This web site's main author's
personal beliefs about abortion access.
He is neither pro-life or pro-choice.
The author of this essay is neither a conventional pro-lifer nor a pure pro-choicer.
I recognize that my position is totally unacceptable to most pro-lifers and most pro-choicers. Many of them believe that an intermediate position is not possible and that if a person is not pro-life, they are automatically pro-choice, and vice-versa.
I believe that women who are fully informed and who have made a careful and well thought-out decision to have an abortion should have full access to an early abortion.
I follow the scientific definition of "life:" which posesses seven properties, including the ability to reproduce:
A spermatozoon is unable to reproduce. That is, one spermatozoon cannot divide and produce two spermatoza, and is thus not a form of life.
An ovum is unable to reproduce. That is, one ovum cannot divide and produce two ova, and is thus not a form of life.
A young zygote will occasionally split and produce two ova. That might lead to monozygotic twins (identical twins) being born many months later.
Thus, I believe that human life begins at conception, and may have the form of a human ovum, a zygote (just-fertilized ovum), blastocyst (a multi-celled living entity formed from many human cells), an embryo, a fetus, a newborn, a baby, a child, and an adult. Other forms of human life are human malignant and benign cancers, skin scrapings, etc.
I believe that a human life becomes a human person during its fetal state when it first becomes sentient. This happens at approximately 24 weeks gestation when her or his brain's higher functions first begin operating, and the fetus first becomes aware at some primitive level of its surroundings. I derive this belief from the generally accepted definition of the death of a human person which occurs when these higher brain functions quit forever. My belief is that an embryo or younger fetus resembles a human doll more than a human person. That is, it resembles a human person, but does not have a brain and thus is not sentient.
Pro-lifers sometimes use the expression: "An abortion stops a beating heart." Stopping a beating heart does not concern me if the woman chooses to have an early abortion; stopping a functioning brain definitely does.
I believe that pregnant women should have free access to abortion if the human life that she is carrying has not yet become a human person. Abortions after, say, 21 weeks gestation should be restricted. This would allow an approximately three week safety factor. She should have access to abortion later in pregnancy only in those rare situations where her life is threatened by a continued pregnancy or if that pregnancy would result in her significant long-term disability.
I recognize that the above beliefs are shared by a small minority of people. Most pro-lifers, for example, believe that human life becomes a human person during the process of conception when a unique DNA develops from the fusing of DNAs of the ovum and one very lucky spermatozoon. Many pro-lifers belief that abortions are moral much later than 21 weeks gestation.
When writing essays on abortion and all other topics on this web site, I attempt to be as objective and fair as possible when describing all belief systems.