The abortion issue has America divided into two primary camps , the pro-choice and pro-life supporters. Both claim to have the facts on their side. And, public opinion effects politicians’ and the courts’ positions far more than it should. Our congress persons, appellate court judges and justices very often base their official position on issues on what the pollsters say will have the best chance of getting them elected or reelected. For example, Al Gore, when a democratic congressman from a conservative district in Tennessee, voted pro-life 84 percent of the time. However, when he was running for president he changed his position to pro-choice. In a March 1, 2000, debate in L. A., California, Gore said, “I will defend a woman’s right to choose, regardless of her economic circumstances. I will not allow Roe v. Wade to be over turned”. Likewise, Ronald Reagan had Surgeon General C. Everet Koop do a study to try proving that the suicide rate of women having abortions was higher than those who chose to have their babies. Koop’s study found that their was no significant difference in the suicide rate. However, their are suicides, some depression and severe psychological effects associated with abortion. Both sides will try using whatever tactics they can think of to prove their position is the right one.
The dominant position for several decades has been the pro-choice. The Barna research group found that 55 percent of Christians feel that they are losing their religious freedom, including their pro-life stance. But that may be changing. Missouri, Louisiana and several other states have recently passed tough anti-abortion laws. The pro-choice camp is, as expected, up in arms over the laws. Missouri tried to close the only abortion clinic left in the state on the grounds that it did not meet state-imposed standards. A federal judge has kept the clinic open for now. Time will tell how these new laws will fare in the courts. Most likely, the courts will grease the wheel that squeaks the most.
The pro-choice camp relies heavily on the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Roe, though, is almost indefensible. The higher in the appellate court system a case goes, the more the judges and justices decide how they’d like the case to be decided, and then try to find precedents to support their subjective beliefs. Roe is a classic example. The decision was written by Justice Blackmun. Former Blackmun law clerk Edward Lazarus explained, “as a matter of constitutional interpretation and method, Roe borders on indefensible. The opinion provides essentially no reasoning in support of its holding. No convincing support of Roe exists.” Supporters try to find other grounds to support the holding than the court’s grounds.
Blackmun’s reasoning in the Court’s holding was heavily influenced by his family. His wife is outspoken in supporting the pro-choice camp, and his daughter Sally Blackmun is an abortion rights activist. Justice Blackmun asked for their input before writing his Roe opinion. Blackmun’s stance on womens’ right to privacy is partially based on the Constitution’s 14th Amendment’s right to privacy clause which does not apply to a woman’s right to privacy in her own body as applied to abortion, for reasons stated later in this blog. Blackmun’s warped reasoning included analogizing abortion as a contraception method. That is, the deliberate killing of a human life is the same as preventing any life from occurring to start with. They are, obviously, not the same thing at all. He stated that life does not begin in the womb, and the term “person” does not apply to a fetus. His reasoning would apply to infants and toddlers as well. But he could not rationally prove his point. Further, he implied the term person does not apply to anyone under the age of 25. That would mean that a 24 year old human isn’t a person, and laws permitting abortion would thus, theoretically, apply to anyone under the age of twenty-five.
The fundamental question in the abortion issue is whether a fertilized egg is a human life. Science concedes that life begins at conception. This means that the deliberate killing of an embryo or fetus is tantamount to infanticide, or first degree murder. That leaves the pro-choice group out in the cold with no shelter. To find the answer it is necessary first to find the right question. And, as with the abortion camp, if you don’t like the answer, ask a different question. Bill Clinton admitted in his book “My Life” that science has clearly proved that life begins biologically at conception, but added, “no one knows when biologically turns into humanity”. He termed abortion a “medically necessary reproductive health service”. This is an equivocation. Nonhuman life does not change into human life sometime during a pregnancy, or as Blackmun implied, some time before age 25. The clearly erroneous position that an embryo or fetus isn’t human is designed to allow abortion to be legal. If a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus was legally considered human, then abortion would be the deliberate, planned murder of another human life. First degree murder is punishable in most states by the death penalty.
Blackmun’s implication in Roe that infants and toddlers aren’t human life was necessary to include partial birth abortion, also called late term abortion. This is not the correct medical term. It was first used by Congressman Charles T. Candy, and it first appeared in a Washington Times article on June 4, 1995, The medical term is Intact Dilation and Extraction (IDX). It’s a surgical procedure that removes a fetus from the uterus feet first that is used in miscarriages and late term abortions. Clinton vetoed two bills that would have banned IDX. President Bush signed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2002 which declared any infant born alive or that survives an abortion attempt to be human. The implication is that if an infant surviving an attempted abortion is human, it was also human before the abortion, and the attempted abortion was in fact attempted murder.
The Born Alive Act was spawned largely by an abortion practice at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, in which infants born alive were left to die in a utility closet. Nurse Jill Stanek first made this practice public. She testified at the congressional hearings for the Born Alive Act. ( Anne Hendershott, “The Politics of Abortion”, Encounter Books 2006, p.138). Dr. Marilynn Frederikson, who performed IDX procedures, when asked if she believed a fetus experienced pain during a procedure, she answered, “I have never talked to a fetus about whether or not it experienced pain”. She never told the mothers that she was going to collapse the head of their baby.
Most considered feminists are opposed to abortion. Alice Paul, the author of the original Equal Rights Amendment on 1923, called abortion “The ultimate exploitation of women” (Erika Bachiochi, “The Abortion Debate”, Washington Times, October 29, 2004). Marvin Olasky, a journalism professor at the university of Texas, wrote that abortion is a non-normative practice unworthy of societal approval. And public opinion seems to be swinging in this direction again. Rap star Nick Cannon’s song “Can I live” includes the words “What you want, morning sickness or the sickness of mourning?” This change in public opinion is probably one reason the pro-choice camp is protesting so loudly against the new anti-abortion laws.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham stated that women have a right to say what happens to their bodies. That is absolutely right, they do. A fertilized egg or fetus isn’t part of their body. It’s a life distinct from the mother. It is dependent on the mother for the first nine months of his or her life, but it is not the mother or a part of the mother. A woman does not have the right to terminate another human being’s life simply because that life is not wanted. The woman made the choice that caused another life to come into existence. All acts have consequences, either good, bad, or some of both. And, women have the moral and ethical responsibility to deal with the consequences of their actions. This means taking responsibility for and caring for the life they created. Adoption is a viable option if the child is unwanted by the biological mother. And, their are exceptions in the case of the risk that the mother may be seriously injured or die from the pregnancy, or possibly from rape or incest.
Pro-choice advocates have claimed that the pro-life support of abortion for the serious risk to the mother is contradictory to their position of saving the unborn’s life. However, this position is similar to that of the laws regarding the use of lethal force against another human. The law permits such use of force if their is an immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death of the user by an aggressor. The same applies here. The health and welfare of the mother is paramount, so there is no contradiction.
Finally, abortion directly contradicts the doctor’s oath to do no harm. I can think of no greater harm that can be done to another human being than to murder it. God gives the new human life a spirit at conception. Ending that life directly goes against God’s will for the child. Doctors performing abortions for no legitimate reason will have to account for these acts when they face their Creator. Personally, I would not want to be in that position.
Legislators are subject to the will of their public. You are a part of their public. Let them know that you support the banning of abortion except for legitimate reasons. If enough pro-life advocates contact them, their position will change because they want to stay employed by the citizens they represent. Contact your state and federal representatives today. Remind them that they, too, were once an embryo.