Abortion is recently in the news, but has been a topic of debate since AT LEAST Roe v. Wade. And I have seen multiple memes and opinions condemning both those that support abortion, and those that oppose it. As a Bible-believer and Christ-follower, I recognize that I must be careful in how I present my thoughts and opinions. But for too long, I think that many that agree with my positions have felt this meant we must be silent. But I don’t believe that. I think that we have the right to voice our opinion, the right to vote in elections as we see best, to support candidates (even flawed ones that we don’t entirely agree with) as we wish, and to influence legislation as we desire. No different than any other American. So here is my position.
Disclaimer before I start: this is no NO way a value judgement, or ANY kind of judgement against anyone that has gotten an abortion. If you have, then know that I believe you did what you felt you had to. I think that it was likely a very difficult decision, and I sorrow that you were IN a position that you even had to contemplate it. But you did what you thought was best, and you may be proud of it, you may regret it, you may be in anguish because of it. I am still with you, and care for you. But that doesn’t mean I must support abortion in general, nor is my own position any less valid, nor is it inconsistent.
In any case, here we go:
First, Roe v. Wade is poor law. Although I am not a legal scholar, I have read enough that I know that even many attorneys that support abortion believe this.
Second, I totally reject the vacuous argument that if I don’t have a vagina, I have no say on the topic. This “argument” has multiple problems: if one believes this, then one must also discount any male that SUPPORTS abortion, as well as those that do NOT support it. And I have never heard male abortion supporters told to “sit down and shut up, your opinion does not count, since you don’t have a vagina.” Third, if one subscribes to this, then one must also apply this thought to other sub-groups. If you don’t have Down’s Syndrome, you have no say in legislation effecting those that do. If you have all your limbs, sight, hearing, you have no say in legislation effecting those that don’t. And if you don’t have a penis, you have zero say in what someone that does have one does with it. Including when, where, why, how, and with whom I use it. Be it used with a child, be it with someone that does not wish it, that is not your concern, nor do you have the right to vocalize against it. This all is, of course, if one is logical and consistent with their position. And I reject this entire line of thought.
Third, that zygote/fetus/baby is NOT part of the woman’s body. If a woman wishes to alter her nose, her boobs, her butt, thighs, hair, ears, whatever, I TOTALLY agree that I have no voice in her decision to alter them. But that (whatever) in her womb is NOT functionally part of her body, it never was, nor will it ever be. Therefore, I reject that a woman has the “right” to do with as she wishes. I will return to this in a second.
Fourth, there are only four things that separate that separate entity in the woman from any human being on earth. This argument does not originate with me, it was developed by Scott Klusendorf, and I quote him here:
“Philosophically, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant in the way that abortion advocates need them to be. The simple acronym SLED can be used to illustrate these non-essential differences:
Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more valuable than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.
Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that the immediate capacity for self-awareness and a desire to go on living makes one valuable. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Infants do not acquire distinct self-awareness and memory until several months after birth. (Best case scenario, infants acquire limited self-awareness three months after birth, when the synapse connections increase from 56 trillion to 1,000 trillion.) As abortion advocate and philosopher Dean Stretton writes, “Any plausible pro-choice theory will have to deny newborns a full right to life. That’s counterintuitive.”
Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already valuable human beings, merely changing their location can’t make them so.
Degree of Dependency: If viability bestows human value, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.
In short, although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal (and valuable) because they all have the same human nature.”
Fifth, I DID develop these thoughts a few decades ago.
1. Why do we have laws at all? What is the purpose of having a series of laws and the legal system that we do? The entire purpose of our laws and legal system is to protect the weak from the strong. Without our laws and legal system, anyone that is stronger could prey on the weak with little to no consequence.
2. What is that embryo? Is it “potentially” an oak tree? A Rainbow trout? A poodle? No, it is human. It cannot be anything BUT human. And I would submit that even those supporting abortion concur with this view, albeit by accident, when they voice an opinion on, or are actively involved in harvesting organs from aborted fetuses. As a general rule, one cannot harvest organs from anything but another human to use in living humans, except from deceased humans, or humans that have given consent to do so.
3. Is that embryo alive? What is the definition of life? A heartbeat? The ability to feel pain? Brainwaves? It is generally acknowledged that embryos have a heartbeat as early as four weeks; brainwaves as early as week five. They can feel pain as early as eight weeks. I would argue that whatever criteria one uses to establish life, an embryo is “alive” before a woman knows she is pregnant.
4. What is smaller and more helpless than an infant of any animal species? A baby rat, a baby chimpanzee, a puppy, a baby bird, an infant human, it makes no difference.
So using my argument, an embryo is human; it is alive; it is smaller and more helpless than any other human on earth; and our system of laws is designed to protect exactly this from the larger and stronger. So how can we not afford this tiny, living, human the utmost in legal protection?
Fifth, in the case of non-consensual sex, when reported even within a window of a couple weeks, procedures are in place to prevent conception (D&C and certain drugs), which prevent conception, which may not occur for up to two weeks. This prevents many, many rape-caused pregnancies. Clearly not all. But I have philosophical problems with even the rape exception. First, I can attest personally to at least two instances of a rape being reported to the police (I investigated these when I was a detective) for the sole reason that they could get a free abortion if they reported the pregnancy as a rape; each woman specifically told me this was why they were reporting it as such. I can also personally attest to multiple rape reports that were proven to be false reports. This is not the rule on rapes, and I believe each and every rape report should be investigated as genuine, until facts would prove them otherwise. My heart hurts for any victim of crime, as my forty year law enforcement career will attest. I only offer these examples to illustrate a couple of my concerns with the rape exception. My larger concern regarding the rape exception is as I have detailed above. If the embryo is a living human child, it is certainly not that child’s fault regarding the circumstances of it’s conception. And if one supports abortion in the case of rape, when is that exception withdrawn? At three months? Six? Nine? The moment before birth? Why not the moment after? Why not six months after? Nine months after? One year? The line is arbitrary. Additionally, if one supports the rape exception to abortion, what exactly does that say to those that were conceived as a product of rape, carried to full term, and grow to be functional, protected adults? Does this not say that they have no value, that they should have been aborted? Or that the only reason they are allowed to live is the decision of their mother? And again, I want to reiterate that this is not a judgement on anyone that has chosen an abortion after being raped. This is a horrid, horrible crime, and my heart aches for any woman that has been brutalized and has been forced to make this decision.
Sixth, if a woman or couple are permitted the decision to abort, why is that decision not permitted after a certain time? Why not allow an abortion at six or nine months? What does viability have to do with a woman’s decision to abort? The time period permitted to abort is at best an arbitrary one, and if one supports abortion, to be consistent one must allow the woman to abort at any time she desires, including up to birth. I would argue that if abortion is permitted, the woman has the “right” to not only terminate an embryo or viable child up to birth, but also AFTER birth, until that child is self-sustaining. And that is madness.
In summary, my position is that one must answer two questions: is that “mass of cells” alive; and is it human? If the answers are yes and yes, than one does not have the right to terminate that life.
I believe that those that support abortion cannot offer factual, logical arguments to support their position. I believe that support of abortion is de facto based on emotional content alone. I believe that support for a “woman’s right to choose” is arbitrary and not logic based. And I believe that emotional content is the worst possible reason for legislation to be passed. I believe that legislation must be based on enduring truth, that emotional content and “opinions” change, and I fear a future where emotional content is the basis of law. Opinions change. Societal mores change. Laws must protect against such arbitrariness, and must be based on morality that is enduring.
Final note: If I have hurt anyone with this post, I most humbly apologize; this is not my intent. I know that words hurt, and it is difficult to present opinions on many topics when not face to face without causing genuine offense. Again, if I have done so here, I sincerely apologize.