November 14, 1979, with the temperature outside at fifteen degrees, a two pound baby girl was found in a field wrapped up in a wet, dirty, old shirt. The umbilical cord was still attached, and the baby had been aborted twelve weeks prematurely. With little chance of survival, the baby was taken to a medical center. The little girl survived surgery and other efforts to save her. The baby was later adopted by, Susan Morrison, one of the nurses who attended to her. The baby was named Christelle, and now she and her mother talk to thousands of people about abortion and the pro-life movement (Maffet 13-14). This is an example of one person who felt they had the right to kill an unborn child. There are one million six hundred thousand other abortion stories every year in the United States alone (Swindoll 13). No one should have the right to kill an unborn child.
“Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by death of the embryo or fetus: as spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first twelve weeks, induced expulsion of a human fetus” (Webster 2). ” The life of a child starts in the womb where God personally and sovereignly superintends the development and maturation of the baby before birth” (Swindoll 25). Because life begins at conception, abortion is more than terminating a pregnancy, it is taking a life.
The development of a baby can be medically documented. At eighteen to twenty-five days the baby’s heart starts to beat. At forty to forty-two days the brain waves can be detected and at eight weeks the baby can grasp its hands. It can also swim with a natural swimmer’s stroke and will already have its own set of fingerprints (Student Pack 1). It is at this eight week period that about fifty percent of abortions are done (Swindoll 13). Approximately twenty-seven percent of all abortions are done at ten weeks into the pregnancy (Swindoll 13). At this stage of development, a baby can feel and respond to pain and yet seven hundred and seventy-two thousand eight-hundred abortions are done yearly after this point in a pregnancy (Student Packet 3). Also, at ten weeks, ninety-five percent of the baby’s organs, features, and muscles are formed and working (Student Packet 1). Fourteen percent of abortions occur when the baby is eleven to twelve weeks old and five percent occur at thirteen to fifteen weeks. Four percent of the abortions occur at sixteen to twenty weeks and only about two percent are aborted after twenty weeks (Swindoll 13).
There are five main methods of performing an abortion. One method is dilatation and curettage. This procedure starts with paralyzing the cervix muscle ring and stretching it open. Then a curette is inserted into the opening and used to cut the placenta and baby into pieces. The remains are scraped into a bin and discarded. This procedure usually causes profuse bleeding. A second form of abortion is known as the suction method. A hollow plastic tube is inserted and attached to a strong vacuum. The baby and the placenta are torn into pieces as it is sucked into a bottle. Many times women will need blood transfusions due to hemorrhaging after this method of abortion. This procedure is done up until the eleventh or twelfth week of pregnancy.
The third method is called a hysterectomy abortion. The abdomen is cut open and the baby is removed and discarded. This method is performed after the fourteenth or the fifteenth week (Wilke 27). It has been documented that there was a baby who tried to cry and its little arms were moving and the legs were kicking and the doctor smothered it with the placenta (Wilke 27). All babies are alive before being aborted with this method. Another case was reported about a baby in New York that refused to die and later was adopted into a good home (Wilke 29).
At sixteen weeks saline abortions are done. A needle is put into the mother’s stomach and it reaches into the baby’s bag of water. A concentrated salt solution is injected into the fluid which poisons the baby. This causes the baby to convulse and die. A day later, the mother will go into labor and will deliver a dead baby. It has been recorded that a woman had a saline abortion and was sent home right after the procedure, two weeks later she delivered twins. One weighed three and one fourth pounds and the other was three and three fourths pounds (Wilke 29). God can overrule what man chooses to do.
Partial birth abortions are the fifth method. In this procedure the doctor grabs the baby’s legs and pulls them out into the birth canal. The baby’s whole body is delivered except for the head. The doctor then pokes scissors into the baby’s skull and opens the scissors to increase the size of the hole. A suction tube is then inserted into the hole and the child’s brain is sucked out. The skull collapses and the dead child is removed and discarded. This method is performed any where from four and a half months until the ninth month (Student packet 14).
There are many reasons why abortions are done. Most of them are for selfish reasons. Only one percent are done because of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. Sometimes the doctor will advise an abortion for health reasons, but this is the case in only four percent of the women. Fifty percent of the women claim that they do not want to be a single parent or that they are having problems in their current relationship. Sixty-six percent say they cannot afford a child and seventy-five percent say it would interfere with their lives. Unfortunately, ninety-five percent of abortions are done because of the last three excuses (Swindoll 12).
A current trend is for babies to be aborted because the parents do not like the gender of the child. One woman said that she had tried all methods she knew of to conceive a girl. She found out twice that she was carrying a boy and she had both babies aborted (Student pack 5).
Many women have abortions because they are willing to do what others tell them to do. A victim of sexual abuse said that her mom told her that if she continued her pregnancy, she could not live at home. Many of these girls are fifteen to seventeen years of age and have no where else to live. They often are never told all the facts about abortion and have no one else there to support them. It is sad, because many times parents care more about their reputation than what is best for their daughters (Green 21-15).
Many women do not know about the long term effects that abortions can have on them physically and emotionally. In a survey of one thousand one hundred and forty-five women who have had an abortion, eight hundred and sixty-eight of them said they would not have an abortion again. Of those interviewed, nine hundred and thirteen of them said that they experienced guilt. Six hundred and seventy-four have lower self-esteem and seven hundred and ninety-eight experienced excessive crying and depression. Other psychological and emotional problems women have experienced are nightmares, remorse, hostility, hatred toward males, promiscuity, feeling dehumanized, abuse of children, despair, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, inability to forgive themselves, anger, rage, drugs and alcohol abuse. Many women also will have a desire to get pregnant again, while others continue to have abortions and some have thwarted maternal emotions (Spring 66). One woman said, “I have this dream that I hear a baby crying and then another. I go to a closet and open it. Out fall a hundred babies’ bodies.” Another woman says, “No one ever told me I would live with this decision the rest of my life. It has been several years, but my grief continues” (Student packet 11).
There are many physical complications as a result of abortion. Many women will later have intense pain, menstrual disorders, infections, neo-natal death, shock, coma, blood clotting defects and a scarred uterus. Women can also become infertile or sterile. Some women who do become pregnant again, usually have complications such as premature birth, long and difficult labor, tubal pregnancy, and many will miscarry (Student pack 13). Women also die as a result of an abortion. Doctors will not list it as the cause of death, but will put hemorrhaging, suicide or infection as the cause. Abortions leave behind emotional trauma to families. Tendencies toward drug and alcohol abuse, self-destructive behavior, guilt and suicide occur in ninety-nine percent of women who have had abortions (Maffet 14).
Abortion became legal on January 22, 1973. Abortion was ruled as a constitutional right in all the states. There were two cases that were brought to the Supreme Court which played a major role in the legalization of abortion. The primary case was Roe versus Wade. This involved a Texas woman, Jane Roe. Her real name was Norma McCorvey. She claimed to have been raped and felt she should be able to have a legal abortion. Later Miss McCorvey confessed that she had not really been raped. McCorvey was not able to have an abortion legally, so she carried the baby and then delivered a baby girl. The baby was given up for adoption and many years later she got to meet the child she had wanted to abort (Student pack 7). The second case was Doe versus Bolton. This was a case involving a couple from Georgia who wanted to abort a baby which they had not planned on (Student packet 7).
This law did not protect the unborn because it said that, “Legal personhood does not exist prenatally.” It said there would be no restrictions at all on abortions done within the first three months. Abortion would be legal after twenty to twenty-four weeks if a licensed doctor said it was necessary for the mother’s health. This became a loophole for doctors to say physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and age would be relevant to the mental or physical well being of the patient (Student packet 9).
This abortion law was passed despite the fact that the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life…that to secure these rights, government are instituted among men” (Wilke 94). The fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States further says, “Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or poverty without due process of, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, that equal protection of the laws” (Wilke 94). In addition, on November 20, 1959, the Declaration of the Rights of a Child, was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. It stated that, “The child, by reason of physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after, birth” (Wilke 94).
The unborn are beginning to gain more rights. From state to state, legal rights of an unborn child can mean the difference between the death of a fetus being a criminal act to being just a matter of legal consequence. Mothers are now starting to be prosecuted for harming their babies through drug and alcohol abuse. Drunk drivers are also being punished in some states for injuring fetuses. Accidents like these would have gone without punishment up until a few years ago. Almost half of the states, such as Delaware, do not consider the killing of a fetus as murder unless the child is born and then dies (USA Today). Patricia Bast Lyman added to the American Center for Law and Justice, fetal rights to its docket. It was stated, “The law is a teacher and we think the law should teach respect for children at all states in the womb.” While fetal rights are growing, the woman’s right to control her body in ways that could affect the fetus, are lessening. Planned abortion is the only circumstance under which the killing of an unborn child goes on without consequences. The growing consideration of a fetus is a surprising change in the law. The so called, “born-alive” rule is still in effect in almost half of the states. This rule says that the fetus must be born alive, even briefly, before its death can be recognized as a homicide. In 1994, this rule showed its inadequacy. A woman was hit by a vehicle that ran a red light. The car she had been riding in was damaged, and so was her baby. The day after the accident she delivered a dead baby. The man who had hit her was charged with manslaughter. Later the judge dropped the charges because of the “born-alive” rule. The mother stated, “It was bad enough losing my child, but then to learn there was no penalty was too much to take. I was three weeks from my due date, and they were telling me my daughter was not a person” (USA Today). In another case, however, a woman was given sixteen years in prison because of her part in a drunk driving accident. She was charged with manslaughter in the death of a baby who met the legal requirements of being “born-alive,” but two days later the baby died due to the injuries
There are two opposing positions on abortion. The pro-life position believes that abortion is immoral and should not be legal. The pro-choice position believes that a woman should legally be able to have an abortion, and that it is her right to terminate the pregnancy or carry the baby (Burtchaell, 101). Pro-abortionists say that the unborn child is just fetal tissue and not really alive until it is born (Walton 12). Pro-life groups say that the unborn are, in reality, a living human who has to die a painful death when being aborted (Walton 12).
Many doctors perform abortions because of the financial rewards. Fortune magazine says that abortion is now one of the major businesses in America. They estimate that abortuaries probably make more than half a billion dollars a year. This estimate was made ten years ago (Walton 8). Doctors who perform abortions are breaking the Hippocratic Oath that they repeat before entering the medical profession. The Oath states, “I will follow that method of treatment, which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel. Furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion” (Colliers 113).
Not only does the Hippocratic Oath say something about abortion, but so does the Creator, God. He is the Creator of the unborn. Psalm 139:13-16 says, “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 name 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 (Bible 640). God values each and everyone of us highly, especially His children.
In Genesis 1:27 it says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Bible 3). God further tells us in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder” (Bible 80). God has the ultimate authority in life and death.
One of the strong messages from the Pro-life movement comes from Deuteronomy 30:19. It says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Bible 209). They encourage people to choose life, to carry their babies to full term and not abort them.
To God there are no exceptions for choosing life. He does not allow us to kill a child because it was conceived as a result of rape or incest or has deformities or handicaps. He tells us in Deuteronomy 24:16, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin” (Bible 204). In Romans 8:28 God also tells us that, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Bible 1218). He says all things, not just for the perfectly formed baby or the baby that was conceived in harmony and love, but for all situations. God also reminds us in Exodus 4:11 that He is the one who gives us our mouth and who makes us deaf and mute or who gives us our sight or chooses to make us blind (Bible 64).
The Bible tells us that women do not have a right to control their own body. He tells us in Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord; children are a reward from Him” (Bible 636). In Ezekial 18:4, God further reminds us that, “Every living soul belongs to Me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to Me. The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Bible 871). Pro-choice women feel they have a right to choose about their bodies. The Bible clearly states that no man is allowed to take a life before birth. Matthew 18:14 tells us how precious babies are to Him. It says, “Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish” (Bible 1030). To those doctors or clinic workers who are involved in abortions God gives a stern warning. He says in Deuteronomy 27:25, “Cursed be he that accepts a reward to kill an innocent person” (Bible 206).
There are solutions to the abortion problem. Unfortunately, there are some places which originally started out to help women, but became greedy and no longer provide all sides to the pregnancy and abortion issue. One such organization is Planned Parenthood. It was started about sixty years ago. In 1963, a Planned Parenthood pamphlet said, “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child, you cannot have it” (Student Packet 15). In 1984, there were eighty-eight thousand eight hundred and twenty-four abortions done by Planned Parenthood. They now have over fifty clinics around the country. Planned Parenthood says that , “Abortion is currently the safest of the most frequently performed surgical procedures,” yet abortion is the sixth leading cause of maternal deaths (Student Packet 15). Planned Parenthood receives about thirty million dollars a year from Title X, a government program, and millions more from other tax supported programs (Walton 8).
Even though there are some bad centers for women, Crisis Pregnancy Care centers and Right-to-life centers are good places to go for real help. They tell women the truth and give them alternatives to abortion. Adoption is one alternative given to women. Adoption needs to be presented as a loving act for a child and a unique and special way to build families. Adoption laws must be modernized so that laws advocate the rights and needs of the baby, biological parents and the adoptive parents (Sider 69). Adopted children have more socio-economic advantages than kids who stay with their unmarried mothers. They have better educated mothers and live with families with a higher income. Thousands of babies are being aborted daily, and yet there are about two million infertile and fertile couples or individuals that want to adopt children. In 1986, fifty-one thousand one hundred and fifty-seven American children were adopted. Half of these children were healthy babies under two, from all races and backgrounds.
Another alternative or preventative measure would be to teach or encourage abstinence in dating relationships. This needs to be taught in the home first and then supportive teaching by the church, community and in the schools (Student Packet 8).
Shepherding or maternity homes are also a helpful alternative for the pregnant woman. A woman can come and live in these homes during her pregnancy. She is given the support of a loving family and learns about healthy family relationships, adoption and bringing up her own baby (Falwell 118-119).
Legal changes need to be set into place. One change would be the consent requirement law. This law says that the consent of the husband or man who is responsible for the pregnancy will have to agree to the abortion. There are states that prohibit minors from having an abortion without their parent’s consent. In Minnesota, a pregnant minor that chooses not to go to Court to have a judge decide whether she is mature enough to make the abortion decision or if an abortion is in her best interest, must tell or notify both of her parents and have their consent before having an abortion. The law makes no exceptions for girls of divorced or unmarried parents who do not have guardianship (Tribe 198-199).
Limiting the reasons for abortions also will lessen the number of aborted babies. A compromise is that a woman would have to be examined before having an abortion. This was suggested because in Pennsylvania women wanted to kill their fetus because it was the wrong sex. This reason for abortion became outlawed in Pennsylvania (Tribe 204).
Abortion is wrong and there are no exceptions. No one should have the right to kill an unborn child. God says it is wrong and He has the ultimate say in life and death. Mother Theresa stated, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish” (Student Packet 13). Abortion is not a quick fix for a child that is unwanted. Every child should be a wanted child. There are viable solutions to this problem, and we must do all that we can to promote those solutions. By doing this, we can help stop the killing of innocent children.
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Sider, Ronald, Completely Pro-life,
Illinois, Intervarsity Press, 1987.
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Dallas, Word Publishing, 1990.
Tribe, Laurence, Abortion the Clash of Absolutes,
New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1990.
Walton, Rus, Biblical Solutions to Contemporary
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