Abortion Essay, Research Paper
Is Partial-Birth Abortion Moral?
Abortion, is the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent life. When the expulsion from the womb occurs after the fetus becomes viable (capable of independent life), usually at the end of six months of pregnancy, it is technically a premature birth.
The practice of abortion was widespread in ancient times as a method of birth control. Later it was restricted or forbidden by most world religions, but it was not considered an offense in secular law until the 19th century. During that century, first the English Parliament and then American state legislatures prohibited induced abortion to protect women from surgical procedures that were at the time unsafe, commonly stipulating a threat to the woman’s life as the sole exception to the prohibition.Occasionally the exception was enlarged to include danger to the mother’s health as well.
Religious Point of View
In all three of the world’s major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, abortion is not permitted. These religions advocate that abortion can only take place if there is a threat to the life of the mother. Another stipulation entails that, after three months of pregnancy abortion can not take place, for after that time period the fetus is given life.
In a passage from the bible (2 Kings 24:2-4) it is stated that, “The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets. Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive.” (Manasseh, Israel’s chief executive, had committed one particular sin–advocating the killing of children.) The laws of religion condemn the ending of any human life, no matter what form it is in.
Abortion, as a practice, is strictly prohibited, even in the most liberal of religions. Although the opposition would argue that it is against the concept of “the freedom to choose, but the religions are very clear on this front. The pro-choice movement states that it is a woman’s choice whether or not she wishes to give birth to the child in question, for it is her body and therefore, her right to choose what to do with it. But the religious leaders have reiterated the word of God, which is very clear on the subject.
Legal Point of View
No matter how you look at it, partial birth abortion is murder. If we look at the legal viewpoint, where the battle for life now stands, we see that the laws have followed the whim of the government in office. Legislative action in the 20th century has been aimed at permitting the termination of unwanted pregnancies for medical, social, or private reasons. In the late 1960s liberalized abortion regulations became widespread. The impetus for the change was threefold: (1) Infanticide and the high maternal death rate associated with illegal abortions, (2) A rapidly expanding world population, (3) The growing feminist movement. By 1980, countries where abortions were permitted only to save a woman’s life contained about 20 percent of the world’s population. Countries with moderately restrictive laws-abortions permitted to protect a woman’s health, to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, to avoid genetic or congenital defects, or in response to social problems such as unmarried status or inadequate income-contained some 40 percent of the world’s population.
Abortions at the woman’s request, usually with limits based on physical conditions such as duration of pregnancy, were allowed in countries with nearly 40 percent of the world’s population. In the United States, legislation followed the world trend. The moderately restrictive type of abortion law was adopted by 14 states between 1967 and 1972. Alaska, Hawaii, New York, and Washington legislated abortion on request with few restrictions. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Roe v. Wade, declared unconstitutional all but the least restrictive state statutes.
Noting that induced early abortions had become safer than childbirth and holding that the word person in the Constitution of the United States “does not include the unborn,” the Court defined, within each of the three stages of pregnancy, the reciprocal limits of state power and individual freedom: (a) During the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician. (b) After the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health. (c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate and even proscribe abortion, except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
Analysis and Arguments
Opponents, supported by the religious institutions the world over, in particular the Catholic church, of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, argued that a fetus is entitled as a “person” to constitutional protection, and attacked the decision on a variety of fronts. State legislative bodies were lobbied for statutes narrowing the implications of the decision and circumscribing in several ways the mother’s ability to obtain an abortion. A nationwide campaign was instituted to amend the Constitution to prohibit or severely restrict abortion. “Right-to-life” groups also engaged in grass-roots political activity designed to defeat abortion proponents and elect abortion opponents.
Abortion became, rather than simply a legal and constitutional issue, a major political and social controversy. Many state legislatures passed laws imposing additional procedural requirements on women who sought abortions; federal court decisions holding these new statutes unconstitutional usually followed each legislative initiative. The Reagan administration (1981-1989) and the Bush administration (1989-1992) supported the right-to-life position, as did many of their appointees to the federal judiciary. The Supreme Court, though sharply divided, generally declared unconstitutional those laws it found to place an undue burden on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion. In 1991 the Court had upheld a Reagan administration executive order banning abortion counseling at federally funded clinics.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Bill Clinton reversed this ban in January 1993. President Clinton vetoed a 1995 bill, which would have banned partial-birth abortions. Congressional supporters of the right to life vowed to override the President’s veto. In September 1996, they finally failed to do so. What people seem to forget is just how horrible partial birth abortion really is. Partial-birth or D&X abortion is a particularly horrific form of late-term abortion, in which the child is delivered live until only the head remains in the birth canal. The abortionist then uses a pair of scissors to rip a wound in the base of the living child’s skull. He inserts a tube into the wound and sucks the helpless child’s brain out with a vacuum pump. The now-dead infant’s skull collapses and the body is removed the rest of the way from the mother.
Whilst God and his teachings take a backseat, our heads of state are busy playing up to their voting public. Despite the support the H.R. 1833, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, received from both sides of the aisle (passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support in late 1995), President Clinton acted on behalf of his most radical pro-abortion allies and vetoed the Act.
There are no two ways of looking at it. Our religions state clearly that partial birth abortion, is nothing short of murder. It is condemned by God Almighty himself, and no matter how much people scream about the freedom of choice, it will never justify the loss of an innocent life. The Partial Birth Abortion procedure is one of the many proofs of how extreme the so-called “pro-choice” movement is. The President’s veto of the ban of this gruesome procedure not only contradicts the votes of both houses of congress and the convictions of 71% of the American people, but it proves how dangerous the “pro-choice” mentality is. They, who put choice above life at one stage, will find it hard not to do the same at later stages. A very fine line is crossed when someone decides it is ok to kill an unborn child and no one is safe on the other side of that threshold.
“Abortion,” 1994 Funk & Wagnall’s Corporation. ?
The US legislation and Abortion, Robert J. Levy ?
The Abortion controversy, Christopher Tietze ?
Abortion: Should it be allowed, Cyril C. Means, Jr. ?
Priests for Life Blasts Clinton on Veto, Father Frank Pavone, International Director of “Priests for Life”