Now For My View

I didn’t write anything about what I thought about abortion in the last post because I wanted people to watch the video and think about it before I weighed in. But now that people have had a chance to see it and have their say, here is mine.

By the way, great thoughts everyone, expressed very well with with respect.  I hope you will read all of what I have to say so as to understand why I believe what I believe.

I am against abortion.

Regardless of any other influencing factor, we are talking about human life here. I understand that there are many complicating factors that drive people to make their decisions, but in the end we are actually talking about a life. Being pregnant is not some situation to look for a way out of, this is a human life. I know there are a thousand reasons why women get abortions, but in the end, this is why I believe what I do.

I struggle with the term ‘right to choose’ (as somebody else said). The right to choose to be a parent does not take into account a child’s right to live. Personally I think that is a much more important right. If you don’t want to be a parent there are options other than abortion. There is a huge adoption waiting list, why not give the child to parents that desperately want it, but can’t have one of their own? If it’s a financial issue, there are groups who will give financial support, and the government also gives parental payments.

I know that this is a very complicated issue and it’s not often a simple choice, but abortion when it comes down to it, it about ending the life of a person who has no say in the matter.

I totally disagree with the idea that an unborn baby is a blob of cells. If so, when does it miraculously change into a human? At what point? Human life is human life at any stage of development.

There have been a few people commenting on the practice of standing outside abortion clinic and making a protest there. I think I largely agree that right in front of an abortion clinic is not the best place to get your point across and can be painful for those having abortions. Like someone else said, get on board offering practical help at an earlier stage, when people are still making the choice to abort. Harassing anyone is not ok on any level.

But I also understand the motivation of people like the guy in the video who desperately want to help people and protect unborn life. I don’t think any harassment should go along with this, but standing there offering your help is somewhat commendable as an act of kindness and selflessness.  Even though I understand this may be taken as intimidation and offensive by some.

So to sum up, I know it’s a complicated issue, but surely the right to live should be the overriding consideration.

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19 Replies to “Now For My View”

  1. I almost agree:) However, as I have never had to walk in the shoes of someone having to make this decision I am not sure it is always clear cut. I believe that life is sacred, and in most cases abortion is wrong….but if someone is raped I believe they have the right.
    Lisa

    1. I agree that rape is a horrific case. And I feel conflicted about it in part. But I also think that it is not the fault of the child. There is still a life we’re talking about here. I know that being born into those circumstances would be traumatic and difficult, but I still have trouble condoning the death of a person who is not at fault, which is essentially what we’re talking about.

  2. As a mother of two children i have a few comments to make.
    Firstly you mention that people have the option of having a baby and giving it up for adoption. I think idea really belittles the process of being pregnant. It is a big thing to be pregnant and carry a child full term. It has impacts on your body for your entire life. And i am not just talking about maybe putting on a few kilos, but significant issues: bladder and bowel incontinence, pelvic instability, thyroid problems, higher risk of diabetes (if you have gestational diabetes), and i could go on. This decision can impact on you personally for life. And on an emotional level, how easy do you think it is to give a baby up for adoption?

    Additionally you mention there are financial support groups and government payments. What are the financial support groups? And are they going to stick with you for the next 20 years to cover the cost of the child? And while i applaud the government payments, they are not ‘liveable wages’. With the current affordable housing crisis, how are single parents ever supposed to financially manage?

    But it’s not only those costs, as a working mum you often get dismissed for career promotions, it is very difficult to manage the work/family balance.

    I understand the ‘rights of baby’, but all too often i think people make the decisions made by mothers sound like they are made lightly.

    1. I understand what you’re saying in terms of the significant impact on the mother’s life, both physically, emotionally and financially. And I agree, they are serious and demand not to be dismissed. I just think that the right of a person to not be killed is a higher thing to take into consideration. It does not mean the other things don’t matter, it just means that this matters more.

  3. Megan, how you have represented your stance on the issue is fine and pretty much what I expected but I’m not sure (at least to me) that you’re saying much at all. I was interested in what you had to say knowing that you have stated strongly in the past that others shouldn’t have to live by your morals. So, being against abortion is fine and being against harrassment is doubly fine, the question I wanted your response to then is – should abortion be legal?

    To comment on where I stand on the issue…don’t think I’ve got it figured out. In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to have this discussion but I’m glad that in this world that we are having the discussion.

    Sorry to be a pain.

    1. A complex question Kris. Not because of how I perceive abortion morally, but because of it’s social history.
      I think this falls into a different category than not forcing anyone to live by another’s moral code (as in gay marriage).
      Abortion is about the life of someone who doesn’t have a say. This is where I think it is different. As it actually impacts on the life of another, we need to give a voice to the ones that can’t speak for themselves.
      As for it being legal? That’s tricky.
      Ideally I’d say it’d be illegal.
      But then I know there would be women (and this has happened over and over again) who would get illegal abortions and end up with all sorts of medical complications which is horrible. Therein lies my conflict People do things whether they are legal or not. But if it was illegal I guess less women would get abortions and I think that’s a good thing, but then there are consequences for those that would still do it, personally, medically, legally.

  4. The question has been raised of when does life actually start? My personal view is, when an organism can self support, then it is alive.
    By that I don’t mean 18 years old, and borrowing the car keys, but instead that if a foetus is removed from it’s carrier, for whatever reason, will it’s heart function, will it be able to breathe, will it be responsive to it’s surroundings? Now medical science has made great leaps and bounds in being able to support births that are not full term, but even that has a cut off limit for where keeping something alive is a viable option. There is no set figure, there is no exact tipping point, it must be looked at on a case by case basis.

    For those people who are pro-life, I ask you this. How many children have you adopted and raised? Why don’t you stop your life as it is right now, and raise a child that would otherwise go with out? Why have you not put your life on hold, of the sake of others?

    When it comes to being a parent, the biggest issue with it is a simple one; Anyone can become a parent. There is no test to take, no forms to fill out, no set requirements. All it takes is a bit of sperm, an egg or two (or three, or how many happen to be there) and you’re in with a shot.
    Unfortunately humans make many dumb stupid decisions through out their lives, for whatever reason they make them.
    If I could go back I would never have had my kids. But for me there was no way I was ever going to get rid of them, because they were a well thought out decision. That’s my decision, and I don’t have the right to tell others what their decision should be.

  5. Whilst I admire your expression of opinion, Megan. The ‘right to live’ isn’t a fantastic argument. Do not other organisms, bacteria for example have a right to live? Where does this ‘right to live’ you’re asserting come from? Contrary to what you might think it’s a more arbitrary perspective than say, ‘the right to choose’.

    Really it comes down to this: Choice is not possessed by a foetus. Choice is possessed by beings with the capacity to choose and eventually decide on a course of action. A foetus does not posses the choice in the fullest sense to exist. Instead, the choice is deferred to the interested parties. viz. the parents.

    Although a foetus will become a fully-fledged human with no problems (in an ideal situation) at some point. However, it still does not possess any capacity to make its own choices instead the choice ultimately resides with the parent. This is not especially difficult to follow if you consider the peripheral and preliminary choices before an unwanted pregnancy (such as contraception and agreement between parents or even just not having sex).

    I also want to throw a question out there: When does the ‘right to life’ begin? Does it begin with the menstrual cycle, or the production of sperm? Does masturbation then, deny the ‘right to life’ of sperm? Does the close of the menstrual cycle and shedding of the uterus wall mean that a ‘right to life’ for an unfertilised egg is missed? Are we also ‘killing’ living reproductive materials?

    I think not. For one, we certainly wouldn’t eat chicken eggs. But also because the right to life is not as understandable a concept as the right to choose clearly is.

    1. “Where does this ‘right to live’ you’re asserting come from?”

      At law:

      http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm
      UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
      Article 6
      “1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.”

      http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml
      Universal Declaration of Human Rights
      Article 3.
      “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

      http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm
      International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
      Article 6.1
      “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

      The United States Declaration of Independence made the assertion that the right to live is “self-evident”:
      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

      I take issue with this closing statement:
      “But also because the right to life is not as understandable a concept as the right to choose clearly is.”
      If it is not as understandable a concept as the right to choose clearly is, then why do governments consistently sign treaties re-affirming that the right exists. Law exist not only as a standard, but to enable correction of poor behaviour.

      The other way of looking at what is or isn’t a right is looking at what the law prohibits, since that is the expression of the same concept but in the negative form. Murder is against the law in every nation on the planet. This obviously suggests that the right to life not only exists, but confirms both the fact that the UN recognises it, and that the claim that the right to live is “self-evident” also.

      To take your own view that “Really it comes down to this: Choice is not possessed by a foetus”, then if choice is indeed not possessed by a foetus, then to deny them of ever making any choice whatsoever, is logically an admission of a total failure of conscience.

      1. That was a well-informed reply, although I am aware statutes of the UN Dec. perhaps I failed to adequately express my question: ‘where does this right come from?’ law isn’t evidence, it is an assertion and it says so in the very text and does not explain where the right to life come from at all, only that it is an agreed upon idea that is been upheld by international law. Law does not however say that a ‘right to life actually exists’ only that it is enforced and simply quoting it does not give evidence that a right to life exists. Nor does it, to contrast say that there is any evidence for a law of conscription for example as being a fact or evidence. The only evidence it shows is that a particular community has validated or invalidated an arbitrary position or organisation of affairs. This means that we are still not sure whether a right to life actually exists at all.

        I also take issue with how the UN dec. has been interpreted to support your argument that is not evidence in the first place. Namely, that a foetus (or if we are uncomfortable with labels an unborn human) equates with child. I mean that we don’t equate trees with wood or paper, or similarly child does not equate an adult, there are different qualities being talked about. I think that given the ambiguities of article six and the specificity of ‘child’, ‘family’ and ‘immaturity’ in the preamble it is safe to say we are not talking about the a an unborn child at all. An unborn child has no culture and has not yet ‘acquired nationality’ (Article 7), cannot ‘know its parents’ (Article 7), no memory, no speech, no thoughts and ambivalence (at this stage) to its future. It is not yet part of a family, cannot be ‘separated from a parent’ against its will (Article 8) and more… So there is some misrepresentation of the UN dec. here not that matters because using it as evidence commits a Genetic Fallacy: ‘The UN has position on the rights to life, because its is declared it must exist, so they must.’ The same goes for quoting the United States Declaration of Independence and this:

        ‘If it is not as understandable a concept as the right to choose clearly is, then why do governments consistently sign treaties re-affirming that the right exists. Law exist not only as a standard, but to enable correction of poor behaviour…’
        The only reason I mentioned the ‘right to choose’ as being more understandable is admittedly incorrect when framed as a ‘right’. I say we do choose and can choose, the choices we make have in themselves become the laws you and I have mentioned they are the products of our choice to impose a restriction. Whereas life is very much an undecided ‘quality’, much less a right to it. After all we use antibiotics to kill microbes and kill animals for food. Actual human life (after birth) is more directed, there is choice involved. Laws are not the product of human life that is pre-born, therefore the law exists for beings after this fact, after choice is exercised. Think about it, law demands responsibility for those who make poor choices. Which is why if it is found that a person has something illegal we say that they are responsible (except with insanity) for their actions.

        In regards to this: ‘if choice is indeed not possessed by a foetus, then to deny them of ever making any choice whatsoever, is logically an admission of a total failure of conscience.’
        I do agree with you that the future choice of future humans is important but we can only decide this in our interests, not theirs (This is especially relevant in discussions of overpopulation)

      2. If you do wish to ask the question “where does this right come from?” but in the same vein assert that a “right to choose” exists, then the more general question must be put:

        Where do rights (plural) come from? Moreover, what is a right?

        “Law isn’t evidence” you say? WRONG.
        A right is a legal, social or ethical freedom, privilege or entitlement which arises from either natural or statute law. If a freedom arises because of the operation of law, then a right does exist.
        The question about human rights law creates a right is strange because human rights law is as the UN Charter says, designed to “reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person”. How can you “reaffirm” something which didn’t exist in the first place?

        “Law does not however say that a ‘right to life actually exists’ only that it is enforced and simply quoting it does not give evidence that a right to life exists.”

        No. The law DOES say that “right to life actually exists” and in as many words (see the link above). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10 December 1948 and is legally binding to all member states. Your assertion that it is not is a bald-faced LIE.

        http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/UDHR/what_is_UDHR.html

        There are of course two major standpoints that can be taken on the position on “natural rights”. Either people have been given freedoms by their creator or a natural right must spring forth from nature itself. Of the latter John Locke discussed natural rights and suggested that there were but three: “life, liberty, and estate (property)”
        For the former, because we Christians see creation as being the property of God, ultimately we are answerable to Him. To deliberately destroy human life itself; especially when people are created in “the image of God” is an anathema.
        Laying that to one side though, if you do not believe the Christian standpoint, then by default the life, liberty and property of an individual is their highest defining claim to rights, and by destroying the life, liberty and property (ie the child’s body) of an unborn child, you destroy all three.

        Since you happen to assert that a mother has the “right to choose”, then precisely the same question must be asked: “where does this right come from?” Unless you properly address that and successfully prove why it overrides the rights of someone who is far more vulnerable, then whatever criteria you suggest negates the “right to life” more than negates any “right to choose” if it does exist.
        Furthermore, if by operation of a “right” you violate and destroy the rights of another, is that beneficial for society?

    2. Would you make the same argument for someone who is intellectually disabled to the point where they cant’ make choices about their own life (in regards to a foetus not being able to choose)? I think that’s a slippery slope.
      And no, I don’t think the same idea applies to an unfertilized egg or sperm. There is no life created there.

      1. I would make precisely the same argument. Someone who is intellectually disabled to the point where they can’t make choices about their own life also has an inherent right to life. It’s not a slippery slope at all; in fact you yourself have stated that “we need to give a voice to the ones that can’t speak for themselves”. Again that re-affirms people’s inherent right to life that they’ve been endowed by their creator with.

      2. ‘Would you make the same argument for someone who is intellectually disabled… I think that’s a slippery slope.’

        Well actually I think your reply is a slippery slope rather than my own. See: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/slippery-slope.html
        As if my perspective here on abortion would directly correlate with the case of an intellectual disability. All I will say here is that, more information is required, it certainly possible for an intellectually disabled person to have a fulfilling life and an unfulfilled one. Such a person has loved ones as well. Any decision factors in all interests.

        ‘…And no, I don’t think the same idea applies to an unfertilized egg or sperm. There is no life created there.’
        But where is the distinction? Any kind of living cell is a kind of life.

  6. Hey Megan, You picked a topic that means alot to me, and you expressed your views really well. It’s really interesting to read some of the comments, and I just wanted to address a point that Rebecca made about where life begins.

    The idea that life begins when it can self support is wrought with problems. A foetus is able to self support, just within the parameters of life within the womb. In the same way, a fish is able to self support within water, and you and I are able to support life on this planet. Take the foetus out of the womb, and it dies. Take the fish out of water, it dies. Take us away from oxygen, food, light and water, and guess what, we die too. No living thing is able to self support outside the parameters of what it needs to live.. we are all dependent. There is a point where life begins, but since none of us are ever truly independent from life support of some kind, it cannot be the basis of how you judge life in the womb.

    It’s an emotional topic, and there are lots of opinions and lots of experiences, but you’re right Megan, the highest law here isn’t about the mother or father, it’s about the life of the child, who is well and truly alive inside the womb.

    1. The problem here is, as humans, we don’t live our entire life in a womb. Same as a chicken doesn’t spend all it’s life in an egg, and not all fish spend their entire life in the water. Self support as a term is wrought with problems, it is a simplified term, so that I didn’t write a 4,000 word biological essay.

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