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Essay/Term paper: Abortion: life or death who chooses?

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Abortion

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Abortion: Life or Death Who Chooses?

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
As an opponent to abortion, I will readily agree, as will all those who
are against abortion, that pregnancy resulting from rape or incest is a tragedy.
Rape is a detestable crime, but no sane reasoning can place the slightest blame
on the unborn child it might produce. Incest is, if that is possible, even worse,
but for centuries, traditional Jewish law has clearly stated, that if a father
sins against his daughter (incest) that does not justify a second crime - the
abortion of the product of that sin. The act of rape or incest is the major
emotional physical trauma to the young girl or women. Should we compound the
psychic scar already inflicted on the mother by her having the guilt of
destroying a living being which was at least half her own? Throughout history,
pregnant women who for one crime or another were sentenced to death, were given
a stay of execution until after the delivery of the child: it being the
contention of courts that one could not punish the innocent child for the crime
of the mother. Can we punish it for a crime against the mother?
If rape occurred the victim should immediately report the incident. If
this is done, early reporting of the crime will provide greater opportunity for
apprehension and conviction of the rapist, for treatment of venereal disease and
prevention of pregnancy. Let is give our children good sex education; and let us
get tough on pornography, clean up the newstands, literature and "Adult Movies"
and television programmes which encourage crime, abusive drugs and make mockery
of morality and good behaviour and therefore, contribute to rape.
By some peculiar trick of adult logic, proponents of abortion talk about
fetal indications for act. Whatever abortion may do for the mother, it so very
obviously cannot be therapeutic for the fetus. Death is hardly a constructive
therapy. As Dr. Hellegers of John Hopkins Hospital says, "While it is easy to
feel that abortion is being performed for the sake of the fetus, honesty
requires us to recognize that we perform it for adults". There is no evidence to
indicate that an infant with congenital or birth defect would rather not be born
since he cannot be consulted. This evidence might exist if suicides were common
among people with congenital handicaps. However, to the contrary, these seem to
value life, since the incidence of suicide is less than that of the general
population. Can we choose death for another while life is all we ourselves know?
Methods are being developed to diagnose certain defects in the infants of
mothers at risk before the infant is born. The fluid around the fetus can be
sampled and tested in a very complicated fashion. If we kill infants with
confidential defects before they are born, why not after birth, why not any
human being we declare defective? It is no surprise of course for many of us to
learn that in hospitals across North American Continent such decisions affecting
the newborn and the very elderly or those with incurable disease, are being made.
What is a defect, what is a congenital defect? Hitler considered being 1/4
Jewish was a congenital defect incompatible with the right to life. Perhaps you
have all heard this story :
One doctor saying to another doctor, "About the termination of a
pregnancy, I want your opinion. The father was syphilitic (venereal disease).
The mother tuberculous (small lumps on skin). Of the four children born, the
first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf and dumb, the fourth also
tuberculous. What would you have done?"
"I would have ended the pregnancy". "Then you would have murdered
Not content with the Abortion Act of 1969 which allows 40,000 unborn
children to be killed legally in our country in 1973, many noisy and emotional
people are campaigning for abortion on request. They are aided by a crusading,
misguided press and media which continues to utter as fact, the fiction of
fertile imaginative minds. We have been told by the media that the majority of
Canadians wish to have abortion legalized but the latest census taken by the
Toronto Star in March of 1989 reports that 35% of those polled thought that
abortion was already easy to obtain, 26% thought it too hard, 19% about right
and 21% had no opinion. Men more then women thought it too hard. Even if the
majority did want it, this does not make it right. Centuries ago, most Americans
thought slavery was right. The elected leaders of this country must have the
wisdom and integrity for what is right, not for what might be politically
One of the uttered justifications for abortion on demand is that every
women should have the mastership of her own body, but should she? To quote Dr.
Edwin Connow, "Should she have the right for what is really judicial execution
of new life - not a cat, not a chicken but a human being - not only potential
but actual". In a society one is not totally free to do what one will with one's
own body (we don't have the right to get drunk or high on drugs and drive down
Young Street.) The great concern has been shown for the innocent victims of
highjacking but what is abortion but this? The highjacking without reprieve, of
an innocent passenger out of his mother's womb. Should we really leave the right
to hijack as a personal decision only?
Those campaigning for further liberalization of the abortion law, hope
to make abortion available and safe for all who wish it during a pregnancy.
Qualifications have been placed on the abortion on demand routine by other
groups, for example, a time limit for the duration of pregnancy or clause that
the operation be performed in an accredited hospital. Before exploring the
reality of so-called safe abortion, let me tell you a little method of procuring
an abortion. Before 13 weeks of pregnancy, the neck of the womb is dilated - a
comparatively easy procedure in someone who has already had a child - much more
difficult if childbirth has not occurred. The products of conception in many
hospitals are removed but a suction apparatus - considered safe and better that
the curettal scraping method. After 13 weeks pregnancy, the fetus is too big to
be removed in this was and either a dangerous method of injection a solution
into the womb is carried out, this salting out method results in the mother
going into what is really a miniature labour and after a period of time,
expelling a very dead often skinned baby. In some hospitals because of the
danger of this procedure to the mother, an operation like a miniature Caesarean
section called a hysterotomy has to be performed. There area also many other
Let us now look if we can, at consequences of such license to kill an
individual too small to cry for it's own protection.
Abortion by suction curettage is not just as simple as a pelvic
examination performed in a doctor's office as Dr. Morgentaler and the television
programe W5 who were doing a great disservice to young women in Canada would
have us believe. In Canada as reported in the Canadian Medical Association
Journal (the Statistics from Statistics Canada), the complication rate and this
being for immediate complications of early abortion is 4.5%. According to the
Wyn report with statistics from 12 counties, women who have a previous induced
abortion have their ability to bear children in the future permanently impaired.
There is a
5-10% increase in infertility. The chances of these women having a
pregnancy in the tube increases up to 4 times. Premature delivery increases up
to 50% and when one realizes that prematurity is the commonest cause for infants
being mentally or physically defective, having cerebral palsy or other
difficulties, then one realizes that those doctors doing abortions in great
numbers south of the border or across the water, even in Canada may not be doing
the women and her family a service. They will tell you that abortion has almost
no complications. What most of them will not tell you, is that once the abortion
is done they may refuse to see the women again and that she must take her post-
abortal problems elsewhere.
Those seeking repeal of the present abortion law will rapidly point out
that nevertheless, it is safer to have a legal abortion than illegal abortions,
safer for the women that is. This I don not dispute, but here is the real rub.
Liberalized abortion laws do not eliminate illegal, back street abortions and in
some cases, the overall number of illegal abortions actually rise, usually stays
stagnant, and rarely falls. There are still people who would rather try it
themselves or go somewhere they will be completely anonymous. Another factor
enters the total number of people seeking abortion, legal or illegal rises. The
overall pregnancy rate rockets and people become careless with contraception and
a women can have 3 or 4 abortions during the time of one full term pregnancy.
Are doctors really being kind to the girl to allow her to choose life or
death for her unborn child? In aborting a 16 year old this year with so-called
informed consent, we may be preventing her from having even 1 or 2 children 10
years later when happily married. No, repealing the abortion law does not make
it possible for every women to safely eliminate, what is for her, an unwanted
Would limiting abortions to accredited hospitals make it safer? Yes,
safer for the women, not for the fetus and it would jeopardize the continued
well being of all of the members of the community with the gross misuse of the
medical manpower, hospital facilities and money. With almost 31,739 abortions
performed in Ontario in 1989, the cost to OHIP is about 9 million dollars. Yet
to do as has been done in the U.S.A and the United Kingdom - namely to make
legal, abortions is to turn so-called 'backstreet butchers' into legal operators.
Patients now go into the office through the front door instead of the
rear. I have heard it said that is abortions became available on request, many
less children would be born and we could use the pleasant delivery suites and
postnatal beds for abortions. As I have pointed out, however, before today,
liberalization of abortion does not reduce the birth rate. There would be little
increase in available facilities or indeed doctor's time. By the very nature of
the operation and because the longer pregnancy lasts, the more difficult it is,
patients for abortions are admitted as urgent cases or emergencies so that all
other members of the community must wait longer for their hospital bed or the
surgery they need.
Who will pay for there abortions? With medicare, of course, it is you
and I. I know one full tern pregnancy costs most than an abortion, but not much
more. And it does not cost more than 3 abortions and that is what happens when
the climate or choice for life or death of the unborn child changes. Let us use
this money for constructive purposes, not destructive. It has been suggested
that abortions on request would enable the poor to secure abortion as easily as
the rich but regrettably, it has been shown that abortion-minded physicians in
great demand will respond to the age-old commercial rules, as has already
happened in the States and in Britain.
Abortion on demand a women's right to choose not to continue an
unplanned pregnancy would prevent there being unwanted children in this country,
so we are told. This is the final and desperate emotional plea of people anxious,
at whatever price, to escape the responsibility for their actions. Nobody here
or in Canada, wants there to be unwanted children in this city, and in this
country, and also in this world. There is nothing more pitiable or heat rending
that an unwanted fetus becoming an unwanted babe or an unwanted babe becoming an
unwanted child, or an unwanted child becoming an embittered adult. But few would
think it right to kill or have killed an unwanted baby to prevent it from
becoming an unwanted child. Then how can they think it right to kill an unwanted
fetus, even more defenceless than a newborn babe just because it may grow into
an unwanted child.
Once a women has conceived, she already is a parent, be it willing or
otherwise. The only way she ceases it be a parents is by a natural death or an
act of killing. Killing in any form is not the solution to so-called unwanted
human beings at any age. Hitler thought this was right. Canadians surely do not.
It is a permissive and frightened society that does not develop the expertise to
control population, civil disorder, crime, poverty, even its own sexuality but
yet would mount an uncontrolled, repeat uncontrolled, destructive attack on the
defenceless, very beginnings of life. Let us marshall all our resources
financial, educational, those of social agencies, but above all, of human
concern and passion for our fellow humans. Let us by all means, make available
to all, knowledge of conception and methods of contraception. Let us offer
ourselves as loving humans to those already in this country who are unwanted by
their natural parents. And incidentally, I am sure I don not need acquaint you
with some of the facts about so-called unwanted children. The Children's Aid
Societies in Toronto and in fact in every major city across our country have
many more potential parents anxious and willing to adopt infants and young
children than they have such children available for adoption. Let us marshall
our technology and humanity in the service of the unfortunate.
And in conclusion, I would like to read to you a letter which a member
of Birthright received.

Dear Birthright:

I heard about your work in Birthright and think you can help us. We're
in our late 20's and have been married 7 years. After 3 years of waiting, we
became the happy adoptive parents of a precious baby girl last fall.
This is how you can help us. Please tell every unwed mother who places
her baby for adoption how much we love her. We think each of those girls are the
most generous, charitable, kind devoted and loving mothers on this earth.
We know she must have carried her child out of love or in this day and
age should have found some way to have an abortion. We can never thank her
enough for the 9 months of time and energy she spent for us.
Maybe if she knows that we think she's the most loving person in this
world we will never know, it will help us both.
As Jenny grows older, we are telling her she has two sets of parents.
We'll tell her how she came to be our child this way. Her first mommy didn't
have a home or a daddy to help love and care for her. She loved her so much that
she just couldn't let her daughter grow up without love of two parents and all
the things that make a happy home. We'll tell Jenny that her 1st mommy thinks of
her often and wonders how she is. She will always love her baby.
Maybe our thoughts will someday reach Jenny's 1st mommy. What she did
was an act of faith in mankind, hope for her daughter's future and love toward
us. We think the strength of her love enabled her to place her precious baby
with us. We have faith that as Jenny grows up learning she was placed out of
love and not abandoned by her 1st mommy, both Jenny and she will be at peace.

Thank you.


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