Words of Healing “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” – Jesus (Matt 24:35).

8Nov/014

Abortion: Baby or Fetus

Recently (2001) in a college class on the "Psychology of Sex Differences," my teacher, Dr. Taylor, was talking about "gender-based murder," such as happenings in India where wives have "accidental deaths," which are often not investigated by the police, and the husbands go on to remarry and collect another dowry. Another "gender-based murder" that was discussed was the matter of "selective abortion" that goes on in places like China, where only one child is allowed and people prefer to have boys, so many more female babies are aborted than male.

In this country, abortion has been defined as legal, because the fetal tissue is not considered to be alive, but is considered a part of the woman's body. My teacher confirmed this by stating that she didn't believe that abortion was murder. However, she did believe that "selective abortion" was the murder of female babies. To put it mildly, I have a problem with this apparent contradiction. If abortion is not murder, and the fetal tissue is just an extension of the mother's body, then it can NEVER be murder. In fact, if it is just a blob of fetal tissue, then we cannot rightly say that it is "female," but rather that it has the propensity to become a female.

If there is a husband and wife out there that want to have one boy and one girl, would it be wrong for them to have a doctor use the husband's semen to artificially inseminate the wife so that they could be certain of having one boy and one girl? What if they preferred to have two boys? Two girls? Can anyone say that they are wrong to have a preference? Are they committing murder because they are selectively inseminating? How can something that does not exist be murdered?

Now, the challenge is this: "How are these two things different?" In one case, the person is using selective abortion to eliminate superfluous tissue that could result in a female baby. In the other case the couple would be using selective insemination to eliminate superfluous semen that could result in a female baby. With definitions of abortion as they are--that it is just fetal tissue--how can either of these cases be considered murder?

If a person says that abortion is "okay" in some instances but not in others, then that person is making a confession that they believe that the fetus is a living being. Think about it:

Let's say that a woman and her boyfriend don't like using contraceptives, but she has a tendency to get pregnant every six or seven months. They have an expensive lifestyle, they like to drive their luxury cars and eat at fancy restaurants, and having a child would interfere with that. In fact, at one point the woman gets pregnant about the same time that they are thinking about getting a new car. They discuss their financial issues and decide that they would rather have the Lexus than a child, so she has another abortion. Over the span of eleven years, she has ten abortions.

Now, I hear many people who claim to be in support of abortion but say that they disagree with people who "use abortion as a form of birth-control." However, they do not realize that by saying this, they are acknowledging that the fetus is more than just superfluous tissue. If it is ever "wrong" to abort a fetus under any circumstances, then that inevitably implies that the fetus is, in fact, a life.

Abortion is either always murder or it is never murder. Either it is fetal tissue, or it is a life. It can never be both. If it is fetal tissue, then who are we to judge another society because they prefer to have boys. It is only logical that a society that disproportionately favors boys will, sooner or later, have to start favoring girls if they want their culture to continue. However, how can having a preference be wrong? If some culture somewhere preferred girls, would that be so wrong? Everyone is entitled to their preferences, and it is entirely ethnocentric to say otherwise.

Better Safe Than Sorry

This has brought me to a careful reflection of the abortion issue as a whole. America is divided on the issue of whether or not the inseminated egg is fetal tissue or a baby. Since there is a debate on the issue, which would be the greater error to make? Would it be a greater error to protect an innocent life that might only be fetal tissue, or would it be a greater error to eliminate fetal tissue that might be a human life? Furthermore, which one does the least amount of psychological damage? Perhaps 'better safe than sorry' would be a good rule of thumb.

As a man who is pro-life, I am told that I have to be tolerant of abortion. It is "the woman's right." In the past, it was the husbands "right" to do whatever he wanted to do to his wife and children. In my Psychology class, Dr. Taylor (2001) noted that in some states, it is still the husband's "right" to have non-consensual sex (rape) with his wife. We now see that as being wrong, but how is this different? In one case, the wife and children are an "extension" of the husband, and now the fetal tissue is an "extension" of the mother.

Obviously, I believe that the fetal tissue is a living person, and yet I am being told by my country to stand by and tolerate millions of babies being murdered in my backyard just because the Supreme Court said it was okay for them to do it. If you believed that your neighbor was ripping his or her children apart limb by limb, and the government told you to be tolerant of it, what would you do? Would you stand by and do nothing? And yet, even though I believe that those aborted children are living persons, that is exactly what I am being told to do, to stand by and do nothing.

For even writing this paper, I will be considered intolerant. However, even as I'm writing this paper, I'm beginning to realize my own complacency. If I truly believe that those are babies being killed, how have I tolerated living in this country for so long without doing anything? How can I live in it any longer? Could you have tolerated living in Nazi Germany as millions of Jews were being exterminated? They justified that Jews were not fully human, just like we justify that babies are not fully human.

If I knew that my next door neighbor was ripping his child up limb by limb, I would, hopefully, do anything that I could to rescue that child...even risk my own life...but here I am writing a letter asking the neighbor in the kindest way possible to stop ripping his kids up. Instead of doing something to rescue the children, I am only telling the neighbor that I am a conscientious objector...and I'm being asked to be more tolerant...??? I'm beginning to wonder why I have been so tolerant in the first place. One of the biggest problems in Nazi Germany was that so many people tolerated what was going on even when they disagreed with it. Now, I am no better than they.

But, unfortunately, I'm a realist. What can be done? I can protest, but who would listen. I can try to forcefully stop people from killing their kids, but then I'd be thrown in jail, and the child will be killed anyway. I can peacefully stand in a picket line, but what good has that ever done. I wonder how Martin Luther King Jr. felt when he had the crazy notion that Black Americans should be treated equally and not 'separate but equal'? I wonder if he ever thought he'd see change in his lifetime? I wonder if he knew that he'd die a martyr for the cause. Who among us is brave enough to die for the millions of babies that could be saved? Who among us is strong enough to stand up for the most innocent of us all, our babies, who cannot stand up for themselves?

Why is it so hard for us to see that we have de-humanized babies in an effort to empower women? When a weaker person is beaten, they will often turn to those who are even weaker than themselves and beat them. Women had their rights taken away to a large extent, and now to feel empowered, they have taken away the rights of ones weaker than themselves, their children. Does this argument not have a ring of truth? If you think that I am wrong, then answer this: why is the central argument for "pro-choice"--the name itself--that of the "women's right" to choose rather than being that the inseminated egg is only fetal tissue? The argument of "a woman's right to choose" is only a dodge, a straw man argument used to deflect the issue of whether or not the fetal tissue is a living person. If it is a living person, then no one has a "right" to end its life, and if it is only fetal tissue, then there is no "wrong" reason to end its life because it doesn't have a life. Any argument that discusses "rights" is only a deflection of the real argument.

I will ask, however: Who made us God? Who gave us the right to arbitrarily decide when life begins? Who are we to decide to take away the rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" on which our country has been founded--whether it's a baby or not...but we have taken away these rights. We have taken away these rights from certain 'unwanted' people in the past, and we are doing it again. In 1857, the US Supreme Court ruled "that black people were not persons" (Wilke, 1998, www), and to many Americans, this seemed "right" if not downright "obvious." Then, in 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled "that unborn people were not persons" (Wilke, 1998, www), and to many Americans, this is thought of as "right" too. We were wrong then, it is neither "right" nor "obvious" that Black people are not persons. In fact, it is obvious that they are persons. Is it even feasible that we could be wrong now?

However, no one wants to look into the mirror and face the possible atrocities that they have allowed to take place. None of us wants to face the reality that perhaps we are killing innocent lives, and have killed millions of innocent lives over the last 30 years. Who would want to face such a realization? After legally endorsing the murder of millions of babies over 30 years, what would be the aftermath if we looked at ourselves in the mirror and realized that we were wrong?

I work in a German company, and Hitler is something you just don't mention, it is a name loaded with shame, even among Germans who were born long after Hitler died. However, had Hitler won the war, it may have become of name of grandeur and respect and the atrocities that he committed would have been overlooked, because no one would ever have had to face the truth. In the same way, we don't want to face the truth, if the pro-choice loses the war and admits defeat, and someday comes to admit that those were human lives they killed, then it will be a load of shame and guilt for every American to carry, not just the ones that supported it, but even for those who passively objected. After condemning genocide by the Germans under their guise of "ethnic purification," could we really look at ourselves and realize that perhaps we have been equally as bad and killed our own babies under the guise of a "woman's right."

I am ashamed to say that I have done nothing except write a couple of essays on abortion. I am ashamed to live in a country that values Spotted Owls and Humpback Whales more than their own babies. I am ashamed that I have not done more, and I am even more ashamed that after writing this, I still don't see anything that I can do. It seems that my hands are tied. So, I will live my life in shame of being an American because my people killed little babies just because they could.

Final Thoughts

In that same Psychology class Feminism was defined as this: "Anyone who has an active commitment to equality and respect for life" (Taylor, 2001). From that definition, I am, as a man, in my opinion, a better feminist than the majority of those who claim to be feminists, because the majority of proclaimed feminists care more about power than life. Hopefully, someday we will realize that empowerment at the expense of harming others is no empowerment at all, but rather, degrades us all.


Works Cited

Taylor, Dr. H (2001). Psychology of sex differences (lectures). Bellevue Community College. Fall Quarter 2001.

Wilke, Dr. and Mrs. J.C. (1998). Why can't we love them both. Abortionfacts.com [Online]. Available: Click Here

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I am one of those people that think abortions are only justified under certain circumstances. I know that a fetus is not alive, but it has the potential to be a life. If there is something wrong with the mother or the fetus and it has to be aborted, it’s not the same as murder. It wouldn’t live regardless of the action the mother chose.

    • Odessa, I’ve already said that if a person doesn’t believe the fetus is alive, I can’t really argue with that…if they are consistent. My argument is against those who try to have it both ways. I would never stand in the way of an abortion that would save the life of a mother because then the goal is to save a life, not the destruction of one, and sometimes medical decisions are necessary…and I will always side on saving the mother’s life when there is a choice between the two. My challenge is more to those who say using Abortion as birth control is wrong, but it’s okay for a teenager to have an abortion just for the sake of “not being ready.” I believe those people are being inconsistent. So, my question to you is, since you believe that a fetus is not alive: when would it be wrong to abort a fetus? If you think it’s sometimes wrong and sometimes not, then I’d challenge you to think over where you think that line is.

      Personally, seeing the heartbeat of my baby, Peanut, at 7 weeks old and losing Peanut at 8 weeks…nothing can ever convince me that my baby (with brain activity and a heartbeat) was no more significant than losing a bit of sperm with the “potential for life.” I am convinced that Peanut was a living person. Therefore, I believe that that life should be afforded the same rights that we give for other human life, and that life should only be sacrificed when it is in an emergency situation where another life is in danger. When that life is destroyed for the sake of convenience, I very definitely view it as legalized murder.

    • A fetus is alive, as human as you or I. It is a living being, being in the
      fetal stage of life. An infant is also alive as is a child, a teen or an adult.
      All just in various stages of life. It is not an extension of it’s mother,
      Not the same DNA or necessarily the same blood type or sex.
      It is conceived by a man and a woman engaging in sexual intercourse.
      To kill it is to kill a living human being, who left alone will emerge
      from the womb as a living individual, an infant. There is NO justification
      for the mass murder of living human beings. The only time abortion can
      be justified is if the life of the mother or the child becomes the choice.
      Pregnancy is normal, healthy consequence of sexual activity.
      Not just a fetus, but a baby is incapable of surviving without a caretaker.
      We can kill a fetus on Monday when it is in the womb, but it is murder on
      Tuesday If it has delivered and is out of the womb? Some dare say
      it is murder either way. I am one of them.

  2. Wow. I was nodding my head through out this whole piece. It was extremely well worded thought out and put forth. Often when discussing the topic of abortion I get a little too passionate and come off in a bad light. In future when this topic comes up I will refer people here. Thank you.


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