Wednesday, June 29, 2022
of Serious Thoughts: Abortion, "Yes" or "No"?
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Abortion, "Yes" or "No"?
As the Supreme Court considers the abortion issue, people are protesting from both sides . . . there is too much shouting and polarization to allow for reasonable points to be made. The abortion issue is not easily easily settled with a 'Yes' or 'No' law. It is complex and multi-faceted.
The first point to consider is that conception is the first step to the transmission of life and the protection of human life is our highest value. That makes it a moral issue--but does not automatically give us the answer.
The next point to consider is that a moral choice in always the responsibility of the individual affected by it. When a moral decision is called for, it involves a dilemma . . . a forced choice between equally undesirable alternatives.
Laws are general guidelines, but laws cannot encompass all moral issues that arise. For example, the 6th Commandment is 'Thou shalt not kill' . . . and yet we recognizethere are times when the law ceases to apply as when an innocent life is threatened, that seemingly absolutist position is modified.
In the abortion debate the Pro-Life stand is taken from an absolutist position that it is NEVER right to take a life, even (and perhaps especially) a potential one. This fails to take into consideration the moral dilemma of the pregnant woman.
The Pro-Abortion side takes the absolutist position that argues for NO restriction on abortion, thus failing to give credence to the moral value of protecting human life.
It is unfortunate that when the Roe v Wade debate was settled into law it did not include a limited time frame for undertaking the procedure; that would have avoided its becoming the intractable situation we now have. Society has been appalled at seeing piles of aborted babies in different stages of development and stories of babies aborted within days of delivery.
The coming-to-be of a human life is an evolution. The new life goes through stages of development. Within 24 hours after fertilization the egg rapidly divides into many cells, within 3 weeks it becomes an embryo, gradually becoming more complex as systems develop. Between the 8th and 9th weeks it is called a fetus as it takes on the recognizable form and functions of a baby.
Conception begins the life process and various religions argue about when a fetus becomes 'human' (heart beat? soul enters? viability?), but from a non-sectarian standpoint most would agree that if a pregnency is to be terminated, the earlier the interruption, the more humane.
There is another issue that permeates this debate and that is "Who has the right to decide?" It is within the rights of government to put limits on the timing of the procedure, but it is not the role of a government to make moral decisions. It is the responsibility of each woman seeking the procedure to come to the decision within her own conscience.