Abortion is one of the most highly debated issues of our time. Several questions arise from the midst of this multi-faceted jumble of opinions, morals, and strongly held values. When does the fetus become a person, as opposed to a mass of tissue? Is abortion acceptable in some circumstances while not in others? These are points I will strive to clarify, and share my thoughts and beliefs on. My beliefs, briefly outlined, are as follows: a baby is a baby at the time of conception. It has all the rights of a child outside of the womb-including the right to live.
Why do I believe that an unborn baby is a person? In the split second that sperm and egg unite to create a zygote, genetic codes are formed. These codes dictate a person’s height, hair colour, eye colour, and even many personality traits. The blueprint for a human that will eventually be made up of over 64 trillion cells, all contained in a package no bigger than the point of a pin.
Unborn babies are de-humanized by pro-choice activists. They use euphemisms to make the brutal dismemberment and killing of a human baby into termination of fetus.” Try to find a pro-choice pamphlet that uses the word baby or person to describe what is being “removed.” The baby is often described as being merely tissue. Let’s examine the reality of saying that a fetus is not alive. Sex can be determined in a prebom 3-7 days after fertilization. (Dr Jerome Lejeune M.D.) The human heart beats at 21 days. (Dr. William Liley, Foetologist) At 8 weeks a preborn is sensitive to touch and pain. (Human Development Resource Council Inc., 1996) Brain waves have been recorded in as early as 37 days. (Dr. William Liley, Foetologist) Fingerprints are detectable in preboms at 10 weeks (Human Development Resource Council Inc., 1996) It has been found that fetal heart rate slows when the mother is speaking, suggesting that the fetus not only hears and recognizes the sound, but is calmed by it. (Psychology Today, Sept-Oct.,1998) Now, I’m not sure what your definition of life is. But to me, something with a beating heart, that can think, feel pain, and hear sounds like a living creature to me.
A common issue brought up by the pro-choice movement is that abortion is a “safe alternative solution to pregnancies that are a product of rape, incest, or those that may threated a mother’s life. However, these special circumstances account for under 1% of all abortions combined. As well if, as has already been concluded, and unborn baby is in fact a person, than it is murder. I can’t recall hearing people condoning murder under “certain circumstances.” If a baby is the result of something awful happening, that doesn’t make it’s life any less valuable. I am not saying that it would be easy to carry the memory of something you’d rather forget around with you for 9 months. But why punish a tiny innocent baby for someone else’s mistake? As well, though they call it safe, the psychological effects of abortion are astounding. Though many pro-choice organisations will claim that abortion has no psychological effect on women. This is simply not true. In fact, there are more than 375 studies dealing with the psychological impact of abortion on women. All show that at least a minority of women, typically between 10 and 20 percent, have one or more negative reactions shortly after an abortion. Studies looking at long-term reactions indicate that the longer after an abortion one looks, the more negative reactions will be reported. Each women’s trauma manifests itself in a different way. The most common effects are: feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, helplessness, grief and/or remorse, uncontrollable crying, feelings of anger, bitterness, and resentment; feelings of distrust and betrayal; lowered self-esteem; avoidance of babies, small children, or anything to do with pregnancy; fear of future pregnancies or, alternatively, a desire to have a “replacement” baby; flashbacks to the abortion experience; nightmares or sleeping disorders, depression, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, substance abuse; self-destructive behavior; broken or abusive relationships, problems bonding with other children; suicidal thoughts or tendencies, and other problems. At examination of this, we may have to re-consider how “safe” an alternative abortion really is.
In Canada today, there are no restrictions on abortion. This means that abortions can, and are done at any time during the gestational period, using any method. This includes partial birth abortions. In this type of abortion, the baby is delivered except for it’s head. Scissors are then forced into the baby’s skull, and the contents are sucked out with a vacuum. As horrible as that is to hear this happens all around the world, up to the 9th month of pregnancy. A baby aborted this way at even 6 months will kick their feet, and wave their arms. This is even more brutal then in the more common methods of abortion, because at this point of pregnancy, the baby is usually developed enough to live outside of the womb. The presently accepted legal definition of life states that the baby’s head must be completely out of the mother. Thus, the difference between legal abortion, and infanticide is a few inches. I was unable to find statistics on how many of these are done in Canada, but in the United States it is estimated that well over 25,000 babies are aborted in this manner each year.
If you think that abortion isn’t an issue that affects you, think again. Today we abort one in five prenatal conceived in our country. (Alliance Action, Winnipeg, 1994) Environmentalists classify a species as endangered if its birthrate drops to 1.7 and Canada’s human birthrate has been at 1.7 for several years. (Alliance Action, Winnipeg, 1994) Abortion is the leading cause of death in Canada. More babies are killed each year then people killed by strokes, respiratory disease, heart disease and even cancer. In the time that it has taken you to read this essay, over 1000 babies have been murdered. This is not tissue being removed. These are our brothers and sisters, these are our would-be friends, brain surgeons, astronauts, future Olympic athletes. That is, they would be, if they were given the chance to live.
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