I’m often amazed how often people reveal an ignorance about what abortion is and what it does. Perhaps we’ve just grown so accustomed to its presence that we’ve stopped thinking and talking about it. Continue reading . . .
I’m often amazed how often people reveal an ignorance about what abortion is and what it does. Perhaps we’ve just grown so accustomed to its presence that we’ve stopped thinking and talking about it.
Merriam Webster provides a rather politically correct definition of abortion: “The termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” Make no mistake: Abortion is the intentional killing of unborn babies. It happens by inserting instruments into the mother’s womb tearing the babies into pieces and removing them.
Abortion is that act by which the life of the fetus is voluntarily and artificially terminated. Abortion is therefore to be distinguished from birth control. Abortion is the termination of an already existent entity (the fetus) whereas birth control is the prevention of the initiation of that existence.
After the 16th week of a pregnancy, saline abortion is often employed. A saline solution is injected through the uterine wall, effectively poisoning/burning the fetus to death. Anywhere from 24 to 36 hours later the mother goes into labor and delivers a dead baby.
Hysterotomy is essentially delivery by C-section, with this distinction: the child is delivered to be killed. On occasion, abortion by saline injection and especially by hysterotomy are unsuccessful, resulting in the delivery of a live baby. In 1977 a Boston jury found Dr. Kenneth Edelin guilty of manslaughter for killing the product of a hysterotomy. Dr. William B. Waddill, an obstetrician in California, was twice indicted for allegedly strangling to death a baby born alive after a saline abortion. Both trials ended with a hung jury.
Late term abortions are now regularly performed in the U.S. Perhaps the worst imaginable expression of this is is known as Partial Birth Abortion, which means precisely what it says: a child is partially born, but before it is entirely removed from the womb, a doctor makes a large incision at the base of the skull and uses a suction device to remove its brains.
Some have attempted to justify abortion by drawing a distinction between the status of a pre-born fetus and a fully born baby, but it can’t be done.
Scott Klusendorf of Stand to Reason, citing the work of Stephen Schwarz, has pointed out that there are only four differences between a pre-born and a newborn. They can be remembered through the acronym SLED and turned into insightful questions:
Size: Does how big you are determine who you are? Is Arnold Schwarzenegger more of a person than Gary Coleman?
Level of development: Does how developed you are determine who you are? Is the burly football player more of a person than a prepubescent boy?
Environment: Does where you are determine who you are? Does sitting inside a house make you more or less a person than one sitting outside a house?
Degree of dependency: Does dependence upon another determine who you are? Is a diabetic on kidney dialysis less of a person than those who do not need such support? By the way, a new born infant is just as dependent on someone else for continued life as is one that is still in the womb!
Furthermore, all of these are arbitrary distinctions. None of them is biblical!
None of these differences determines whether or not you are a person. As Princeton philosopher Peter Singer writes, "The liberal search for a morally crucial dividing line between the newborn baby and the fetus has failed to yield any event or stage of development that can bear the weight of separating those with a right to life from those who lack such a right." One must either go with what appears to be Mr. Singer's chilling conclusion—that "human babies ... are not persons" and that infanticide can be justified!—or reason that since there is no morally relevant difference between a pre-born and a newborn, and since a newborn has a right to life, then a pre-born has a right to life.
This is the key to answering questions like: What about rape? What about incest? What if the baby is deformed? What if she is unwanted? The best way to respond is to ask these questions about a newborn. Would any of these situations give us a reason to kill the newborn? Of course not. But then we have returned to the original question: What is the morally relevant difference between a pre-born and a newborn?
But what if the child would be unwanted?
"If it were possible for the unborn child to choose to be wanted or unwanted, the child would predictably and rightfully choose to be wanted. But if the alternative to being wanted is being eliminated, what kind of choice is that? Since the child cannot even make the choice (fruitless though it would be, considering the alternatives), there are those who make its choice for it by killing it, and then piously pretending that their killing is really not an act of murder but of mercy because it is done as a humanitarian favor to the child" (Bajema, Abortion and the Meaning of Personhood, p. 68).
"We agree that every child should be wanted. A world without unwanted children would be an idyllic place in which to live. No one would quarrel with that as an idealistic goal. Wouldn't it also be a wonderful world if there were no unwanted wives by husbands, no unwanted aging parents by their children, no unwanted Jews, black people, Catholics, Chicanos, or ever again a person who at one time or place finds himself unwanted or persecuted. Let's all try to achieve this, but also remember that people have clay feet and sadly, the unwanted will always be with us. . . . The measure of our humanity is not that there aren't unwanted ones, but what we do with them. Shall we care for them or kill them?" (Willke, pp. 46-7).
Let me give you a graphic illustration of what abortion has done in our country alone since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Consider these 25 states: Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas,, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.
If you add up the populations in these states, they equal about 50 million people. That is approximately the number of unborn babies that were killed in the United States alone since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to the sin of racism.