Aileen Grace Delima January 18, 2008 BIO 199 Abortion in the Philippines: Reasons and Responsibilities Abortion is a controversial issue but it should be discussed because it is happening, and is more widespread than we care to admit. If we truly care about life, then we must understand what is going on (Tan 2008). Ideally, pregnancy is a wanted and happy event for women, their partners and their families. Unfortunately, this is not always so.
Around the world, millions of women every year become pregnant unintentionally. In the Philippines, as in other countries, some of these women are faced with a difficult choice: to give birth to a child that they are not prepared or able to care for, or to obtain an illegal, and often unsafe, abortion (Singh et al. 2006). Abortion and Philippines Laws Abortion is illegal in the Philippines and is not permitted under any circumstance.
The act is criminalized by the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, which was enacted in 1930 but remains in effect to day. Articles 256, 258 and 259 of the Code mandate imprisonment for the woman who undergoes the abortion, as well as for any person who assists in the procedure, even if they be the woman’s parents, a physician or midwife. Article 258 further imposes a higher prison term on the woman or her parents if the abortion is undertaken “in order to conceal [the woman’s] dishonor” (Tan 2008 and Wikipedia 2008).
The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines effectively any amendments to the Penal Code’s provisions on abortion because of Article II, Section 12, which states: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government. In the principle, legalizing abortion would require a referendum to amend the constitution, although the enactment of a more definitive provision sanctioning the ban was not successful. In 1999, Congressman Roy Padilla Jr. of Camarines Norte filed House Bill 6343 seeking to allow abortion in special cases (e. g. , rape, congenital defects in the fetus or cases where the mother’s life is endangered). It is unlikely that the bill will be passed but it has stimulated discussion on abortion.
The passage of HB 6343 will require amendment because the Bill as it presently stands is inherently unconstitutional (Wikipedia 2008 and Tan 2008). The United Nations recognizes that abortion in the Philippines is permitted only in instances in which the pregnant woman’s life is endangered. However, there is no law in the Philippines that expressly authorizes abortions in order to save the woman’s life; and the general provisions which do penalize abortion make no qualifications if the woman’s life is endangered.
It may be argued that an abortion to save the mother’s life could be classified as a justifying circumstance (duress as opposed to self-defense) that would bar criminal prosecution under the Revised Penal Code. However, this position has yet to be adopted or debunked by the Philippine Supreme Court. Proposals to liberalize Philippine abortion laws have been opposed by the Abortion: To terminate or not to terminate “Ten to 30 percent of maternal deaths are caused by abortions,” deplored Biran Affandi, chair of the Asia Pacific Council on Contraception (Apcoc).
Maternal deaths are defined as mortalities during pregnancy or up to six weeks after delivery. Abortion can either be spontaneous or induced. It is considered spontaneous (also known as miscarriage) when the loss of pregnancy happens before “fetal viability” (22 weeks gestation). Induced abortion is defined as, to quote the words of World Health Organization, “a process by which pregnancy is terminated before fetal viability. ” Statistics compiled by the Department of Health Hospital Development Plan for 1988 to 1992 reveal that in 1986 alone abortion was third in the top 10 causes of hospitalization.
A large percentage of this is believed to be induced abortion. In the Philippines, no reliable statistics on abortion is available because abortion is illegal. “No woman, doctor on hospital will ever admit to having committed the crime for fear of legal sanctions,” points out the Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Inc. In a study made by Josefina Cabigon of the University of the Philippines Population Institute in Metro Manila, 17 percent of the 1,169 women surveyed admitted having had an abortion. In Cebu, Davao, and Tuguegarao, where the abortion studies were also made, abortion is widely practiced albeit illegally. About 400,000 unsafe abortions are done every year in the Philippines,” Benjamin De Leon, president of the Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc. “That’s about one abortion per minute. ” In one study by the Philippines Gynecological Society, they count about one in four of total maternal deaths in 78 hospitals all over the country that can be attributed to induced abortion. In a thesis published in 1982 in Studies in Family Planning, 86 percent of 286 women respondents from Metro Manila, Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao said that poverty was the main reason for their undergoing abortion.
Over half of the women who had induced abortion are married, showing that abortion is used to regulate or limit the number of children. “Economic difficulty is the common for both the married and the unmarried, implying that a good majority belong to the poor,” noted the first State of the Philippine Population Report. One researcher added, “As long as wealth and resources are not evenly distributed in the country, the problem of poverty will continue to stalk all of us; and abortion will remain a symptom of a social cancer that we cannot solve by the mechanical application of the law. Another report claims that nearly half of all pregnancies or 1. 43 million of about 3. 1 million pregnancies in the country are unintended, a third of which are ended through abortion. Such was the case of Anna: “My boyfriend raped me. Because I wanted to end the relationship which he could not accept. But who is going to believe that? Had I chosen to let the baby live and marry my boyfriend to save my name, I know I would no have been happy. I will not be a good mother because I am forced by circumstances. ” Some women also have an abortion because a baby “interferes with occupation, studies, or employment. A study done by Corazon Raymundo in 1996 – Abortion: A public health concern – one group of respondents were young women whose main reason for resorting to abortion was being totally unprepared for pregnancy because they were still in school and still wanted to continue their studies. (More than three million young Filipinos, 15 to 24 years old, engage in premarital sex. Seventy-four percent of them do not use any contraceptive. ) Twenty-two-year-old Rebecca was a graduating student when she decided to abort her baby. “I had to do it,” she disclosed. I felt I would be too ungrateful to my parents if I fail to finish my course and they have worked so hard to let me study. The baby had to go. My boyfriend and I agreed to let it go. ” “The men do play a role in childbearing,” pointed out the Pro-Life Philippines. In some cases, the men are the reason why women resort to abortion. Some wives are now separated from their husbands, while others had a quarrel with the husband. Other reasons: husband has no job, husband is irresponsible or common-law husband has other family.
Women resort to various abortion methods ranging from taking certain drugs or herbal preparations to approaching a ‘hilot’ (traditional midwife) to consulting a health practitioner like midwife, doctor or nurse. In Tuguegarao, Cagayan, there was a case of ‘hilot,’ who inserted a barbecue stick in a woman’s sex organ to induce abortion. The 1982 hospital-based study found that among the women hospitalized as a result of induced abortion, most (46%) had gone to the ‘hilot’ for abortion. Some 15% of these induced cases were done by the midwives, and another 15% were done by the patients themselves. The rest were done by doctors or nurses.
A significant 15% would not reveal who had done the abortion. “Abortions cause deaths which can be prevented if women use contraceptives,” said Apcoc’s Affandi. “Family planning or contraception is a basic need in reproductive health, just like we need clean water and nutritious food,” he added. Some 100,000 deaths from abortion-related complications are expected yearly, while 123 million women worldwide do not use contraceptives, with some unaware of their availability or benefits, Apcoc has found. However, many religious extremists are quick to equate contraception (and family planning) with abortion.
This is misleading. “Contraception and abortion are distinct from each other and blurring the line between the two is a tactic employed by religious extremists to dissuade people from using contraception,” points out the Advocate for Youth Philippines Foundation. According to Apcoc, the reasons these women don’t use contraceptives or opt for riskier, less reliable methods include the lack of education about contraception; the cost of contraceptive pills and the economic situation of users; plus myths, misconceptions, religious and cultural beliefs relating to this activity.
Now, should abortion be legalized in the Philippines? The 1987 Constitution prohibits the legalization of abortion as well as any judicial nullification of any legislation prohibiting abortion. The Revised penal code defines abortion and prohibits it, as stated: “The State recognized the sanctity of family life… and shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. ” Among those countries which allow abortions without restriction are: the United States, Canada, many European countries, Bahrain, South Africa, China and Italy (where the Vatican is located).
Some studies have shown that pregnant women who can afford go to these countries to undergo abortion. In the Philippines, an abortion performed out of medical necessity (that is, to save the life of the mother) is, according to the Supreme Court, not a criminal act. However, the law’s approach to abortion is “only prohibition,” focusing on the persons who bring about abortion. To terminate or not to terminate, that is still the question. As Women’s Features Service Philippines puts it: “For Catholics, abortion is never a choice. For medical practitioners, abortion presents a dilemma for they have pledged to save lives.
On the extreme side of the issue, some Catholics even claim that women’s rights are being used to destroy the family. There seems to be hope in passing a law to provide safe abortion services here in the still predominantly Catholic Philippines. Meanwhile, the women and children suffer. ” — ### I will not give you the arguments for, but here are the arguments against: 1. Abortion is murder. From the moment of conception the fertilized egg is a unique person. There will never be another like him or her so in destroying that person you deprive the world of all of his or her contributions.
Many disabled people have given the world incredible gifts. Beethoven, for instance was deaf, yet his music has delighted millions. 2. No one has the right to take the life of another person. A baby, however, small is a person. 3. There are many childless people in the world who would love to adopt a baby that a mother does not want. 4. Abortion is actually more medically risky than having the child. 5. For those who are Christian, abortion violates the fifth commandment and is abominable in the eyes of God. All right, then, I’ll give some arguments for abortion. PS, religion should not be used as an argument in this.
The person asking the question is not automatically Christian. 1. #* Nearly all abortions take place in the first trimester, when a fetus cannot exist independent of the mother. As it is attached by the placenta and umbilical cord, its health is dependent on her health, and cannot be regarded as a separate entity as it cannot exist outside her womb. 2. The concept of personhood is different from the concept of human life. Human life occurs at conception, but fertilized eggs used for in vitro fertilization are also human lives and those not implanted are routinely thrown away. Is this murder, and if not, then how is abortion murder? . Adoption is not an alternative to abortion, because it remains the woman’s choice whether or not to give her child up for adoption. Statistics show that very few women who give birth choose to give up their babies – less than 3% of white unmarried women and less than 2% of black unmarried women. 4. Abortion is a safe medical procedure. The vast majority of women – 88% – who have an abortion do so in their first trimester. Medical abortions have less than 0. 5% risk of serious complications and do not affect a woman’s health or future ability to become pregnant or give birth. 5.
In the case of rape or incest, forcing a woman made pregnant by this violent act would cause further psychological harm to the victim. Often a woman is too afraid to speak up or is unaware she is pregnant, thus the morning after pill is ineffective in these situations. 6. Abortion is not used as a form of contraception. Pregnancy can occur even with responsible contraceptive use. Only 8% of women who have abortions do not use any form of birth control, and that is due more to individual carelessness than to the availability of abortion. 7. The ability of a woman to have control of her body is critical to civil rights.
Take away her reproductive choice and you step onto a slippery slope. If the government can force a woman to continue a pregnancy, what about forcing a woman to use contraception or undergo sterilization? 8. Taxpayer dollars are used to enable poor women to access the same medical services as rich women, and abortion is one of these services. Funding abortion is no different from funding a war in the Mideast. For those who are opposed, the place to express outrage is in the voting booth. 9. Teenagers who become mothers have grim prospects for the future.
They are much more likely to leave of school; receive inadequate prenatal care; rely on public assistance to raise a child; develop health problems; or end up divorced. 10. Like any other difficult situation, abortion creates stress. Yet the American Psychological Association found that stress was greatest prior to an abortion, and that there was no evidence of post-abortion syndrome. 11. (information gotten from womensissues. com) ABORTION SHOULD NOT BE LEGALIZED Abortion is the worst thing a woman can do against human dignity. It is a crime against life. No woman has the right to kill a new living being.
Many countries ban abortion and many institutions fight against it. Abortion is immoral and it should not be legalized. Abortion is also a threat to the mother’s health. A woman can suffer an infection or internal bleeding. She could also become sterilized, the permanent inhability to bear a child. Abortion not only kills the baby but may kill the mother too. During an abortion, despite the use of local anesthesia, 97% of the women report severe pain, and if a more powerful drug is used she could suffer dangerous side effects. Many complications are common after an abortion, like inflammation of the reproductive organs.
As well, there is strong evidence that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. Women that abort increase their chances of getting breast cancer by 50%, and teenagers with no previous pregnancies that abort after the 8th week increase their probability by 800%. Unicef states that 250,000 women die every year because of legal and illegal abortions: 75,000 of them die of self-inflicted abortions; 75,000 die of convulsions; and the other 100,000 die of blood poisoning caused by an infection of the uterus. Therefore, if abortion is legalized there will be not only more fetal murders but also more mothers will die.
None of the methods women use to abort are completly safe. One of the most common methods used is Suction Aspiration. The doctor uses a special tool to suck the baby into a collection bottle. Great care must be taken to prevent the uterus from being damaged, which would cause hemorrhage. A woman with hemorrhage will need a blood transfusion that could cause her AIDS. Also infection may easily occur if fetal tissue is left behind in the uterus. Another method used for babies as old as twenty four weeks, is the Dilation and Evacuation. Sharp jaws are used to grasp different parts of the unborn baby which are then torn away.
The skull of the baby must be crushed to facilitate the procedure. Another technique used by a lot of pregnant women is the RU486. The RU486 are pills used to abort the undesired child. These pills have very dangerous side effects. They could cause severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain, and even death. In France a woman died because of this drug while others suffered life threatning heart attacks. Also RU486 can cause severe malformations in later pregnancies. Therefore the baby is not the only one that is endangered. The baby’s mother not only has to deal with physical consequences, but also sychological problems that could last for a lifetime. Women that abort usually suffer severe traumas. Once, a woman was rapped by five men. She didn’t want to have the child, but her pain and embarrasment were so great that she couldn’t abort until the last month. She is still in psychological treatment. Psychologist Wanda Franz states, “Women feel worthless because they failed at the most natural of human activities, the role of being a mother. ” Women report horrible nightmares of children calling them from a trash can full of body parts and blood.
Surgical abortions aren’t as traumatic as chemical abortions. Women having chemical abortions often see the complete tiny bodies of their babies and are even able to distinguish the developing hands and eyes. So traumatic is this for some future mothers that it is recommended that women that are not prepared for this, do not take the drug. Researchers call these phychological problems the Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Women that suffer from PAS experience drug and alcohol abuse, personal relationship problems, repeated abortions, and even suicide. Of all the women that abort, 56% feel guilty and suffer PAS.
In the United States there are over 3000 Pregnancy Crisis Centers which help women that are facing unplanned pregnancies. They make the future mothers realize that her baby deserves to have the chance of living. They tell them that if they can’t support the baby then she could give it up for adoption but not kill him. Do women have the right to steal the life of a new living being? Killing a person is illegal, so why should a fetal murder be legal? You have to ask yourself these questions and realize that when a woman aborts, she is acting like any other murderer.
Researchers have discovered that life begins at the moment of conception in the mother’s uterus, therefore abortion ends a human life and should be punishable by law. As well, nine short months of pregnancy is a small cost for a life without physical and health problems, think about it. 802 wds | | | | | | | Biblical Arguments Against AbortionIn this essay we will be discussing arguments against abortion. The first set of arguments we will consider are biblical arguments. That being said, we must begin by acknowledging that the Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion directly.
Why the silence of the Bible on abortion? The answer is simple. Abortion was so unthinkable to an Israelite woman that there was no need to even mention it in the criminal code. Why was abortion an unthinkable act? First, children were viewed as a gift or heritage from the Lord. Second, the Scriptures state–and the Jews concurred–that God opens and closes the womb and is sovereign over conception. Third, childlessness was seen as a curse. One of the key verses to understand in developing a biblical view of the sanctity of human life is Psalm 139.
This psalm is the inspired record of David’s praise for God’s sovereignty in his life. He begins by acknowledging that God is omniscient and knows what David is doing at any given point in time. He goes on to acknowledge that God is aware of David’s thoughts before he expresses them. David adds that wherever he might go, he cannot escape from God, whether he travels to heaven or ventures into Sheol. God is in the remotest part of the sea and even in the darkness. Finally David contemplates the origin of his life and confesses that God was there forming him in the womb.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (vv. 13-16). Here David speaks of God’s relationship with him while he was growing and developing before birth. Notice that the Bible doesn’t speak of fetal life as mere biochemistry.
The description here is not of a piece of protoplasm that becomes David: this is David already being cared for by God while in the womb. In verse 13, we see that God is the Master Craftsman fashioning David into a living person. In verses 14 and 15, David reflects on the fact that he is a product of God’s creative work within his mother’s womb, and he praises God for how wonderfully God has woven him together. David draws a parallel between his development in the womb and Adam’s creation from the earth. Using figurative language in verse 15, he refers to his life before birth when “I was ade in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. ” This poetic allusion harkens back to Genesis 2:7 which says that Adam was made from the dust of the earth. David also notes that “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance. ” This shows that God knew David even before he was known to others. The term translated unformed substance is a noun derivative of a verb meaning “to roll up. ” When David was just forming as a fetus, God’s care and compassion already extended to him. The reference to “God’s eyes” is an Old Testament term used to connotate divine oversight of God in the life of an individual or group of people.
Next, we will consider additional Old Testament passages that provide a biblical argument against abortion. Additional Old Testament Arguments Against AbortionNow that we’ve looked at Psalm 139, the most popular argument against abortion, let’s look at two other Old Testament passages. Another significant passage is Psalm 51. It was written by David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and records his repentance. David confesses that his sinful act demonstrated the original sin that was within him, “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 5l:5).
David concludes that from his time of conception, he had a sin nature. This would imply that he carried the image of God from the moment of conception, including the marred image scarred from sin. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6). Bearing the image of God is the essence of humanness. And though God’s image in man was marred at the Fall, it was not erased (cf. 1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9). Thus, the unborn baby is made in the image of God and therefore fully human in God’s sight. This verse also provides support for what is called the traducian view of the origin of the soul.
According to this perspective, human beings were potentially in Adam (Rom. 5:12, Heb. 7:9-10) and thus participated in his original sin. The “soulish” part of humans is transferred through conception. Therefore, an unborn baby is morally accountable and thus fully human. Another argument against abortion can be found in the Old Testament legal code, specifically Exodus 21:22-25. If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. The verses appear to teach that if a woman gives birth prematurely, but the baby is not injured, then only a fine is appropriate. However, if the child dies then the law of retaliation (lex talionis) should be applied. In other words, killing an unborn baby would carry the same penalty as killing a born baby. A baby inside the womb has the same legal status as a baby outside the womb.
Some commentators have come to a different conclusion because they believe the first verses only refer to a case of accidental miscarriage. Since only a fine is levied, they argue that an unborn baby is merely potential life and does not carry the same legal status as a baby that has been born. There are at least two problems with this interpretation. First, the normal Hebrew word for miscarry is not used in this passage (cf. Gen. 31:38; Exod. 23:26; Job 2:10; Hos. 9:14). Most commentators now believe that the action described in verse 22 is a premature birth not an accidental miscarriage.
Second, even if the verses do describe a miscarriage, the passage cannot be used to justify abortion. The injury was accidental, not intentional (as abortion would be). Also, the action was a criminal offense and punishable by law. Medical Arguments Against AbortionThus far in our discussion we have looked at biblical arguments against abortion. But what if someone doesn’t believe in the Bible? Are there other arguments we can use? Yes, there are: medical arguments, for example. Let’s look, then, at some of the medical arguments against abortion. The medical arguments against abortion are compelling.
For example, at conception the embryo is genetically distinct from the mother. To say that the developing baby is no different from the mother’s appendix is scientifically inaccurate. A developing embryo is genetically different from the mother. A developing embryo is also genetically different from the sperm and egg that created it. A human being has 46 chromosomes (sometimes 47 chromosomes). Sperm and egg have 23 chromosomes. A trained geneticist can distinguish between the DNA of an embryo and that of a sperm and egg. But that same geneticist could not distinguish between the DNA of a developing embryo and a full-grown human being.
Another set of medical arguments against abortion surround the definition of life and death. If one set of criteria have been used to define death, could they also be used to define life? Death used to be defined by the cessation of heartbeat. A stopped heart was a clear sign of death. If the cessation of heartbeat could define death, could the onset of a heartbeat define life? The heart is formed by the 18th day in the womb. If heartbeat was used to define life, then nearly all abortions would be outlawed. Physicians now use a more rigorous criterion for death: brain wave activity.
A flat EEG (electroencephalograph) is one of the most important criteria used to determine death. If the cessation of brain wave activity can define death, could the onset of brain wave activity define life? Individual brain waves are detected in the fetus in about 40-43 days. Using brain wave activity to define life would outlaw at least a majority of abortions. Opponents to abortion also raise the controversial issue of fetal pain. Does the fetus feel pain during abortion? The evidence seems fairly clear and consistent. Consider this statement made in a British medical journal: “Try sticking an infant with a pin and you know what happens.
She opens her mouth to cry and also pulls away. Try sticking an 8-week-old human fetus in the palm of his hand. He opens his mouth and pulls his hand away. A more technical description would add that changes in heart rate and fetal movement also suggest that intrauterine manipulations are painful to the fetus. “Obviously, other medical criteria could be used. For example, the developing fetus has a unique set of fingerprints as well as genetic patterns that make it unique. The development of sonography has provided us with a “window to the womb” showing us that a person is growing and developing in the mother’s womb.
We can discern eyes, ears, fingers, a nose, and a mouth. Our visual senses tell us this is a baby growing and maturing. This is not a piece of protoplasm; this is a baby inside the womb. The point is simple. Medical science leads to a pro-life perspective rather than a pro-choice perspective. If medical science can be used at all to draw a line, the clearest line is at the moment of conception. Medical arguments provide a strong case against abortion and for life. Legal Arguments Against AbortionAt this point in our discussion, we need to look at legal arguments against abortion.
The best legal argument against abortion can be seen in the case of Roe v. Wade. It violated standard legal reasoning. The Supreme Court decided not to decide when life begins and then turned around and overturned the laws of 50 different states. Most of the Supreme Court’s verdict rested upon two sentences. “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to an answer. Although the sentences sounded both innocuous and unpretentious, they were neither. The Supreme Court’s non-decision was not innocuous. It overturned state laws that protected the unborn and has resulted in over 30 million abortions (roughly the population of Canada) in the United States. The decision also seems unpretentious by acknowledging that it did not know when life begins. But if the Court did not know, then it should have acted “as if” life was in the womb. A crucial role of government is to protect life.
Government cannot remove a segment of the human population from its protection without adequate justification. The burden of proof should lie with the life-taker, and the benefit of the doubt should be with the life-saver. Put another way: “when in doubt, don’t. ” A hunter who hears rustling in the bushes shouldn’t fire until he knows what is in the bushes. Likewise, a Court which doesn’t know when life begins, should not declare open season on the unborn. The burden of proof in law is on the prosecution. The benefit of doubt is with the defense. This is also known as a presumption of innocence.
The defendant is assumed to be innocent unless proven guilty. Again the burden of proof is on the entity that would take away life or liberty. The benefit of the doubt lies with the defense. The Supreme Court clearly stated that it does not know when life begins and then violated the very spirit of this legal principle by acting as if it just proved that no life existed in the womb. Even more curious was the fact that to do so, it had to ignore the religious community and international community on the subject of the unborn. Had the religious community really failed to reach a consensus?
Although there were some intramural disagreements, certainly the weight of evidence indicated that a Western culture founded on Judeo-Christian values held abortion to be morally wrong. People with widely divergent theological perspectives (Jewish, Catholic, evangelical and fundamental Protestants) shared a common agreement about the humanity of the unborn. The same could be said about the international legal community. Physicians around the world subscribed to the Hippocratic Oath (“I will not give a woman a pessary to produce abortion”). The unborn were protected by various international ocuments like the Declaration of Geneva and the U. N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Just as there are solid medical arguments against abortion, so also there are legal arguments against abortion. Roe vs. Wade was a bad decision that needs to be overturned. Philosophical Arguments Against AbortionFinally, we will conclude our discussion by looking at philosophical arguments against abortion. A third set of arguments against abortion would be philosophical arguments. A key philosophical question is where do you draw the line? Put another way, when does a human being become a person?
The Supreme Court’s decision of Roe v. Wade separated personhood from humanity. In other words, the judges argued that a developing fetus was a human (i. e. , a member of the species Homo sapiens) but not a person. Since only persons are given 14th Amendment protection under the Constitution, the Court argued that abortion could be legal at certain times. This left to doctors, parents, or even other judges the responsibility of arbitrarily deciding when personhood should be awarded to human beings. The Supreme Court’s cleavage of personhood and humanity made the ethical slide down society’s slippery slope inevitable.
Once the Court allowed people to start drawing lines, some drew them in unexpected ways and effectively opened the door for infanticide and euthanasia. The Court, in the tradition of previous line-drawers, opted for biological criteria in their definition of a “person” in Roe v. Wade. In the past, such criteria as implantation or quickening had been suggested. The Court chose the idea of viability and allowed for the possibility that states could outlaw abortions performed after a child was viable. But viability was an arbitrary criterion, and there was no biological reason why the line had to be drawn near the early stages of development.
The line, for example, could be drawn much later. Ethicist Paul Ramsey frequently warned that any argument for abortion could logically be also used as an argument for infanticide. As if to illustrate this, Dr. Francis Crick, of DNA fame, demonstrated that he was less concerned about the ethics of such logical extensions and proposed a more radical definition of personhood. He suggested in the British journal Nature that if “a child were considered to be legally born when two days old, it could be examined to see whether it was an ‘acceptable member of human society. ” Obviously this is not only an argument for abortion; it’s an argument for infanticide. Other line-drawers have suggested a cultural criterion for personhood. Ashley Montagu, for example, stated, “A newborn baby is not truly human until he or she is molded by cultural influences later. ” Again, this is more than just an argument for abortion. It is also an argument for infanticide. More recently some line-drawers have focused on a mental criterion for personhood. Dr.
Joseph Fletcher argues in his book Humanhood that “Humans without some minimum of intelligence or mental capacity are not persons, no matter how many of these organs are active, no matter how spontaneous their living processes are. ” This is not only an argument for abortion and infanticide; it’s adequate justification for euthanasia and the potential elimination of those who do not possess a certain IQ. In other writings, Joseph Fletcher suggested that an “individual” was not truly a “person” unless he has an IQ of at least 40. In conclusion, we can see that there are many good arguments against abortion.
Obviously there are a number of biblical arguments against abortion. But there are also medical, legal, and philosophical arguments against abortion. The Bible and logic are on the side of the Christian who wants to stand for the sanctity of human life. What is Probe? Probe Ministries is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to reclaim the primacy of Christian thought and values in Western culture through media, education, and literature. In seeking to accomplish this mission, Probe provides perspective on the integration of the academic disciplines and historic Christianity. |
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