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Abortion access

More Emails that we have received

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Sponsored link.

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This is a continuation of a previous list.

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Abortion denies children the right to life:

Email:  If I had decided to abort my children during the first few weeks after conception they would not be alive today.  I would have denied them the right to live the life they are living today.

Response: This is certainly true. But let's look at this from another perspective.  A woman who does not use birth control, abstinence and sterilization, might have something on the order of seven children during her lifetime. But the average woman in North America bears a little over two children. By using those techniques, she has denied five potential children the right to live the life that they would otherwise have enjoyed.

If a woman has an abortion to terminate a pregnancy before human personhood begins, then she is not denying a person the right to live. The person had not developed at the time that she had an abortion. She is rather preventing a potential person from developing into a human person. This is morally equivalent to using birth control to prevent an ovum from being fertilized. Of course, the time when human personhood begins is a personal belief over which there is no consensus. If she believes that human personhood starts at conception, then any abortion kills a human person.

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Can an abortion provider be charged with a crime?

Email: ... it physically sickened me to think that the doctor gets away with murder every time he does this. Couldn't he/she be charged with child abuse or endangerment?

Response: The physician certainly can be charged, both by the courts who enforce state laws and by the state medical association that grants medical licenses. Both have restrictions concerning when and under what circumstances an abortion is permitted. But they generally only apply to terminations of pregnancies that occur near or after the time that the fetus becomes viable. A few states have parental notification or permission laws that require under-age women to notify a parent or obtain their permission before getting an abortion. If a physician violates these rules, she or he can be charged.

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Our web site defends abortion:

Email: ...you are sick for defending abortion.  Your fulltime job should be to dig 100s of 4 feet holes to bury their innocent corpses.  Cry for yourself, anti-life media, and pro-abortion politicians. Please tolerate my religious view.

Response:  Our web site does not defend abortion access; we do not support the pro-life movement or the pro-choice position, or the many points of view between pro-choice and pro-life. Our staff members hold diverse views about abortion. We simply explain all sides to the issue. As with many other moral issues, such as equal rights for gays and lesbians, access to physician assisted suicide, the death penalty, spanking children etc., we explain all sides to the issue and let our readers make up their mind. 

You have apparently decided to never have an abortion yourself for religious reasons. We respect that view and support you in your decision. We would hope that you will respect the right of other people to hold different religious views. That is what we mean by the term "religious tolerance." Many people feel that women should be allowed to make an informed choice on whether to have an abortion. This is a right in the U.S., according to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is also a right in Canada under their universal medicare system -- in part because that country does not have a law regulating abortion.

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All abortion is murder:

Email: I believe that personhood begins at conception.  It might be a small human being that is being killed in the first trimester, but it's still human. What is your personal opinion?

Response: I think that everyone will agree that, say, 1 week into pregnancy, we are dealing with a human life. It is undeveloped; it is tiny; it cannot be differentiated from a cow, dog or cat embryo. But it is human. That is what humans look like, at that stage of gestation. It has a unique DNA. The question is not whether it is human; it is whether it is a person at the time of the abortion. This leads to a second question: "what is a person?"

Suppose one were to give scientists unlimited funding and an assignment to create a doll that looks and acts like a newborn baby. Their doll might appear alive to the average person; it might even fool the doctors. It would cry, move its limbs, move its eyeballs, make breathing motions, emit heart sounds, be warm to the touch, etc. But it would not be a baby. What is the difference? It would have no functioning brain; it would have no self-awareness; it would not be "alive" in the full sense of the word. I personally believe that a fetus up to about 25 weeks gestation has both the status of a doll and the potential of becoming a human person. It has an undeveloped brain. It cannot sense its environment; it cannot hear; it cannot think; it cannot dream; its cerebral cortex is not yet functioning; it cannot feel pain. By about 26 weeks, its brain is more fully developed; it is conscious; it can sense its surroundings; it is no longer a doll. My personal belief is that it is now a person. Its life should be protected, except under very unusual and extremely rare circumstances.

We can look at this issue from the other end of life. Medical science defines death as the point where an EEG indicates that the higher functions of brain are no longer functioning and cannot be restored. Part of the "reptilian brain" may still be working, causing the person to breathe and their heart to beat. The body may look like a person; they may be breathing, heart beating, etc. But there is no person at home. They are dead because their cerebral cortex is no longer functioning and has absolutely no chance to restart in the future. If the end of life for the person is defined as the point at which the cerebral cortex stops functioning, then it can be equally argued that the start of life for the person is defined as the point at which the cerebral cortex starts functioning...at 26 weeks gestation typically.

I would personally support a legal system which defined 22 weeks or so as the cutoff point beyond which abortions were prohibited, except under very unusual circumstances. That would give a month or so safety factor. But this is simply my personal opinion.

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Bible passage about life:

Email: Please add the following pro-life Bible verse to your list of abortion references in the Bible at abo_bibl.htm Deuteronomy 30:19 -  "I call Heaven and Earth to hold this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed my live."

Response: Thanks for the suggestion. We will add this passage. However, by reading either the verses before or the verses after this one, it is obvious that Moses is talking not about abortion but the decision by the Israelites whether to follow Jehovah or to follow the Pagan gods of the Canaanites. Also, analyzing verse 19 itself, if the ancient Israelites chose "death" then it would be the Israelite adults and their children that would die. If the passage referred to abortion, and if the "seed" referred to unborn fetuses, then only the seed would die.

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Fetuses can feel pain:

Email: Babies can still feel pain [during an abortion procedure] even when they haven't been born yet. Just think about that and be one more person to do a good thing.

Response: It is true that fetuses older than about 26 week gestation can probably feel pain. However, fewer than 1% of all abortions are performed at this stage in gestation. About 90% are done in the first trimester when the embryonic brain's higher functions -- needed to feel pain -- have not yet been turned on. About 9% are done in the second trimester when the brain's higher functions still have not been turned on. Those rare pregnancy terminations done at 26 weeks or later are almost inevitably done because the fetus has a serious genetic malformation -- often one that prevents it from living more than a few hours if they were born. Those fetuses are generally anesthetized to prevent them from experiencing pain.

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 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Personal topics > here

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Copyright © 2000 and 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-OCT-22
Latest update: 2008-MAR-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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