Abortion is always wrong
I would like to start by thanking you for taking the time to read my first blog post. As a medical student I know that one day I will be faced with the hard reality of abortion and other ethical issues within my medical profession. But instead of waiting until I have to make these critical decisions in split seconds I want to prepare myself, other medical students and challenge people to think critically about topics such as abortion. Abortion is an issue I have been thinking about for a very long time, pondering on the ethics surrounding it and also the dilemma we get ourselves into when we are on the fence or just plain undecided regarding abortion.
When I thought about writing this post I first thought I would give a thorough explanation much like a debate with arguments on why you should be pro-life and why pro-choice is ethically wrong. However after much thought I decided against it. I am going to write to the pro-lifers, the people who believe life starts at conception. These are the people that will tell you abortion is wrong until you begin asking the more difficult questions. Questions like, “What if the girl/woman was raped and as a result is pregnant? ,”What if there is life-threatening complications during pregnancy endangering the mother’s life?”.These are all valid questions which I myself have struggled with and were without answers for until I received some excellent advice. Furthermore I need to say that this blog post is not to prove that pro-life is the correct stance but to help pro-lifers stay philosophically consistent with their underlying ethos in answering these more complex questions. And to show that if we compromise when answering these questions we indeed become pro-choice.
“What if the girl/woman was raped and as a result is pregnant?” I remember when I was asked this question for the first time, I was 17 years old at a ATKV camp. We had just finished watching the movie ‘October Baby’ and were engaged in a group conversation led by the head camp leader. My reply then was simply, “two wrongs doesn’t make a right”. However I feel I have to justify my reply and explain why that is my point of view. I would like to start of by saying that I do not for one moment confess to know how traumatic this experience must be or suggest in any way that it is an easy thing to deal with. I know that being raped is any woman’s worst nightmare and that it leaves victims emotionally, physically and spiritually shattered with immense trauma. The aftermath is a time in which we should treat them with love and sensitivity and I agree it is not the time to throw an ‘abortion-is-wrong-brick’ at their glass houses.
However it must be asked that if the conception happens in these unwanted circumstances is that not still life? If pro-lifers keep to their underlying ethos as mentioned in paragraph 2: “…life starts at conception…” then we have to face the harsh reality that even under rape abortion is still murder. We have to be honest with ourselves that what we define as life should not depend on any outside circumstances. The fact that someone was raped also does not justify murder in any way. For instance the court will have to charge a woman with murder if she murders her rapist a while after she was raped. And we also need to ask what makes the life of an innocent human foetus as a result of rape less than that of the life of another human foetus? According to me they are of the same value.
I want to help you further by not only arguing for the sanctity of life but also show you that the common notion that most rape victims want abortions and the notion that abortion will help the rape victim cope with the trauma is absolutely wrong. These notions are often given as the arguments for pro-choice and sought to show the insensitivity of pro-lifers and also tend to throw the ethical issue in a whirlpool of emotions.
According to most studies at least 50–78% of all rape victims that become pregnant opt to keep the baby. Other studies also show that up to 80% of women who had an abortion after being raped said that abortion was the wrong solution. And a really troubling statistic for those on the pro-choice side, more that 43% of rape victims reported feeling forced by family members, friends or the society to have an abortion. So we can ask did they have a choice?
Now for the hardest question pro-lifers will probably have to face,”What if there is life-threatening complications during pregnancy endangering the mother’s life?” What makes this question especially difficult is that instead of one life being endangered we have two lives being endangered. The mistake most of us make in solving this question is by making the mother’s life of more value. But can one human life have more value than another human life? Absolutely not, that is why we have huge movements against discrimination based on race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. How do we resolve this problem then? I believe we should treat them as two separate patients. Therefore when the foetus for instance starts poisoning the mother we have to protect the life of the mother by removing the foetus under consent of the mother. This can be seen as a self-defence act. However this can not be done simply as an abortion. The foetus should still be regarded as life and if possible should be treated and helped to remain alive. Therefore it is not an act of killing or murdering but an act of protecting both the mother’s and the foetus. This should clearly differentiate between pro-life and pro-choice.
I want to conclude by stating that we should never devitalize the sanctity of human life. Another question that has plagued my mind for the last week was if we truly believe that abortion is murder and the killing of innocent human life, why are we not horrified and in protest that 50 million innocent lives are murdered each year by abortion? I leave that statistic with you and encourage you to give feedback and also suggest other ethical issues within the medical we can discuss.
“Having a moral heartbeat for humanity”