When is abortion not murder?

The last time I wrote on abortion I learned a great deal about myself; individuals graciously reminding me of flaws in my character, lapses in my education, and deficiencies in my intellect.  Acknowledging my incompetence; let us again talk about abortion.

Those advocating abortion believe it is not murder up to a certain point in the pregnancy.  They are certain “it” is not a human being at conception; but “it” is a human being at birth.  But, when does “it” become a human being?  If we are performing 1.3 million abortions a year, isn’t it critical to know the answer to that question?  For the 30 years since Roe v Wade, researchers have unsuccessfully tried to define when “it” becomes a human being.  And, if they cannot define when this happens, how can they know we are not murdering human beings rather than just aborting human tissue?  Did we legalize abortion without knowing when it was murder?  Could the difficulty be those favoring abortion started with the desired conclusion and then sought evidence to support that conclusion? 

The scientific community spent the past 30 years creating new terms, new definitions; doing everything they could to scientifically prove the fetus is not a human being.  But, they still do not have an answer.  The terms are mind numbing.  Is the fetus viable outside the uterus?  The fetus is human; but is it a human being?  Does the fetus have consciousness; and if so, does it have self-consciousness?  Does the fetus have personhood?  When does the fetus have human potential?  We need shovels to remove the “deposits” some of these researchers left in the barn of claimed science.

Those advocating abortion are convinced the fetus is not a human being up to a certain point in pregnancy; they just cannot define when that is.  Yet, they courageously refuse to allow that lack of needed information to interfere with performing 1.3 million abortions a year. 

One of the early arguments for abortion was the fetus is not a human being until it can survive outside the mother’s uterus.  But, technology allows us to keep younger and younger fetuses alive.  Perhaps the criteria should be modified to say the fetus has to be able to survive outside the uterus without technological intervention.  But then we have to define what is or is not a technological intervention.  Does it include baby bottles, baby food, special formulas, medications, and the like?  Maybe viability means the fetus must be able to survive outside the uterus without any help.  Oops, that would allow infanticide. 

Well, maybe that’s not such a bad idea.  In England, some physicians advocate infanticide for babies who may have profound disabilities.  They believe it would be better to allow the baby to be born, examine the baby, and then decide if the baby is a “life worthy to be lived” or if it should be “eliminated.”

Trying to define consciousness and self-consciousness creates similar difficulties because science constantly redefines when this occurs, some contending these characteristics do not fully develop until sometime after birth, which would again allow for infanticide.  Oops, wrong outcome again.   

Research is now trying to define “the precise start of the process that later results in personhood.”  In my ignorance, I would have thought that to be conception.  But I would be wrong again.  Instead, this is defined as the time when “sensory organs, the cerebral cortex, and the thalamus have coordinated functioning.”  But, technology is proving fetuses remember the tastes of foods their mothers ate during pregnancy and fetuses can later recognize music their mothers listened to during pregnancy.  Is this the point of personhood?  Is this human potential?  Technology again creates a problem.  Improving technology shows fetal mental functions earlier and earlier in pregnancy, potentially too early to conveniently allow for abortion.  Oops, wrong outcome again.

Searching for material on this subject, I found a controversial photo taken by photojournalist Michael Clancy.  Dr. Joseph Bruner of Vanderbilt University, a pioneer in fetal surgery, operated on a 21-week fetus while still inside the uterus.  Nearing the end of the surgery, a small hand came out of the uterus and clung to his finger.  A copy of the photo and discussion of the controversy surrounding it are on the blogs.  I know this is not “scientific,” but it brought tears to my eyes.  By the way, “its” name is Samuel and you could legally abort this “not-yet-a-human-being” in Idaho.

As technology improves, the arbitrary definitions used to claim when the fetus becomes a human being will continually be revised to earlier stages of pregnancy.  The reality.  “It” has viability.  “It” has personhood.  “It” has human potential.  Why 30 years of failed attempts to prove when the fetus becomes a human being; quite simply because the baby is an individual human being from conception. An inconvenient truth.

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