The Abortion Issue

This is a very difficult topic to approach from any angle. At the heart of it is the matter of life and death. That is what it all boils down to. Does an unborn fetus have the basic right to live? The right to life permeates other issues in our society as well, but none more than that of abortion. I like to think that in all of our hearts, the question of whether or not someone has the right to live is an easy one to answer. The obvious answer would be yes. And yet things are never that simple. The problems arise when one considers the underlying issues that exist. The issue becomes even more difficult when religion is brought into the discussion. One of the driving forces behind the anti abortion movement is the church. To them abortion is murder, plain and simple. In their opinion only God should have the right to decide who lives, and who dies. There is also the concept of an eye for an eye, which is why the death penalty is accepted by some in the religious community as acceptable. This does not apply to abortion, because an unborn child represents the purest form of innocence. The unborn child has not had a chance to harm another or do anything for that matter, because it has not been born yet. So then why should its life be ended before it even begins?

One then has to consider the reasons for why someone would choose to have an abortion. The largest reason is simply the woman or couple is not ready to be a parent. The pregnancy was not intentional, and the baby is unwanted. Why then would they not opt ​​to put the child up for adoption once it is born? Again, there are many societal issues to that question. The human race is not sitting on the brink of extinction. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Why then bring one more person into this world, to take up space and consume resources? Another reason a woman may opt for abortion over adoption is fear. Fear of what may become of the child. We have all heard horror stories of what has happened to a child in the care of a foster or adoptive family. Rather than risk a horrific life for their unborn child they would rather terminate the pregnancy. The final reason a woman would opt for abortion over having the child is simply to avoid the nine months of pregnancy followed by a painful birth. These may seem like selfish reasons. After all if you do not want a child than be more responsible. Use birth control pills or contraption, and then you do not have to worry about getting pregnant. This could have your opinion, but it still does not change the fact that we have not walked a mile in the other persons shoes. We do not know what the circumstances are and at the end of the day, it is their choice not ours. The woman or couple is the one that has to deal with giving birth and raising the child. Perhaps a woman's choice of abortion is a more noble one. She may be at a point in her life where she realizes that she is not responsible enough to raise a child. Perhaps she is not financially capable to raise a child. Opting for abortion rather than having her child starve or go without. Let us not forget the issue of rape. If a woman is raped and a pregnancy is the consequence of that rape than a whole host of new issues come up. She may want an abortion simply because she can not bare the thought of raising the child of a man that did that to her. Maybe she is someone that never planned on having children. Why then should she be forced to raise a child born out of such a violent act, one in which she had no choice? There then are also the genetic component to abortion. A couple may opt for an abortion even though it was a planned pregnancy. The couple may have been trying to have a child, only to find out there is some danger to the mother. Sometimes there is some genetic defect that would warrant abortion. The parents may even be against it only to concern at the doctors behest.

People have other reasons in support of the anti abortion movement. In there mind it is simply wrong to kill a child. In their mind, murder is murder, and so they are against abortion, the death penalty, and so on. The funny thing is that some people get so worked up by the anti abortion movement that they take matters into their own hands. These people are what we call fanatics. They believe so consistently in their cause that they are willing to kill to make their point. Of course they are against abortion, because it is murder and the bible frowns upon murder. An so they choose to murder to make their point? That makes sense. Thus, every now and then we see in the news that someone shot a doctor who fulfills abortions outside of his clinic. It was not the first time, and I doubted it would be the last. And, yes; I know. An eye for an eye, so they may feel justified, because in their mind they are only killing someone that commits murder on a daily basis.

Then there is the philosophical and medical component to the abortion issue. At what point does and unborn fetus become alive or fit the definition of life? Some would argue that the second the sperm penetrates the egg, the deed is done and life has begun. Others would say that it does not count until the child is out. They would have a strong point simply because we do not celebrate our conception dates in our society, we celebrate the day we left the womb. Thus, each one of us are technically nine months older than our birth dates. There is no clear cut definition of life, but life is generally thought to include the processes of homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction. How does an unborn fetus stack up from the moment of conception. It exhibits organization, metabolism, adaptation, and growth from the start. One cell divides into two, then, four, then eight, and so forth. This would be the organization as the new life grows. As it divides it grows, it metabolizes to grow. As it continues to develop it will start to respond to stimuli. The ability to reproduce will not come until the child hits puberty. Without of course the child is a genius and manages to clone him or her self at the age of six. In a sense then it can reproduce before it reaches puberty. Why did I mention this far fetched scenario? Simply, because it helps us get a better grasp on the terms we use to define things. We include reproduction in our list of criteria for life, but what does this really mean? Does this mean then that a machine, that duplicates it self is alive? We will answer that question with a no, although a strong argument can be made that a machine can be alive and that our thoughts about life may be a bit in-accurate. Given the criteria we set to try, and define life an; unborn fetus fits the definition of life from the moment of conception.

We then try to approach the abortion issue from the aspect of awareness. We ask the question, "At what point does the fetus develop a brain"? We ask this, because many feel at this point the fetus qualifies as a living being. Some people believe the brain houses the soul or is the center of who we are. All that we are is dependent upon this most important of all organs. Essentially the brain is a super computer, the most sophisticated one in existence. And we each get one, how lucky are we? Once the fetus gets one of these, then it could be argued that it is now alive. Of course the development of a brain is important, because now we have to wonder if the unborn fetus can feel pain at this point. We all feel pain, because signals are sent to the brain where it is interpreted accordingly. Without a brain then how can it feel the pain of the abortion process? If you can not feel the pain, than there should not be a problem.

Which brings us back to the central question and what the debt comes down to. What we are really concerned about is how we feel about abortion, and not the actual act. Depending on how each of us was raised, what values ​​we were instilled with, or our own conscience; Egypt lack there off, we formulate our opinion on the subject. The issue is raised and presented to us by others and then we choose sides based upon a number of reasons that are our own. Someone that approaches the issue from a religious base, may feel that abortion is wrong only because their bible tells them so. I doubt the bible mentions abortion directly, but it does frown upon murder. If you approach it from a view point that we are all entitled to live, than you are against abortion based upon a personal moral code. Counselors of the abortion issue tend to think more about the rights of the mother. Its her body and her her choice. These people tend to think that it is really none of their business and look to science to put their minds at ease. As long as the fetus is not developed enough, than abortions are fine with them. I personally believe that abortions need to be treated on a case by case basis. There are always extenuating circumstances, information that most of us are not aware of. Do I feel that a woman has the right to choose? Yes, I do, but as I pointed out earlier, the father should be included in the decision. In cases of rape, than of course the decision lies solely with the mother. In cases where the mother's life my be in danger, than again I agree with the right to have an abortion. In all other cases, I still believe in a woman's right to choose. I'm realistic and I know that not everyone should be a parent. In deed there are a lot of people in this world that should not have children, in some cases there should be a law against them reproducing. And, yet they keep on having children. You need a license to drive, conceal a weapon, permits to wipe your own @ # $; and yet anyone can have a kid. So, even though I think that someone may have been irresponsible; they should then have to live with the consequences. That situation can be harder on the kid than the parent. I am in favor of abortions being legal in all states, as long as the practice is regulated by agreed upon legislation.

I have one last thing to say to those supporters of the anti abortion movement. It is your right to take that stance on this issue. So, I support your right to protest, and speak up on the issue. Where I draw the line is those of you out there who feel the need to stand on the side of the road holding up signs with pictures of aborted fetuses on them. I can imagine an aborted fetus is not a pretty sight. Blood and guts usually never is. That being said, it is one thing to share your view point, it is another to cause children to cry and have night mares. You gotta keep in mind that children are seeing those pictures as well. I have seen this happen. Some anti abortion activists were holding up some pictures on the side of the road, a few days before Christmas, along a busy intersection. These were very big pictures, easily seen from far away. My four year old niece was in the car, and fortunately I was able to shield her view from this grizzly scene. Making a statement is one thing, holding up disturbing photos in public is another.

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