Introduction : Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo, resulting in or caused by its death. An abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced, in humans and other species. In the context of human pregnancies, an abortion induced to preserve the health of the gravida (pregnant female) is termed a therapeutic abortion, while an abortion induced for any other reason is termed an elective abortion.
The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy, while spontaneous abortions are usually termed miscarriages. Worldwide 42 million abortions are estimated to take place annually with 22 million of these occurring safely and 20 million unsafely. While maternal mortality seldom results from safe abortions, unsafe abortions result in 70,000 deaths and 5 million disabilities per year. One of the main determinants of the availability of safe abortions is the legality of the procedure. Forty percent of the world’s women are able to access therapeutic and elective abortions within gestational limits.
The frequency of abortions is, however, similar whether or not access is restricted. Abortion has a long history and has been induced by various methods including herbal abortifacients, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma, and other traditional methods. Contemporary medicine utilizes medications and surgical procedures to induce abortion. The legality, prevalence, and cultural views on abortion vary substantially around the world. In many parts of the world there is prominent and divisive public controversy over the ethical and legal issues of abortion.
Abortion and abortion-related issues feature prominently in the national politics in many nations, often involving the opposing pro-life and pro-choice worldwide social movements (both self-named). Incidence of abortion has declined worldwide, as access to family planning education and contraceptive services has increased. Discussion : Abortion is an issue where we have to look beyond the purely legal situation. While figures are obviously hard to collect, in places where abortion is illegal, plenty of it still tends to happen. There has always een what are known in some country as “backyard abortionists”. In most communities, a woman knew were to go to get one done. That means that even when abortion is illegal, a choice still exists. The technical ability to abort does not automatically equal a right to get an abortion. It merely allows people to choose abortions regardless of rights –the anti-abortionists will be the first to say getting an abortion is exactly equivalent to choosing to commit murder just because you have access to a gun. But of course the anti-abortionists are making a couple of unproved assumptions in that analogy.
First they are assuming that there is no such thing as a right to abort, and second they are assuming that unborn humans are persons, such that killing those persons qualifies as murder –and incidentally being the reason why there would be no such thing as a right to abort. Neither assumption has any valid supporting evidence for it, mostly because there is no data at all supporting any claim that a human fetus is in any measurable actuality superior to an ordinary animal (if it is equivalent to an animal in every measurable way, how can it be a person? –and partly because, as implied in my prior post above, to the extent that Human Law should be consistent with Natural Law, and since miscarriage-type abortions are quite Natural and common. One could argue that Pro-lifers are the absolute, extremist, anti-abortionists, believing that abortion is never, ever justified, no matter what. Many are not Pro-life beyond the abortion debate. There are those who support the death penalty, and those who support “just” wars. (Some possibly support unjust wars. ) Those are anti-life activities.
Back on the abortion issue, apart from the aforementioned absolute, extremist, anti-abortionists, there is a continuum of opinions, ranging from those who strongly oppose abortion in almost all circumstances but believe it justified in certain rare situations, to those who believe the mother should always have a choice, no matter what. I’m not sure which of those people are covered by the term Pro-choice. There are those who are strongly opposed to abortion but don’t believe governments should be telling them, or anyone else, what to do on a moral issue like abortion.
Women seeking to terminate their pregnancies sometimes resort to unsafe methods, particularly where and when access to legal abortion is restricted. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an unsafe abortion as being “a procedure … carried out by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both. ” Unsafe abortions are sometimes known colloquially as “back-alley” abortions. They may be performed by the woman herself, another person without medical training, or a professional health provider operating in sub-standard conditions.
Unsafe abortion remains a public health concern due to the higher incidence and severity of its associated complications, such as incomplete abortion, sepsis, hemorrhage, and damage to internal organs. It is estimated that 20 million unsafe abortions occur around the world annually and that 70,000 of these result in the woman’s death. Complications of unsafe abortion are said to account, globally, for approximately 13% of all maternal mortalities, with regional estimates including 12% in Asia, 25% in Latin America, and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa Although the global rate of abortion declined from 45. million in 1995 to 41. 6 million in 2003, unsafe procedures still accounted for 48% of all abortions performed in 2003. Health education, access to family planning, and improvements in health care during and after abortion have been proposed to address this phenomenon. If someone encourages a woman to get an abortion, are they are guilty of violating the fifth commandment? What about those who perform them? All those who aid in the procurement of an abortion are gravely violating the fifth commandment. This includes all the doctors, nurses, and staff of an abortion clinic.
As well, it includes all those who encourage the abortion, anyone who exerts pressure on a woman to abort, and even political figures who voted for abortions and help them happen – all are guilty of violating the fifth commandment. The degree of the guilt of all those mentioned above will depend on many different factors, but all are gravely culpable in some regard. Though the mother herself always has a measure of guilt in an abortion, this guilt can be mitigated if she is forced or strongly coerced by parents, relatives, friends, or the father.
For example, if a 14 year girl is pregnant and the parents coerce her to have an abortion by words, threats, appeals, and even physically taking her to a clinic, her guilt in the matter can be greatly reduced. But it is also important to understand that even in the above situation, each woman has the duty to make the right decision to keep her child even if outside pressure is intense; a mother taking the life of her own child, no matter how much pressure is being exerted on her, is still a tragic and grave offense.
We must remember that the Lord will always provide for us when we choose to do the right thing despite difficult circumstances. What if a woman gets pregnant from a rape? Does she have an obligation to keep the child? Very simply, abortion is always murder, the taking of an innocent life, and, therefore, always wrong. There are no exceptions to this. Furthermore, the child conceived from rape is neither a criminal nor a cause of the crime. Even the rapist himself should not die – though he certainly merits grave punishment (see above question on the death penalty).
Therefore, even less so should the innocent child die for a crime he did not commit. Imagine if a father committed a crime and they sent the son to jail instead. We all recognize that this would be a grave injustice. However, the same injustice would be committed against the child in the womb if he were to be aborted: he or she would be suffering for a crime he or she did not commit. Many people make this argument because of their compassion for the young woman who was raped. We will not pretend or down-play the great tragedy of a rape and the consequences that are a result of it.
As well, there is no doubt that if a child were to be conceived as a result, it would certainly be difficult for the woman to carry the child of the man that raped her. All of this is an undeniably sad and difficult situation. However, an abortion is not the solution to this tragedy. The first reasons for this are the reasons already mentioned above. Secondly, far from helping the woman, an abortion would in fact make the situation gravely worse. Theology and psychology teach us that the one who commits a crime actually suffers more than the victim.
If this is true, the mother who procures an abortion suffers more than the murdered child. Therefore, to encourage a woman to procure an abortion – in any situation – is to encourage her to commit an act that will leave her gravely spiritually wounded. Is this the solution to a rape? To create more wounds instead of trying to heal the ones present? Two wrongs never make a right. Evil never heals a previous evil; it only brings more evil and more wounds. Only love can heal the wounds caused by evil.
Only choosing to love when everything in us wants to hate – only this will heal the anger, hate, and wounds of sin in our soul. Only love heals. Therefore, the only way to begin to heal the evil from a rape is to choose love – and the first act of love would be to choose life. Life and love always are the same choice. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Therefore, choosing life in the face of a rape is the only choice that will begin to heal the heart wounded by the rape. It is important to note that the woman certainly may choose to give the child up for adoption.
This is always an authentically loving choice. To make this choice, she should pray and evaluate the circumstances of her life, and make her decision based on reason and prayer. Conclusion : Abortion is a grave violation of the fifth commandment and in the crime of abortion, an innocent human life is unjustly taken. There are no exceptions to this. One of the primary claims that advocates of abortion try to make is that an unborn child is not yet a human being. However, we know from science, natural law, and Church teaching that human life begins at conception.
From the moment of conception, the human soul is infused into the new life, and a new and infinite human person now exists. What a beautiful mystery! God could bring forth life without us, but He chooses to let us participate in His most magnificent work. Abortion is an offense against God; we destroy a life He has brought about, and we stop being co-creators, and instead become destroyers. Not only is abortion a crime against the unborn child, but it is also a great harm to the soul of the mother, and all those who are participating in or encouraging the abortion.
When a woman has an abortion, she is destroying herself, by casting a mortal wound into her own heart, into her own female identity. She acts against her deepest feminine identity and dignity. In summary, abortion destroys all those involved. It takes the actual life of one, and it delivers a mortal moral wound into the hearts of all those involved. This crime can only have devastating effects on any society that allows the life of its citizens to be devalued and destroyed. A people that do not value life cannot truly have it.
We are not allow to kill, because though we inherently know we cannot take the life of another, it is important to understand the reason for this. Human life is sacred and no one has a right to take it away from anyone. It is our most fundamental right, and it is inviolable. The reason for this is the fact that the human being was made by God, made for God, and the end of the human being is God. As well, we remain in a special relationship with God throughout our whole lives. In a sense, we can say that if we were to take another’s life, we would be robbing God of someone that He made especially for Him.
Very simply, we are God’s. We are the only creatures that God made specifically for Himself simply to love and have a relationship with. Because we are made for God, it makes us sacred by nature, and therefore, no one truly has any say over our lives except the Lord and those to whom He gives the authority. IV: References •www. piercedhearts. org •Strauss LT, Gamble SB, Parker WY, Cook DA, Zane SB, Hamdan S “Abortion surveillance—United States, 2004”. http://www. cdc. gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5609a1. htm. •http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Abortion •www. wordandlife. faithweb. com •Catechism of the Catholic Church book