A few days ago I posted a meme which made a comment on choice as it pertains to pregnancy and abortion. Essentially, it made the point that “choice” happens in the bedroom, and not the delivery suite.
I had a push back from a younger member of my family, and I restrained myself from responding directly on the post because I wasn’t willing to trigger an argument with him in public (this is a conversation for a one-to-one situation). However, after 4 days of thinking and worrying about it, and an encouragement (from a Jewish man, no less), despite my worries about the reaction this might cause, I want to nail my colours to the mast in this area.
Some introductory comments …
My family member commented that all pregnancies are different and that that I was making a “blanket” statement about it. The implication was that I am wrong to do so. His example and implied point was that was a pregnancy that resulted from a rape is morally different from one which resulted from a loving, caring relationship and that it is wrong to view them in the same way.
I am a man, I am a Christian man, and I am a heterosexual, middle-aged white Christian man at that. I am aware that in today’s “woke” culture, my opinion lies at the bottom of the pile. However, neither my sexuality, my gender, my skin colour, nor my age affect how I feel about this issue. I do recognise that My faith influences my feelings in this issue. But I also believe that there are some good arguments independent of any Christian views which speak to this issue.
When I am describing or referencing things like rape and incest, I am NOT, I repeat I am NOT making any comment at all about the despicable, and repulsive nature of the conception. I am neither condoning nor excusing the actions in those circumstances. Rape and incest are abhorrent and should always be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I will talk about the “rape exception” later.
At the point of conception, a new life is created. This new life has a DNA which is neither the mother’s nor the father’s but is absolutely unique in every way – this fact is not medically contested. Therefore any child growing in the womb of a woman is NOT part of the woman’s body, it is a unique, valuable human being in its own right. It is IN her body, it is dependent on her body for its survival, but it is NOT her body.
I do not believe you can deny that a baby growing in the womb is a human being by describing it as a zygote, embryo or foetus. A zygote, an embryo, a foetus, a baby, a child, a teenager, a young adult, an old adult, a geriatric are ALL descriptions of a human being. They are descriptors of the stage of life that a human being is in. EVERY one of them is a human being. Viewing someone as “not really human”, is the start of a slippery slope to prejudice and hatred. For example the “not really human” argument was used to justify the incarceration and despicable treatment of negro slaves in the Antebellum South and the treatment and killing of Jews, Gypsies, disabled people and homosexuals under the Nazi regime.
I believe every single human being has value. This belief is rooted in my Christian faith. I believe mankind was created in the image of God. The manner of conception does not impact the essential value of a human being. A baby conceived in rape or incest has the same inherent value as one conceived in a loving relationship. All human beings, however conceived are valuable human beings and have a right to life. If we don’t accept this the case, to be intellectually honest we must extend that value beyond birth into the lifespan of the individual and then give way throughout life to those we deem to be more “valuable”.
Furthermore, my faith and beliefs add to this. The Bible makes it clear that God sees and values people in the womb. In the Psalms, David talks of being seen by God when he was growing and developing in the womb, in the hidden place (Psalm 139). Jeremiah is told that before he was formed in the womb, God knew him and chose him (Jeremiah 1). There are accounts of children in the womb revealing who they are, for example, Jacob and Esau struggled with each other in the womb (Genesis 25), and John the Baptist jumped in the womb when the pregnant Elisabeth (second trimester) met the pregnant Mary (first trimester) (Luke 1). The bible is quite clear that it considers human life starts before birth.
At its core, every abortion carried out (for whatever reason) is the conscious, deliberate taking of a human life. I am not aware of any abortion ever which has been carried out successfully that has not resulted in the death of a baby. The term abortion is itself in my opinion a mechanism to hide or obscure this truth.
I find it abhorrent that a human being can argue that they have the right to take a course of action which will result in a death simply because they are exercising their “right to choose”.
Killing a human being in the service of compassion — killing a baby because of your compassion for the mother is at best inconsistent, I would argue it is rank hypocrisy.
I do not believe that the impact a human being will have on the quality of life of another justifies killing it. Our lives and actions DO influence others and there are all sorts of laws in place about all sorts of things to limit that and allow every one what is legally known as “quiet enjoyment”. Under no circumstances in the UK is the death penalty used when someone breaks any law.
There is an argument to justify the legalising of abortion and oppose any action by government to make it illegal which goes along the lines of “if abortion were illegal, people would just get illegal abortions anyway”. Interestingly, rape, incest, abuse, and any number of other reprehensible actions are also illegal all over the world, yet people do those things anyway. Are those who use this argument FOR abortion prepared to allow for those other actions to be legalised? I think not – this is an intellectually dishonest argument.
In the UK, in 2019, according to the office for National Statistics, our National Health Service aborted over 205,000 babies. We essentially killed 560 babies a day, every day that year. In 2020, the figure looks like it will massively exceed that number.
The “rape exception”
I include in this, babies conceived in circumstances which while not “rape” as such, could be deemed to be times when consent is not given, for example, the mentally impaired, children (incest comes to mind here), those who cannot give informed consent by virtue of drink or dugs and so on. I have already stated that such times are abhorrent. Men who commit such acts against women are acting reprehensibly, illegally and immorally, and they should answer to the law and I believe they will answer to God for what they have done.
Abortion in such circumstances is the ONLY case where the solution to a crime is the death of an innocent third party.
Since we do not carry out the death penalty in the UK for any crime, those calling for abortion in the case of rape are advocating the killing of an innocent third party while the perpetrator of the crime IF convicted is not killed (the sorry state of affairs where not nearly enough rape cases are successfully prosecuted is a red herring to this but also needs addressing). So, advocates of abortion in such circumstances if they are to be consistent must surely also campaign for the death sentence for rapists.
My understanding of the current state of affairs is that many abortions are carried out simply because the mother has no wish to bring up another child, or that the child will adversely affect the “quality of life” of the mother (and possibly her existing children), but one alternative seems to be being dismissed out of hand – adoption. There are many thousands of people who cannot bear children of their own (for all sorts of reasons) who would willingly give an unwanted child a home, if the finances currently put into abortion services were diverted to adoption services, we could totally transform adoption for the better in the UK.