Abortion, the 'terminating of a pregnancy' (the killing of a developing human being), is a controversial topic for many. However, just because something is controversial does not mean that some aspects of the issue are not clear - it only means that people are divided over it. The division does not necessarily mean that the issue is complicated or difficult to understand, but rather that there is something about the issue that rises above or beyond the mere physical plane of existence, which many people will refuse to see or accede due to self-pride or fear or selfishness. Just like the young man blinded by self-pride will fight a much larger and more capable fighter, so many will defend their point of view even if they need to put reason aside to do so.
Here are the main issues in the abortion debate:
The two sides in the issue focus on very different things - as is reflected in the names they use - and this is a big part of the reason it is difficult to have productive conversations between the two views. One side insists in talking about the rights of the space agency to stop providing oxygen to the astronauts, while the other side insists in talking about the value of the astronauts.
Let's start by taking a look at some contrasts between the two sides of the issue.
Pro-Life advocates focus on the value of the developing human being inside the mother’s womb. They believe that human life should be protected from unjust harm or killing for the full continuum of human development – from conception to natural death.
Pro-Choice advocates focus on what they believe is the mother’s right to terminate the developing human being in the mother’s womb. They seem to publically ignore the other relevant choices that could have been responsibly made in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Pro-Life advocates are often willing to use their time and resources to help pregnant mother’s carry their babies to term and to care for the babies born to mothers who don’t want them or to find adoptive parents for those babies.
Pro-Choice advocates pay money to physicians and other medical staff who make lots of money profiting off of the terminating of developing human beings.
It seems that most Pro-Life advocates have the high moral ground as well as the best arguments as to why human life is worthy of protection, and how it is reasonable to focus on responsible behavior and living up to the consequences of our choices.
It seems that most Pro-Choice advocates are looking for the easiest way to sweep the consequence of irresponsible behavior under the rug, so to speak. Their position devalues human life and makes an argument for terminating all human life they deem inconvenient or not worthy of living.
So, let's look at some facts about abortion and use some simple reason to arrive at some sound conclusions.
When a man and a woman come together sexually and the woman's egg is successfully fertilized, a new life begins.
In general, there are two sets of vocabulary used when talking about this issue. Medical terminalogy is preferred by pro-choice people since it is very impersonal in nature and describes low-level developmental physical aspects rather a higher-view of what they are describing. Pre-natal is the medical terminology used to refer to the development of the baby in the mother’s womb before birth. Here are the other medical terms used to describe stages of development of human beings:
Many different non-medical terms are used to describe this new life like "immature baby", "developing human" or "young infant", but there are some things that cannot reasonably be denied about this new life. Let's look at some of those undeniable facts.
A primary thrust of the pro-abortion argument is that a 'fetus' is not a human being until it is born...until he/she leaves his/her mom's life support system. This argument is clearly very weak, since the age of survival of a new person has been pushed back all the way to 21 weeks with the birth of Amellia Taylor, born at 21 weeks, six days after conception. Clearly 'the fetus' is a human being at 21 weeks according to that way of defining a person, and as has been noted, the age will continue to drop as medical technology advances. However, that test of humanness - survivability outside the womb or survivability without a certain kind of life support - is fallacious. The thrust of the argument is that if a 'fetus' cannot live outside the womb, then it is not human. However, the issue is simply one of life support. The baby is provided life support by his/her mom while in the womb, but being dependent on life support is not what makes one human.
The Continuum of Development Argument
Is a newly conceived human less of a human being - or less valuable - than a 90 year old human being who will die within 24 hours?
As we have observed, the people who want to justify killing the new person developing in the womb say is that "it" (the 'fetus') is not human until some later stage of development. Among those who hold that view, there is disagreement regarding exactly when 'the fetus' becomes a human being. The simple fact is that a newly conceived human being is just as much a human being as a 90 year old human being who is just about to die. Let's take a closer look at the notion that a level of maturity - or a point in development - is what determines whether he/she is human or not.
For example, let's say a child was born with a lung disease that required that they receive pure oxygen treatments in order to continue to live. The child needed the treatments once a day, or without them, the child would die. Therefore, the child was dependent upon an important form of life support in order to continue living and maturing. According to the 'if it needs live support, it is not human' argument, this child is not human until he/she can survive without that life support. But according to that argument, any person who needs some type of life-support in order to continue living is not a human being and that would include millions of adult people all over the earth who either temporarily or more permenantly depend upon some life support to live.
Let's use an astronaut analogy. An astronaut is completely dependent upon the ship for shelter, the food stored in it as well as the oxygen and temperature control it provides. If the astronaut loses any of those things, she will die. She is dependent on those things to live, and yet she is still a human being even though she is dependent on the shelter, food and oxygen the ship/life support module provides. Therefore, an argument that she is not human due to his dependence upon the ship's life support should be recognized as false. The same could be said for deep sea divers or people in hospitals who need an IV to survive.
Obviously, the 'because a person needs life support to live makes them non-human', is an erroneous argument and a wrong belief.
Some will argue that the organic and natural life support of the mother's womb is somehow different than artificial or machine life support systems and thus the analogies are no applicable.
The new life in the mother's womb is no less a human being due to his/her dependence upon the mother's body's life support systems than a person who has left the mother's natural life support systems.
A slightly different version of the argument is this - 'the fetus is not like an adult human being therefore it is not human'. It is equally erroneous as is illustrated with the following.
If you saw an infant, say a one year old baby, do you think if you never saw them again until they were ninety years old, you would recognize them or say they were the same person? No, you would not. The young human being is very different and unrecognizable from the subsequent older and mature human being. In fact, the same could be said for a 20 year old to a 90 year old. Thus, according to the 'the fetus is not like an adult human being therefore it is not human' view, no one is a human being until an arbitrary and subjective age that someone picks. This seems to me to be a very dangerous belief since there is no objective natural standard on which to make that determination, but rather only the whims of an individual or those in power.
The simple truth is that human maturity and development is a life long process, and it starts the moment the new life is created. Just because the new life has a different form early in his/her development does not mean he/she is not human, just as the new life as a one year old is radically different than his/her form as a 20 year old or 50 year old or 90 year old, does not mean that they are not human or not a person. Furthermore, and as we have seen, just because a person needs some form of life support to continue to live and develop does not mean they are not human beings.
If you Google "best arguments for abortion" you might come up with an article by Seth Millstein entitled, "How To Argue Pro Choice: 11 Arguments Against Abortion Access, Debunked". Here is part of the article by Seth, and my response. I will examine his first argument because it is key to the entire issue of abortion...the argument/belief that the person in the mother's womb is not a person.
"Common Argument #1: A fetus is a human being, and human beings have
the right to life, so abortion is murder.
Seth's Comment: I’m probably not going to convince you that a fetus isn’t a life, as that’s basically the most intractable part of this whole debate, so I’ll be brief:
Seth's Rebuttal A: A fetus can’t survive on its own. It is fully
dependent on its mother’s body, unlike born human beings.
Seth's Rebuttal B: Even if a fetus was alive, the "right to life" doesn’t imply a right to use somebody else’s body. People have the right to refuse to donate their organs, for example, even if doing so would save somebody else’s life.
Seth's Rebuttal C: The "right to life" also doesn’t imply a right to live by threatening somebody else's life. Bearing children is always a threat to the life of the mother.
Seth's Rebuttal D: A “right to life” is, at the end of the day, a right to not have somebody else’s will imposed upon your body. Do women not have this right as well?
Seth continues with other common rebuttals to simple truths and his further rebuttals are just a flawed as the one's above.
Ultimately, this discussion is one of love versus one of selfishness, but that simple truth is avoided by those who try and keep the discussion in a legal framework of “rights”. Abortion advocates try very hard to keep their arguments in a legal context or frame work of “rights”, and stay away from obvious moral truths. They do this because they don’t have a moral basis to justify their wrong belief and behavior. Simply put, a woman who has a baby developing in her will either choose the way of love and life for both her and her baby, or the way of selfishness and death for both her and her baby. Making the choice of having unprotected sexual intercourse does not carry with it the "right" to kill an innocent human being who resulted from that choice.
Perhaps you are a woman who has believed all the wrong arguments of the pro-abortion people in order to justify an abortion you had performed on your baby. The good news is that it is never too late to be forgiven and get a new heart and life! And no, you don't have to join some religious organization or adopt christian beliefs in order to have your life renewed. Please read this web site to find the love that you - and we all - need : )