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Essay:Why I oppose abortion

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Essay.svg This essay is an original work by Earthland.
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.
It is not popular to read my essay before raising questions about it on the talk page. I know the essay is long, but I beg you, before you want to ask or refute something, make sure that this specific issue is not already discussed in the essay itself. I have covered some less important sections with special template so that you only see it if you click on it.
See also: Essay:Rationalwiki's abortion article and Essay:Abortion debate and open mind

"An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus/embryo, resulting in or caused by its death. In many parts of the world there is prominent and divisive public controversy over the ethical and legal issues of abortion." (Wikipedia)

Why?[edit]

... because life is all there is and all that matters, and abortion destroys the life of an innocent human being.
godlessprolifers.org
The purpose of abortion is not merely pregnancy termination;
its purpose is to kill, to take the life of prenatal human offspring.
Under justice, however, there is no such thing as a right to
kill innocent people
—Doris Gordon

Biological arguments[edit]

Beginning of human life[edit]

A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one. Foetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy. It is clear that permissive abortion is purposeful destruction of what is undeniably human life. It is an impermissible act of deadly violence.

~ Dr. Bernard Nathanson (one of the founding members of NARAL Pro-Choice America who worked for the legalization of abortion in the United States. The development of ultrasound led him reconsider his views on abortion.)

The beginning of human life is the heart of the abortion debate. Why we never see pro-choice advocates, such like Planned Parenthood or NARAL, explaining where they believe life begins? Their most usual tactics is to shift the debate from whether abortion takes a human life to how "comprehensive sex education" and contraception can lower abortion rates. We are not debating the merits of different strategies to lower abortion rates, we are debating whether or not abortion takes human life, and one side almost never seriously addresses it. Maybe it's because people have a much easier time defending abortion when we don't talk about when life begins.

According to general scientific consensus, human life (in the sense at what point does an individual physical being comes into existence) starts at conception. This consensus is, for example, reflected in the Encyclopedia Britannica article:

Although organisms are often thought of only as adults,
and reproduction is considered to be the formation of a
new adult resembling the adult of the previous generation,
a living organism, in reality, is an organism for its entire
life cycle, from fertilized egg to adult, not for just one
short part of that cycle.
—Encyclopedia Britannica 1998, v 26, p 611

Why is it this way? Concerning when life begins, a particular aggregate of hereditary tendencies (genes and chromosomes) is first assembled at the moment of fertilization when an ovum (egg) is invaded by a sperm cell. This restores the normal number of required chromosomes, 46, for survival, growth, and reproduction of a new composite individual. And we say that it is a human being, because...

  • This being is alive. The fertilized egg has the characteristics of life. He can reproduce his own cells and develop them into a specific pattern of maturity and function.
  • This being is human. He is a functioning individual organisms that genetically belong to the species Homo sapiens. An early embryo, though not looking like a newborn, does look exactly like a human ought to look at this stage of his or her development. He is a unique being, distinguishable totally from any other living organism, completely human in all of his or her characteristics, including the 46 human chromosomes, and can develop only into a fully mature human.
  • This being is complete. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All he needs is time to develop and mature. (For the argument of "potentially human", see below)

To survive, this individual simply needs a very specialized environment for nine months, just as it requires sustained care for an indefinite period after birth. But from the moment of union of the germ cells, there is under normal development a living, definite, going concern. To interrupt a pregnancy at any stage is like cutting the link of a chain; the chain is broken no matter where the link is cut. It is not a religious belief. It is not a philosophic theory. It is not debatable, not questioned. It is a universally accepted scientific fact.

The question as to when the physical material dimension
of a human being begins via sexual reproduction is strictly
a scientific question, and fundamentally should be answered
by human embryologists - not by philosophers, bioethicists,
theologians, politicians, x-ray technicians, movie stars, or
obstetricians and gynecologists.
—Dianne N. Irving,
M.A., Ph.D.

In her 1999 article When do human beings (normally) begin? "scientific" myths and scientific facts, Dianne gives a scientific view on the beginning of life. She begins with some basic facts about embryos:

"To begin with, scientifically something very radical occurs between the processes of gametogenesis and fertilization--the change from a simple part of one human being (i.e., a sperm) and a simple part of another human being (i.e., an oocyte--usually referred to as an "ovum" or "egg"), which simply possess "human life", to a new, genetically unique, newly existing, individual, whole living human being (a single-cell embryonic human zygote). That is, upon fertilization, parts of human beings have actually been transformed into something very different from what they were before; they have been changed into a single, whole humanbeing. During the process of fertilization, the sperm and the oocyte cease to exist as such, and a new human being is produced."

She then looks at the early stages of the development of babies, pointing out that they have traits particular to themselves and to human beings:

"This new single-cell human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes (not carrot or frog enzymes and proteins), and genetically directs his/her own growth and development. (In fact, this genetic growth and development has been proven not to be directed by the mother.) Finally, this new human being--the single-cell human zygote--is biologically an individual, a living organism--an individual member of the human species."

Dianne is not alone in her observation. Actually, it is difficult - probably impossible to find any human embryologist who would state that life does not begin at conception. To quote just some of them

”This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being. /.../ Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."
Keith L. Moore (1988. Essentials of Human Embryology. p. 2. B.C. Decker Co., Toronto.)


”… gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual.”
William J. Larsen 1993. Human Embryology. p. 1. Churchill-Livingston, New York.)


”Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.”
Ronan R. O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller (1992. Human Embryology and Teratology. p. 5. Wiley-Liss, New York.)


”Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (spermatozoan) from a male.”
Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud (1993. The Developing Human, 5th Ed. p. 1. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia.)


This sentence is important – human development is a continuous process that begins at conception. It doesn't "end" at birth, it doesn't end before death. But to develop, one must already be alive and individual. To develop as human being, one must already be a human being. The entity created by fertilization doesn't develop into human being, it develops as human being.

Virtually every human embryologist and
every major textbook of human
embryology states that fertilization marks
the beginning of the life of
the new individual human being.
—Dr. C. Ward Kischer ,Professor
Emeritus of Human Embryology
of the University of
Arizona School of Medicine,
American College of Pediatricians

Scott Gilbert sums it up this way (in his book Developmental Biology): "Traditional ways of classifying catalog animals according to their adult structure. But, as J. T. Bonner (1965) pointed out, this is a very artificial method, because what we consider an individual is usually just a brief slice of its life cycle. When we consider a dog, for instance, we usually picture an adult. But the dog is a “dog” from the moment of fertilization of a dog egg by a dog sperm. It remains a dog even as a senescent dying hound. Therefore, the dog is actually the entire life cycle of the animal, from fertilization through death."

Virtually all encyclopedias agree:

”A new individual is created when the elements of a potent sperm merge with those of a fertile ovum, or egg.”
Encyclopedia Britannica 1998, v 26, p 664:


”For the first eight weeks following egg fertilization, the developing human being is called an embryo.”
The Gale Encyclopedia of Science 1996, v 3, p 1327


”Life cycle – in biology, the sequence of developmental stages through which members of a given species pass. Most vertebrates have a simple life cycle consisting of fertilization of sex cells or gametes, a period of development as an embryo, a period of juvenile growth after hatching or birth, and adulthood including sexual reproduction, and finally death.”
The Hutchinson Dictionary of Science 1994, p 340:


”Embryo. The developing individual between the time of the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism. [...] At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun.
Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia 2002, v 1, p 1290


”The period of pregnancy begins with the union of the sperm and egg. At the moment of fertilization of the egg (conception), a new life begins.”
Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia 2002, v 1, p 1291


”The new individual is established at the time of fertilization, and embryonic development simply prepares this individual for the vicissitudes of adult life, and the development of future embryos.”
Collier’s Encyclopedia 1987, v 9, p 117


”The fused sperm and egg, called zygote, is a new individual with full capacities for development in a normal environment.”
Collier’s Encyclopedia 1987, v 9, p 121


To accept the fact that, after fertilization has taken place,
a new human has come into being is no longer a matter
of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being
from conception to old age is not a metaphysical conception.
It is plain experimental evidence.
—Dr. Jerome Lejeune, known as
"The Father of Modern Genetics"

Beginning of pregnancy[edit]

Depending on where pregnancy is considered to begin, some methods of birth control or infertility treatment might be considered abortifacient.

At its 2004 Annual Meeting, The American Medical Association passed a resolution in favor of making "Plan B" emergency contraception available over-the-counter, and one of the claims in the resolution was that hormonal contraception that may affect implantation "cannot terminate an established pregnancy." Similarly, the British Medical Association has defined an "established pregnancy" as beginning at implantation.

There are, however, more reliable definitions. The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary defines "pregnancy" as "from conception until birth." Encylopedia Britannica says that "It [pregnancy] begins when a viable sperm from the male and egg from the ovary merge in the fallopian tube (see fertility; fertilization)". Also, Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia states that "The period of pregnancy begins with the union of the sperm and egg."

Where is the evidence to support the claim that implantation marks the beginning of pregnancy? As early as 24 to 48 hours after fertilization begins, pregnancy can be confirmed by detecting a hormone called "early pregnancy factor" in the mother's blood. But implantation begins 6 days and ends 10 to 12 days after fertilization.

"Pregnant" is defined as "having a child or other offspring developing in the body" [1]. After fertilization, the women is pregnant because the child is already developing in her body (By the time of implantation, the embryo is not simply a fertilized egg but blastocyst that comprises 70-100 cells). If pregnancy begins at implantation, the absurd conclusion should be that women can carry an offspring inside her but is not pregnant.

The most important thing to remember is, however, that even if pregnancy begins at implantation, some forms of contraception still result in the killing of an already conceived individual.

Viability[edit]

Viability means in general "capacity for survival" and is more specifically used to mean a capacity for living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions. None of us could survive outside our natural environment. Unborn baby is in his natural environment with full capacities for development.

Is viability not just an extrinsic criterion imposed upon the fetus by some members of society who simply declare that the fetus will be accepted at that moment as a human being? In other words, the viability criterion seems to be arbitrary and not applicable to the question of whether the unborn is fully human, since it relates more to the location and dependency of the unborn than to any essential change in its state of being. This criterion only tells us when certain members of our society want to accept the humanity of the unborn.

Don't forget that viability depends on technology, not the unborn herself - fetal viability is largely a function of our abilities, not the fetus's. 50 years ago viability was at 30 weeks. 25 years ago it had dropped to 25 weeks. Today we have a survivor at 20 weeks and several at 21 weeks. But babies are still the same - fetal development has not changed in the last 40 years, only our understanding and ability to support a fetus outside of the womb has changed. In other words, humanity remains the same, but viability changes. So why should we use viability as a benchmark as to when we can kill the fetus?

Nobody can claim that "life" begins with viability. It would mean that a baby in the 18oo's and a baby in this century and probably a baby from the next century all had their lives began in different time. If viability is determined by the point at which it can survive outside the womb, that means that it is the point where the fetus has a good chance of not dying. Of course, if something is going to die, it has to be alive first; this is kind of hard to get around. But if someone is alive, we should have no business judging the value of their lives. We know that viability is not the beginning of life of new human individual, so why should it have any impact on whether or not an abortion can be performed? Often viability is not even the case, the more serious abortion advocates support abortion on demand throughout all the pregnancy. In USA, the Supreme Court made abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy and, today, abortion clinics across America routinely advertise elective abortions past the point where it is known that babies can survive on their own.

An abortion law truly based on "viability" would
require constant redefination. What was not
considered protectable human life last year might
be this year. If we were to take the Court at its
word, we would find ourselves with a law
that makes last year's "abortions" this year's homicides
in some cases
—A renowned fertility specialist Dr. Landrum Shettles

We should come back to what I said in the first paragraph - viability means capacity for survival - for living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions. Unborn baby is in his natural environment, in the only place it can be. And it is perfectly viable if you leave it where it is supposed to be in the first place. The most common reason to have abortion is because the life inside the womb is perfectly viable if left as it is, and will most likely result in the birth of the child if we don't dismember it first. The fetus/embryo has every chance of living a full life if left to its own, and no difference if it 8 weeks or 8 months old. Fetal viability has nothing to do with the beginning of life, and therefore it can have no impact on whether an abortion should or should not be done. Many premature babies are not viable outside of their incubators, many are not viable without a respirator, and absolutely zero babies are viable without someone to feed and care for them every hour of the day. There are also people who are severely handicapped or suffering from some debilitating illness, or are senile or unconscious. Indeed, many born people are not viable, because they are incapable of surviving without depending on others. However, it does not make them more or less human. And if the ability to survive without others is what creates the right to life, these people have no more right to live than the unborn.

What is birth?[edit]

Although vast majority of pro-choicers don't believe it, there are still some complete arses people who truly believe that life begins at birth.

There is nothing about birth that makes a baby essentially different than he was before birth - it just changes the location of baby: inside or outside of the uterus. Although we say that "this baby is three weeks old" after three weeks have passed from the birth of the baby in question, our recognition of birthdays is cultural, not scientific. After all, we can not possibly know the exact date of conception. Although we sometimes use "birth" as synonym for "the beginning of life", it is simply an oversimplification and biologically not true.

Should all human life be given equal protection?[edit]

Absolutely yes. Every government has the right and duty to protect the lives of all living humans in that nation regardless of degree of dependency, degree of perfection, age, sex, or place of residence. Human rights is a universalist concept of the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. They are defined as "universal minimal standard of justice, tolerance and human dignity that is owed to individuals by the mere virtue of their humanity." Human rights are universal, in that they are possessed by all by virtue of the fact that they are human, and independent in that their existence as moral standards of justification and criticism is independent whether or not they are recognized by a particular national or international legal system or government. Abortion is not a right, but a wrong under justice. The best that a government can do in order to justify abortion is to claim that an early human being is not really a human being - and that is to lie.

Some pro-abortion activists try to draw a a distinction between human being and human person, arguing that there is criteria of personhood that a being needs to exhibit to qualify as a person. I am willing to discuss this criteria below, but at first I need to show that this "personhood" argument is against the basic principle of human rights.

To begin with, personhood is a philosophical issue. After all, we can't scientifically prove that anyone is a person, but we do manage to advocate for the human rights of women, minorities, and the severely disabled - all of whom have been considered non-persons at various times in history. Pro-life people argue that personhood is properly defined only by membership in the human species, not by stage of development within that species - otherwise personhood would be a matter of size, skill, or degree of intelligence and those who adopt such definition do not value human life, but instead select arbitrary characteristics (such as particular levels of physical or psychological development). Throughout history, many societies have adopted that kind of definition of personhood, denying the personhood of certain human groups. (e.g., African slaves, Chinese etc). And who determines the criteria? Those in power, of course. Whenever personhood is defined according to one's functionality, the "line" between persons and non-persons will be a decision of will by those in power. And it will be based on self-interest. If there's an interest in killing persons, those persons will be defined as non-persons.

And here's a simple answer why pro-lifers find that there are no such creatures like human non-persons. Because there is no equality, if one person's convenience takes precedence over another's life, provided only that the first person has more power. The protection of human rights must be based on a scientifically observable standard, because there is no other way how we could guarantee equal protection of human rights for every individual member of our species. So long as human rights are based on subjective criteria, there will be no protection for those human individuals who are viewed as being in some sense inferior or inadequate in the opinions of the majority. It is dangerous when people in power are free to determine whether other, less powerful lives are meaningful.

But coming to this "personhood criteria" itself. At first it should be mentioned that by common usage of words, "human being" and "human person" are interchangeable terms.[1][2] There are two ways how to deny that all human beings are persons with right to life.

It is argued that only these persons who have achieved some certain stage of development are real persons. But there are many problems. For example, if this certain stage of development is the point at which the fetus can survive outside the womb, then is a viable horse fetus also a person? Or if we say that born human beings are persons, then why not born puppies? Newborn humans are physically and mentally less capable than virtually all other mammals. If you argue that all born human beings are persons or that 26-weeks old fetuses should have right to life, you are actually arguing that there is something inherent in a human being which differentiates her from other creatures. Because there are many animals who are more developed, more mature, even mentally more capable than newborn human beings, but they are not "persons".

How to explain all that? Pro-life people hold that to be a person is a matter of what "kind" of being we are; we refer to "capacity" and "power". Does one definitely have to demonstrate personhood to be a person? Personhood can emerge only trough the body. The preborn has no such body, but it still has the capacity for free choice, and given time and sustenance, (s)he will eventually manifest it. (If we don't dismember it first). We insist that the zygote is the same kind of being as the adult, differing only in degree. And "being a person" is a matter of kind, not of degree. It is in the nature of the zygote to develop into a being which can reason and make moral choices - barring catastrophe, of course. The ability to perform personal acts is not added, by some outside force, to the developing human being. In the process of her growth, she naturally builds the mental structures necessary to function as a person. Personhood itself is inherent in the zygote, embryo, fetus and infant. It may be difficult to understand, because the prenate, especially at the earliest stages, seems so foreign, so other; and yet every one of us once was a prenate. You can't take adults as the norm, and then say, "It's obvious that they can't be persons! Look how unlike us, how subhuman, they are!" They're not. It's just that our model of the "normal" human is biased towards ourselves - the adults. Despite any changes in such characteristics as independence, place of residence, physical development, or demonstration of mental ability, what the being is in later life is what the being is from the beginning of its life. When I was a zygote, it was my body and nobody else's.

But there is another way how people argue in support of "personhood". What does it mean to us that someone is a person? Pro-choice people aren't interested in the power of being a person, they insists one must demonstrate his or hers personhood. It is a matter of an act in which we engage that makes us persons - it's how we demonstrate our personhood.

Some examples of this...

“There is little evidence that termination of an infant’s life in the first few months following extraction from the womb could be looked upon as murder... It would seem to be more ‘inhumane’ to kill an adult chimpanzee than a newborn baby, since the chimpanzee has greater mental awareness. Murder cannot logically apply to a life form with less mental awareness than a primate.”

Winston L. Duke
Article: The New Biology
Reason magazine, August 1972

“No newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment and if it fails these tests, it forfeits the right to life.”

Dr. Francis Crick
Nobel Prize winner
Pacific News Service, January, 1978

“In our book, Should the Baby Live, my colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggested that a period of 28 days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others.”

Peter Singer
Professor of Bio-Ethics
Princeton University

“It is reasonable to describe infanticide as post-natal abortion... Infanticide is actually a very humane thing when you are dealing with misbegotten infants. We might have to encourage it under certain conditionalities of excess population especially when you’re dealing with defective children.”

Joseph Fletcher
Professor of Ethics
Harvard Divinity School
Infanticide and the Value of Life,
Prometheus Books, 1978

To take this gradualist approach about "moral significance" is to say that the right to life "increases" during one's lifetime, gradually with the psychological and physical development. It is to assume that there is some kind of "morally most significant person", whose physical and psychological development is almost perfect. Probably Albert Einstein could have been one, if he only had won all the gold medals at the Olympic Games. All other people are inferior and deserve the right to life less and less. A thirteen years old boy is morally less significant than 20-years old person. Even the hypothetical sportsman Albert Einstein is "less person" when he is tired or asleep, but "more person" when he's on the stadion. Those who are asleep would be classified as non-persons, because they are not consciously performing personal acts. Those who are in a coma could be killed at any point during their coma, because they don't even have the present capacity to perform personal acts.

I oppose abortion because I seek truly equal human rights for all human beings, not just those deemed worthy by the powerful. That inclusive spirit has been at the heart of the greatest social movements in human history. Remember that whether the abortion is performed early or late, or the "fetus" killed 30 years after birth, it's the same human being who dies.

Women rights vs. right to life[edit]

This is what pro-choice activists say:

Anti-choicers insist that the key question in the abortion debate is whether a fetus is a person or not. That is not the key question at all, of course - the practice of abortion is unrelated to the status of the fetus - it hinges totally on the aspirations and needs of women.[3] Even if the unborn are human beings, they have fewer rights than the woman. No one should be expected to donate her body as a life-support system for someone else. There is no such thing as the right to live inside the body of another, i.e. there is no right to enslave. Contrary to the opinion of anti-abortion activists a woman is not a breeding pig owned by the state.[4] It would be unfair to restrict a woman’s choice by prohibiting abortion.

Here I must adress many questions:

1) If the "right to abortion" is going to be based on privacy rights, they are also based upon the assumption that their exercise does not entail injuring, much less killing, a human being. There is no such thing as a right to kill innocent people. Privacy, on the other hand, is never an absolute right, but is always governed by other rights. For example, the privacy right to walk where one pleases does not include the right to injure people by walking on their faces if they are lying on the ground. Which is a greater violation of rights - forced pregnancy and childbirth, or violent death? Clearly, the right to life underlies and sustains every other right we have.

2) To imply that the issue is not abortion, but choice, is to say that what’s being chosen is irrelevant. That is illogical, given that all choices are not equal. If we are arguing whether abortion is the deliberate killing of a living human being or not, it is illogical to argue that we couldn't ban it simply because it would restrict someone's freedom to choose it. Just think about any random crime - do we let people make their own choices to rape, rob or drive drunk? No, we don't. By definition, the goal of every law is to deny someone the legal ability to choose a particular activity. Abortion does not become acceptable simply because someone chooses to do it.

Another way how to look at it is to say that it's up to woman to decide whether abortion is moral or not. But we cannot allow individuals to create their own realities in order to justify killing other people. For example, we don't allow Ku Klux Klan to kill black people just because they claim to honestly believe that black people are not really human beings.

However, one of the strangest things is that people only very rarely say that they "support abortion", they only say that they support the "choice" - that every woman should have the right to choose abortion. They assert that they are actually "personally opposed" to abortion, but that they can't inflict their beliefs on others. But the effort to outlaw abortion is not merely personal morality. It is not merely what a person does. It is about what a person does to another person. And the one-time choice of abortion robs someone else of a lifetime of choices and prevents him or her from ever exercising his or her rights...

3) If the abortion is the deliberate killing of another human being, it is absolutely unrelated to the question whether or not it is about empowering women. Even if the abortion really is about empowering women, it still remains the deliberate killing of another human being. But that an harmful act empowers someone is not enough to make it legal or moral. Slavery wast about empowering white people, sexism is about empowering men; we don't say that these things are moral because someone made a profit out of it.

But having a clean place to kill their babies isn't really the cornerstone of women’s equality. As pro-life feminist Melissa Simmons-Tulin once said, “Women will never climb to equality over the dead bodies of their children.” If it was otherwise, then why no woman is ever admired for having an abortion and why no woman has ever bragged about her abortion? Why don't we see any woman climbing off an abortionist’s table with a higher opinion of herself than she had when she climbed onto it?

The basic premises of the abortion-rights movement are demeaning to women. Some of the abortion-rights strategies assume female incompetence and subject women to ignorance and exploitation. To say that abortion rights are essential to having equal rights with men is to say that women are essentially lower beings than men and that they need a special procedure - abortion - to become equal with men.

Experiences of uncountable number of women prove that pregnant woman usually continues with her social life and career. Pregnant women don’t become some kind of unanimous and passive life-support system for someone else. And it is reasonable for society to expect an adult to live temporarily with an inconvenience if the only alternative is killing a child.

I can hear people screaming that circumstances of many women leave them no choice but an abortion. Obviously, it is virtually impossible to name these "circumstances" that leave no other choice but to kill an innocent human being - the only circumstance is probably a clear risk to the life of the mother. But convincing someone that she has "no other choice" is clearly not "pro-choice"...

Wanted or not, we all have the right to life[edit]

Pro-choice, that’s a lie,
babies never choose to die!
—Anonymous quote, from
"March for Life"

Pro-choice activist say that,

"...It’s unfair to children to bring them into a world where they’re not wanted. Having a baby who is not wanted and wont be loved is amoral. Every child should be a wanted child."

One of the most incredible aspects of the abortion lobby’s approach to this issue is that they try to sell it as compassionate. That it shows "love" to kill children who are not wanted by their parents, because they won't be loved and they will have an unhappy life.

It, of course, completely misses the fact that a new human being is already brought to this world – at the moment of conception. “Unwanted” describes not a condition of the child, but an attitude of adults. And since when does anyone’s right to live depend upon someone else wanting them? The problem of unwantedness is a poor argument for eliminating children. Should we complete the slogan "Every child a wanted child" with "if not wanted, kill!"?

That is exactly what that Planned Parenthood slogan means. Someone is killed just because someone else didn't want him. But human being has value simply because it is, not because it is wanted.

You may ask, doesn't the unwantedness of children lead to child abuse? That babies/children who are abused were "unwanted" children who should have been aborted?

But isn't abortion itself an ultimate abuse of children? How can we separate the violence of abortion from the family violence heard on the news? Simply because it seems kinder to kill a voiceless embryo in the womb?

In fact, abortion has done nothing to end child abuse. It has had just the opposite effect. According to the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), child abuse has dramatically increased since abortion was legalized. In 1973 the agency reported 167,000 cases of child abuse. In 1983, it reported 929,000 cases.

Professor Edward Lenoski at the University of Southern California studied over 600 cases of child abuse. He found that in over 90% of these cases, the parents said that the child they abused had been a wanted child.

And finally, if it is compassionate to execute an unborn child who might live an unpleasant life, isn't it even more compassionate to execute a five-year-old who we know is living an unpleasant life?

Is abortion a murder?[edit]

It depends on what we consider to be a murder. Usually "murder" has three components:

  • Objective component: killing an innocent human being
  • Subjective component: intention to kill innocent human being
  • Juridical component: action against law

As life of every human being starts at conception, abortion is always the killing of an innocent human being. Only half the patients who go into an abortion clinic come out alive.

However, abortion does not always include the intention to kill innocent human being. Firstly, many people simply don't know abortion results in death of innocent human being (this goes for women who want abortion, because every competent doctor knows that abortion results in someone's death). Abortions may be performed in very different situations, with very different knowledge and with very different intentions.

Secondly, there are cases when mother's life is at risk. In such case, abortion is a regrettable secondary subject not the intention itself.

Juridical component is far more simpel; abortions are legal, wheter in all, most or some circumstances.

Therefore, it is wrong to call every abortion a murder. But abortion is and always will be direct killing of the innocent human being, always regrettable and never morally justifiable.

Religiousness of pro-life people[edit]

We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its "socially backward ideas" and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion. This theme was played endlessly. We fed the media such lies as "we all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy and not from most Catholics" and "Polls prove time and again that most Catholics want abortion law reform". And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy and that Catholics in favour of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking. An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were {and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists' opinions.

~ Dr. Bernard Nathanson

A person does not have to be religious to say it’s wrong to murder a child, any more than they have to be religious to say it’s wrong to steal money. Just because many (but not all) pro-lifers are motivated by religious beliefs does not make abortion a religious issue. Remember, the civil rights movement was often led by pastors and headquartered in churches, but that didn’t make civil rights a religious issue.

To say that abortion should be off limits to the law because many pro-life people are religious, is as illogical as saying we should do away with laws against theft because one of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shalt not steal." If we are going to start rejecting laws simply because they are supported by religion, then we will have to do away with all of our laws.

Of course, it is true that opposition to abortion is a religious position for many people. But many people are against abortion for reasons that are independent of religious authority or belief. Many would still be against abortion if they lost their faith; others are opposed to it after they have lost faith, or if they never had any faith. But the pro-abortion forces concentrate heavily on religious arguments against abortion and generally ignore the secular arguments - possibly because they cannot answer them.

In fact, one thing that both the abortion industry
and the pro-life movement agree on is that
public ignorance about fetal development, abortion
methodology and post-abortion complications is
necessary if abortion is to remain legal. Ironically,
the religious orientation of most pro-lifers may
act as the major factor preventing education from
taking place.
I would literally hold my breath whenever
abortion was the topic on television, waiting for religion
to be mentioned. The media never let me down.
—Judy Ferris,
"Why should atheist be pro-life"

It's science, not religion, that makes people pro-life. Dr Bernard Nathanson was called the "king of abortions" and what made him reconsider his views? Development of ultra-sound! Also Judy Ferris says: "Believing that the fetus was just a "blob of tissue", that pro-lifers were lying about how developed aborted fetuses are, I had no reason to avoid information from sources that were not "anti-abortion". I learned about fetal development when my other children were born. I experienced nightmares, crying spells and suicidal thoughts. I knew these were not caused by the activities or words of pro-lifers or preachers. Was I supposed to be upset with sonogram technicians or childbirth instructors for educating me?"

This is strongly supported by the evidence that about 80% of women who see an ultrasound of their unborn child decide not to abort.

Other things Judy Ferris wrote: "As an atheist, one of the most ironic discoveries I made when I became pro-life was the cultist nature of the followers of choice. To a skeptic like myself, the "pro-choice" movement started to look frighteningly fundamentalist. I started asking questions and was "answered" with slogans. Dissatisfied with slogans, I continued asking questions and was accused of being "anti-choice". To question was taboo; information from pro-lifers was "heresy", and I had become a "heretic"."

I think many people are pro-choice not because what they actually believe, but because there are very strong stereotypes about pro-life people: they are woman-hating Bible-thumping clinic bombers. This kind of stereotype draws more attention than the actual strongest arguments against abortion, which are medical, legal, and scientific facts.

In an interview, someone called "the raving atheist" said:

"In the late 1960's the pro-choice movement made a deliberate, strategic decision to trivialize the abortion debate by dismissing all pro-life arguments as mere Catholic dogma. This made it easy to gloss over the inconvenient, undeniable scientific embryological fact that human life begins at conception in favor of specious arguments regarding church/state separation and accusation that religion "is being forced down our throats." Planned Parenthood today still insists that the question of when life begins is a religious one which varies from woman to woman, apparently mind-dependent rather than reality-dependent. They do draw the line at the old Mayan practice of throwing infants into volcanos, although I don't see why, under their theory, that wouldn't be a protected exercise of religion as well. I've seen more of a reliance on science - embryology, ultrasound - on the pro-life side than on the pro-choice side. In fact, the mainstream pro-choice organizations oppose showing women who are considering abortion ultrasound pictures of the child on the grounds that they are "confusing." It should be noted that the pro-choice side isn't opposed to raising religious arguments when it suits them. Planned Parenthood has hired clergy to promote abortion from a theological standpoint. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice devotes its very existence to that endeavor. Ironically, even the atheistic Freedom from Religion Foundation employs a religious argument when it comes to abortion - it argues that the practice should be permitted because it isn't expressly forbidden by the Bible."

See also[edit]

  1. Merriam-Webster dictionary:Person - human, individual
  2. Wiktionary: Person - A human being; an individual.
  3. Joyce Arthur: The Fetus Focus Fallacy
  4. Abortionisprolife: FAQ