Abortion (Updated 8/17/2015)

Planned Parenthood is in the news.  I’ve heard of Planned Parenthood, but no one in my circle of family and friends ever sought their services, as far as I know.  The recent videos showing physicians associated with Planned Parenthood discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue while enjoying a nice lunch, certainly challenges our sensibilities.

I’ve never known anyone who had an abortion, but it is possible that I’ve not known that someone had one. My mother had a miscarriage sometime before I was conceived. As a consequence of that family tragedy and heartbreak, I enjoy my life instead of that other person.

A miscarriage and an abortion are two different things.  In this context, an abortion occurs when a living human being is purposely taken from its mother’s womb prematurely for the primary purpose of ending its life. In my opinion, that is terribly wrong and should never happen, no exceptions.  It is taking the life of a defenseless human being.

Life can be short, and it is terribly heart rendering when a brief life ends abruptly. Everyone dies eventually, but life goes on. According to news sources, abortions end the lives of tens of millions of individuals. Far more lives are lost through this practice than in wars, famines, plagues, or just about any other imaginable occurrence. Consider a holocaust occurring every year.  Consider that a sizeable number of us think this is acceptable, even necessary, people associated with Planned Parenthood for example.

I don’t understand the “pro-choice” canard.  Since when does one human being get to choose when another human being is going to die?  Sorry, but pro-choice sounds good but makes no rational sense. It’s pro-abortion wrapped in a nice sounding term. We do that often. We choose a euphemism to color the truth. In this case describing a pro-abortion stance as if it were pro-choice is like calling a rape just another type of love-making. A women may choose many things, but neither a women nor a man has a right to take another person’s life, unless it is in self-defense.

During sexual intercourse, millions of living beings (spermatozoa and sometimes an ovum or two) come to the end of their lives. But this is the way of life. The normal life span of a sperm is quite short, a matter of hours or days, ova normally live much longer. A sperm lives to search out an egg to fertilize, thus ending its life in the creation of a unique living human being. Very few fulfill their mission. The same can be said for an ovum. We don’t choose which sperm or ovum creates a new zygote possessing the potential to mature through birth and beyond. A man doesn’t have the right nor the means to choose, nor does a woman.

A zygote, an embryo, a fetus, and an infant are early stages in the development of a human life. Allowing mothers and their physicians to choose to end such a life for reasons of convenience or other equally unconvincing rationalizations, is not worthy of an enlightened civilization. Call it fate or God’s will, but we do not choose which life begins, nor should we decide to end that life. That human being, once created, has a right to live.

UPDATE:  What is science?  What is policy?  What is policy that reflects scientific understanding?  Lately, several of those seeking the office of President of the United States, as well as many commentators, have weighed in on these issues of life, when it begins and ends.

in my opinion, policies should reflect our understanding of science, even as we admit that what we know today might be deemed wrong tomorrow.  Such is the nature of scientific knowledge.

We know that life is continuous, and it cycles through recognizable stages.  A sperm is a living cell.  So is an unfertilized egg, as is one that has been fertilized becoming what is known as a zygote.  This is our scientific understanding. These single celled organisms are part of the human life cycle, just as analogous cells describe stages in the life cycles of all animals.

Life doesn’t begin at conception, it continues with the creation of a new unique individual enjoying the potential to participate as a member of human society.

As defined earlier in this essay, abortion is legal.  In other words, our society accepts an established policy allowing the termination of life before it is born.  No matter how it may be justified or argued does not change our understanding of the science. An abortion is the purposeful termination of a human life.  The policy discussion should focus on when we as a society should allow that to occur.

If I were the arbiter of this policy debate, I would argue against any abortion that fits my definition. Note that terminating a pregnancy to save the life of a mother is not an abortion.  Both lives matter.  In a typical circumstance, physicians would do everything in their power to save both lives.  In other words, the purpose of the medical intervention is to save the mother and the infant no matter the eventual outcome, and therefore, it is not an abortion by my definition or under my preferred policy.

A child conceived through rape or incest is an innocent and precious human being no matter the tragic circumstances leading to its conception.  We sympathize with the extreme trauma a mother may experience in this circumstance, but that doesn’t justify the ending of an innocent life.  There are alternatives available to a pregnant mother.  Frankly, there are procedures available in an emergency room that would prevent the pregnancy, and therefore, as in the example above, by my definition an abortion has not occurred. There are and have been many human beings who have lived wonderful and productive lives in spite of the circumstances surrounding their conception.

In an enlightened society, human life should be protected and nurtured to the fullest extent of our abilities.

About DocStephens

Retired college professor of science and mathematics, academic administrator, and president (emeritus).
This entry was posted in Human Behavior, Musings, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Abortion (Updated 8/17/2015)

  1. Pingback: The Risk Factors Associated with Abortions | From guestwriters

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