judge? A husband? The ‘father’? Any man for that matter? How can anyone justify placing any of these people/organizations above the person whose body the fetus/tumor resides? And if you were to grant the government jurisdiction over a woman’s pregnant body, at what point would they take control? At conception? Upon first confirming that the woman is pregnant? After the quickening? After the first trimester? The second? If she were a first time mother? If she were a mother of fifteen illegitimate children? If she were an I.V. drug user? A victim of incest or rape? Mentally retarded? Mentally deranged? If she were a Mormon? A Scientologist? An Atheist? An illegal immigrant? Underage? Middle-Class? Homeless? HIV positive? Brain dead? And if the government was to take steps to protect the human rights of the fetus, shouldn’t it also monitor the mother’s consumption of tobacco, alcohol and drugs (both legal and illegal)? Shouldn’t the mother’s very behavior be authorized and restricted based on the perceived effect on the fetus? And why stop there? Why not also allow the government or church to decide who, when and if someone should be on birth control and what type. Why not have the government/church decide who we should be allowed to have sex with. Why make any decisions for ourselves? Why not just give up all control to the government and/or the church? Or should only the decisions categorized as moral be governed in such a way? And who is to decide what is moral? Would a Buddhist have a say? Would an Atheist?

Good Samaritan laws state that a person can’t be forced to save another’s life if doing so would risk or even inconvenience their own except under highly specific circumstances. For example, you can’t be forced to be an organ donor; you can’t be forced to donate blood; if a person struggling to save a panicked drowning victim is forced to abandon their efforts in order to protect themselves, they cannot be charged with a crime if the person they attempted to save perishes. Yet, for some reason, forcing women to carry someone within their own bodies appears to be the exception to the rule. Somehow the rights of the fetus have superseded the rights of the woman to have autonomy over her own body even though the physical use of another’s body for one’s own survival is not, and has never been, a human right.

If we as individuals continue to insist that our particular philosophical understanding of an issue be established as a universal absolute, governing the lives of all, then we will continue to be divided as a people. For if there is only one absolute truth, it is that there are no two people in the world, not Christian, not Atheist, not man or woman, who will ever be in total agreement on all things. No one will ever be so wise as to know what is right and what is wrong for each and every one of us. There will always be choices that we as individuals must be allowed to make for ourselves. Humanity thrives on such freedom. It is the core of the American ideal. We must strive to never forget that.

DoubtingThomas

  

Please visit my main page (https://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/) to gain a better understanding of where I am coming from. There you will find all my observations regarding religion and the bible categorized on the Right hand side of the page. Please feel free to read through them and leave a comment or two if you like.

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11 Responses to “ABORTION: The most contentious, confused and misunderstood issue that continues to divide us”

  1. “However, now some ultra conservatives actually argue that humanity (life) begins at conception. ”

    I find it ironic that an allegedly pro-science person would use bad philosophy to support crushing and dismembering innocent human beings.

    Science shows that life begins at conception. Check out any secular embryology textbook. You have to be anti-science to hold any other view.

    Pro-legalized abortion is anti-science.

    Your appeal to Good Sammaritan laws only applies to situations where the mother’s life is at stake. I don’t know any pro-lifers who would deny abortions in those cases (e.g., ectopic pregnancies). Your argument is a straw man.

    Your appeal to the Bible is farcical, as usual.

    “Humanity thrives on such freedom. ”

    I’m getting all choked up here. Seriously, as usual the pro-abortionists never complete the sentence. You are really saying that humanity thrives on such “freedom to kill an innocent human being.”

    Your birth control and whom to have sex with arguments fail as well. They do not involve killing an existing human being.

    The appeal to “who” makes the decision is irrelevant if the decision is to kill another human being.

  2. I am forced to smile each and every time someone uses the Bible to uphold their anti-abortion views. From Exodus throughout the five books supposably written by Moses, there is no greater killer of the unborn than the Biblical God. A new born son was not counted a member of tribe until he had lived a full thirty days. Girls, even longer. I think I shall make that a subject one of these days on my blogsite. Until a person has been a woman and made pregnant against her will, either by ignorance or circumstance, that person has no right to either judge or have a say in any decision the woman makes concerning her own body.

  3. I am forced to frown every time someone pays a stranger to crush and dismember her unborn child – a living human being – and consider it “reproductive freedom.”

  4. Mary….. I read you’re post and i must say.. you’re point is completely invalid.

    However, I will humor you and follow your logic. Lets say that I killed someone. Following your logic I would be able to get away with it. All I would need to say was that unless you had killed someone you could not judge me for having killed someone. Same goes for if I had raped someone. By your logic i should not have to go to prison, because until you have been a man and experienced our sexual urges from our point of view you can not call me a masogonist(sp) or claim any type of sexual harrasment or discrimination.

    I appologize if my comment sounds condescending I merely get tired of hearing that excuse for killing an unborn child. !)avid

  5. Good point, whiteman. Using Mary’s logic she couldn’t protest wife-beating. After all, she has no idea what it is like to be a husband.

    Both arguments are flawed, largely because they ignore that another human life is at stake. Does the unborn female have a right to control her body?

  6. Within one month of conception, the baby has it’s own heartbeat. If that heartbeat is stopped the baby will die in the womb. How is that not a living thing? And besides the point, 99.9% of abortions are due to the mother being inconvenienced by a baby and would rather not deal with her carelessness of not using birth control. Let’s make this real simple. If you must have sex but are not prepared for a baby, USE BIRTH CONTROL!!

    Have you ever seen Silent Screams? You should watch it. And have you seen the picture of the baby that was operated on while in utero and reached out and held the doctor’s finger? That’s pretty impressive for a non-living thing.

    • Sheerah,

      Please cite in my article/post where I state that the fetus is not a living thing. Also, would you kindly provide any evidence to your statement that “99.9% of abortions are due to the mother being inconvenienced by a baby and would rather not deal with her carelessness of not using birth control.” It is very clear that you didn’t bother to read my post/article as you missed the entire point. And while I completely agree with your position on birth control you have to consider that a large percentage of the women in the world either don’t have access to or are forbidden from using birth control. You also forget the fact that rape/incest victims aren’t given the opportunity to choose to use birth control before they are violated. As for the fact that a fetus may clutch something in its hand while in utero, what does that have to do with what I had to say in the article? What about the images of male fetuses with erections (a very normal and common occurrence)? Does this prove that a baby is ready/capable of sex? If the image showed this fetus clutching its erection, would you also find that impressive?

      Please try and refrain from posting comments on articles you refuse to read.

      Thank you,
      DoubtingThomas

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  10. Hello Thomas, thank you for your blog. It is very well written and documented, and so refreshing! I really enjoy reading your articles. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

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