Critical Thoughts on Abortion

The taking of any life is always a “killing.” In the case of abortion it is obviously a killing of what is, or has the potential to be, life. But the question is is it murder and is it right? As a society we justify many killings. We execute other humans when they have done something that we as a society see to be wrong. When we kill out of self-defense the society determines if it was justified or if it is punishable as a crime. We put down our animals when they are sick. When a killing is acceptable or when it is murder is always something that varies depending on what society you live in and what time period you are in. In the past the rapist and the horse thief got the rope, but now the death penalty is considered too severe for such crimes.

Thoughts and feelings on abortion run deep. The only argument I ever hear against abortion is that it is murder. Many even go so far as to say that it is never acceptable, even if the woman has been raped or continuing the pregnancy will kill her. No matter her circumstances it should be illegal, no matter what. Then the argument goes that she can hand the child over to adoption as if this is always a realistic solution for women. Not only must she carry the pregnancy to term but, it’s ok, she can always just hand the child over to someone else and give it up even after carrying it inside of her body for nine months and risking her life and going through hours of labor to bring it into the world. As if that is somehow a more “humane” situation for either mother or child.

And what if the father doesn’t consent to adoption? The mother might still give up her rights but that will not stop the father from being able to hassle her in court. Feminism has also opened up to men access to women’s incomes which gives immoral men incentive to harass the mother. Even if the father is not married to the mother and has made it clear he doesn’t want anything to do with the child he can still walk in and change his mind later and give mother and child 18 years (or how ever many years are left after his absence) of hardship and drag her constantly in and out of court. Not to mention he can overturn the adoption later on upsetting the welfare of the child and undoing the mother’s decision to place her child with a loving and stable family.

What about the woman who’s husband has abandoned her while pregnant? What about the young woman who’s boyfriend has pressured her into sex she doesn’t really want? What about the young woman who agrees to go off alone with a guy but doesn’t want to go that far with him? Forget about rape. If anybody sees her willingly go with him the case probably won’t even be brought to trial but probably thrown out in the name of “justice” or something. Studies on abortion show that half of all women say they have abortions because of relationship issues with the child’s father. These women are not all single promiscuous women who are just acting “irresponsible.” A lot of these women are even married. One would think the irresponsible woman should have an abortion anyways but I guess a child brought into an unstable environment where there might be drugs, abuse, neglect or who only knows what is better than abortion.

Those who are against it act as if it is a one-sided issue. The only thing that matters is that the fetus is a life and the taking of that life is murder under all circumstances. Then there are those who say it can be justified if her life is at stake or if she was raped. So what this says is that, in a society that wants the government out of their health care, the decision for abortion should be left up to the state (or federal government) or some quack doctor to determine if the medical procedure of abortion should be allowed. Most abortions occur within the first trimester by way of taking a pill that terminates a pregnancy like a miscarriage but if she must get a judicial waiver for it too much time might pass that a surgical abortion (which pro-lifers consider barbaric and inhumane) might then become necessary. Unlike issues such as divorce, pregnancy is a very time-sensitive issue.

Most women who are raped simply want the thing done with. They want to go on with their lives but if abortion were illegal and she finds out she is pregnant as a result of the rape her ability to have an abortion will depend upon her not only bringing the rapist to trial but getting him convicted. She must now report the rape. If she reports the rape only upon finding out she has conceived as a result of the act the society will say she is just “crying rape” to cover up her “bad behavior” (men, of course, have no responsibility as obviously the woman got herself pregnant and she is solely to blame for the situation). Now the case goes to trial where she must be put upon the witness stand to face her rapist- to look him in the eyes and have all the sordid details of the event related over and over and brought into the public eye and her moral character attacked over and over. The man’s role in sex is to overpower the woman and thrust into her body the only question then becomes “did she really want it?” It is never the rapist that is on trial but the raped. And what if he does not get convicted even if he’s guilty (which is a highly likely scenario)?

Let’s call this what it is. Society’s acceptance of abortion in the case of rape is an issue of unauthorized paternity. The fetus is still innocent but the abortion is OK because of the father’s sins, because the father did something immoral, because the father was irresponsible, because the man didn’t have the right to plant his seed there. Looked at from this light would abortion not then become an issue of men vs. men? If abortion has always been a major feminist issue would feminism, often seen by society as men vs. women, not itself actually be an issue of men vs. men (and the women who help them so that they might vanquish their own enemies- other women)?

Take the trial of the bitter waters described in the Bible in Numbers 5. Many interpret these verses to be about abortion. The woman’s husband is overcome by jealousy because he believes his wife has been unfaithful and is pregnant by another man. The Bible, despite some modern day interpretations, is a patriarchal text. Women are under the control of husbands and husbands have strict obligations towards their wives (including providing for them). The husband is bringing a case against his wife in these verses but the real conflict is actually a power struggle between him and another man.

A person cannot be forced to donate an organ, their blood or any part of their body to another human being even if it would mean saving the person’s life. Does a woman not have such a right over her own being and person? Or is she not a person? Does the right over one’s own body and being not extend to a woman’s bodily organs? Does the state have the right to compel a woman to give her fallopian tubes, her uterus, her vagina, her blood, her entire body to be used to support and house the development of a potential life? Does she not have the right to refuse medical examinations and procedures or can she be compelled against her will and lose all rights over her body and dignity?

Say a person is acting irresponsible by doing something like drinking and driving. Then the person wrecks and harms another person. As far as I am aware the perpetrator still cannot be compelled under the law to donate any part of his/her body or blood to keep the other person alive. Despite the irresponsible behavior, his (or her) body is still his (or her) own. Yes the perpetrator can be punished for breaking the law and harming someone else but his body is still his own and even upon his death he cannot be compelled to give any part of his body even to save the life of another. Does this not apply to a woman’s body? Should women be “punished” for irresponsible behavior and have to continue a pregnancy to term against her will in a society that has outlawed slavery for over 150 years? People can still, under the Constitution, be compelled to perform labor for punishment of a crime. Has the woman committed a crime? What crime? Should the father not also be punished for being an accomplice to said crime? Do we really want to live in a society like that?

All societies have an interest in protecting human life (and increasingly many species of animal life) but a just and fair society takes into account all parties and does what is right for all parties involved. It is not all about the fetus. There are also the rights of a woman over her own body and right to life and the pursuit of happiness. There are also the rights of society. There is also the issue of if the fetus has rights or not. All laws restrict human behavior. They have to for society to function properly but the American way is “justice for all” and solely focusing on one party does not do justice to all. Every single pregnancy could potentially permanently or temporarily injure, disfigure or even kill a woman. Every single pregnancy has the potential to rob a woman of her life and her dreams- or does that not matter? Is she not a citizen with the right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness?

If the majority of the citizens find an issue immoral could they then vote upon it to make it illegal? In some cases, yes. But even here there are certain Constitutional and inalienable rights that the individual has that the lynch mob majority cannot legislate away. Being that direct democracies always inevitably produce the tyranny of the majority, our government was not set up as a direct democracy.

Being that it is often seen as a moral issue and the state does have an interest in protecting life it is perfectly reasonable that the state not pay for it (except in certain circumstances). It is also reasonable that after a certain point more legal rights be given to the unborn. So we could say in the early months the rights of the woman over her own body are paramount and later on the fetus is given more legal consideration. It is also reasonable that the procedure be regulated just the same as other medical care is.

Tell me will the church take in all the hundreds of thousands of unwanted children who will come into this world if abortion is outlawed? (This was actually the way in the Middle Ages as bastard children were considered to be the children of nobody and became the wards of the church; legitimate children were the responsibility of their fathers.) Will the church feed, clothe, house and raise to adulthood all those children? Will the society that restricts abortion pay for the children to be born and raised out of the taxpayer’s money? (Conservatives don’t like that one too much.) Who will come forward to protect and support the women and children or must women and children be left on their own?

The Bible talks about love, not killing the innocent, God knowing us before we were born and numbering the hairs on our head, etc… This is probably showing that God is all wise and understands things human beings do not (actually the Bible mentions this several times) and that, yes, creation is loved and precious. But the Bible does not specifically mention abortion, nor does it mention how many children each family should have or say that each family must have as many as God will possibly give them. It says God hates “the shedding of innocent blood” but what constitutes murder and the shedding of “innocent blood” is, once again, always determined by the current mores of the society and the Bible leaves no specific instructions on this issue. Abortion was never even an issue before first-wave feminism and even the church was ok with it up until the “quickening.” Society always translates its religious texts in accordance with modern day beliefs no matter the issue.

By saying that one person’s rights end where another’s begin is to say that a woman ceases to have rights upon conception, that she ceases to be a human being with rights to her own privacy, dignity and bodily autonomy. She becomes nothing more than a vessel that doesn’t matter and all rights and decisions are taken away from her to benefit another. That doesn’t sound very just to me.

In my own personal life I would have never considered abortion but I always knew that every woman’s circumstances are different and I respected that. I didn’t want anything to do with either helping or stopping a woman from abortion, but I respected their personal decisions. And, likewise, times have changed and so have I. When I was young it was so easy to have a baby and life was grand. But I know that I could never feel now the way I did then. I could never feel secure nor safe because in the back of my mind I know I’m not. Our society today doesn’t even grant to mothers even the most basic of protections. Will we compel women to bear children against their will then endure grueling battles just to simply keep those children by their side and in their arms? Do we really think it’s better to force women to carry pregnancies to term and then lose their children via adoption despite the emotional trauma that might last a lifetime? Is there not a person who will stand up in defense of women and children as a special class with special circumstances needing special protections? Will the men of this society not be responsible for their women?

So you say there’s always birth control. But birth control fails. Studies find that half of all pregnancies are unintended and half of the women seeking abortions were using birth control that failed them. Are you to say she was irresponsible? Do you know what her circumstances are? Will you who chooses to judge her situation lend a hand to help her? You want to force her to bear a child so will you be the one who supports and raises it? Anything that would decrease the prevalence of abortion is to be desired but many pro-life advocates even believe most types of birth control are murderous because they stop implantation.

If the husband is made head of household does he not have the right then to take care of his own and limit the size of his household? Will the society enter the marriage bed and force his wife to continue to term unwanted pregnancies that he will have to pay for? What about special circumstances like adultery? What about a pregnant woman who is facing a divorce or who’s husband has run out on her? What about a 15 year old girl who was raped by her uncle or a man twice her age? What about the woman who thought her boyfriend loved her but when she gets pregnant he dumps her calling her a slut and saying it’s not even his child? Will these women need to make their personal lives public and be put on trial to obtain abortions despite the special circumstances of their personal lives and despite the bad situation having a baby would put both mother and child in? Are we to say the young girls and women don’t matter and that the fetus is life so who cares no abortions just bear the babies against their will in physical and emotional hardship then lose them or raise them in insecurity, poverty and desolation?

Could the drastic increase in laws restricting abortion in the last few years really be about upping the birth rate? But is it not the communist and totalitarian governments that regulate women’s wombs in such a way by either forcing them to have or not have babies via forced sterilizations, abortions or restricting access to reproductive services? Will a criminal investigation be started for every miscarriage?

The pro-life position is that the blastocyst, zygote, fetus, etc… is fully human. It’s a life. Plain and simple. It’s the only life that should be given consideration. That potential life is all that matters and the rights, needs and circumstances of everybody else concerned be damned.

The Traditional Family is the Solution to Abortion

Resources:

Induced Abortion in the United States

Abortion in American History