In many ways, we have become a society of many symptoms, and short-term remedies for those symptoms. More and more individuals seem to have lost their sense of meaning and purpose, gravitating more toward relative truth based on personal feelings and desires. We treat the increasing anxiety, depression, and unhappiness with the many forms of medication and diversions available to avoid dealing with the actual cause driving the issue. We try to solve social and economic issues with large centralized programs that often create unintended consequences and dependencies for generations to come vs. understanding issues at the human level of both enablement and responsibility. We often ignore any facts that could undermine the things we want to believe or make us feel personally uncomfortable about what we want to do. As a humane society, we aspire to act as such, protecting the rights of the often innocent and voiceless.
Abortion is one of those issues that often causes heated debate and strong emotions that can leave each side believing the worst of the other. It is possible that a pro-choice individual is passionate about her or his beliefs because they care very deeply about the struggle being faced by a woman, now reluctantly pregnant. It is also possible that a pro-life individual is passionate about her or his beliefs because they care very deeply about that same woman and her child. Most people pride themselves on applying accurate, objective, and caring thought to any issue, including abortion. The question for both sides is if we actually do that in real practice. With 42 million abortions in the world, this year alone, it is worth making sure that we are truly willing to validate our beliefs and assumptions.
For a woman that becomes pregnant, it is important to have all the information necessary to make an informed choice. Women are often told that that a living human life does not yet exist, so there is no moral implication for ending the pregnancy. The belief, for some, is that it is part of her body and she has a right to determine what will happen to her body. Some believe that the life of another living human has begun, but that life does not supersede her reproductive rights. Some believe that choosing abortion is the right moral decision – e.g. unwanted baby will not be loved, more babies will contribute to over-population, etc.
For the one in three pregnancies that end in abortion, it is important for the mother making the choice to feel that it is actually the right choice. For abortion provider agencies, not making the mother feel bad might outweigh providing them will the reality of that choice. The terms “choice,” “reproductive health,” “terminating a pregnancy,” or “women’s rights” can often be removed from what that choice is in reality. Medical science clearly and objectively lets us know that a new, unique living human being begins at conception. There is no other point in time in her or his development that this new life becomes human, gains it’s unique DNA, or begins to live after conception.
Everything, from that point in time, is just a stage of development. Zygote and fetus are not terms for someone that Is not yet human or living but medical terms for stages of development for someone that is already human and living, and that development will continue long after birth. So, honest, accurate, and objective science tells us that two living human beings are involved in every abortion choice.
The mother has her body and now there is another human body to consider. Both deserve thoughtful and caring consideration, and we don’t tend to assign more rights or consideration based on size or location of an individual human being. If there are two living human beings involved, what right would rise higher than the right to continue living? The procedure of abortion (burning with saline solution, crushing and tearing with tools or suction) are objectively brutal and violent. Aftermath photos are understandably upsetting and difficult to see, but so are photos of so many other injustices. Abortion is never safe or healthcare for the one of the living human beings involved, it always cause the violent end of life.
Since human life is not a matter of opinion or feelings, it is important that each person making a currently legal choice has that scientific information. It would not seem reasonable to expect each woman to do her own medical research. The problem may be that many women assume, if it is legal, then that research has been done and that a human life cannot exist, and that the procedure must be safe. Abortion providers will tend not to provide any information about the actual status of the other human life, nor the realities of the procedure itself.
I believe that people generally want to do that right thing, if they have all the right information. People also tend to filter out the information that does not fit what they want to believe. They also want options and choices. There are responsible choices to be made at each decision point. One reality that is rarely acknowledged in today’s culture is that sex is biologically ordered to be both unitive and to create life. Denying the latter is denying reality and basic biology. Contraception is available to reduce the odds of creating a new life but the practical failure rates of the pill are ~9% and condoms ~15%. Since someone’s entire life is a big deal, taking those kind chances with that life would not be responsible. Note that 51% of people that have abortions were using contraceptives, and that less than 1% are due to rape/incest and less than 1% due to risk to mother.
So, there seems to be two decision points for responsible, caring and honest human beings to make choices:
Honestly acknowledging how babies are made and that contraception is not 100% effective, it seems clearer that sex within a committed relationship ready to take care of the natural outcome of being sexual partners is the responsible thing to do. Here the responsible choice avoids the child one is not ready for, cannot afford and will not love. This is not what today’s self-serving culture wants to hear or believe but the truth does not always align with what we want to hear or believe.
Once a mother is pregnant, there is a choice to end that life with violence or to allow the natural process for the child to live and be cared for, or made available to the many couples looking to adopt. Knowing that “reproductive choice” actually ends a real human life (not just a bunch of cells that is not yet human or alive) by violent means, should provide the guidance for the right, thoughtful, responsible and caring choice to make. Without the right to life, no other rights can exist. Without a commitment to protect the most vulnerable, a humane society cannot exist.
We all know that not every law on the books is right or just. Slavery and the denial of the humanity of blacks was legal. For this reason, it is important for each person to make sure they have all the information necessary to make a fair choice for both individuals involved. Also, while none of the above discussion was based on faith or religion, the guidance God’s laws and our informed conscience can provide us are important guidance. One the last night of his life, Jesus said the words, “This is my body,” as he lovingly prepared to sacrifice himself for us. The pro-choice mantra of “This is my body” as someone prepares to sacrifice someone else’s life seems terribly contrary to his loving example and gift to each of us.