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Pro-choice or Pro-life Essay

An estimated 1.3 million American Women have abortions each year according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data. That is why abortion is the second leading surgical procedure done in this country. Since the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade (1973) there have been over 30 million abortions performed in the United States. That’s more than 20 times the number of Americans who died in the Civil War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam combined. Who are getting abortions?  Back in 1996 most of the women who had abortions were white and middle class. 64% were never married. Only 18.6 % of abortions involved married women. Among the survey given to 11,288 women who had abortions during 1994-95, (Guttmacher survey) Catholic women (31%) were as likely as women of the general population to have an abortion, while Protestants were 69% as likely and Evangelical or “born again” Christians were 39% as likely to have abortions. In the United States it is statistically confirmed that the most dangerous place for any one to be, with regard to the preservation of life, is in the womb of one’s mother. About 3,600 abortions occur over day in this country. They are not killed by accident. They are deliberately killed.

There are euphemisms used to describe where people stand on this issue such as “pro life” and “pro choice.”

Those who hold to the pro choice stand make these arguments.

First, they advocate that a woman has a right to control her own body. Some contend that that abortion is an effective birth control device. According to another argument, unwanted children will not receive loving care. Others believe that if it can be determined that the fetus has some abnormality that justifies an abortion. Some argue that legalizing abortions reduces the mortality rate of women having abortions. Some pro-choice advocates argue that personhood is based upon consciousness of internal and external things to oneself, especially the ability to feel pain; reasoning, self motivated activity, and the ability to communicate. Furthermore, these criteria must be possessed, not merely potential. It is clear that a fetus does not and cannot meet these criteria. Hence, the fetus can not be considered a person. Another case is made for abortion when conception is the result of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is threatened. However, many surveys reveal that conception due to rape or incest is extremely rare, especially when the victim goes immediately to the hospital. However, even in these cases, from an ethical point of view, the baby remains an innocent human being.

Let’s look at some arguments made by some pro life advocates.

It violates God’s law. The Bible describes the fetus as a human being. In Psalm 139:13-16, in beautiful language, David talks about life.  He says three things, three truths about every one of us before we were born: 1. God created me.  That's true of David, me, you, and everybody. 2.  God saw me.  "Your eyes saw my unformed substance."  Your eyes saw what was happening. 3.  God planned my days. 

Furthermore, the unborn are called "babies" in the Bible. Luke 1:41 - She heard the greeting of Mary and the baby (John the Baptist) leaped for joy in the womb. Luke 2:12 "This will be a sign to you.  You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”  This baby was Jesus.  The baby Jesus and the baby still in the womb, the same Greek word is used.  It's not one called "some unformed substance" and the other called a baby.  The words in God's word are important.  He chose these words carefully.  The Holy Spirit inspired these words. In a practical way, we barely have to look at the Bible for this one.  Every pregnant woman refers to her unformed, unborn baby as a baby.  I've never heard a pregnant woman say, "I'm carrying a product of conception in my stomach...  I'm carrying a mass of cells in my stomach."  It's a baby not a tissue mass.  That's somewhat obvious. 

The unborn are created of God.

The life of the unborn is protected by the same punishment for death as a child or an adult. (Exodus 21:22-25) There's two words in the Hebrew language – one for miscarriage and one for early birth.  Guess which word is used here?  The word here in the Hebrew language is the word for an early birth.  There is a separate Hebrew word for miscarriage. If the baby dies, life is to be taken for life.  The Bible's saying that the same punishment as would come upon somebody who killed an adult would come upon somebody who killed a child.

In the Bible it says that even unborn children possess distinctive human traits. 

In the womb, like in Elizabeth's case, there was a sense of joy in the child.  This leaping in the womb.  So in the womb there is joy.  Every mom understands this.  They've felt the kicks.  The Bible says in Psalm 139 that the unborn are said to be known intimately and personally by God, just as He would know any other person. 

The unborn are called by God, even before birth.

(Genesis 25:21-26)  "Two babies jostled within her and she said, `Why is this happening to me?' and she went to inquire of the Lord."  The two babies were Jacob and Esau, fighting it out.  When she asked what was going on, God didn't say, "Two tissue masses are having something going on, sort of a medical thing."  "The Lord said to her, `Two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you will be separated.  One people will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger.'"  That’s pretty personal, human, that's going on in that womb.

In Isaiah 49:1-5, Isaiah says about himself, that he was formed in the womb of his mother for God's purpose.  This is simply what the Bible says about when life begins.  Paul has a similar thought in Galatians 1:15.  I don't think it's just a verse about Paul.  I think it's a verse about you and me too. 

There's not one verse in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt not abort a baby."  But when you begin to add up these things we've just looked at, it's pretty clear from God's word that there is life there.  If the unborn child is not a living person, then no excuse for abortion is necessary.  If the unborn child is a living person, no excuse for abortion is acceptable.  If it's a baby and not a tissue mass it's everything because it's life, because life is life whether it's just conceived or one day old or just born or one year old.    When we talk about this issue of when does life begin, I believe God's word has some incredible things to say.  But one of the reasons why the debate about abortion is intensifying so much is that it's not just Christians – believers – who are saying this, who are looking to God's word, because obviously those who don't know Christ yet don't accept the authority of His word.  But more and more science is showing us what scripture has told us all along.  Increasingly, science is giving us this window on life. Pro-life advocates argue that personhood begins at conception. That is, if the newly fertilized egg is examined under a microscope, one can determine that the DNA strands are those of human beings. Before fertilization, both egg and sperm can be said to belong to mother and father. However, after conception a new cell exists. It is not identical to either parent. Genetically, mother and baby are separate individuals from conception. This view can be called the biological or genetic view of personhood. Therefore, to take a life deliberately is to say “No” to a unique and unrepeatable human being.  

Interestingly, Roe-v-Wade and the ultrasound came in about the same time in America.  When you could start to look in and see this picture of what was going on in the womb, it was an incredible thing.  An ultrasound is black and white and not the clearest thing in the world, but you have the hands moving, the heart beating.  It's very difficult when I see it to say, "That's just a product of conception."  This window on life has increasingly brought this issue to a head.  Some one said, if wombs had windows the abortion debate would be over. By the second month – 8 weeks – brain waves are detected in a baby.  At 40-42 days, a nose and eyes, ears, toes appear.  The heart beats; its own blood starts to flow.  A skeleton develops and it has its own unique fingerprints.  By the third month it swallows, it swims. It can suck its thumb.  It can feel pain between the 8th and the 13th week. 

Conclusion

I think we have been drenched with the message of having enjoyment and pleasure without being held accountable for our own personal decisions, a guilt free society. Abortion is often the result of an irresponsible free sexual society. People need to accept and face their responsibilities in life, even their mistakes.

Adolph Hitler had a Hegelian line of utilitarianism, by killing the Jews would release vast amounts of money they controlled to Germany’s economy. The principle established was: “Whoever is not wanted must die.” In 1939 patients who were called “mentally defective”, psychotics, epileptics, and patients suffering from infirmities of old age, and from polio were killed. Our judicial system and the media are leaning as well towards a Hegelian ethic concerning abortion and euthanasia. Our Government has been wrong on moral decisions before this one. The erroneous Dred Scott Decision of the Supreme Court (1857) has long been corrected. It held that Negroes were not persons, hence had no right to vote, or receive citizenship, and could be legally owned and bought, and sold as slaves. Moreover, the new ethic assumes that lives are not worthy to be lived and these persons ought to be put to death before or after birth; their deaths would relieve others of financial and emotional burdens. The new ethic judges each life by its quality and meaningfulness and put to death those whose lives did not meet those standards.

Women are told that abortion is a safe procedure. However, research has proven that this is not always true. Doctor Catherine Speckhard, of the University of Minnesota did a study on women who had abortions five to ten years earlier. She reports that even though the women had widely divergent backgrounds, their reactions were similar. 81% reported preoccupation with the aborted child. 73% reported flashbacks to the abortion experience. 54% recalled nightmares related to the abortion. 35% perceived visitations from the aborted child, and 96% reported that they had come to believe that abortion was the taking of life or as murder. This backs up the idea that today’s experiences are tomorrow’s memories.

Conversely, the old traditional pro-life ethic views every human being as valuable in itself. It offers loving acceptance to every human being regardless of size, shape, skin color, or self sufficiency. This ethic allows and cares for the Helen Keller’s of society. It also offers special programs like the Special Olympics for “exceptional children.” Any one who has seen the film “The Elephant Man” will never forget the portrayal of John Merrick. It was discovered that he was a warm, compassionate, and very special individual. His is a story of how poorly we misjudge the quality of human life. There is also sympathetic care and treatment of the aged and the senile. It is, indeed, a time for national clarification of values. God no doubt looks upon his child with a delighted smile (Isaiah 49:15-16). There is something about human life that cannot be matched by other creatures, in some unique way it is like God (Genesis 1:26, 27). Therefore, God’s people should take a stand against the terrible destruction of human life by abortion.