An Ethical Discussion - Abortion

Reads: 1943  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
An ethical debate about abortion and the facts.

Submitted: October 12, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 12, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

Abortion seems to be one of those irreconcilable issues that no group will ever be able to come to consensus on.  The beauty (or downfall, depending on how you look at it) of human beings is no matter what the circumstance, like or unlike in the world, there is an abundance of opinions.  Often times these opinions have similar takes on issues, and, conversely so, they have drastically different outlooks, motivations, and reasoning.  Abortion, as probably all other ethical topics of discussion, fare similar with respect to perspective.  A lot of human notion and knowledge comes from subjectivity and this is good, healthy, and helpful only up to a certain extent.  Confronted by issues in the realm of the public sphere subjectivism, emotional appeal, and other irrational tendencies should be left at the door.  In discussing abortion there needs to be a discussionAbortion seems to be one of those irreconcilable issues that no group will ever be able to come to consensus on.  The beauty (or downfall, depending on how you look at it) of human beings is no matter what the circumstance, like or unlike in the world, there is an abundance of opinions.  Often times these opinions have similar takes on issues, and, conversely so, they have drastically different outlooks, motivations, and reasoning.  Abortion, as probably all other ethical topics of discussion, fare similar with respect to perspective.  A lot of human notion and knowledge comes from subjectivity and this is good, healthy, and helpful only up to a certain extent.  Confronted by issues in the realm of the public sphere subjectivism, emotional appeal, and other irrational tendencies should be left at the door.  In discussing abortion there needs to be a discussion of truth, and fact; especially in the case of actual damages and suffering being done.
Truth claims about the actual benefits and detriments that abortion causes are fine in so far as they can be thoroughly explained.  It is a fact that higher abortion rates exist in poorer domestic upbringing.  It is not a fact that the human being has a transcendental ‘soul.’  It is a fact that there is a high unintended rate of births in America.  It is not a fact that abortion is evil, immoral, or justly termed murder.  Beginning with social and economic implications, this paper will discuss the truth about abortion and what its real consequences can be, followed by exploring the issues pertaining to the ethics, religiosity, science, and philosophies behind life, consciousness, the soul, and murder.
At the most basic level of intelligence we have to assume that there must be some reason why a woman who becomes pregnant would want to terminate her pregnancy.  Even before diving into these reasons a pertinent question must be asked; is it fair to force a child into this world whose mother has/had some reason(s) not to go through her pregnancy?  This is negligence before birth and yet pro-life proponents will insist never to kill a child.  The consequence of having an unwilling mother-to-be to give birth to a child should seem rather obvious.  That child is more likely to be brought up in an abusive home where they do not get the proper attention and care needed to grow up in a healthy familial environment.  How can we assume a child will be properly looked after, loved, cherished, and their well-being taken cared of when the mother did not want the child to begin with.  If there is to be any assumption, it is that the baby is more likely to grow up in an unstable domestic environment.
There are economic implications that add to the social and familial circumstances.  Unwanted pregnancies are the highest among poor women (poor meaning income at or below federal poverty line), low-income, and/or between the ages of 18-24 and in 2006, poor women had an unintended pregnancy rate 132 per 1000 women aged 15-44; 5 times the rate among women at highest income level (24 per 1000).  There is a distinct correlation between lower income and amount of unwanted pregnancies.  More often than not women between the ages of 18-24 have not completed the education they require to live and support herself, and a family.  If a pregnancy occurs when a woman can not give the potential child a comfortable life and thus seeks an abortion there should not be any negative connotation to that.  The woman is sparing a life of hardship for herself and her child and that is not to say if other women want to have a child in the same situation not to, but forcing a woman to have a child when she feels it is not the best time is immoral and impeaches on fundamental rights of freedom that citizens are constitutionally obliged to have.
The Guttmacher Institute notes in their 2006 study “women without a high school [diploma] had the highest unintended pregnancy rate among all educational levels (80 per 1000 women aged 15-44), and rates decreased as years of education attained increased.”
Higher-income women, and college graduates are among groups that are more successful with timing and spacing pregnancies; “higher-income white women experience unintended pregnancy at one-third the national rate (17 vs. 52 per 1000).”  This coincides with the ability for a woman to give a child a healthy, comfortable lifestyle without constraint.  Generally speaking the more education one has, the more opportunities for jobs that pay better they have.  The less education a woman has, the less amount of money she is capable of making, which makes for more of a problem feeding and providing for herself and a dependent such as a child.  The Guttmacher study also showed that unintended pregnancy rates decreased as age, and education increased and states with age comes better ability to space, and time pregnancies.  Someone who lacks these skills and privileges and knowingly sees that taking care of a baby could be such a burden is an admirable quality.  Admitting you are not ready to be a mother is not a bad thing, and should never be forced on to a woman.
On a less ethical and societal note, it actually takes more money to have unintended pregnancies.  In 2006, two thirds (64%) of the 1.6 million unintended births were paid by public insurance programs while only 48% of overall births and 35% of intended births were aided by the same programs.  As Guttmacher says, “In 10 states and the District of Columbia, at least 70% of unintended births were paid by public programs.”  Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest at both 81%.  Public expenditures for unintended births nationwide were $11.1 billion dollars; $6.5 billion federal and $4.6 billion state and 7 states publicly expended more than half a billion dollars for unintended births.  California and Texas spent $1.3 billion each.  Of the 2 million publicly funded births, 1 million (51%) were unintended, accounting for half the total public expenditures on births.  Judging by these numbers it is easy to see that unintended births are quite expensive and tax payers are paying for these unintended births.  If these births are unintended, they are not planned to happen and so should not be happening.  If these unintended births became births that did not happen, as they are intended to (pardon the irony), it would be saving billions of dollars and make life for women less constrained1.
There is more to the issue of the pro-life stance and this is directed more towards the proponents of it, rather than their ideology.  The term ‘pro-life’ is wrongly termed.  Be clear in the thought that this is not what the term actually means.  ‘Pro-life’ proponents are not the same people advocating, the abolition of the death penalty, or vegetarianism.  This is a skewed idea of ‘life.’  Life in this sense is referred to human life, first of all, which shows the ignorant, anthropocentric nature humans have due to their lack of knowledge of the world but also due to religion.  The bible says, “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.  You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’  And it was so.” (Genesis 1:29-30)2.  To be pro-life is to be pro-creation.  Let us say for argument’s sake a fetus is a ‘potential life’ being ended abruptly and unjustly by an abortion and this act is barbaric murder and thus immoral.  If this is true then pro-life proponents are being hypocrites.  If ending potential life is in fact murder and criminally punishable, then the anti-abortionists who masturbate and have protected sex should be tried for murder.  By the same logic, a fetus is comparable to the millions of sperm cells during ejaculation which wastes potential life.  By the same logic we should be chastising women’s menstruation cycle which sees an unfertilized egg naturally removed from the body as waste every month.  By the same logic we should be imprisoning all of the people who: mortally stomp cockroaches and spiders dead, swat flies to death, slaughter, sell, buy, and consume cows, pigs, chickens, sheep for meat none of which are potential lives, but rather actual lives being abruptly ended.  The contradictory ideologies run rampant here.
At the heart of it all, most pro-life proponents are religious people3 and their main argument is the immortal soul is what makes the fetus/embryo have life from conception4 and this is how they justify equating abortion to murder.  Before anything, religious people are under the false assumption that others believe what certain religions teach/believe.  The fact of the matter is religion and faith have no say in medicine, and science.  Science deals with evidence, facts, and getting to the truth of how things are.  The mere definition of faith (SOURCE)is believing what you can not see, understand, or prove and this can not be reconciled with science which deals with meticulous claims to be backed up factually.  If a religious person wants to step into the realm of the debate they must first prove that humans have a soul and then that human fetuses/embryos have souls upon conception.  
Now according to http://dictionary.reference.com/ 
 life is “the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual” 5 and consciousness is the “awareness of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings; the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual; full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life; awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge.”6  If we can agree that these are sufficient claims to define ‘life’ and ‘consciousness’ by and we can conclude that to have animate existence is to have consciousness then by definition a fetus does not have life.  To go further, in consciousness we have thoughts, but we also have memories.  If we are animate, or conscious, between conception and 24 weeks of pregnancy surely we can recollect our time in our mother’s womb and be able to say ‘ah yes I am Clive Patrick Fitzgerald, I am in my mother’s womb with the help of my father,’ but this is not at all true.  The counter claim to this point is ‘humans can not recollect memories their lives up to a certain age (some time between 1 and 4 years).  If we agree to these definitions and conclusions it would be fine to kill of a new born since they have no ability to be aware of themselves and have clear thoughts like adult humans can.’  True as this might seem, the difference between a 24 month fetus and a newborn child does not lie in memory and thought but in the brain and nervous system.  There is no doubt that killing a newborn child would be disgusting and vile.  One obvious reason for this statement might be that the poor, defenceless child would feel the pain of dying.  Well, the fetus would not.  First of all, at week 12 of pregnancy the fetus’ synapses are only beginning to form7 so any brain activity is not yet developed in any form that developed humans are familiar with.  Then, abortion can occur from 9 up to 14 weeks from the first day of the last period 8 so is the fetus actually going to feel anything?  Here is what Daniel Bor has to say about it:
 
“The evidence is clear that a fetus can respond to sights, sounds, and smells, and it can even react to these by producing facial expressions.  The evidence is equally clear, however, that these responses are generated by the most primitive parts of the brain, which are unconnected to consciousness, and therefore these actions don‘t in any way imply that the fetus is aware.  Furthermore, the fetus is deliberately sedated by a series of chemicals produced by the placenta, so even if it had the capacity for consciousness, there is almost no chance that it could ever be conscious in the womb.  Consequently, it can’t consciously feel pain.
But what if the fetus is removed from the womb and its sleep-inducing chemicals?  Will the fetus suddenly be conscious in the outside world?  In adult humans, for normal consciousness to occur, it is now generally agreed that two sets of regions need to be intact, functional, and able to communicate effectively with one another: the thalamus, a kind of relay station in the middle of the brain that connects many regions with many others; and the prefrontal parietal network, our most high-level, general purpose section of the cortex.  If either the thalamus or prefrontal parietal networks is substantially damaged, the patient is [more than] likely to enter into a vegetative state, with virtually no sign of consciousness.
When do these brain regions form in the growing fetus?  Only after about 29 weeks are the connections between these areas properly laid out, and it takes another month or so before the thalamus and the rest of the cortex are effectively communicating, as revealed by brain waves.  So it’s highly unlikely that consciousness, at least in any form that we’d recognize as human awareness, arises before about 33 weeks into pregnancy.  There are therefore no scientific reasons for restricting abortion on the grounds that the fetus will experience pain, at least until very late in the pregnancy [(at which point abortions usually are not permitted.)]9
 
Peter Singer and Sam Harris, both on separate occasions, point out the ‘potential life’ argument as a confused argument that does not have scientific basis.  Peter Singer explains that animal cloning is possible through taking the nucleus of an ordinary cell and implanting it into an egg without a nucleus10.  Everything is made up of millions of cells and yet Reverend Hart, nor any other religious person, does not feel obliged to save every cell from his scalp or nose11 that he scratches off.  Ranking potential life in this way is immoral and based on purely arbitrary human ignorance as Sam Harris shows.  Sam Harris says killing an embryo/fetus is far less destructive than swatting a fly.  While a 3 day old embryo is but a collection of 150 cells, there are 100 000 cells in the brain of a fly and they have neurons just like humans do.  The amount of suffering inflicted on a swatted fly is far worse than that of an embryo lacking any nervous system or brain (and consequently consciousness) which would be the citadel telling the embryo it is feeling pain.  By these definitions swatting a fly is murder and abortion12 is not.
Scientific intricacies asides, people, and in this case specifically, women reasonable autonomy over their bodies.  In more unfortunate cases pregnancy is not always a matter of choice and to force a women (as religious figures advocate) to give birth to a child she is not willing to have, for whatever reason, is immoral and strips her of her basic human rights.  Research has been done to show that 95% of abortions are done before the 3 month gestation and usually the women are relieved13 and yet religious figures like Denis Hart want the public to believe women suffer immense psychological trauma after abortions leading to regret.  On the basis of what evidence?  Their own misconceived biases.
The pro-life stance also presupposes that the woman can not make her own, well thought out, rational decision and that she needs a third party to tell her what is the best for her.  This is preposterous.  If this is accepted the most fundamental rights to life, liberty, security, and privacy, freedom from discrimination and gender discrimination , and reproductive health and family planning are invalidated14.  What in turn are people to say of the free, democratic societies who let the most basic of rights be struck down?  It is a bit ironic that while religious leaders like Reverend Denis Hart speak for the “silent” and call for a democracy that advocates right to life, the only life that is referred to in depth is the potential life of the fetus, not the life of the woman bearing the potential life15.  Where democracy’s fundamental principle stresses freedom, I have to ask where is the individual woman’s freedom?  Does she not know her own body?  Does she not know clearly what she would and not want?  Where is her personal freedom when religious people are telling her what to do with her own body?  This can not be seen as just and fair.
Lastly, Reverend Hart, as do many other faith-based believers, only believes for there to be a soul from conception.  To make such a wondrous claim we must ask Mr. Hart, or anyone else who claims this, to first prove that, the human being has a soul, and then, that the soul is present in a human being from conception.  Legal matters do not take belief based evidence because belief is not evidence at all.  It is also ironic to note that while Reverend Hart states he does not mean to impose his views on others he expects his views to be the basis for legal law, even though whole populations do not share his views, and the law is for all its people.
While religion may be of great importance to social and familial stability have no jurisdiction in law, biology, and other aspects of science.  Traditionally people believe that morality comes from religion and not science.  What is morally good about forcing a women to bear a child she does not want to have?  What is moral in forcibly sending a child into a world where they are set to fail from the beginning?  What is moral about putting a potential life over an actual life?  Science seems to be winning the moral battle.1of truth, and fact; especially in the case of actual damages and suffering being done.
Truth claims about the actual benefits and detriments that abortion causes are fine in so far as they can be thoroughly explained.  It is a fact that higher abortion rates exist in poorer domestic upbringing.  It is not a fact that the human being has a transcendental ‘soul.’  It is a fact that there is a high unintended rate of births in America.  It is not a fact that abortion is evil, immoral, or justly termed murder.  Beginning with social and economic implications, this paper will discuss the truth about abortion and what its real consequences can be, followed by exploring the issues pertaining to the ethics, religiosity, science, and philosophies behind life, consciousness, the soul, and murder.
At the most basic level of intelligence we have to assume that there must be some reason why a woman who becomes pregnant would want to terminate her pregnancy.  Even before diving into these reasons a pertinent question must be asked; is it fair to force a child into this world whose mother has/had some reason(s) not to go through her pregnancy?  This is negligence before birth and yet pro-life proponents will insist never to kill a child.  The consequence of having an unwilling mother-to-be to give birth to a child should seem rather obvious.  That child is more likely to be brought up in an abusive home where they do not get the proper attention and care needed to grow up in a healthy familial environment.  How can we assume a child will be properly looked after, loved, cherished, and their well-being taken cared of when the mother did not want the child to begin with.  If there is to be any assumption, it is that the baby is more likely to grow up in an unstable domestic environment.
There are economic implications that add to the social and familial circumstances.  Unwanted pregnancies are the highest among poor women (poor meaning income at or below federal poverty line), low-income, and/or between the ages of 18-24 and in 2006, poor women had an unintended pregnancy rate 132 per 1000 women aged 15-44; 5 times the rate among women at highest income level (24 per 1000).  There is a distinct correlation between lower income and amount of unwanted pregnancies.  More often than not women between the ages of 18-24 have not completed the education they require to live and support herself, and a family.  If a pregnancy occurs when a woman can not give the potential child a comfortable life and thus seeks an abortion there should not be any negative connotation to that.  The woman is sparing a life of hardship for herself and her child and that is not to say if other women want to have a child in the same situation not to, but forcing a woman to have a child when she feels it is not the best time is immoral and impeaches on fundamental rights of freedom that citizens are constitutionally obliged to have.
The Guttmacher Institute notes in their 2006 study “women without a high school [diploma] had the highest unintended pregnancy rate among all educational levels (80 per 1000 women aged 15-44), and rates decreased as years of education attained increased.”
Higher-income women, and college graduates are among groups that are more successful with timing and spacing pregnancies; “higher-income white women experience unintended pregnancy at one-third the national rate (17 vs. 52 per 1000).”  This coincides with the ability for a woman to give a child a healthy, comfortable lifestyle without constraint.  Generally speaking the more education one has, the more opportunities for jobs that pay better they have.  The less education a woman has, the less amount of money she is capable of making, which makes for more of a problem feeding and providing for herself and a dependent such as a child.  The Guttmacher study also showed that unintended pregnancy rates decreased as age, and education increased and states with age comes better ability to space, and time pregnancies.  Someone who lacks these skills and privileges and knowingly sees that taking care of a baby could be such a burden is an admirable quality.  Admitting you are not ready to be a mother is not a bad thing, and should never be forced on to a woman.
On a less ethical and societal note, it actually takes more money to have unintended pregnancies.  In 2006, two thirds (64%) of the 1.6 million unintended births were paid by public insurance programs while only 48% of overall births and 35% of intended births were aided by the same programs.  As Guttmacher says, “In 10 states and the District of Columbia, at least 70% of unintended births were paid by public programs.”  Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest at both 81%.  Public expenditures for unintended births nationwide were $11.1 billion dollars; $6.5 billion federal and $4.6 billion state and 7 states publicly expended more than half a billion dollars for unintended births.  California and Texas spent $1.3 billion each.  Of the 2 million publicly funded births, 1 million (51%) were unintended, accounting for half the total public expenditures on births.  Judging by these numbers it is easy to see that unintended births are quite expensive and tax payers are paying for these unintended births.  If these births are unintended, they are not planned to happen and so should not be happening.  If these unintended births became births that did not happen, as they are intended to (pardon the irony), it would be saving billions of dollars and make life for women less constrained1.
There is more to the issue of the pro-life stance and this is directed more towards the proponents of it, rather than their ideology.  The term ‘pro-life’ is wrongly termed.  Be clear in the thought that this is not what the term actually means.  ‘Pro-life’ proponents are not the same people advocating, the abolition of the death penalty, or vegetarianism.  This is a skewed idea of ‘life.’  Life in this sense is referred to human life, first of all, which shows the ignorant, anthropocentric nature humans have due to their lack of knowledge of the world but also due to religion.  The bible says, “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.  You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’  And it was so.” (Genesis 1:29-30)2.  To be pro-life is to be pro-creation.  Let us say for argument’s sake a fetus is a ‘potential life’ being ended abruptly and unjustly by an abortion and this act is barbaric murder and thus immoral.  If this is true then pro-life proponents are being hypocrites.  If ending potential life is in fact murder and criminally punishable, then the anti-abortionists who masturbate and have protected sex should be tried for murder.  By the same logic, a fetus is comparable to the millions of sperm cells during ejaculation which wastes potential life.  By the same logic we should be chastising women’s menstruation cycle which sees an unfertilized egg naturally removed from the body as waste every month.  By the same logic we should be imprisoning all of the people who: mortally stomp cockroaches and spiders dead, swat flies to death, slaughter, sell, buy, and consume cows, pigs, chickens, sheep for meat none of which are potential lives, but rather actual lives being abruptly ended.  The contradictory ideologies run rampant here.
At the heart of it all, most pro-life proponents are religious people3 and their main argument is the immortal soul is what makes the fetus/embryo have life from conception4 and this is how they justify equating abortion to murder.  Before anything, religious people are under the false assumption that others believe what certain religions teach/believe.  The fact of the matter is religion and faith have no say in medicine, and science.  Science deals with evidence, facts, and getting to the truth of how things are.  The mere definition of faith (SOURCE)is believing what you can not see, understand, or prove and this can not be reconciled with science which deals with meticulous claims to be backed up factually.  If a religious person wants to step into the realm of the debate they must first prove that humans have a soul and then that human fetuses/embryos have souls upon conception.  
Now according to http://dictionary.reference.com/ 
 life is “the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual” 5 and consciousness is the “awareness of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings; the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual; full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life; awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge.”6  If we can agree that these are sufficient claims to define ‘life’ and ‘consciousness’ by and we can conclude that to have animate existence is to have consciousness then by definition a fetus does not have life.  To go further, in consciousness we have thoughts, but we also have memories.  If we are animate, or conscious, between conception and 24 weeks of pregnancy surely we can recollect our time in our mother’s womb and be able to say ‘ah yes I am Clive Patrick Fitzgerald, I am in my mother’s womb with the help of my father,’ but this is not at all true.  The counter claim to this point is ‘humans can not recollect memories their lives up to a certain age (some time between 1 and 4 years).  If we agree to these definitions and conclusions it would be fine to kill of a new born since they have no ability to be aware of themselves and have clear thoughts like adult humans can.’  True as this might seem, the difference between a 24 month fetus and a newborn child does not lie in memory and thought but in the brain and nervous system.  There is no doubt that killing a newborn child would be disgusting and vile.  One obvious reason for this statement might be that the poor, defenceless child would feel the pain of dying.  Well, the fetus would not.  First of all, at week 12 of pregnancy the fetus’ synapses are only beginning to form7 so any brain activity is not yet developed in any form that developed humans are familiar with.  Then, abortion can occur from 9 up to 14 weeks from the first day of the last period 8 so is the fetus actually going to feel anything?  Here is what Daniel Bor has to say about it:
 
“The evidence is clear that a fetus can respond to sights, sounds, and smells, and it can even react to these by producing facial expressions.  The evidence is equally clear, however, that these responses are generated by the most primitive parts of the brain, which are unconnected to consciousness, and therefore these actions don‘t in any way imply that the fetus is aware.  Furthermore, the fetus is deliberately sedated by a series of chemicals produced by the placenta, so even if it had the capacity for consciousness, there is almost no chance that it could ever be conscious in the womb.  Consequently, it can’t consciously feel pain.
But what if the fetus is removed from the womb and its sleep-inducing chemicals?  Will the fetus suddenly be conscious in the outside world?  In adult humans, for normal consciousness to occur, it is now generally agreed that two sets of regions need to be intact, functional, and able to communicate effectively with one another: the thalamus, a kind of relay station in the middle of the brain that connects many regions with many others; and the prefrontal parietal network, our most high-level, general purpose section of the cortex.  If either the thalamus or prefrontal parietal networks is substantially damaged, the patient is [more than] likely to enter into a vegetative state, with virtually no sign of consciousness.
When do these brain regions form in the growing fetus?  Only after about 29 weeks are the connections between these areas properly laid out, and it takes another month or so before the thalamus and the rest of the cortex are effectively communicating, as revealed by brain waves.  So it’s highly unlikely that consciousness, at least in any form that we’d recognize as human awareness, arises before about 33 weeks into pregnancy.  There are therefore no scientific reasons for restricting abortion on the grounds that the fetus will experience pain, at least until very late in the pregnancy [(at which point abortions usually are not permitted.)]
 
Peter Singer and Sam Harris, both on separate occasions, point out the ‘potential life’ argument as a confused argument that does not have scientific basis.  Peter Singer explains that animal cloning is possible through taking the nucleus of an ordinary cell and implanting it into an egg without a nucleus10.  Everything is made up of millions of cells and yet Reverend Hart, nor any other religious person, does not feel obliged to save every cell from his scalp or nose11 that he scratches off.  Ranking potential life in this way is immoral and based on purely arbitrary human ignorance as Sam Harris shows.  Sam Harris says killing an embryo/fetus is far less destructive than swatting a fly.  While a 3 day old embryo is but a collection of 150 cells, there are 100 000 cells in the brain of a fly and they have neurons just like humans do.  The amount of suffering inflicted on a swatted fly is far worse than that of an embryo lacking any nervous system or brain (and consequently consciousness) which would be the citadel telling the embryo it is feeling pain.  By these definitions swatting a fly is murder and abortion12 is not.
Scientific intricacies asides, people, and in this case specifically, women reasonable autonomy over their bodies.  In more unfortunate cases pregnancy is not always a matter of choice and to force a women (as religious figures advocate) to give birth to a child she is not willing to have, for whatever reason, is immoral and strips her of her basic human rights.  Research has been done to show that 95% of abortions are done before the 3 month gestation and usually the women are relieved13 and yet religious figures like Denis Hart want the public to believe women suffer immense psychological trauma after abortions leading to regret.  On the basis of what evidence?  Their own misconceived biases.
The pro-life stance also presupposes that the woman can not make her own, well thought out, rational decision and that she needs a third party to tell her what is the best for her.  This is preposterous.  If this is accepted the most fundamental rights to life, liberty, security, and privacy, freedom from discrimination and gender discrimination , and reproductive health and family planning are invalidated14.  What in turn are people to say of the free, democratic societies who let the most basic of rights be struck down?  It is a bit ironic that while religious leaders like Reverend Denis Hart speak for the “silent” and call for a democracy that advocates right to life, the only life that is referred to in depth is the potential life of the fetus, not the life of the woman bearing the potential life15.  Where democracy’s fundamental principle stresses freedom, I have to ask where is the individual woman’s freedom?  Does she not know her own body?  Does she not know clearly what she would and not want?  Where is her personal freedom when religious people are telling her what to do with her own body?  This can not be seen as just and fair.
Lastly, Reverend Hart, as do many other faith-based believers, only believes for there to be a soul from conception.  To make such a wondrous claim we must ask Mr. Hart, or anyone else who claims this, to first prove that, the human being has a soul, and then, that the soul is present in a human being from conception.  Legal matters do not take belief based evidence because belief is not evidence at all.  It is also ironic to note that while Reverend Hart states he does not mean to impose his views on others he expects his views to be the basis for legal law, even though whole populations do not share his views, and the law is for all its people.
While religion may be of great importance to social and familial stability have no jurisdiction in law, biology, and other aspects of science.  Traditionally people believe that morality comes from religion and not science.  What is morally good about forcing a women to bear a child she does not want to have?  What is moral in forcibly sending a child into a world where they are set to fail from the beginning?  What is moral about putting a potential life over an actual life?  Science seems to be winning the moral battle.


© Copyright 2020 Clive Fitzgerald. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments: