Abortion, the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent life, can either be spontaneous or induced. It is called "the knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child." (Mass General Laws Chapter 112 Section 12K) When abortion occurs spontaneously, it is called a miscarriage. However, when the loss of a fetus is caused intentionally, it is regarded as a moral issue. Abortion destroys the lives of helpless, innocent children and is illegal in many countries. An estimate of 1.2 million are performed each year. In retrospect, an estimate 38,010,378 innocent children were aborted since 1973 when the process was legalized.
Abortion is a simple and safe procedure if it is done by trained medical workers during the first trimester. There are four different techniques utilized during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Suction aspiration, also known as vacuum curettage, is the most common surgical means of abortion. This is when a powerful suction tube with a sharp cutting edge is inserted into the womb through the dilated cervix. The suction dismembers the body of the developing baby, tearing the placenta from the wall of the uterus, and sucking blood, amniotic fluids, placental tissue, and fetal parts into a bottle. Although it is one of the safer methods, there are still frequent complications such as infection and tearing of the uterus, causing hemorrhaging.
Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) is another surgical process involving the insertion of a loop shaped steel knife to cut the baby s body into pieces. The placenta is then scraped off the uterine wall. There is a higher risk of infection with D&C and greater blood loss than with Suction aspiration.
RU 486 and Methotrexate are two similar types of chemical abortion. RU 486 is a pill that can be taken orally only during the five to nine week period. Three trips must be made to the abortion clinic. In the first, the RU 486 pill is administered after a physical examination. During the 2nd, 36 - 48 hours later, the woman is given a dose of artificial prostaglandins initiating uterine contractions. This causes the embryonic baby to be expelled from the uterus. The third visit, about two weeks later, can determine whether the abortion has been completed or if further surgery is necessary. Methotrexate is administered by intramuscular injection. It attacks growing cells of the trophoblast, which functions as the life support system for the baby. This injection causes the immediate disintegration of sheltering environment in which the embryo lives. Without food or fluids, the living, helpless fetus dies. This dangerous method is rarely used because of its unpredictable side affects.
The second trimester includes the thirteenth to twenty-eighth week. Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E), similar to D&C, uses forceps with sharp metal jaws to grasp the parts of the baby and tear them away from the body. The baby s skull is often hardened to bone and must sometimes be crushed or compressed. The only side affect is profuse bleeding, and impossible cervical laceration.
The rest of the procedures can be done during either the second or third trimester (the twenty-ninth to fortieth week). The first method is Salt Poisoning, otherwise known as saline amniocentesis. A needle is inserted into the abdomen of the mother. Her amniotic fluid is replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. Upon swallowing the salt, the baby is instantly poisoned. This can also cause painful burning of the baby s skin and deterioration. The baby will die after about an hour. The mother delivers the dead baby after a period of 33 - 35 hours. Some common side affects are seizures, coma, and even death.
Prostaglandins are naturally produced chemical compounds which normally aid in the birthing process. However, the injection of artificial prostaglandins at too early a stage induce violent labor followed by premature birth. Often, various forms of toxins, are inserted to insure dead delivery.
Partial Birth Abortion, also known as Dilation and Extraction (D&E), is used to abort women who are 20 - 32 weeks pregnant. The abortionist grabs the unborn baby s legs with a pair of forceps, pulling the entire baby, excluding the head, into the birth canal. Scissors are jammed and then opened into the baby s skull, and the brain is suctioned out with a catheter. The dead baby is then removed from the uterus.
Hysterotomy is a method generally used when others have failed. Incisions are made into the abdomen and uterus, and the baby is removed. Babies are sometimes born alive during this procedure. This method offers the highest risk to the health of the mother because of the potential of rupturing.
Some immediate abortion risks include infection leading to sterility or death, excessive bleeding, high fever, a perforated uterus leading to sterility, shock and death. Abortion also increases the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, tubal pregnancy, miscarriage, premature birth, and sterility.
The Catholic Church teaches that all humans have a right to live, from the moment of conception until the natural ordained moment of death. According to these teachings, a person is living when as young as an embryo until the last second of life before death. Any of the above stated forms of abortion are morally wrong because they murder a fetus which is living, moving, and breathing. With abortion, we give ourselves dominion over a large part of God s plan. Our destiny, our fate, and our entire race are intensely affected when we take the decision into our own hands. Playing God by intervening in human life transforms us into murderers. We do not have the capacity to choose life or death for a defenseless fetus.
Pope John Paul II teaches that "life is always good", a conclusion derived from the handiwork of God in creating man "in the image and likeness of God." (Gen. I;26) Thus the human being a limited but true mirror of God s glory, has a sublime dignity and his life is held to be inviolable. When the Commandments were handed down to Moses, they were ordained to be true by God. One of those central values was "thou shall not kill". Abortion is a direct violation of the fifth Commandment.
Even in hard cases such as rape and incest, Catholics believe there are better options. Only one percent of abortions done each year are a result of involuntary sexual occurrences. Every baby is wanted and loved by God who has a distinct plan for their lives. It denies the child the right to live and society the privilege of the child s gift and contributions to the world. "God hears the new life in the womb, the heart within the heart, the anguish cry of hostage child sobbing in the dark."
Many times after having an abortion, a woman will become emotionally unstable. Post-abortion syndrome describes the trauma of the woman who finally feels guilty, understands the repercussions of her actions, and regrets her previous decision. Statistics show that 92% feel less in touch with their emotions or feel a need to suppress their emotions. 82% had greater feelings of loneliness or isolation and 86% had increased tendency toward anger or rage. 53% increased or began use of drugs and/or alcohol. 28% attempted suicide. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicide are all common symptoms a woman will encounter after an abortion. Post-abortion counseling is available to aid any woman who is suffering from the pain of death and moral responsibility.
In 1973, the process of abortion was legalized in the United States after the cases of Roe verses Wade and Doe verses Bolton. Norma McCorvey lied under oath, saying that she was gang raped. After her testimony, the jury decided to authorize abortions for only the first three months of pregnancy and allowed abortion until birth if a licensed physician judged it necessary for the woman s health. In the second case, the United States senate judiciary committee concluded that no barriers of any kind would be put on a woman who chose to have an abortion at any stage of her pregnancy.
Under United States law, murder is illegal and the consequences for any such action would be imprisonment or, in some states, capital punishment. This is so because human have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness according to the Constitution. First and foremost is the right to live. It should not be any different in regards to unborn children. A person is created at the instant of conception. Therefore, every instance of abortion is murder. Even pro-choice activists agree with the scientific aspects of a baby s development within the womb. They believe that although all the organs of a person are present, it is not a person until its birth. Therefore, in their opinion, the fetus doesn t have any rights, not even the simple right of existence.
How can a woman go through with an abortion if she knows the following facts? At 0 days old, the egg and sperm unite. A new life genetically distinct from the mother s is created. At 4 days old, the cells begin to differentiate. From 18-21 days, the heart of the baby begins to beat. At 6-7 weeks, the nerves and muscles work together for the first time. At 7 weeks, spontaneous movement is detectable. One hundred thousand new nerve cells are made each minute. From 7-8 weeks, the palm and finger prints form. At 8 weeks, all of the unborn baby s organs are formed, the feet and hands have taken form, and it has the shape of an adult brain. At 11 weeks, all the body systems are working and hiccups can occur. At 3 months old, there is a distinct individuality in behavior. At 4 months old, kicks of the feet can be detected, females have all 5 million ova formed, and the mother will start to show. At 5 months old, there is response to sound and light. At 6 months old, if cared for properly, the baby can be born prematurely.
So what exactly is the question? Life begins at the moment of conception, which was established. If it is murder to kill a human being, in any stage of life, there should be no debate. If it is a moral and social sin, why is this paper even necessary? It should be evident, through our own human nature that to kill our own offspring is WRONG. Life begets life. We have an obligation to the world to keep human life sacred. More than that however, we have an obligation to our own bodies not to allow such violence to be committed. Although this deprivation is one in which the child is denied life, it is one in which the mother is denied the joy and opportunity to raise that baby. In the long run, this will inflict pain on herself, and with each year passing, the emotional effects become more and more ta. Even Norma McCorvy herself, better known as Jane Roe (in Roe vs. Wade) admits that abortion is an evil, as she is presently an active member of the pro-life movement.
Many believe that abortion should be legalized for the extreme cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest. If a child is a product of violence, there is no need to harm another person s life trying to heal the pain of the woman. This only guarantees further emotional stress for the victimized woman in the future. The disgusting descriptions and pictures available showing the dead baby after the process can change one s mind. The tiny, innocent looking little babies have suffered a great deal of pain in their last minutes of survival. Because a brain, heart, and nerves have been developed, a fetus is able to feel death just as any other human would. A mother whose child is killed is always devastated with her loss. It is natural for a mother to feel the same way after having her child aborted before having a chance to care for and nurture her son or daughter who is a part of her.
In conclusion, through research and evaluation of data, we have determined that abortion is morally wrong and destructive in all circumstances. God, the ultimate creator who decides the fate of all humans who come into existence, is the only One with the ability to choose life or death for His people. For us to make this decision ourselves, we are taking dominion over God and disregarding the Predestination that He intends for each living person.