Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thoughts On Abortion In America, Part 2

5. It is better to endure evil/pain than to inflict it. This is the basis of my thoughts regarding the 'hard cases'. Chesterton once wrote that 'moral complexities are only difficult for those who have no principles.' I tend to agree. Rationalization, convenience, and selfishness cloud what really ought to be a fairly simple moral dilemma of abortion. Hard cases will be brought up to try to prove that the entire abortion on demand position is valid. This is emotional but it is not really true.

The first hard case to look at is the one that says, 'No woman should be forced to take care of a handicapped (physically or mentally) child.' Another related argument says, 'It's actually better if that child never lives rather than live a life of pain, suffering and non-achievement.'

Here's the problem with these kinds of arguments. Neither of these arguments prove that abortion should be 'on demand' as it currently has been in America. If anything, it proves that ONLY those cases should be eligible for access to abortion, nothing more, and CERTAINLY not for 'any reason deemed fit'.

What if the fetus is fully human? We keep coming back to this question! See, if the fetus is fully human, then these cases in which a handicapped unborn child could be deliberately killed is really no different from taking an already born handicapped child (or adult, really) and deliberately killing it. We already know that this would be utterly criminal. Adults with handicaps are still persons protected from murder. If a fetus were to be fully human, then it would be just a smaller (and differentlylocated) version of that adult. So is all human life afforded equal protection and worth or not? If it is, and the fetus is detrmined to be fully human, then abortion is a criminal violation of that right to life.

6. Isn't it a bit presumptuous to say that other human beings are better off not existing? I've heard this from more than a few people and can only shake my head at the audacity of that sentiment. Couched in that argument is that a handicapped person cannot or will not live a meaningful or happy life. Many doctors, including C. Everett Koop, who worked with severely handicapped infants and was a pediatric surgeon, have suggested that, 'it has been my constant experience that disability and unhappiness do not necessarily go together.'

Look, bad things happen to innocent people. It's the way of the world. Having a handicapped or afflicted child is usually a pretty heavy burden for parent and child alike. But if the fetus is fully human, then aleviating its pain by destroying it would be akin to the mercy killings of Jack Kevorkian. Again, it is better to endure pain than to inflict it. It's not okay to inflict pain or harm on another person to get rid of your own.

Anyone who's ever visited a pediatric AIDS unit, cancer center, or hospice knows that these children are not without worth or contribution to the world. Society is better for having known them beacuse it gets a chance to live out the virtues it claims to hold dear--compassion, love, charity, and morality. People like Mother Angelica, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Padre Pio and others will be the first to tell you that they obtained virtue during their lives of suffering. Straight up--suffering is a spiritual exercise. It's like pumping iron with God himself. And lest we forget, there are more than a few documented cases of afflictions being healed, even in the womb. Had those cases been aborted, the injustice would not have been small.

What do you think handicapped people would say about this argument? Many would be offended at the idea that they are miserable or unable to contribute to society. I wonder if ANY handicapped organizations have gone on record as supporting abortion for the reason of the mother having a handicapped child. I doubt it. I do know that not a one has supported physician assisted suicide. The reason is that they don't believe that a human loses their right to life because they have a deformity or mental handicap.

But what about the REALLY extreme cases? The argument here is that some fetuses are SO genetically abnormal that they're not really human. For example, a fetus that is missing a brain, spinal cord, etc. I guess my limited brain would say that this would still be 'human'. It surely isn't an elephant, dog, or anteater. It originated as a human and ceased to develop but really cannot 'change' from human to non-human. Just because it's damaged doesn't mean it's not still essentially human.


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