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Abortion is the death of a fetus though a deliberate medical procedure. It is the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. Almost everyone has a strong opinion on this particular topic. The pro-choice (or pro-abortion) view states that abortion is always morally justified. Those who are pro-choice believe that a woman can have an abortion for any reason. They claim that a mother can decide what to do with her own body, and a fetus is simply an extension of the mother. They state that abortion is an issue of a right to privacy, and should be up to individual families or women. They believe that abortion is never morally wrong. They claim that a fetus is not a person, so it has no rights. The pro-life (or antiabortion) view holds that having an abortion is always morally wrong. Those who are pro-life believe that abortion constitutes the murder of an innocent baby. They claim that a mother has an inherent responsibility to her child. They believe that an unborn baby is not simply a fetus, but a living human being with potential, interests, and rights. They state that an unborn baby is not part of the mother’s body, but a separate human person dependent on his or her mother and in need of protection. Some people attempt to hold a middle ground and claim that abortion is morally justifiable in certain circumstances. They state that abortion is morally wrong and denounce it in other situations. This view is difficult to defend and not easy to hold to for any length of time. The Biblical/Christian worldview, the pro-life/antiabortion viewpoint, and the logical/rational view all say that abortion is morally wrong. First, an unborn baby is an individual human being from the moment of conception. There is no other point in the life cycle and development of a human being that so clearly delineates the start of life. Medically and epistemically, the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm cease to exist and an “embryo” begins life. Over time, this embryo develops into a fully mature adult human being. It is logically and grammatically correct to speak of when a person was conceived. Second, the woman has no right to privacy or right to control her own body that would allow for an abortion. No one is able to do whatever he or she desires with his or her own body if it harms himself, herself, or someone else. In addition, a fetus is not part of the woman’s body. A new embryo has its own unique DNA, and it will grow into a distinct person with separate wishes, interests, and desires. Third, this new life has the potential for every human capacity that characterizes personhood. Moreover, if the unborn baby is a human person with the rights and privileges that entails, then no doctor or mother can kill or harm the child without being morally culpable. To begin with, it is impossible to prove that an unborn child is not a human being with the basic inherent capacity for personal characteristics. A human being is someone who has the capacity for consciousness, empathy, rational thought, self-awareness, and any other similar characteristic of personhood. Therefore, a zygote, embryo, fetus, or baby has the potential to become person, even if it is not functioning as one currently. If one is not sure whether an unborn child is a person or not, or if one believes that it is not even possible to know, then the law tells us to err on the side of caution. The courts will convict someone of manslaughter if he or she unknowingly and unintentionally kills or murders another person. In addition, the courts will convict anyone who kills a woman of one murder, and someone who kills a mother and her child of two murders. Fourth, God knows the unborn before the mother even knows and He cares about the most helpless and lowest ranked among us. David says in Psalm 139:13-16, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Jeremiah 1:5 also says that God knows us before we are born. It says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” God cares how we treat our fellow human beings. Exodus 20:13 clearly states, “You shall not murder.” Fifth, a woman who becomes a mother has a responsibility to her child. More than 80% of abortions are undergone for reasons of convenience, such as finances, not being ready, irresponsibility, age, and disruption in lifestyle. However, if a woman carries her child to term, then she has the option of giving up the baby for adoption or calling on support from the church and the government. Sixth, some who are pro-choice/pro-abortion argue that mother’s have a right, even a duty, to “terminate” their unborn children if they would suffer from a serious illness. There are several problems with this argument. To begin with, it is possible that the medical tests were wrong and the baby will grow up healthy and live a normal life. In addition, it is not possible to determine what standard qualifies a life that is worth living. Who is supposed to judge whether someone would rather die than live with a debilitating illness? Furthermore, it is not logical or rational to compare a state of existence or being (life) with that of nonexistence (death). Clearly, the Biblical, Christian, logical, and rational view is that abortion is wrong.
Contributed by Christine Ruff