In Roman times, abortion and the destruction of unwanted children waspermissible, but as out civilization has aged, it seems that such acts were nolonger acceptable by rational human beings, so that in 1948, Canada along withmost other nations in the world signed a declaration of the United Nationspromising every human being the right to life. The World Medical Associationmeeting in Geneve at the same time, stated that the utmost respect for humanlife was to be from the moment of conception. This declaration was re-affirmedwhen the World Medical Association met in Oslo in 1970. Should we go backwardsin our concern for the life of an individual human being?The unborn human is still a human life and not all the wishful thinkingof those advocating repeal of abortion laws, can alter this. Those of us whowould seek to protect the human who is still to small to cry aloud for it’s ownprotection, have been accused of having a 19th Century approach to life in thelast third of the 20th Century. But who in reality is using arguments of abygone Century? It is an incontrovertible fact of biological science – Make noMistake – that from the moment of conception, a new human life has been created.Only those who allow their emotional passion to overide their knowledge,can deny it: only those who are irrational or ignorant of science, doubt thatwhen a human sperm fertilizes a human ovum a new human being is created.
A newhuman being who carries genes in its cells that make that human being uniquelydifferent from any and other human being and yet, undeniably a member, as we allare, of the great human family. All the fetus needs to grow into a babe, a child,an old man, is time, nutrition and a suitable environment. It is determined atthat very moment of conception whether the baby will be a boy or a girl; whichof his parents he will look like; what blood type he will have. His wholeheritage is forever fixed.
Look at a human being 8 weeks after conception andyou, yes every person here who can tell the difference between a man and a women,will be able to look at the fetus and tell me whether it is a baby boy or a girl.No, a fetus is not just another part of a women’s body like an appendixor appendage. These appendages, these perfectly formed tiny feel belong to a 10week developed baby, not to his or her mother.The fetus is distinct and different and has it’s own heart beat. Do youknow that the fetus’ heart started beating just 18 days after a new life wascreated, beating before the mother even knew she was pregnant? By 3 months ofpregnancy the developing baby is just small enough to be help in the palm of aman’s hand but look closely at this 3 month old fetus. All his organs are formedand all his systems working.
He swims, he grasps a pointer, he moves freely, heexcretes urine. If you inject a sweet solution into the water around him, hewill swallaw because he likes the taste. Inject a bitter solution and he willquit swallowing because he does not like the taste. By 16 weeks it is obvious toall, except those who have eyes but deliberately do not see, that this is ayoung human being.
Who chooses life or death for this little one because abortion is thetaking of a human life? This fact is undeniable; however much of the members ofthe Women’s Liberation Movement, the new Feminists, Dr. Henry Morgentaler or theCanadian Medical Association President feel about it, does not alter the fact ofthe matter. An incontrovertible fact that cannot change as feelings change.If abortion is undeniably the taking of human life and yet sinceremisguided people feel that it should be just a personal matter between a womenand the doctor, there seems to be 2 choices open to them.
(1) That they wouldbelieve that other acts of destruction of human beings such as infanticide andhomicide should be of no concern of society and therefore, eliminate them fromthe criminal code. This I cannot believe is the thinking of the majority,although the tendency for doctors to respect the selfish desire of parents andnot treat the newborn defective with a necessary lifesaving measure, is becomingincreasingly more common. (2) But for the most part the only conclusionavailable to us is that those pressing for repeal of the abortion laws believethat there are different sorts of human beings and that by some arbitrarystandard, they can place different values on the lives of there human beings. Ofcourse, different human beings have different values to each of us asindividuals: my mother means more to me than she does to you. But the right tolife of all human beings is undeniable. I do not think this is negotiable.
It iseasy to be concerned with the welfare of those we know and love, while regardingeverybody else as less important and somehow, less real. Most people wouldrather have heard of the death of thousands in the Honduras flooding disasterthan of a serious accident involving a close friends or favourite relatives.That is why some are less disturbed by the slaughter of thousands of unbornchildren than by the personal problems of a pregnant women across the street. Torationalize this double standard, they pretend to themselves that the unbornchild is a less valuable human life because it has no active socialrelationships and can therefore, be disposed of by others who have an arbitrarystandard of their own for the value of a human life.I agree that the fetus has not developed it’s full potential as a humanbeing: but neither have any of us. Nor will any of us have reached that point:that point of perfect humaness, when we die.
Because some of us may be less faralong the path than others, does not give them the right to kill us. But thosein favour of abortion, assume that they have that right, the standard beingarbitrary. To say that a 10 week fetus has less value that a baby, means alsothat one must consider a baby of less value than a child, a young adult of lessvalue than an old man. Surely one cannot believe this and still be civilized andhuman.
A society that does not protect its individual members is on the lowestscale of civilized society. One of the measures of a more highly civilizedsociety, is its attitude towards its weaker members. If the poor, the sick, thehandicapped, the mentally ill, the helpless are not protected, the society isnot as advanced as in a society where they are protected. The more mature thesociety is, the more there is respect for the dignity and rights of all humanbeings. The function of the laws of the society, is to protect and provide forall members so that no individual or group of individuals can be victimized byanother individual group. Every member of Canadian society has a vital stake inwhat value system is adopted towards its weak, aged, cripple, it’s helplessintra-uterine members; a vital stake in who chooses life or death.As some of you may know, in 1969, the abortion laws were changed inCanada, so that it became legal for a doctor to perform an abortion if acommittee of 3 other doctors in an eccredited hospital deemed that continuationof the pregnancy constituted a severe threat to the life and health, mental orphysical of the women.
Threat to health was not defined and so it is variouslyinterpreted to mean very real medical disease to anything that interferes witheven social or economic well being, so that any unwanted or unplanned pregnancythus qualifies. What really is the truth about the lasting effect of an unwantedpregnancy on the psyche of a womem? Of course there is a difference of opinionamong psychiatrists, but if unbiased, prospective studies are examined certainfacts become obvious. (1) The health of women who are mentally ill before theybecome pregnant, is not improved by an abortion. In fact in 1970 an officialstatement of the World Health Organization said, “Serious mental disorders arisemore often in women previous mental problems. Thus the very women for whom legalabortion is considered justified on psychiatric grounds, are the ones who havethe highest risk of post-abortion psychiatric disorders.
(2) Most women who arementally healthy before unwanted pregnancy, despite a temporary emotional upsetduring the early weeks for the pregnancy, are mentally healthy after thepregnancy whether they were aborted or carried through to term.Do we accept killing a human being because of a temporary, emotionalupset? All obstetricians and gynaecologists know of many cases where the mother,be her single or married, has spoken of abortion early in the pregnancy andlater on, has confessed her gratitude to those who have not performed theabortion. On the other hand, we have all seen women what have been troubled,consumed with guilt and development significant psychiatric problems followingand because of abortion. I quote Ft. John L. Grady, Medical Examiner for FloridaState Attorney’s Office, “I believe it can be stated with certainty thatabortion causes more deep-seated guilt, depression and mental illness than itever cures”.We used to hear a lot about the risk of suicide among those whothreatened such action if their request for abortion was refused.
How real isthat risk – it is not – in fact, the suicide rate among pregnant women be theyhappy of unhappy about the pregnancy, is 1/4 of the rate among non-pregnantwomen in child-bearing years. An accurate 10 year study was done in England onunwed mothers who requested abortions and were refused. It was found that thesuicide rate of this group was less than that average population. In Minnesotain a 15 year period, there were only 14 maternal suicides. 11 occurred afterdelivery.
None were illegitimately pregnant. All were psychotic. In contrast,among the first 8 deaths of women aborted under the liberal law in the UnitedKingdon, 2 were from suicide directly following the abortion.
Are there any medical indications for abortion?? Is it valid for adoctor to co-operate in the choice for abortion? The late Dr. Guttmacher, one ofthe world leaders of the pro-abortion movement, has stated: “Almost any womencan be brought through pregnancy alive unless she suffers from cancer orleukemia, in which case abortion is unlikely to prolong her life much less saveit.”Category: Social Issues