Before I get started, there are a few things that need to be pointed out.
First, I am a Christian. This means that I oppose abortion on “religious” grounds. The Bible seems to indicate that God starts the life clock ticking before birth. God speaks of Isaac as a person before he is even conceived, making promises that Isaac will inherit everything that belongs to Abraham. God tells Rebekah that there are twins in her womb. There is a fair bit about how God addresses people not yet born that gives the impression that personhood is not conferred by being born, as far as God is concerned. Since that line of thinking is only a valid line of reasoning if one already agrees with me that there is a God and about Who He is, this line of reasoning will be set aside for the remainder of this piece.
Second, I am male. It is therefore often asserted that I have no business holding an opinion about abortion, since I cannot ever have one. While I hold this view to be absurd on its face — there are plenty of women who hold opinions about male circumcision and lack the gear to undergo the procedure themselves — my intent in writing this piece is not so much to convince people to legitimize my opinion — it is as legitimate as any other reasoned opinion — or to sway anyone to my view, but merely to express thoughts on the subject.
Third, I do not intend to write a persuasive piece. If you are here looking for someone to cite in trying to convince your friends that abortion is wrong, you are in the wrong bit of writing. I just wanted to dump some thoughts into the blue nowhere and be done with those thoughts.
Fourth and finally, I intend to posit some hypothetical situations in this piece. I will be rather specific and the situations posited may be a bit much for some. You have been warned.
Abortion and Legal Inconsistency
There is a strange bit of legal inconsistency that sometimes troubles me. For a brief summary of what I am thinking of, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures website — the article on fetal homicide laws, in particular. Allow me to illustrate.
In Case A, a man whose certifications we will leave vague approaches a pregnant woman and does some violence to her abdominal area. This violence, for the sake of consistency, is intentional and premeditated. The result is that the woman’s pregnancy is terminated.
In Case B, a man who happens to be a doctor approaches a pregnant woman and does some violence to her abdominal area. This violence is intentional and premeditated and has the goal of terminating the pregnancy. It is successful. The pregnancy is terminated.
Both Case A and Case B involve the same basic elements: a person doing something violent to a woman’s abdominal area which results in a terminated pregnancy. In about 38 states (maybe fewer if the Tennessee law lapsed), Case A can result in criminal charges being filed against the man for terminating the pregnancy while Case B will, as a rule, not. The man in Case A will be charged with assault on the woman in just about every place I can name.
If a woman goes to a doctor for an abortion, she chooses to end her pregnancy and the end of same is her desired outcome. If she is assaulted on the street or gets in an automobile accident and the violence results in a terminated pregnancy, the other person can be held criminally accountable for the death of a person.
Why the disparity?
The only reason I can see is the woman’s choice and desired outcome. In one instance, she wants to end the pregnancy and in the other she does not. If the only difference between a crime and an elective procedure is a person’s choice, then there are some very interesting court cases on the horizon (and already have been, if the above linked article is any indication).
Abortion and Evolution
Disclaimer: I do not believe in evolution on the macro scale, but do find it a useful tool with which to conduct thought experiments such as this one.
I hear often about how human beings are supposed to have evolved from some less evolved life form, the hubris-riddled implication being that we see ourselves as somehow superior to other creatures. Abortion, to me, represents a potential flaw in this line of thinking.
The idea of “survival of the fittest”, as I understand it, is to survive and to pass on one’s genetics to as many progeny as possible. This is, to my recollection, meant to be in service to evolution, as the fitter creatures will tend to pass on their genetics more while their weaker counterparts will not. Abortion interferes with this (as do birth control and monogamy, to be candid, but I am not considering birth control or the validity of monogamy in this piece … maybe another time). Abortion interferes in one of two basic ways that I can see.
Way One: Abortion terminates the development of a potentially superior creature. While I do not think that the X-Men are coming any time soon, I do believe that geniuses of every type and kind have potentially been prevented from entering this world by abortion. The real trouble is that there is no reliable method of knowing. All that can be known is that a pregnancy was terminated. What may have happened is that humanity may have been robbed of its next great physics genius or musical virtuoso. Humanity may also have been relieved of several de Sads and Bathorys, but there is absolutely no way of knowing.
Way Two: Abortion, when used by eugenicists, selects the traits that the eugenicist (or those controlling them) determine to be desirable. The founder of Planned Parenthood was a eugenicist and thought that abortion could be used to remove elements from the populace that she deemed undesirable. I will not comment on whether or not the organization she founded has adhered to her agenda (because I do not know), but point her out particularly because she illustrates the point well. There have bee others who had eugenic agendas, but most often pursued their goals by other means.
Whether by selectively removing traits that some controlling group or person deems undesirable or by potentially quashing the birth of geniuses and virtuosos, abortion interferes with evolution as well as inhibiting the biological imperative. It is, in short, unnatural. And also makes those who adhere to a belief in evolution potentially inconsistent. Unless they are eugenicist, I cannot reconcile believing in evolution and survival of the fittest, then interfering and/or permitting others to interfere with the process.
I could probably go for pages, but these have been the two thought processes rattling around in my head since panicked people began to run about as if the sky were falling after the last election here in the United States. We Americans are legally inconsistent in our treatment of whether or not the result of terminating a pregnancy is murder/manslaughter or a removal of tissue. And abortion seems to me to be interfering with evolution’s work, if you buy into that sort of thing.
I am sorry if this thought dump is a bit more rambling than previous — my Thoughts on Hell piece is more organized, I think — but I am a bit rusty at writing anything non-technical and not a morning devotion.