Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts on Abortion

Nearly one month ago I opened up our Wise as Serpents blog to discuss abortion ("Blood Cries out from the Ground"). The central purpose for that post was to educate readers on the scope of legalized abortions (at least 50 million since 1973) and to illuminate my perspective on the motivations behind abortions (97% of which are carried out as a form of birth control). Today's post will focus on three threads within the abortion debate

1. Third Trimester Abortions
2. "Positive" Secondary Effects
3. Polished Names

Third Trimester
The earliest a premature baby has ever been kept alive is 21 weeks or a little over four months. Researchers have debated over the quality of life that such a premature baby could experience and some studies have emerged claiming that mothers should seriously consider keeping the baby alive if it is born before 22 weeks old. Moreover, some studies have posited that babies lack emotion and ability to experience pain until 26 weeks. Setting aside the current debate about the future health of the baby if born before 22 weeks and the development of the child’s emotions how is it possible that a child can be born significantly under six months and be kept alive and we still allow third trimester abortions? Third trimester abortions are abortions that occur after six months of pregnancy and they have never been legalized in Great Britain. Abortions in the UK must be performed within 24 weeks of pregnancy and in light of medical advances Parliament is considering moving the time for legalized abortions to earlier stages in the pregnancy. If the child can be born and kept alive by modern medical techniques any abortion performed before the time the child can be kept alive must be considered murder.

”Positive” Consequences
The book Freakonomics by Chicago economist Steven Leavitt I think is terrific. The book has shown many misinformed folks that the essence of economics is not stock picking but the study of how people make decisions. One Levitt study in particular is the study being referenced by a reader in their comment on the earlier abortion post titled “Blood Cries Out from the Ground.” The discussion of the positive secondary effects of lower crime rates being caused by the legalization of abortion is an interesting academic exercise. But, I do not believe that there are many cases in which positive outcomes justify the road taken.

Here are some words of wisdom from FSU's Offensive Line Coach Rick Trickett, "You can't shine a turd." Polishing the dirt from an immoral act however is exactly what many men and women have attempted to achieve; moreover, they have done so with some success. The Steve Levitt study is one example. Other examples of the beautification of an ugly reality are the labels of abortion advocates: Pro-Choice and Planned Parenthood. The fact that any woman has a choice is indisputable, so does anyone with a gun in their hand and anger in their heart. The justification of the act of abortions on the grounds of choice however rarely takes into account the fact that the baby has some free-will that can not currently be exercised because they are living in a state of dependence. Pro-Choice or infanticide? Finally, the location that women who seek an abortion go to in order to have the operation is called Planned Parenthood. The name blooms with warmness. Many parents would prefer preparation over surprise. But, the name implies that if you are not ready to be a parent, and you have not planned accordingly, abortion is okay. At least to my thinking this is another example of beautifying an ugly reality.

Sometimes being a defender of life is agitating and offensive to other people. Jesus knew this well when he said, "If the world hates you keep in mind that it hated me first." Any thoughts you might have are welcome.


Paul said...

There is no denying that an abortion is an awful thing.

In your "Blood Cries out from the Ground" piece I actually mentioned the Steven Levitt study of linking legalized abortion to lower crime rates.

This is using Trickets analogy "shining a terd"

But I also mentioned that just because something is illegal does not mean people don't do it.

I feel violent black markets will be created if Roe Vs. Wade is ever reversed.

I believe this is an example of where good intentions can lead to bad policies.

By no means am I saying abortion is a good or moral thing. Its not no matter how much you polish it.

If it was up to me abortions would not exist. But in the real world they do, and I think making them illegal will create more problems than it fixes.

Nancy said...

As a Christian, I must protect and defend EVERY life. This is why in addition to opposing abortion, I also oppose the death penalty and euthanasia and assisted suicide. We are not to judge. We are not to be God. We are not to take a life. There is no wiggle room in that commandment. 97% of abortions are used as birth control. The simple solution is free pregnancy-preventing birth control for all people. Why don't we Christians fight for that? Part of morality is taking a personal stand - then STANDING UP for it.