The recent passing of strict abortion laws in Alabama, Missouri and other states that challenge the Supreme Court’s questionable decision in Roe v. Wade has fired a new wave of controversy in the abortion issue. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court made a fundamental error in Wade. And, pro-choice advocates have some fundamental errors in their arguments for abortion. This is going to be a multi-part blog on the topic because it is far too complex of an issue for one blog. Part one this week will be an overview. More specific issues will be addressed in weeks to come.
All of the hoopla over abortion was magnified by the Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court decided that the Constitution does not confront abortion on its face, which is correct. It does not. No constitutional right to abortion exists. However, Justice Blackmun wrote that the 14th Amendment protecting life, liberty and property indirectly protected women’s right to privacy in deciding whether or not to have an abortion. This is a clearly erroneous ruling. If the 14th Amendment protects anything concerning abortion it protects the fetus’s right to life.
One of the major arguments of pro-choice advocates is that women have a right to decide what they want to do with their bodies. This is correct. A fetus, though is not part of a woman’s body. It is a separate, individual life from conception. And, women do not have a right to arbitrarily terminate another person’s life simply because a pregnancy is inconvenient at that time, or it interferes with their professional plans or because they refuse to accept the consequences of their actions. There are legitimate reasons for abortion, and we’ll get to those in more detail in the weeks to come.
The arguments deciding when a fetus becomes a human life are equivocating. They fail to recognize that a sperm in an egg will in most all cases develop into a human being. No point exists in the process where a nonhuman substance suddenly becomes human. A fertilized egg is a living organism separate from the mother, a separate life. Certainly it is dependent on the mother for approximately nine months. However, the rights of the mother must be balanced against the rights of the child. The killing of another human is strictly regulated by federal law and the laws of all 50 states. Making laws that claim a fetus isn’t human until a certain point in its development is simply a way to sidestep laws concerning the premeditated, planned, termination of a human life. Premeditation and planning raise a charge of murder to murder in the first degree. In most states first degree murder is punishable by the death penalty. In the others it is punishable by life imprisonment.
Proponents of liberal abortion laws argue that the government should not make criminals out of women by making abortion illegal. Abortion laws don’t criminalize women; they chose to become criminals by deliberately violating those laws. A comparison can be made between a woman choosing to violate abortion laws and a person’s choosing to violate laws proscribing the use of heroin or cocaine. No one would advocate making heroin and cocaine legal because the law criminalizes drug addicts. It’s a woman’s choice to violate the law that makes her a criminal. The fact that proscribing abortion in most cases does not negate the demand for abortions is off point. Drug laws do not eliminate addicts demand for drugs. The anti-drug laws stay in the books because drugs are harmful to the health and welfare of the user, and they are indirectly harmful to citizens. Abortions kill another human. That is the reason for abortion laws.
Contrary to the pro-choice position most people, both men and women, are against abortion except in certain cases. Only 31 percent of Americans are totally pro-choice. Most people favor legal exceptions for the health of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. The exception for the health and life of the mother is a given. It’s a non issue for almost everyone but the most radical anti-abortion positions. And the new laws in Alabama, Missouri and elsewhere make this distinction. The life and health of the mother is prime. In the police academy a number of decades ago (I’m not saying how many) the firearms class taught that lethal force could only be used in cases where the officer or another citizen was in immediate danger of serious bodily injury or death. And, the purpose of using lethal force was not to kill the aggressor, but just to stop the aggression. Abortion is lethal force, and its primary purpose should be to protect the life and welfare of the mother.
Welfare is an inexact term because it covers a lot of territory. It includes the mental and emotional welfare of a woman after a rape and in cases of incest, which will be covered in a later blog. These cases are few. In 2011 there were 1.6 million abortions in the United States. Of those, one percent were due to rape and only one half of one percent were due to incest. Also, some rape victims have opted to have the baby conceived because of a rape and then place the baby up for adoption. I have the utmost admiration for these mothers. As a man, I can only imagine the psychological and emotional pain a woman must suffer through because of a rape. I don’t think any man can completely understand this. And carrying the fruit of this violation to term is a constant reminder of the crime committed gainst them.
In defending the new Alabama abortion law that does not provide an exception for rape, one legislator said that most date rapes are “consensual rape”. This is a callous, backwards position that refers back to the old argument that rape is the woman’s fault. No one in their right mind believes that. There is no such thing as consensual rape. That’s a contradiction in terms. I can hardly believe the man said that. I have a friend who was a victim of date rape. And it was in no way consensual. Among other things, date rape is a betrayal of the trust a woman places in a man, which makes dealing with the rape all that more difficult.
The Bible states in Genesis that God breathed life into Adam, and he became a living being. The Hebrew word for breathed is the same word often used to mean spirit. God places a spirit in an embryo at conception. After conception the terminating of a God-ordained life violates not only man’s laws against the taking of another human life, but it is also the killing of a God-ordained life. And ultimately, facing God is much more serious than facing the human legal system. And, legally allowing the murder of another human life contravenes God’s proscription against murder in the Ten Commandments.
The argument that abortion is just another form of birth control is clearly erroneous. Birth control does not concern the killing of a human, only the prevention of a pregnancy. Those are two distinct issues.
The root problem in the abortion issue is the same societal problem behind the high crime rate, including corporate crime. It is society’s loss of the reality of God. In losing the reality of God society has lost its understanding of the substance of God. In New Testament Greek, the word for substance translated into English is hypostasis, meaning the foundation, the essence of God and the assurance that God exists and is who He says He is. And, without the awareness of God we have lost the understanding who we are as humans, the highest creation of God He made in His image. Accordingly, we have lost our sense of human value. Without the sense of human value, the taking of life becomes almost meaningless. The high crime problem and the controversy over abortion will not be solved until we as a nation return to God. In that context, a final word to the pro-choice advocates: What if your mother thought you were inconvenient?