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Essay/Term paper: Abortion

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Abortion

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Abortion


In Roman times, abortion and the destruction of unwanted children was
permissible, but as out civilization has aged, it seems that such acts were no
longer acceptable by rational human beings, so that in 1948, Canada along with
most other nations in the world signed a declaration of the United Nations
promising every human being the right to life. The World Medical Association
meeting in Geneve at the same time, stated that the utmost respect for human
life was to be from the moment of conception. This declaration was re-affirmed
when the World Medical Association met in Oslo in 1970. Should we go backwards
in our concern for the life of an individual human being?
The unborn human is still a human life and not all the wishful thinking
of those advocating repeal of abortion laws, can alter this. Those of us who
would seek to protect the human who is still to small to cry aloud for it's own
protection, have been accused of having a 19th Century approach to life in the
last third of the 20th Century. But who in reality is using arguments of a
bygone Century? It is an incontrovertible fact of biological science - Make no
Mistake - that from the moment of conception, a new human life has been created.
Only those who allow their emotional passion to overide their knowledge,
can deny it: only those who are irrational or ignorant of science, doubt that
when a human sperm fertilizes a human ovum a new human being is created. A new
human being who carries genes in its cells that make that human being uniquely
different from any and other human being and yet, undeniably a member, as we all
are, of the great human family. All the fetus needs to grow into a babe, a child,
an old man, is time, nutrition and a suitable environment. It is determined at
that very moment of conception whether the baby will be a boy or a girl; which
of his parents he will look like; what blood type he will have. His whole
heritage is forever fixed. Look at a human being 8 weeks after conception and
you, yes every person here who can tell the difference between a man and a women,
will be able to look at the fetus and tell me whether it is a baby boy or a girl.
No, a fetus is not just another part of a women's body like an appendix
or appendage. These appendages, these perfectly formed tiny feel belong to a 10
week developed baby, not to his or her mother.
The fetus is distinct and different and has it's own heart beat. Do you
know that the fetus' heart started beating just 18 days after a new life was
created, beating before the mother even knew she was pregnant? By 3 months of
pregnancy the developing baby is just small enough to be help in the palm of a
man's hand but look closely at this 3 month old fetus. All his organs are formed
and all his systems working. He swims, he grasps a pointer, he moves freely, he
excretes urine. If you inject a sweet solution into the water around him, he
will swallaw because he likes the taste. Inject a bitter solution and he will
quit swallowing because he does not like the taste. By 16 weeks it is obvious to
all, except those who have eyes but deliberately do not see, that this is a
young human being.
Who chooses life or death for this little one because abortion is the
taking of a human life? This fact is undeniable; however much of the members of
the Women's Liberation Movement, the new Feminists, Dr. Henry Morgentaler or the
Canadian Medical Association President feel about it, does not alter the fact of
the matter. An incontrovertible fact that cannot change as feelings change.
If abortion is undeniably the taking of human life and yet sincere
misguided people feel that it should be just a personal matter between a women
and the doctor, there seems to be 2 choices open to them. (1) That they would
believe that other acts of destruction of human beings such as infanticide and
homicide should be of no concern of society and therefore, eliminate them from
the criminal code. This I cannot believe is the thinking of the majority,
although the tendency for doctors to respect the selfish desire of parents and
not treat the newborn defective with a necessary lifesaving measure, is becoming
increasingly more common. (2) But for the most part the only conclusion
available to us is that those pressing for repeal of the abortion laws believe
that there are different sorts of human beings and that by some arbitrary
standard, they can place different values on the lives of there human beings. Of
course, different human beings have different values to each of us as
individuals: my mother means more to me than she does to you. But the right to
life of all human beings is undeniable. I do not think this is negotiable. It is
easy to be concerned with the welfare of those we know and love, while regarding
everybody else as less important and somehow, less real. Most people would
rather have heard of the death of thousands in the Honduras flooding disaster
than of a serious accident involving a close friends or favourite relatives.
That is why some are less disturbed by the slaughter of thousands of unborn
children than by the personal problems of a pregnant women across the street. To
rationalize this double standard, they pretend to themselves that the unborn
child is a less valuable human life because it has no active social
relationships and can therefore, be disposed of by others who have an arbitrary
standard of their own for the value of a human life.
I agree that the fetus has not developed it's full potential as a human
being: but neither have any of us. Nor will any of us have reached that point:
that point of perfect humaness, when we die. Because some of us may be less far
along the path than others, does not give them the right to kill us. But those
in favour of abortion, assume that they have that right, the standard being
arbitrary. To say that a 10 week fetus has less value that a baby, means also
that one must consider a baby of less value than a child, a young adult of less
value than an old man. Surely one cannot believe this and still be civilized and
human. A society that does not protect its individual members is on the lowest
scale of civilized society. One of the measures of a more highly civilized
society, is its attitude towards its weaker members. If the poor, the sick, the
handicapped, the mentally ill, the helpless are not protected, the society is
not as advanced as in a society where they are protected. The more mature the
society is, the more there is respect for the dignity and rights of all human
beings. The function of the laws of the society, is to protect and provide for
all members so that no individual or group of individuals can be victimized by
another individual group. Every member of Canadian society has a vital stake in
what value system is adopted towards its weak, aged, cripple, it's helpless
intra-uterine members; a vital stake in who chooses life or death.
As some of you may know, in 1969, the abortion laws were changed in
Canada, so that it became legal for a doctor to perform an abortion if a
committee of 3 other doctors in an eccredited hospital deemed that continuation
of the pregnancy constituted a severe threat to the life and health, mental or
physical of the women. Threat to health was not defined and so it is variously
interpreted to mean very real medical disease to anything that interferes with
even social or economic well being, so that any unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
thus qualifies. What really is the truth about the lasting effect of an unwanted
pregnancy on the psyche of a womem? Of course there is a difference of opinion
among psychiatrists, but if unbiased, prospective studies are examined certain
facts become obvious. (1) The health of women who are mentally ill before they
become pregnant, is not improved by an abortion. In fact in 1970 an official
statement of the World Health Organization said, "Serious mental disorders arise
more often in women previous mental problems. Thus the very women for whom legal
abortion is considered justified on psychiatric grounds, are the ones who have
the highest risk of post-abortion psychiatric disorders. (2) Most women who are
mentally healthy before unwanted pregnancy, despite a temporary emotional upset
during the early weeks for the pregnancy, are mentally healthy after the
pregnancy whether they were aborted or carried through to term.
Do we accept killing a human being because of a temporary, emotional
upset? All obstetricians and gynaecologists know of many cases where the mother,
be her single or married, has spoken of abortion early in the pregnancy and
later on, has confessed her gratitude to those who have not performed the
abortion. On the other hand, we have all seen women what have been troubled,
consumed with guilt and development significant psychiatric problems following
and because of abortion. I quote Ft. John L. Grady, Medical Examiner for Florida
State Attorney's Office, "I believe it can be stated with certainty that
abortion causes more deep-seated guilt, depression and mental illness than it
ever cures".
We used to hear a lot about the risk of suicide among those who
threatened such action if their request for abortion was refused. How real is
that risk - it is not - in fact, the suicide rate among pregnant women be they
happy of unhappy about the pregnancy, is 1/4 of the rate among non-pregnant
women in child-bearing years. An accurate 10 year study was done in England on
unwed mothers who requested abortions and were refused. It was found that the
suicide rate of this group was less than that average population. In Minnesota
in a 15 year period, there were only 14 maternal suicides. 11 occurred after
delivery. None were illegitimately pregnant. All were psychotic. In contrast,
among the first 8 deaths of women aborted under the liberal law in the United
Kingdon, 2 were from suicide directly following the abortion.
Are there any medical indications for abortion?? Is it valid for a
doctor to co-operate in the choice for abortion? The late Dr. Guttmacher, one of
the world leaders of the pro-abortion movement, has stated: "Almost any women
can be brought through pregnancy alive unless she suffers from cancer or
leukemia, in which case abortion is unlikely to prolong her life much less save
it."



 

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