Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thoughts On Abortion In America

1. First and foremost, up until this year when the partial birth abortion ban was upheld, abortion on demand was available to every woman in America. This came as a surprise to me but here’s the story. The common assertion from abortion advocates that Roe vs. Wade only allowed abortions up to 24 weeks, and after that time period, only when the life of the mother was in jeopardy. In fact, this is false but if you read the mainstream media, you’d never know this. The current law, in truth, doesn’t restrict anything. A woman can obtain an abortion for any reason that she or her doctor determines to be adequate during the entire term of pregnancy.

Roe v Wade ruled that a state has no right to restrict abortion for the first 6 months of pregnancy. So basically a woman could abort for ANY reason she deems valid during this time—unplanned pregnancy, wrong gender, inconvenience, rape, or incest. In months 7-9, the state has a right, but not an obligation to restrict abortion to cases in which the mother’s health is jeopardized. But here’s the rub. The definition of health was determined to be ‘in light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age.’

I think we’d all agree that pregnancy definitely has an effect on every woman’s emotional situation, family situation, and psychological situation as well as her physical condition. So if a woman can convince her doctor (or the doctor convince his/her patient) that she needs an abortion to protect her ‘emotional health’ or ‘psychological health’, the law allows this up until the time of birth. The restrictions that are supposedly in place are not really restrictions at all. Francis Beckwith put it this way: In the first six months of pregnancy a woman can have an abortion for no reason, but in the last three months she can have it for ANY reason. That, my friends, is abortion on demand and that is the situation in which we find ourselves in America.

2. NOW, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL consistently argue that only 1% of all abortions occur in the 3rd trimester (months 7-9). So what? The fact that the unborn child is left unprotected is still a flaw in the law, regardless of how many are killed at that stage. Considering that 1.5 million abortions are performed per year in America, 1% would be 15,000 children who were done away with, or about 41 per day. Sorry, but that is no insignificant number.

3. Coathangers anyone? Anyone that can remember the 80’s abortion debate in America will remember the signs that pro-abortion backers walked around with—a picture of a coat hanger. The point of the sign was to represent the large numbers of women that were killed or maimed by illegal abortions or by self-administered abortions in which they presumably used a coat hanger for the job when abortion was illegal. So the arguments was that if abortion was made illegal, that women will resort to this practice again. A very strong rhetorical and emotional argument, but is it really a valid point?

The first problem with this argument is that it flatly assumes that the fetus inside the woman’s body is not a human person. If it IS fully human, then this argument basically says that because people die or are harmed (the mom) in the process of killing other people (the fetus), that the state should make it safe for them to do this. Reasonable people would say something like ‘restricting abortion probably does sometimes have horrible side effects but that doesn’t make the restrictions OK since murder is wrong regardless in every case.’ If the fetus is fully human, then the bottom line is that the effects of not having access is less grave than deliberately killing an innocent human. Period.

So is the argument true or false? Will women flock to back alleys and lounge bathrooms in order to obtain an abortion in the case that it is restricted or banned altogether? Before Roe v Wade, pro choice advocates were on record as claiming that over a million women every year obtained illegal abortions with coat hangers in back alleys, resulting in thousands of deaths. Here’s the problem. One of those advocates, the architect of the pro-choice movement and an abortion provider himself, now admits that his movement DELIBERATELY made up those numbers! Nathanson says, ‘I confess that the figures (up to 10,000 deaths from illegal abortions)were totally false. The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, anything which had to be done was permissible.’ (Aborting America by Bernard Nathanson, 1979)

Furthermore, the claims of about 1 million illegal abortions being performed during years of restriction/ban are false as well! The average/mean over an 11 year period between 1950 and 1961 was about 98,000. (New Perspectives on Human Abortion, 1981, Thomas Hilgers)

And what about those ‘back alley butchers’? Were they, in fact, the medieval blood merchants that we hear they were? Funny, but the President of Planned Parenthood, in 1960, cited Dr. Kinsey’s findings that in 1958 87% of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians in good standing. She herself suggested that ‘90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians.’ (American Journal of Health, July 1960, Mary Calderone) So if you think about it, the ones that were providing the illegal abortions before Roe (the so-called back alley butchers) probably became the present day abortion providers. I’m guessing they were just as safe and careful before Roe as they are now.

4. The pro-abortion argument which claims that the woman or family will be unduly harmed if they cannot access an abortion is confused. Of course, if the fetus is fully human, then this will guide the assessment of whether abortion, in these or any other cases, is a real solution to the problem or not. There’s a difference between ‘solving a problem’ and ‘eliminating a problem’. An example that I’ve seen is that one can eliminate the problem of poverty by executing all poor people but this is not really a solution to the problem of poverty for obvious reasons—exterminating people isn’t moral. It’d be like solving the problem of a cut on someone’s arm by amputating the arm. That’s just not a real solution. If the fetus is fully human, then an abortion would be akin to eliminating my pulled calf muscle by cutting off my leg. Hardship doesn’t justify homicide.

But what about the hard cases? Say a woman has had a test that reveals a Downs Syndrome baby or handicapped baby? Well, do the hard cases really support the pro abortion position? Let’s grant for a moment that the hard cases were legitimately moral reasons. The law of the land would STILL be flawed because it currently asserts abortion as a fundamental right that can be exercised for ANY reason and at just about ANY time. So abortion would be justified ONLY in those hard cases and not as it applies today. Still, those hard cases do not justify abortion…


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