Some thoughts on abortion

Everybody’s favourite politician, Jeremy Hunt, announced over the weekend that he would like the law on abortion changed from 24 to 12 weeks.  I have a few thoughts on abortion – these comments are not aimed at individuals who have chosen to have an abortion.  It is a powerful and emotional subject and I don’t want to pretend to understand what dilemmas or pain any individual is going through as they choose whether to have an abortion or not.  These brief comments are aimed at the argument regarding abortion – not at indiviudals:

  • A mother was recently charged with murder for killing her baby after 36 weeks of pregnancy by poisoning it.  I presume the same is true for any fetus over 24 weeks?  If abortion is legal then there has to be a line somewhere but it seems crazy that after 168 days of pregnancy a medical procedure has been carried out, but at 169 days of pregnancy somebody has been murdered.
  • I really hate the argument that abortion should be legal because backstreet abortions would be dangerous.  This argument suggests that abortions are unethical, but should still be allowed because of the negative consequences of prohibiting them.  Since when was it a logical argument that an immoral act should be encouraged in order to stop other bad things happening?  Should we provide an NHS murder service for people who are annoyed by others because putting murder underground runs the risk of infection if it goes wrong, injury to bystanders and costs a lot of money in terms of policing and the justice system?
  • My opinion that abortion is wrong is weak because I don’t know where to draw the line at the other end.  What about terminating a fetus before it’s heart beats?  What about the morning after pill?  What about contraception?

I strongly believe that every unborn child is a human being and has the right to life, no matter what circumstances they were conceived in, or what struggles they may have in life because of a known disability or the colour of their hair – it is not for us to choose.  Did you ever meet someone who had an unplanned pregnancy, kept the child, and regretted it?


4 thoughts on “Some thoughts on abortion

  1. I think the difficulty with the argument as you have framed it is that it takes account of one of the human persons involved in a pregnancy but not the other, namely the woman.

    I agree that our current situation is getting a little silly, in that two different medical procedures are colliding at around 24 weeks of pregnancy, i.e. abortion and the viability of a very premature baby and maybe there needs to be some kind of separation there, but the laws were framed when neonatal medicine was much less well developed so the idea that a 24 week old foetus could survive and grow up was unthinkable in 1967.

    The realities of an unwanted pregnancy are very complex and each case is different. Yes, an unborn child is a human being, but so is a mother and to privilege either party’s rights tends towards the simplistic. In answer to your final question, Yes I do know women who have regretted their pregnancies, and whilst they love their children, would have chosen differently. Do I know women who have had abortions and regretted them? Yes – I am one. Do I know of women who have given birth to very disabled babies and wished they had had the courage to terminate their pregnancy because of how much their baby has suffered? Yes, and I also know of women who joyously carried babies to full term knowing they would not survive more than a few minutes after birth (joyously in the sense that they determined to give their unborn child all the love they could even if they would never see them draw a breath and despite the great pain they would have to bear)

    Some debate and discussion is needed on this issue but I feel deeply suspicious that that isn’t why Jeremy Hunt started this particular political bandwagon, whilst the rest of his government are withdrawing funding for the services that support women and their children.

  2. Hi Sarah and thanks for you comments, they’re really informative – I’m definitely approaching the topic with a certain level of ignorance but also frustration. I feel like we’re living in a culture that accepts actions such as adultery, lying, abortion as being broadly ok with a few exceptions where they are not ok. Surely it should be the other way round, where broadly it is not right to do these things but we have a grace that understands life is complex and sometimes there are exceptions to the black and white rules?

  3. You are right to point out that the means of how we were conceived are morally irrelevant, what matters is what *kind* of being we are talking about and not *how* it came into being.

    ‘What about terminating a fetus before it’s heart beats?’

    You can’t, the fetal stage of development doesn’t begin until the 8th week, prior to that it is at the embryonic stage of human development and the heart starts beating from around the 18th day after conception-fertilization. Human beings don’t need a beating heart prior to that stage to continue their own human development and this is perfectly normal for someone at that level of maturity. Being more theological, we must remember that *all* and not some humans are made in the image of God with their own dignity and to kill a human being at any stage of their development whether embryo/fetus/infant/toddler, teenager/adult is to kill someone made in the image of God, something most obviously morally wrong. Can we really take Jesus’ command to lover our neighbor as ourselves, a command to protect and care for the most vulnerable members of the human community and support a practice that promotes the practice? Abortion is simply inconsistent with the command to love our neighbor or to act neighborly.

    In a bit of a rush with a new baby but here are some good resources to chew on >

    Merry Christmas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s