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Archive for 2019

Article 3: The Ethics of Abortion, Part 2

This is a continuation of a series of articles. All previous articles can be found on our website in the blog section.

Again, our intent is not to condemn or wound those who have been part of an abortion (please see our post-abortive recovery program, SOAR). We want to spur thought and conversation that empowers you to interact with those around you in a thoughtful way.​

Rights vs. What is Right
Whenever someone mentions the word “ethics,” there is usually not an enthusiastic response, perhaps there is even a yawn, but understanding ethics is vital to all of us. Ethics are the moral principles that govern our behavior. The reason we are talking about ethics before laws and trends regarding abortion, is that the clarification of ethics helps us rightly understand these laws and trends. Laws flow from our ethics, but often it can get reversed in the rhetoric surrounding abortion. When those who are pro-choice talk about their rights, they may imply both a legal standing and moral one, but can their moral standing hold up? Let’s look at some common arguments for abortion and see if there are weaknesses.

Law vs. Ethics
First, we must acknowledge that current law in the United States gives someone the legal right to proceed with an abortion. What we need to understand is that a legal justification (a legal right) does not equal a moral rightness. Certainly, everyone in the US can think of past laws that were immoral. Laws that discriminated against minorities and women, stripping away their humanity were immoral even when they were legal. It should also be pointed out that the law itself is inconsistent. If a pregnant woman is killed, the suspect can be charged with a double homicide. So, we know that legality is not the ultimate test for morality.

Personhood
Personhood is an idea used only when we want to deny someone their humanity. The pro-choice argument of when someone is or is not a person is used to differentiate a child in the womb from one outside the womb. We covered these differences in the previous article, but there should also be something said about the general idea of personhood. Whenever personhood has been tied to anything more restrictive than a human being, it has always had a sinister purpose. To call someone less than a person is to deny them rights that should be afforded everyone. Sadly, it is not a new tactic even if the language has changed. In the US, it was used against Native Americans and African-Americans for many atrocities. History is full of many more examples. We must understand that the only purpose for denying someone personhood is to assert control over them that is not for their benefit.

My Body, My Choice
The argument that, “No one should have a right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body” is a common refrain for pro-choice advocates. One big problem is that it is not an absolute. In the law for example, there are statutes regarding prostitution, drug use, and the selling of one’s own organs. Those are all legal statutes that do not show an absolute autonomy for one’s body. In fact, it is hard to think of many crimes in which someone does not use their body in some way. So, claiming autonomy because it involves your body does not hold up (try not having your body show up for jury duty and using body autonomy as a legal argument). Granted, while people do have the moral standing to choose medical care for themselves, we would not allow them to choose harm or kill someone else. A conjoined twin sharing vital organs cannot choose to end both of their lives. The root of the ‘my body, my choice’ is again to deny or diminish the humanity of the baby in utero and thus give the mother the ability to end its life.

Unwanted
There is an argument that it is “inhumane to give birth to an unwanted child.” There are two major problems with this reasoning: the premise isn’t true and the argument isn’t valid. First, any child born in the US today is wanted by someone. It is estimated that there are about 2 million couples in the US waiting to adopt. Even children with special needs have multiple families willing to adopt. Much of the “unwanted” rhetoric comes from the number of older children in the foster care system, which is a separate moral issue. Any baby born in the US is certainly not without a home that desires them. Secondly, the whole issue of “wanted” or “unwanted” should have no standing in the right to life of a human being. Just because one does not want someone, does not give them a right to end their life, and it is never more humane to kill someone because they might possibly suffer in the future.

The next article will move on from ethics to what is happening in our society today. There are new movements, technologies, and laws that most people who are pro-life don’t even know about.

What did we miss? If you think we missed something or made a misstep, please send us an email.

 

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Article 2: The Ethics of Abortion, Part 1

As we continue our series on abortion, we do want to remind our readers of the purpose of this series. Life Centers is not an “advocacy group,” we are a ministry whose mission is to save babies and transform the lives of their mothers and fathers. While we are trying to spur a discussion that we believe needs to happen, we do not intend to condemn or further wound those who have been a part of an abortion. One of our ministry focuses is helping individuals heal after being involved in an abortion. We do this through our post-abortive recovery ministry (SOAR).

Frequency

Frequency plays a part in discussions about specific ethical issues. If something does not happen often, the urgency of examining the ethics of the uncommon situation is diminished. Perhaps to avoid looking at abortion through an ethical lens, people say that it is “rare.” However, when you look at the number of abortions worldwide, it is anything but rare. According to the most reliable source of abortion statistics, The Guttmacher Institute, abortions have increased to an astounding 56 million per year worldwide. We repeat – 56 million induced abortions every year. To help put that number into perspective, the World Health Organization says that the total number of people that die annually (of all causes) is 56.9 millionHumanity has chosen to intentionally end life in the womb at the same rate as all forms of disease, sickness, accidents, homicides, and wars – combined. Even if the Guttmacher institute is not perfect, the number one killer of humans is abortion. It is not rare, it is becoming more frequent.

Not the Same

One of the most common reasons given for justifying abortion, is that “what” is being killed is not a person. This reasoning can be dangerous because there are many instances in history where stripping away humanity is used to justify acts that should not be accepted. Rather than dismiss it, let’s examine this argument closer to see if it has merit.

How Embryos are Different S.L.E.D.

We must start on the common ground that a two-year-old child is not someone who should be killed because they are not a person. That should be easy to agree upon. So, are the differences between a two-year-old and an embryo enough to change that? Many people would say, “Yes.” Scott Klusendorf, a bioethicist, uses the acronym S.L.E.D. to represent the four categories of difference: Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency. 

Size

We once were all very small embryos. It is often said, “Something that small can’t be a human.” We would never argue that a 5ft tall, 110lb person is a lesser person and therefore has less of a right to live than a 7ft tall, 300lb person. So clearly, size should not be the determining factor.

Level of Development

Embryos are less developed than 20-year-olds, but so are two-year-olds. We would not kill a two-year-old just because they have not developed the same way an older person has. So clearly, level of development should not be the determining factor.

Environment

Should embryos not be considered human because of their location – the womb? The difference between many babies aborted and those protected under law, is a journey of 8 inches down the birth canal. When you walk out of your house, does that change your humanity? Is someone in Africa less of a person than someone in Europe (a different location)? The answer of course is, “No.” So clearly, environment should not be the determining factor.

Degree of Dependency

“A fetus can’t survive on its own.” If you left a two-year-old alone for 3 days, would he or she survive? Most modern adults could not survive a week in the wilderness without modern technology. Does that mean that the two-year-old who is dependent upon adults to feed and care for them, or the adult who can’t survive in the wilderness are not human and don’t have a right to life? No. So clearly, degree of dependency should not be the determining factor.

Think about all of the reasons you have heard that a fetus is not a person, a human, or deserving of life. They all fit into these categories.

​To be continued…

There are other pro-abortion arguments and ethical considerations that we will address in two weeks in part two of “The Ethics of Abortion.” We are not using the Bible when presenting this philosophical discussion of abortion because we want you to engage with those around you, including those who reject Scripture but will listen to reason. One does not have to be a Christian to be pro-life. We need non-Christians, as well as Christians, to stem the tide of 56 million abortions every year.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have questions/comments, please email them to Brian Current.

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What is Abortion? Article 1

What is Abortion?

To begin any discussion, there must be a common understanding of what is being discussed. The purpose of this article in the series (Series Introduction Here) is to help create that understanding and possibly help educate the reader. This article is not intended to wound anyone, but the subject matter is very heavy.
 

A Working Definition

If you were to look up a definition of abortion, you may come across the phrase “loss of a pregnancy …” without reference to the reasons why that pregnancy was lost. That is because natural rejections or miscarriages are sometimes referred to as “spontaneous abortions.” For the purpose of our articles and all of the information we will present, we will not be referring to these, but rather exclusively to “induced abortions.” An induced abortion is an intentional act aimed at the destruction of a human life at any point between fertilization and birth. So when we say “abortion,” this is what we are referring to.

 

Limiting the Focus for Now

There are two other things to consider before you read, “What is an abortion?” that we will not discuss in this article: abortifacients and therapeutic abortions. Among the induced abortions, there is a difference between therapeutic abortions (ectopic pregnancies, maternal cancer, maternal heart disease, other health of the mother issues) and “convenience” abortions (eugenic and “family planning”). Abortifacients, a drug that causes an abortion, commonly called “the Morning After Pill” or the Plan-B pill, can “work” after conception and before implantation – which would fit our working definition of abortion. We will talk about these issues in our next article, “The Ethics of Abortion.” For now, we’ll discuss different procedures for an abortion, which are commonly agreed upon.
 

Abortions

There are two major types of induced abortion used in the US today: surgical and medication induced.

There are many types of induced surgical abortions, but the majority of them performed in the first trimester involve strong suction. If a surgical abortion is done during the second trimester, additional steps may be necessary to section the baby before removing via suction. In third trimester abortions, similar steps are taken, but the baby is removed by instruments or by hand. Surgical abortions are done at abortion facilities and in some hospitals. Much of the political debate has been around the standard of care that a facility must meet in order to perform these procedures.
 
Medication induced abortions are done with a medication called RU-486 (mifepristone). Mifepristone works by prohibiting the synthesis and functionality of progesterone, a hormone that is necessary to sustain early pregnancy. When the role of progesterone is compromised, the uterus contracts, the endometrium becomes hostile to the implanted embryo, and the cervix softens to allow expulsion. Most commonly this is followed up with a dose of misoprostol that is used to induce or expel the baby. Currently, there is political discussion in the US around reducing the restrictions and expanding the availability of medication induced abortions.
 

More Info

Much more detail could be given on the abortion procedures, but we are limiting ourselves for these articles. Descriptions that are more detailed can be found here: https://abort73.com/abortion/abortion_techniques/
 
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Our hearts break every time we think about the loss of life because of abortion, and all that we ask is that you do not turn away. We will continue the series of articles in two weeks. “The Ethics of Abortion” will be released on October 24th. If you have any questions or comments, please email me.

– Brian Current, Life Centers’ Director of Community Partnerships

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Abortion Articles: Introduction

In June we talked about a series of articles we were working on aimed at educating our supporters about abortion and the changing landscape. https://mailchi.mp/lifecenters.com/newcommunication (Please consider reading if you have not already). Since that introduction, we have had many more discussions internally, with many of you, and with a number of outside sources. We encourage further discussion (that is part of the reason for this series) and want to begin doing so on a broader scope by starting the series now. This is the introduction to those articles.

Again, we are not trying to create political debate but rather provide information that will help you become a compassionate ambassador for life in your sphere of influence. We will never use upsetting images or politically charged rhetoric, but at times you might be upset by what you read. We encourage you to not turn or shy away. We need you to lean into it and understand it so that you might be used to save a life.

Schedule of articles:

In two weeks we will begin by talking about “What is Abortion?”. This article will help us define induced abortion and understand the types of procedures. Two weeks after that, we will discuss the “The Ethics of Abortion”. This will be a non-religious examination of the ethical issues of induced abortion.  Following that, we will look at “Abortion in Indiana and Life Centers”. In this article, we will look at local abortion statistics and laws and how Life Centers locally seeks to help women choose something other than abortion. After covering the local aspect, we will look at “Abortion in the US”. We will study current laws, legislation, and movements and how we got here. Finally, we will end with the article “Loving Engagement with Those Considering Abortion” focusing on how to apply what we have learned and lovingly reach out in our spheres of influence.

We hope that you find these articles helpful and thought provoking and look forward to hearing from you. If you have specific questions or topics you think should be covered email Brian.

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