Abortion Essay, Research Paper
For many people, the central issue in the abortion debate focuses on one question: Is abortion the taking of a human life? In this paper I will be discussing the secular and Christian perspective of this issue as well as my own.
There are two sides of the abortion issue. One side calls itself pro-choice . They believe it is a woman s hu8man right to decide when and whether to have a child. The other side calls itself pro-life or right to life . They believe that a fetus s right to live comes first, before the rights of the pregnant woman.
The defenders of abortion concede that a morally crucial dividing line along the path of fetal development between fertilization and birth does not exist.(1) They believe that abortion is not murder because no one has been able to prove when life truly begins.
The defenders of abortion go on to say that fetuses are not persons and is therefore not morally wrong to destroy them.(1) They say that personhood is not looked at as a biological state but as a social phenomenon, involving the capacities for reason, self-awareness, and social and moral reciprocity (Warren 1991) (1)
Defenders of abortion rights stress that in the long run parenthood should be the option and not a state, which too many people are falling into.
Here are some pro-choice facts about the safety of the procedure.
1. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures available.(2)
2. Government studies show a pregnancy carried to term causes more complications that any legal abortion.(2)
3. Pro-choice supporters say having an abortion does not affect future pregnancies.(2)
4. There are no significant psychological after effects of legal Abortion. According to an American Psychiatric Association report published in Science magazine in 1990, say that women may feel sad or guilty at first, but not anymore or less than any other personal crisis.(2)
Barbara Hernandez states that, It is up to the women to evaluate her circumstances and determine whether she is to continue her pregnancy or terminate it.
Christine Grimbol states, I believe that as Christians, we are called to usher in the kingdom of God Life for a Christian is more than breathing in and out. Until people have a home in which to raise their children, the safety and security of whatever they need to do that well, them abortion needs to be a choice. Clearly, giving a woman the right to abortion is a compassionate stand, and anytime compassion rules over judgment, we see the Kingdom of God.
The bottom line of the defenders of abortion is that they believe that it is the right of the women to do with her body as she sees fit.
When does life begin? Well, according to many pro-lifers, life begins when the sperm fertilizes the egg. Pro-lifers say that abortion is equivalent to murdering a human being because a life is removed from its source. Pro-life activists say that abortion destroys a basic right of a child-the right to be born.
Pro-lifers say that abortions are not safe for women. They believe that abortions have many negative physical and psychological effects. 1)Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection which can follow abortion (2) 2) Abortions may damage the cervix(2) 3) Abortion prevents some women from getting pregnant again(2) 4) New pregnancies following abortions may result in bleeding.(2)
Anti abortion advocates contend that many women are traumatized after their abortions when they realize they have killed their babies. The advocates assert that this trauma, known as post abortion syndrome is a common reaction to abortion.(3)
Every year in the United States 1.5 million abortions are performed. This statistic has been justly used to portray abortion as a modern day Holocaust, contends William Brennan in the following viewpoint. Each abortion kills an unborn child, he maintains. Just as the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany was legal but morally wrong, Brennan argues, abortions are legal but not moral.(3)
Pro lifers say that an unwanted child does not justify abortion. Stephen Schwarz is a professor of philosophy at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston and an opponent of abortion. In the following viewpoint, Schwarz argues that the unborn child s right to life should rake precedence over whether or not it is wanted. Schwarz further contends that many supposedly unwanted children are eventually accepted by their natural or adoptive parents and go on to lead happy and contented lives. He also believes that even if an unwanted child grows up unhappy, it should be his or her decision to end that unhappy life.(3) There is no such thing as an unwanted child-there are only unwanting people among those who are born. (Stephen Shwarz)
Pro-lifers argue that the freedom to choose abortion deprive women of the experience of childbirth and mothering, and in the process snuffs out the lives of their innocent babies.
As Christians we have an obligation to stand by the pro-lifers. According to the Bible, abortion is murder. The scriptures teach us that women who abort their children will be cursed by God. The Bible says that life begins at conception and an unborn life is sacred. Some forty times Scripture refers to conception as the start of a new life in the womb of the mother.(3)
Abortion is wrong. Both the Bible and biology point away from the modern notion that the fetus is merely a physical appendage of the mother rather than an independent human being. We must act on the belief that from the moment of conception, we are dealing with a human being created in the image of God. WE must stop aborting millions of unborn babies each year. (Ronald J. Sider)
Several verses assume that the fetus is made in God s image. Genesis 5:3 reads: When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. The phrase, in his own likeness, as meaning the image of God.
The presence of the image of God may also be assumed when the Bible refers to the sinful nature of the unborn. For if the unborn can be shown to have a moral nature, would this not be evidence in favor of their being in the image of God? Psalm 51:5 says, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. This certainly supports the notion that man already bears God s image marred by sin, from conception on.
Scripture shows God relating to the fetus in several intimate ways. God made us in the womb, but also fashioned everyone. Psalm 119:73 says, Thy hands made me and fashioned me. Jeremiah reports what the Lord said. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Jeremiah 1:5
Paul writes that God had set him apart, even from his mother s womb. Galatians 1:15
God s concern and active involvement in the progress of the unborn differs strongly from the pro abortionist s dismissal of the unborn as worthless nonpersons.
God s personal involvement with the unborn provides the foundation for their personal worth. If we are persons because God has related to us in a personal way, them the unborn are also persons since God s care for them obviously begins in the womb.
We may have been prone to think Scripture could not answer the moral issues of our day. Yet God s Word is still sufficient to respond adequately even to the issue of abortion.