Abortion & “Moral Confusion”

2009 March For Life

2009 March For Life in Washington, DC (photo by John Stephen Dwyer)

This Saturday marks the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s detestable Roe v. Wade decision, and abortion has appeared in the news lately as a hot topic in several other instances:

  • Last week, the New York City Department of Health reported that, in 2009, 41% of pregnancies ended in abortion. Among the city’s African-Americans, the abortion rate is considerably higher—almost sixty percent—meaning that for almost every African-American child born in NYC, two more are aborted.
  • In Philadelphia, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder for killing seven infants as part of illegal late-term abortions, and one woman who was undergoing the procedure. D.A. Seth Williams said that Gosnell “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord.” Prosecutors believe Gosnell may be guilty of killing hundreds of infants in the same way while raking in millions of dollars over the past 30 years.
  • An Australian couple aborted twin sons because they already have three sons and wanted a daughter instead. They are appealing to a legal tribunal for the right to use gender selection in the course of an IVF procedure, which is illegal in Australia.

Dr. Albert Mohler addressed the last two of these stories in his blog yesterday (“What About the Twins? The Deadly Logic of Abortion”), and as usual brought some unique and insightful perspective to this issue. Mohler explains that most people who hear these kinds of things instinctively know that there’s something wrong there, but that the way we’ve defined abortion rights causes a “moral confusion” which renders many unable to understand exactly why they feel repulsed.

The logic of abortion rights demands that a woman be recognized as having a right to an abortion at any time for any reason or for no reason. Once you accept abortion as a moral option, it is virtually impossible to preclude any abortion for any reason. The Culture of Death is built upon the logic of abortion on demand. Once the floodgates were opened, it is almost impossible to stem the tide.

This Culture of Death is all around us. Even our current President, Barack Obama, while an Illinois State Senator, repeatedly came out against several proposed Born Alive Infant Protection Acts, state laws which would have protected the lives of children born alive during partial-birth abortions. Now, they are simply allowed to die. These partial-birth abortions are not all that different from Dr. Gosnell’s cruel actions—he induced labor and then murdered the newborn infant—but the outcome is the same: a baby loses their life. If we have convinced ourselves that this type of thing is appropriate, where exactly can we draw the line between it and the reprehensible? How can we determine a distinction? Mohler goes on:

These two cases illustrate the pattern of moral confusion found among the public. News of the “house of horrors” in Pennsylvania brings prompt moral outrage, and understandably so. But is the abortion clinic on the corner, established for the purpose of killing unborn children, any less a house of horrors?

The couple in Australia openly admitted aborting their twin boys because they want a daughter. Millions around the world seem outraged by their decision, but having accepted the basic logic of abortion, they are hard-pressed to define when any abortion demanded by a woman might be unjustified and thus illegal.

To me, these gray areas are exactly where the logic of the “pro-choice” case breaks down. The “right to choose” is emphasized above all else as a civil right for women. Framing the debate this way, proponents of abortion rights have largely succeeded in making their case with much of the population, and demonizing proponents of the “pro-life” movement as persecutors who seek to rob women of their rights. However, I believe that nobody in their right mind would seriously argue that a woman has the right to murder her child because that child would be an inconvenience to her, or may not be healthy, or really for any reason at all. But if it’s illegal for a woman to kill—or even abandon—a child, whatever her reasoning may be, then why in the world should she be expected to have carte blanche to end that child’s life simply because that child has yet to be born?

Many answer that question by saying that, because the “fetus” (which is just a word to detach us from the reality that we’re talking about a human being) isn’t yet self-sufficient, he or she does not yet have individual rights. However, when we follow that argument to its logical conclusion and start to ascribe rights to a child based only on his or her ability to survive independent of a parent, we are faced with the question of where we draw the line. Any child’s survival, not just the unborn, is dependent on someone else for at least several years of his or her life after being born. Indeed, with modern medical technology, an infant stands a good chance of survival even if he or she is born a month early or more, blurring this distinction to an even greater degree. And what about adults with physical and mental disabilities? Do they forfeit their right to live because they depend to some extent on others for their survival? We don’t summarily execute those who require life support, especially when there’s a chance they may be able to recover from that state and become self-reliant individuals. This argument, then, proves to be absurd.

Please notice that, though my concept of the sanctity of life is largely defined by my understanding of Jesus Christ, my arguments against the “logic” of abortion rights was an irreligious argument, based only on reason, and not on my faith. I say this because another great lie that has been perpetuated is that the “pro-life” argument only makes sense when looked at through the prism of a Christian worldview. This argument is not one of women’s rights, but rather plainly and simply an issue of the right of a child to live, over the right of a mother to reject her responsibility to parent her child and murder that son or daughter instead. We have started down a slippery slope, and moral confusion is just one of the myriad consequences.

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One Response to “Abortion & “Moral Confusion””

  1. Janet says:

    The logical argument against abortion – well stated! Political correctness today forces us to abandon logic and not just when it comes to abortion.

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