10 Reasons Abortion Should be Illegal
America has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. However, ever since it became legal in 1973 Abortion has been one of the most hotly contested topics in both American day to day life and American politics. Pro-choice, Pro-life everybody seems to have an opinion and some people are not afraid to use violence against those who disagree with them.
In a country where feelings are strong it seems to be impossible for those on either side of the fence to sit down and have a rational debate on the issue, sadly the unborn fetus at the center of the dispute and most affected by the debate is unable to speak up.
We do not wish to address the difficult questions of pregnancies which result from rape or incest – these should form a separate category and be considered on their own merits. With that in mind and in an attempt to bring rational discussion to this issue we have listed our top 10 reasons why abortion is wrong and should be illegal.
10. The Legal Decision in Roe v Wade is Wrong
Roe v Wade was a landmark in 1973 and paved the way for abortion to become legal in the US. The decision declared that it was a ‘Fundamental Right’ for a woman to have unrestricted access to an abortion in the early weeks of pregnancy and the restricted ability to abort in later weeks. The decision was based on a right to privacy which was declared by the Supreme Court (7-2) to cover the right to terminate a pregnancy. However later Supreme Court Justices have considered that the 1973 Supreme Court went beyond its remit because the US constitution has no guarantees as to privacy and abortion is an issue for legislators not judges.
Many US States felt uncomfortable with this decision and have passed laws to require women seeking an abortion to pass through several steps. This can include having a pre-termination ultrasound or attending a counselling session. The pro-choice movement is uncomfortable with these state restrictions and characterizes several States as ‘hostile’ to abortions. However these restrictions, when seen in a worldwide context, are not unreasonable. In many countries similar to the US access to abortion is much more difficult; in Ireland, for example, abortion is illegal in all but the direst of circumstances such as where the health of the mother is compromised by the pregnancy.
9. Abortion denies the fetus the right to life as safeguarded in the US Constitution
When the United States became an Independent Nation the Founding Fathers declared ‘All men are created equal…with certain unalienable Rights…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution provides that no person should be ‘deprived of life’ without recourse to the due process of the law. At conception a new life comes into being, one with a unique genetic code and the unlimited potential for greatness that is latent in all humans, the development into a baby, then toddler, child, teenager, adult is inevitable.
However, aborting a fetus deprives it of life and the ability to enjoy its future liberty and the pursuit of happiness. An abortion deprives a fetus of life without any recourse to due process. The fetus is unable to defend itself. Roe v Wade held that a fetus does not become a person until the moment of birth. This can, however, lead to bizarre situations where doctors in one room of a hospital will be attempting to save the life of a premature baby while doctors in the next door operating theatre are performing an abortion on a healthy fetus of the same age
Attempts have been made to persuade law-makers to declare an unborn fetus a person for the purposes of the 14th amendment but they have not, to date, been successful. Since 2010, however, increasing restrictions on access to abortion have been implemented in a number of US States.
8. Abortion is Murder
Unborn babies are protected from murder and violence by the federal act ‘Unborn Victims of Violence’. The act considers an unborn baby to be a human being and imposes penalties on those who inflict harm on a fetus otherwise than through an abortion. In addition to the Federal Act 38 US states have separate fetal homicide laws. The laws of 23 of those states protect the fetus from the very earliest stages of pregnancy, regardless of viability outside the womb.
These laws make it clear that most people find the killing of a fetus to be repugnant and its life worthy of protection. These same laws, however, permit a mother, one of the two people in the world who should be protecting the fetus and putting its interests above anyone else’s, to have an abortion. If it is unacceptable for a stranger to kill a baby why is it acceptable for a mother and her doctors to do so?
The father of an unborn baby is considered a victim when it is killed by a third party but has no rights at all to prevent or argue against the mother of his child having an abortion.
7. Abortion is not Contraception
US statistics show that 21% of all viable pregnancies end in abortion and half of all the women arranging an abortion have had at least one abortion in the past. In 2010 over 8% of all women having an abortion had had three or more in the past. This is not just a problem in the US, in the UK (where condoms, hormonal contraception of the woman’s choice and emergency ‘morning after’ contraception is provided free of charge by the state) multiple abortions, sometimes as many as 9 are not uncommon.
These days a full range of contraceptives are available to both men and women together with training to ensure that they are used effectively. It is, however, not uncommon for these methods to fail when used incorrectly. The statistics for multiple abortions therefore suggest that some women prefer to take the risk of pregnancy to having to pay attention and use birth control effectively. This is backed up by the abortion statistics for the year following the decision in Roe v Wade where the number of conceptions was shown to have risen by approximately 30% but the number of live births fell by 6% indicating that abortion was seen by some as an insurance policy and an acceptable form of birth control.
Some extreme pro- choice supporters publically promote this stance. They consider that, as an unwanted pregnancy can happen easily, even when contraception is being used (half of all US pregnancies are accidental), abortion is the only reliable form of birth control.
Should a parent’s failure to follow instructions result in the death of a fetus innocent of any wrongdoing?
6. Selective Abortion is discriminatory and the modern day equivalent of eugenics
When we look back at the Eugenics movement of the early part of the last century most modern people are appalled. Eugenics legitimized condemnation of mixed race marriages and called on society to ‘weed out’ those who were less than perfect. Several schools of thought were promoted that suggested that undesirable traits such as a tendency towards criminality could be bred out of humanity. In countries such as the US and the UK the ‘poor’ were seen as particular targets for eugenics and in the US social undesirables were sterilized by force.
These countries were not, however, alone. Under the Nazis Germany took the concept of Eugenics to an extreme which resulted in forced sterilizations and later in all those who failed to meet set criteria being set to concentration and death camps. This included not only Jews but also gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally disabled and so on.
These days discrimination on the grounds of race and gender is illegal. Full rights and protections are also afforded to those with disabilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990. These days pregnant women are given access to a range of screening tests designed to monitor her health and the health of her baby. These tests can identify heartbreaking conditions like Edward’s Syndrome, many of which are incompatible with a healthy or pain free life after birth, many parents who receive the news that their babies are suffering from such conditions make the difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy and they should certainly not be criticized for the hard but legal decision they have taken. However care has to be taken with these tests, they are not always accurate and if used by untrained or unregulated personnel can give false results which result in a distraught parent arranging for an abortion of a healthy fetus.
One of the conditions regularly screened for is Down Syndrome, while this chromosomal disability can present with a wide range of symptoms and effects many babies born with Down Syndrome are able, with support, to go on and lead a happy and productive life with their families, some are even able to attend main stream school, hold down a job and live independently. However, despite this more than 80% of pregnancies where babies are diagnosed as having Down Syndrome are subsequently aborted. These abortions have reduced the US rate of Down Syndrome births by 15% between 1989 and 2005 when, had testing not been in place, the number of Down Syndrome births would have risen by over 30%.
Legislation prevents any person, from the moment of birth, from being discriminated against but, it seems, these protections do not extend to unborn children. We may condemn the practice of eugenics but we enable it by the back door when we allow selective termination to take place.
5. Abortion allows man to act against the will of God
Many religions reject abortion. The Bible states that a fetus is a person from the moment of conception, Jeremiah 1:5 says explicitly ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations’. The Bible specifically instructs that man ‘shall not kill’. Hindu tradition finds that abortion is no different than the act of killing one’s parents and considers a person who kills a fetus as one of the greatest possible sinners. Similarly many Buddhists believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is akin to murder. The Dalai Lama has advised that abortion is generally negative but can be permissible only in certain circumstances.
There is no single opinion on abortion in Islam but the Koran considers that all life is sacred as it states ‘whosoever has killed a soul it is as though he has murdered all mankind’. Some Islamic traditions do permit restricted access to abortion in the first months of pregnancy but certainly not all. However, Islam permits flexibility in certain situations, often on a case by case basis.
Judaism takes a slightly different view as it considers a fetus only potentially human as opposed to human, however, it must be protected as though it were a human being and abortion would not generally be allowed except for specific cases.
4. Abortion makes human life disposable, Doctors were originally forbidden to practice abortion for this reason. These days abortion is big business.
The Pope has claimed that abortion promotes a culture where human life is considered disposable where babies are discarded as ‘unnecessary’. This is a view backed up by some members of the US House of Representatives as typified by Randy Hultgren’s statement that abortion allows us to ‘throw away anything or anyone that is an inconvenience’ and condemning the US abortion providers as running an industry designed to make money off the back of suffering. Others equate abortion to the Columbine High School massacre as in the US a baby dies through an abortion every 20 seconds. They claim that abortion sends a message that a baby’s life and therefore that of all children is considered disposable in the US.
Abortion was specifically forbidden in the original version of the Hippocratic Oath sworn by all doctors. Today doctors are required to swear that they must not ‘play at God’ and 8% of all modern oaths administered specifically require the doctor to refuse to participate in abortion. However, abortion is such big business in America (1 in 4 pregnancies in the US is terminated) that abortion providers do all they can to limit restrictions on access or any pre-abortion counselling and ultrasounds. Providers are often instructed to do all they can to persuade women who have visited a clinic to abort even if they have doubts. Babies that survive the abortion process are thrown out with clinical waste and left to die even though they should, post birth, have all the protections personhood confers (see above).
It seems that all concerns about doctors playing god can be dismissed as a woman’s right to choose when large sums of money are involved.
3. Abortion can result in medical complications and psychological trauma for women
However you look at it a woman who has an abortion and a doctor who provides one are responsible for the termination of a life. This is true whether you believe that life starts at conception or starts at birth (because aborting a healthy fetus denies it the opportunity of life and birth). Perhaps because women who have an abortion have to live with this knowledge (which may come back to haunt them strongly on the anniversaries of the abortion and the expected birth date) they can be at increased risk of suffering from depression. This effect can last at least five years after the abortion takes place. Women who have had an abortion are also at greater risk of suicide in the years following the event (154% more likely than women who give birth to their babies). It is not just women who experience psychological problems following an abortion; the termination can have a negative effect on their partner as well.
Abortions can cause physical as well as psychological trauma with research showing an increased likelihood of miscarriage and placenta previa in any subsequent pregnancies. Abortions are also shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. These risks are typically not discussed with women who attend abortion clinics where they are assured that the procedure is both safe and no more painful than having a tooth extraction.
2. Abortion reduces the number of babies available for adoption
Many families today struggle with the trauma and misery of infertility, they would do almost anything to have a baby and would love to be able to adopt an unwanted baby, as of 2002 there were approximately 2.6 million women or 14% of American women waiting to adopt children, only just over 1% managed to complete an adoption. . Prior to 1973 9% of all babies born in the US were put up for adoption and given to happy and supportive homes. After the decision in Roe v Wade this number dropped dramatically to 1%.
These statistics show that there would be many homes available to babies carried to term, giving them an opportunity to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These babies are, however, not given this opportunity as the rights of the mother to enjoy a ‘disposable’ culture are deemed more important than the rights of the unborn baby and its potential family.
1. Fetuses are capable of feeling pain
Look at some of the new 4d scans of very young fetuses. As early as 12 weeks they are, if small, fully formed human beings, they have eyes, fingers, toes, heart and a nervous system. By 8 weeks gestation a fetus can flex their spine, an indication that enough of a nervous system exists to enable it to feel pain. While fetuses of that age lack a fully developed cortex experiments on animals lacking a cortex show that they withdraw from painful stimuli. Dr Nathanson, an early proponent of abortion became a pro-life campaigner after he saw 12 week fetuses shrink from instruments and open their mouths in a scream during an abortion.
While the majority of abortions that take place in the US and around the world are either medical (procured through drugs) or simple vacuum extractions abortions at a later stage of pregnancy are more difficult. These are properly called dilation and extraction abortions but are often referred to as Partial Birth Abortions. The procedure is truly horrendous for the fetus. It is turned in the womb and all of the body bar the head is delivered (the delivery of the head would imply a live birth). At this stage the fetus is completely alive and healthy. The surgeon then pierces the head and extracts the brain killing the baby. The body is then delivered. This is not a sanitized procedure, it is not humane and it is not always performed on a fetus who can feel no pain, many of the babies on whom this procedure is performed are capable of a viable birth. If the baby’s head were delivered and the procedure subsequently carried out it would be characterized as murder. This type of abortion is subject to bans and legal challenges. As a result many providers now stop the baby’s heart with a lethal injection prior to dismembering the fetus in utero. This does not, however, detract from the fact that the fetus is alive and capable of life just seconds before the injection takes effect.
Of course there are certain circumstances where difficult and heartbreaking decisions have to be made; we are not, however, discussing those here. We are considering whether the easy access to abortion on demand should be a fundamental human right. Abortion, whether through partial birth or otherwise is, quite simply horrific. In a society where we have easy access to contraceptives which if used properly or in combination would prevent an unwanted pregnancy there is simply no excuse for abortion, particularly not of one in four viable pregnancies. However, we live in a throwaway society, one where the rights of a woman to ‘choose’ are seen as more important than those of the baby she is carrying, the baby’s father and potential parents who could love and nurture it.
Doctors who perform an abortion take a living human being, capable of breathing, capable of crying and nursing and cut its life short before it has the opportunity to realize its potential. The mother who is supposed to love it more than anyone else in the world, who is supposed to protect it is complicit in its pain, suffering and death. It is for these reasons that abortion should be illegal.