Is a fetus alive and legal entanglements – Abortion (Part 1)
In the 27 months of my life I have spent pregnant, no one ever called my baby a ’fetus’. When I went to my doctor they asked, ’How’s the baby doing?’ OB/GYNs have lots of experience with pregnant women and babies, and I imagine if anyone knows, they know what a baby is. So why on Earth would they call a fetus a baby if it’s not a baby?! Obviously, because aborting a baby sounds worse than aborting a fetus. If a fetus is a living, biological entity, then all other arguments for abortion are completely irrelevant. You can’t kill a living human. Period. So, the focus of all discussion on abortion should be, is a fetus alive?
Women will argue that babies are part of their bodies, so they have the right to dispose of it. Not only is that not true, it’s also kind of silly. Your heart is part of your body. Your heart responds to your brain. It doesn’t grow separately. If you take out your heart it doesn’t continue to grow and develop on it’s own. And, despite the fact that your heart is undeniably part of your body, it is not legal for you or anyone else to simply remove it. Oddly enough, babies do not respond to their mother’s brain, and they can grow and develop on their own. Which makes them fall soundly under the definition of not being part of her body. The fact that they are located inside her body doesn’t mean it is part of her body. Many things enter and exit your body (especially if you’re the kind of person who is getting pregnant and wanting to dispose of it) and yet you wouldn’t argue that any of those things are part of your body. Certainly, babies depend on their mothers for food, oxygen and protection, but that doesn’t make them part of her body. If the simple fact that they couldn’t live without the food and protection the mother is providing meant they were up for killing, then babies would be free game until they were at least a year old. If I left either of my sons without providing them with food for an extended period of time then they would die. Babies are very dependent creatures, before and after they are born. The fact that they are dependent on someone else to survive does not mean they are part of her body.
This ties in nicely with the next argument; that ’fetuses’ aren’t alive. This argument is very much supported by the idea that the baby needs the mother to live. So, if we followed that bit of logic through to the end, anyone who was dependent on anything else to live, isn’t alive. If someone needs dialysis, they aren’t alive, because they are dependent on the dialysis machine to keep them going. My children aren’t alive until they can feed themselves. We can certainly extend this definition to other forms of life. Tearing a tree from the ground seems like a very valid comparison to ripping a baby from the uterus. Both organisms need to be attached in order to obtain the nutrients they need to survive and grow. Both are alive, and will continue to live and grow as long as they are left in their natural environment. But, ripping a tree from the ground kills it, and environmentalists will certainly agree with me. Ironically, most environmentalists are liberals. How can anyone argue that a fetus isn’t alive?
Conventionally, organisms with the following traits are defined as alive: homeostasis (the ability to self regulate your internal environment; like sweating when you get too hot), organization (being composed of cells), metabolism (consuming food and converting it to energy), growth, adaptation, response to stimuli and reproduction. Oddly enough, babies fulfill al l of these requirements. Babies grow. They are divided into organs and tissues; their cells replicate. Fetuses respond to stimuli; in later stages they turn when a flashlight is shone at them, and they definitely kick when they feel they don’t have enough space. They consume food and convert it to energy. They generally have the future ability to reproduce (obviously, the ability to reproduce can’t be a sole indicator of life). So arguing that a fetus isn’t alive is quite factually wrong. Biologically, fetuses display every trait used to define living organisms. We can also prove that abortion is murder, since we can define alive and dead. The definitions of ’dead’ have changed over the years, as we have made medical advances. Death used to be defined at the moment the heart stopped beating; but then we learned how to perform hearth transplants, stop the heart for a period of time to perform operations, and restart the heart after it had stopped beating for an extended period of time. So that became a bad indicator for death, which is fortunate for pro-abortionists since the baby’s heart starts beating just three weeks after conception (the fifth week of pregnancy, since pregnancy is measured from a woman’s previous period), which is before most women know they are pregnant. Death is now typically measured using brain waves; people are considered dead when the electrical activity in the brain ceases. If death is measured at the moment that electrical activity ceases, it follows that life begins at the moment that electrical activity begins. This gives a good measuring point. Functional maturity of the cerebral cortex is suggested by fetal and neonatal electroencephalographic patterns…First, intermittent electroencephalograpic bursts in bothcerebral hemispheres are first seen at 20 weeks gestation; they become sustained at 22 weeks and bilaterally synchronous at 26 to 27 weeks.11 Those are measurable brain waves.
I would consider it murder to stop a beating heart, and since we know there is brain activity at 20 weeks, it falls under multiple definitions of murder to abort a baby after the 20th week of pregnancy. There is no physical difference between a baby freshly out of the womb and one still inside. Nothing changes immediately upon delivery. If they want to insist a baby is not alive until it breaths, then the women who go to birthing centers and have their babies in large tubs must have the right to kill their babies as long as they remain underwater. I know that is ridiculous, but that is the gist of most pro-abortionists arguments. They can’t win on facts, so they come up with arbitrary benchmarks for defining life.
One of the most disturbing facts about our first black president, Barack Obama, was the fact that he consistently voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, a bill that would protect infants who were born alive after a failed abortion. The original bill’s wording was; “Illinois’ paragraph (c): A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.” A live child was defined as one born with a heartbeat, brain activity, muscle control and breathing, without outside assistance. Barack Obama said,
“Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute. For that purpose, I think it would probably be found unconstitutional.”
Whenever we define a previable fetus as a person… what we’re really saying is… that they are persons…entitled to…protections. He didn’t want to define a breathing infant with a heartbeat, brain activity and muscle control as a person. He didn’t want to define a living infant as alive because then it would be entitled to constitutional protection. He thought the bill would be unconstitutional because it defined a living infant as alive, and that implies that infants who aren’t born yet are also alive, which would be antiabortion.
There is a lot of truth to that. If we define infants as alive then fetuses also are alive, which means that abortion is killing living babies. Obama admits that is true, but instead of being against abortion he instead says that born alive infants are not people. We can’t vote for a bill which legally defines infants as alive because it would conflict with a woman’s constitutional right to kill her baby!
Do you understand the implications there? A very, very pro-abortion person is admitting that there is no legal difference between a baby which has just been born and a fetus. He has to admit this, because there isn’t a difference! So, there were doctors delivering living babies, and then letting them cry themselves to death in the hospital closets because the mothers hadn’t wanted them to live through the labor. We live in a civilized country, and some people recognized that it is abhorrent to let babies cry themselves to death when they could be given treatment and care. A bill was presented to the Illinois State Senate which would ensure these babies were cared for.Obama voted against it. Three times. Because infants aren’t children like, say, a nine month old. When, exactly, then is a baby worth protecting? A day? A week? Eight months? This is what a pro-abortion nation has led us to. Our president would walk into a hospital and, hearing a weak, crying infant, would say, ”It’s not a person, it’s not as important as a nine-month old. It would be unconstitutional for us to call that crying, moving fetus a person.”
Which, unfortunately, leads me to my next topic. Pro-abortionists very rarely get into discussions of life and death, because they know they would lose. Instead they focus on everything but the baby. They work under the assumption that the baby is irrelevant, which is easier to do when they pretend it isn’t alive, and instead focus on such topics as ’women’s rights’ and the horrid consequences of making abortion illegal. The following progression is one such argument in favor of abortion:
Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them. Premise Two: Fetuses grow within the bodies of their mothers. Conclusion One: Females own their fetuses. Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own. Premise Four: Females own their fetuses.
This stems from the popular ’self-ownership’ mentality. G. Cohen explains the concept of self-ownership, which says, that each person enjoys, over herself and her powers, full and exclusive rights of control and use, and therefore owes no service or product to anyone else that she has not contracted to supply. There are extensive explanations on how this allows all women to abort fetuses at any time. It completely negates the notion that babies are alive. No where does the argument ever broach the possibility that a fetus is, by all definitions, a living baby. Yes, it is much easier to support abortion when the fetus is merely viewed as a tonsil or tumor, completely disposable at the whim of the mother. It completely overlooks the fact that babies are alive. I also liked his use of the term ’contract’. Sexual intercourse, apparently, is not a contract. Let’s look at this from another perspective, then. When a man has sex and impregnates a woman, he has no say in whether or not she delivers the baby. She can abort the baby without ever notifying him, and he can fight an abortion, but he will lose. On the other hand, if she has that baby, he is legally obligated to provide child support for the next 18 years. Somehow, when a man has sex he is potentially entering into a legally binding contract to support the child, giving of his time and resources to deliver money to the woman. But the woman has the right to enter into the same sexual engagements without risking the same entanglements? She can proclaim ’self-ownership’ and avoid any contractual obligations, when the man doesn’t have that right. That is the very definition of hypocrisy.
Let’s look at this in a little more detail. A man and woman have sex and a child is conceived. The woman can say she doesn’t want the child, and the man can say he does, but the woman can choose to abort the child. The man has no say what happens to his baby; he can offer to take the baby once it is born and absolve her of any further obligations, but she can choose to ignore his wishes and abort his baby.
On the other hand, if she gets pregnant the man does not have the same choice to take zero responsibility. The man can say he doesn’t want the baby, he wants her to abort it or give it up for adoption, he wants no financial obligations to care for the baby. The man can say, ”I enjoy, over myself and my powers, full and exclusive rights of control and use, and therefore owe no service or product to anyone else that I have not contracted to supply.” But if she chooses to have the baby, he doesn’t get to choose not to provide for it. He can’t say that he didn’t want the baby, and walk away. The only difference I can imagine people using to justify such an unfair arrangement is that the woman’s body is involved. It’s her body, so she should get to choose what to do with it. If you believe that, then the man should have the same choice. I looked into the actual costs of child support. I didn’t find a national average, I just asked my brother-in-law what he pays for two of his children. For one of them he owes $170 each month. $170 each month, twelve months a year for 18 years is $36,720. If he was making $7 an hour (after taxes, of course), it would take 5245.7 hours of work, or 7.29 solid months to make that money. That is 7.29 months of doing nothing else; no sleeping, eating, bathroom breaks, relaxing, just work. That was for the smaller child care payment; his second payment is $219 each month, which ends up being 9.39 months if he’s taking home $7 for each hour he works. That’s kind of a low income, but child support payments are calculated using the parents’ incomes, so a higher income will mean a higher child support payment. So, what’s the point? It seems like me that child support payments are forcing a man to do something with his body (work) that he would probably rather not do. And it happens to work out to a comparable amount of time a woman spends pregnant. Only, in the 9 months a woman is pregnant she can eat, sleep, work at a job making money for herself, have sex, watch movies… actually, pregnant women can do just about anything they want. They may feel nauseous or uncomfortable doing it, but being pregnant really doesn’t change much. When I was pregnant I finished college, had a job, and did everything else I did before I was pregnant. So, what exactly are women complaining about being forced into? They’re forced to carry a baby, do something with their body they didn’t want to do. Something that doesn’t cut into their life, it is just happening to their body while they go on working, eating, going to school, and then they can have it and give it away or keep it, their choice. The man, on the other hand, is obligated to sacrifice fully, completely, at least seven solid months of his life working to raise money to pay for the baby. During this time he can’t be making money for himself, playing, eating, going on with his life. All that time is committed to paying for that one sexual act, the exact same act a woman can enter into without similar obligations. Maybe you’re struggling with a justification, like, ”But, it affects a woman’s body, it hurts her, she will have stretch marks!” Many, many jobs effect men’s bodies. Find a construction worker with calluses, or a roofer or gardner with wrinkly, leathery skin, or a cook with burns. Computer programmers can suffer from carpel tunnel, doctors risk picking up infections every day. Many jobs are physically draining, many jobs leave men with physical scars, some jobs even risk serious injury or death. A lot like pregnancy. So, what is the difference between a man being forced to work several thousand hours in a job with potential, harmful side effects for impregnating a woman, and a woman having to carry a baby for a few months for impregnating herself ? You can’t say that one is fair and the other isn’t.
There is also a line of thinking concerning what someone owes to another person. Legally, you have no obligation to save another person’s life. This can be demonstrated by an actual case; once a young woman was attacked outside an apartment building. She was stabbed a few times, then the attacker left. She was screaming for help, and dragged herself into the lobby of the apartment. The attacker returned, stabber her several more times, and she died. The police know exactly what happened, because there were a total of 42 witnesses, none of whom interfered to save her life. Should they have? Legally, no, you have no responsibility. So, women think they have no responsibility to prolong the life of a baby they are carrying? This legal example has a logical exception; if you are responsible for the person’s life being in danger, you do have a responsibility to do what you can to save it. If you are walking over a bridge and see someone drowning beneath, you do not have to do anything for them. BUT, if you walk by and accidentally knock someone into the water, you do need to try to help them, up until your own life is in danger. This covers a couple of the examples proponents of abortion always bring up; what if a woman has been raped, or her life is in danger? Well, if she has been raped then she is not responsible for the baby, and if her life is in danger than she is not responsible to sacrifice hers for the baby. However, anyone who makes the choices that lead to a pregnancy has put the baby into the position of being dependent on them for continued life, and the mother should not have the option of just walking away from that.
I would like to quickly address the ’dangers’ of illegalizing abortion. Many people worry about the women who may die receiving ’back-alley’ abortions, because they are more dangerous than abortions performed in a sterile hospital environment by a professional. Are you aware that this is also one of the leading arguments for legalizing drugs? Right now many people die because of dirty needles, drugs cut with dangerous chemicals, drug wars between gangs; people are murdered by junkies stealing money to get their next fix. So, these lives could all be saved if we legalized drugs and administered them in a sterile environment by professionals who know not to overdose, and are using clean drugs. Fortunately, a sane society does not legalize actions to protect the law-breakers. Drugs are still dangerous, damaging and addictive, and killing living babies is still wrong. Indeed, legalizing drugs would be the same as condoning drug use. People who would never have thought to try drugs would say, ’well, the government thinks it is all right, and even provides a place for me to safely receive free drugs,’ and will go on to try it. This has also been the case with legalizing abortions.
Another important point is that 47% of abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion12. I strongly believe that if each of those women had carried their first child to term, they would have been much less likely to get pregnant again before they wanted to be When women view abortion as a back-up birth control, then they know they don’t need to be as careful. If that option were taken away from them, it would undoubtedly cut down on pregnancies, and nearly 50% of the pregnancies that would have resulted in abortion. When I was in school, I was taught about birth control, but I was never taught about what it was like to be pregnant. If teenagers knew the realities of pregnancy, and knew that was the result of unprotected sex, there would be less of both. If the best teacher is experience, then the best way to teach a teenager the realities of pregnancy is to allow her baby to live.
The most oft repeated mantra is that abortion is about ’a woman’s right to choose’. This is, of course, completely ridiculous. I can’t choose to kill my toddler. I can’t choose to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with me. I can’t choose to kill myself, even if I really don’t want to be alive. I can’t even choose to drive somewhere without putting a seat-belt on. There are a lot of choices I can’t make because they are illegal. There are also a lot of choices I can make. I can choose to smoke, but if I do I will become addicted to nicotine. I can choose to max out all my credit cards when I can’t afford to; when I do I will be stuck making high interest payments for several years. I can choose to eat fattening, unhealthy foods every day, and it will result in me becoming fat, unattractive, and possibly diabetic. I can choose to have oral sex with everyone I date, and I increase my chances of getting throat cancer. I can choose to have normal sex with everyone I date, and I run the risk of conceiving a baby. No one is trying to take away any woman’s right to choose. She can choose to have sex with a man she doesn’t want to have a baby with. The consequence is that she might get pregnant. Like getting diabetes, becoming addicted to nicotine or being in debt, it is a situation she has chosen to put herself in, and the consequences can’t just be disposed of. I like how former ACLU Lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz put it; “Your right to swing your fist, ends at the tip of my nose.” Your right to control your body ends when it means killing an innocent victim.
All arguments for abortion fail when we recognize that a fetus is a baby. That’s why liberals fight so hard to keep the discussion away from matters of life, and try to confuse the masses with talk of ’women’s rights’, the dangers of back-alley abortions, and other irrelevant topics. If a fetus is a living child, all those arguments are irrelevant. My background in Biochemistry (the study of living things on a molecular level) and my more recent research show that babies in the fetus stage fall under every definition of ’living’. Pro-abortionists want you to think that whether or not the baby is alive is irrelevant; the woman’s choice should be the most important factor.
In doing research for this book, I went to a couple of liberal friends and asked for their perspective on some of the major differences between conservatives and liberals. When abortion came up the only argument in support one of them had was protecting victims of rape and incest, or women whose lives were in danger. I can assure anyone with these concerns that it is not the intent of nearly all pro-life advocates to force a woman to carry the result of a rape to term, or to force her to sacrifice her own life. The legal precedent I stated earlier would cover these situations. For six years I lived in the most conservative state in the nation (if you ever look at a political tracking map, Utah is always the darkest red on there) but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree; victims of rape, incest, or women whose lives are in danger should have the option of procuring an abortion. I still think that a child is dying, but a woman who has already been the victim of such a traumatic crime should not be forced to live with such a constant reminder. That being said, I still wish that more would choose to carry the baby anyway. I have, fortunately, never been the victim of a sexual crime. I can’t claim to have any idea what it feels like or how hard it would be. If I ever became pregnant as a result of rape I hope I would have the strength to carry to term. I would consider giving it up for adoption, or maybe keeping it, knowing that I could give it a wonderful life. I do not think I could justify killing an innocent baby simply because his father was a criminal. Some women have felt this way, and have found the baby to be a great blessing.
Fortunately, this is not often the case. 1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient)14. In 93% of all abortion cases, the baby is being aborted for the convenience of the mother. These cases should be outlawed.
My other friend had a better reason, probably the most ‘compassionate’ reason I have ever heard. She wants to allow abortions for the sake of the children who would be abused, neglected or mistreated. I can understand that this is a seemingly compassionate perspective. The world is a hard place. Some children are abused, they live miserable lives, and it is almost unbearably sad to think of what they have to go through. I hardly think that allowing them to be drowned in chemicals or have their brains sucked out of their heads in order to prevent a possible misery should be the automatic solution. Many children with miserable childhoods grow up to be happy, successful adults. Most people prefer to live. Making the choice for the child and never giving it the opportunity to experience life is wrong. If you think we should abort children who may eventually be abused, then you must be in support of killing all the children who are already being abused, or taking preventative measures and castrating all abusive adults. Right? Is there any other logical conclusion, if the perspective is that children are better of dead than potentially abused?
Many people forget that it isn’t just a choice between abortion and a miserable life as an unwanted child. This goes along with the belief that a baby will destroy a teenager’s life. Many people think it is simply more compassionate to kill the baby so the mother doesn’t have to drop out of high school and spend her life as a single mother in poverty. The option I think people most often disregard is adoption. I know there are many people who want to adopt babies, and they usually spend years on a waiting list. My aunt and uncle waited years to be able to adopt a baby. They already had one child, and weren’t sure if they would even have the chance for another, because families with children tend to be further down on the waiting list. They were lucky enough to be chosen by a teenage girl who wanted to give her son a better life. She was able to continue in High School. There was no financial burden to her, since adoption agencies typically cover all prenatal and delivery care. My aunt and uncle are grateful every day for their son, and for someone selfless enough to not kill her baby because she was embarrassed, or scared, or didn’t want stretch marks. She is an amazing woman. She took a mistake and turned it into something wonderful. She was able to learn and grow from the experience, and she was able to give my aunt and uncle something they couldn’t have for themselves. Does that sound cheesy? My cousin is a really child, a hyper, happy little boy with parents who love him and an incredible future. Planned Parenthood would have recommended that he be disposed of, that he was throw into a garbage can six years ago. Naral thinks his biological mother’s life would be better if he didn’t exist.
Some will argue that there are not enough families out there who want to adopt all the aborted babies. I could name, right now, six families that would happily take a child rather than have it killed. I know more who have already adopted, and would do it again if the process weren’t so complicated and expensive. I can refer you to agencies that have thousands of people on waiting lists because there are simply not enough babies available for all the families that would like them and can’t have them on their own. Will there be so many babies all of a sudden than no one would be willing to take them? I doubt it, just in my opinion, bit even if it were a problem I think it would take care of itself. As I said before, nearly half the aborted babies come from women who have already had an abortion. I think this percentage will become negligible, and if nearly half of all unwanted pregnancies don’t happen then a much higher percentage of the unwanted babies who are born will have available families. I also think that seeing so many more women pregnant will have an effect on teenagers who are sexually active. When they never see the consequences of having sex, they are less responsible. If they can see other teenagers who have gotten pregnant, they will realize that it is a real possibility, and they will be more careful. Instead of encouraging women to choose a life without consequences, choosing to take no responsibility for their mistakes, choosing to murder the only innocent participants, they should be encouraged to do the selfless, loving thing and give their babies better lives.
Posted on June 2, 2011, in On Abortion and tagged abortion, adoption, babies, embryo, father's rights, fetus, NARAL, NOW, Planned Parenthood, why I'm Conservative, women's rights. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.