The Ethical Spectacle, May 1995,

Abortion is Wrong

Back in March I responded emotionally in a letter to Mr. Blumen congratulating him on coming forward with the Ethical Spectacle and to "Hang Tough". I then went on to say:

"Your fears on assisted suicide are already taking place in this world today with the daily assisted murders by way of abortion which if left alone may surpass in number all of the deaths in all of the wars since the beginning of time. Isn't that genocide against the genes of all mankind?"
With that paragraph I believe I was probably venting something which may have been burning inside me for some time now. I'm really thankful that Jonathan offered me the opportunity to write this article. Initially I had many misgivings; especially about a subject so volatile and so politically piercing - a subject which pierces so deeply into the soul of a nation so strongly based upon the principles of justice and liberty. It has divided so many of us along the lines of choice and life; double standa rds exist on both sides. People are beginning to weigh the evils rather than searching and reaching out for what's good.

My wife says that men should stay out of it - that it's not their body. I agree that women have to bear the physical consequences of pregnancy; yet, the moral issue stands before all of mankind. It affects my soul - deeply, and the souls of millions of others as well. You don't have to be the birth father to feel the importance here. It's something that has become so important that the time has come for everyone to step back, focus squarely, and take a real hard look at just what is happening.

With Roe V. Wade the stage was set for making abortion legal with the court's ruling that a State may impose virtually no restriction on the performance of abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy - the end of which became the "compelling" point, considered to be at viability, where the state begins to take a legitimate interest in protecting the health of the pregnant woman; yet, "from and after this point, a State may regulate the abortion procedure to the extent that the regulation reasonably relates to the preservation and protection of maternal health".

I think the real argument is where the state regulation protective of fetal life should begin. In the opinion of the Court, it rules only after viability because it is at that point the state has both "logical and biological justifications". Justice Blackmun states that recognition of the existence of life from the moment of conception was the official belief of the Catholic Church as well as a view strongly held by many non-Catholics, and by many physicians; but, that "substantial problems for precise definition" are posed by new embryological data that "purport" to indicate that conception was a process over time... and by "new medical techniques such as menstrual extraction, the morning-after pill, implantation of embryos, artificial insemination, and even artificial wombs". Even though he states the position and beliefs of many others he allows the purported reasoning and/or evidence to keep the moment of life moot.

What we are talking about here is probably the most revered outcome in all of nature - that is the beginning of, the conception of, the result and outcome of the procreation process. This process is being snuffed out - not before is starts, but far too often long after the process has developed into a precious life. Abortion is an unnatural act and must be regulated severely. The process of procreation was never meant to be so easily turned on or off by the will of the individual. Somewhere, somehow, in some way a soul is brought into this process - without which there would not be a human being as we know one. Over time Nature will always have its way. If we continue to reject the outcome of this process in the numbers and in the manner that we are presently doing at this very moment in time, Nature may find a way of withholding the very soul that makes this a human process.

Last September the International Conference on Population and Development was held in Cairo, Egypt. This world conference, fifth on population since 1954, focused on stabilizing the worlds population at 7.27 bill ion by the year 2050. Currently the worlds population is at 5.6 billion people and with the same growth rate, projections for the year 2025 expect that number to rise to 8.5 billion. I can't see how world economic development alone will be able to curtail the growth rate accordingly. But when I see that every year there are five million abortions by young women between the ages of 15 and 19 alone (a million in the United States) then it becomes obvious how we're going about it. Rather than doing what is naturally right we've decided to kill our way to zero population growth. We've made it so easy by providing clinics for that sole purpose. We don't have to walk the victims into showers under false pretenses, we don't have to hear their screams, in fact it's too easy. We've made it all so sterile - maybe that's just the way Nature will have its way in the end.

I think the conference stands for a lot that is good. I agree that the number of septic abortions in the world is atrocious and the 500,000 pregnancy-related deaths of women in the world today is a scandal. Family planning, education, and proper health care is extremely important today; yet we have to get away from the production line concept of providing abortions.

I read the Pope's encyclical "On the value and Inviolability of Human Life" and I strongly urge anyone who is inwardly searching to read this document so that they may be able to find further understanding and enlightenment. I believe this document is long overdue and was probably a long time in making.

I'm a strong believer in searching for truth and righteousness on both sides of an issue prior to making any final judgements. There are many of us still sitting on the fence. This isn't one of those issues which will quietly fade away. Everyone needs to make a stand democratically. We need to let our congressmen and lawmakers know what we strongly feel and urge them to do what's right.

Here are a couple of URLs which may help you in your decision:

  • Fetal Development
  • From a prolife atheist...
  • Abortion & Reproductive Rights Internet Resources

    Jerry Lavelle

    Thank you for writing. I think your essay, with its links, is a wonderful example of the potential of the Web.

    I disagree with your fundamental conclusion, that abortion is a matter in which the law should intervene, though I accompany you at least part way down the road you take to get there.

    I am still researching abortion and will write more later, but here is a summary of my thought for now.

    A fetus is not a person. It is an entity which may become a person, a potentiality. There is great sadness and guilt involved in abortion, because, as a result, a person will never come to be. I believe that most women who have abortions have more conflicted and painful feelings about it than if they had had appendectomies. Some percentage of abortions are brought on by irresponsible behavior; it is sad to think of people who use abortion in lieu of birth control. Women taking more responsibility for their bodies would, in fact, result in fewer abortions (no birth control method is 100% effective, however).

    In a world where abortion was not legal, women would not have the benefits of liberty and self-realization, because they would not have control over their own bodies. I believe that most anti-abortion rhetoric has a hidden agenda of male control over women, though I cannot prove it. If abortion were murder, the rights of a woman would not be paramount; but since a fetus is not a person, abortion cannot be murder.

    Instead, abortion is a self-regarding, not an other-regarding, action. Thus, in the words of John Stuart Mill, no matter how much we disapprove or blame, we may not intervene.

    The law and morality cannot and must not be coextensive. Many immoral acts are, and should be legal. Otherwise, as Mill says, we are all subject to the tyranny of a frequently foolish majority, and liberty is excluded.

    One Web source you didn't mention is the National Organization of Women.