The Case Against Abortion

The Case Against Abortion

Medical Testimonies: As surprising as this may be to some people, there is no debate within the medical community as to when life begins. Life begins at conception. Therefore, every "successful" abortion ends the life of a living human being. Read more »

Biological Case Against Abortion
The Biological case against abortion

Medical Testimonies

As surprising as this may be to some people, there is no debate within the medical community as to when life begins. Life begins at conception. Therefore, every "successful" abortion ends the life of a living human being.

We're not asking you to take our word for it. Consider the testimony below from an assortment of leading embryology textbooks.

Modern teaching texts on embryology / prenatal development

"Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."
"A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo)."

Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp.16, 2.



"Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote."

T.W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 
2006. p.11.



"[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 
2008. p.2.

"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte."

Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 
2001. p.8.

Other sources:

Essentials of Human Embryology
William J. Larsen, (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998), 1-17.

"In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. ... Fertilization takes place in the oviduct ... resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point... This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development." 
Human Embryology & Teratology
Ronan R. O'Rahilly, Fabiola Muller, (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996), 5-55.

"Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed... Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments...  The zygote ... is a unicellular embryo... "The ill-defined and inaccurate term pre-embryo, which includes the embryonic disc, is said either to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or ... to include neurulation. The term is not used in this book."
Adding to the consensus of contemporary textbooks, is the testimony of older medical texts as well:
Human Embryology, 3rd ed.
Bradley M. Patten, (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), 43.

"It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitues the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual."
Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics
J.P. Greenhill and E.A. Friedman, (Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders, 1974), 17.

"The zygote thus formed represents the beginning of a new life."
Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3d ed.
E.L. Potter and J.M. Craig, (Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975), vii.

"Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition." 

In addition to the consistent testimony found in medical textbooks, there is some equally conclusive evidence that exists on the public record. In 1981, a United States Senate judiciary subcommittee received the following testimony from a collection of medical experts (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981):

Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth
Harvard University Medical School

"It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive...It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception."
Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni
Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania

"I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception."
Dr. Jerome LeJeune
Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes

"After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion...it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."

Professor Hymie Gordon
Mayo Clinic

"By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception."

Dr. Watson A. Bowes
University of Colorado Medical School

"The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception."

The official Senate report reached this conclusion:

Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being - a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.
Human life begins at conception.  Reproduced by kind permission of Abort73.com


Unwantedness: One of the mantras of abortion advocates is "Every Child a Wanted Child". It sounds noble enough, until you realise what their solution to unwantedness is. If a child isn't wanted, they argue, then it shouldn't be born. The problem, of course, is that the child is already conceived, and the only way to keep said child from being born is to kill it. How do they justify such violence? Often by arguing that it is better for the child to be dead than for the child to be unwanted. Read more »

Conditional Case Against Abortion
The conditional case against abortion

Unwantedness

One of the mantras of abortion advocates is "Every Child a Wanted Child". It sounds noble enough, until you realise what their solution to unwantedness is. If a child isn't wanted, they argue, then it shouldn't be born. The problem, of course, is that the child is already conceived, and the only way to keep said child from being born is to kill it. How do they justify such violence? Often by arguing that it is better for the child to be dead than for the child to be unwanted.

This is a bogus argument. It doesn't work for the simple fact that no one makes such an argument about children after birth. Whoever heard the abortion providers Marie Stopes or British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) argue that it would be better to kill children waiting for adoption rather than let them suffer through an "unwanted" life? If someone's right to life truly were established or removed based simply on their "wantedness", that would be the death knell of homeless men and women around the nation.

Something as subjective as "wantedness" can never be the basis for granting someone the right to life, and abortion advocates know this. They don't argue that mothers should be free to kill their "unwanted" children after birth because they know these children are living, human beings with full rights of personhood. The only reason they argue that mothers should be free to kill their unwanted children before birth is because they're ignoring the scientific reality that these children, too, are living, human beings. The question is humanity, not wantedness.

Finally, it must never be forgotten, that the very discussion of "wantedness" in the first place ignores a substantial reality. There are no "unwanted" children in the broadest sense. Even if the biological parents want nothing to do with their offspring, there are families all over the nation waiting desperately to adopt a baby, families who are willing to adopt diseased babies of any race or ethnicity. This oft-cited notion of "unwantedness" is misleading and is utterly insufficient to justify even a single abortion.

Poverty

Abortion advocates often argue that it is acceptable for a woman to abort her pregnancy if she cannot afford to raise a child. While they are careful to use noble and compassionate language, they are essentially arguing that if a baby is going to be too expensive, the mother has a right to kill it. Such rationale falls apart on many levels, but we'll start with the most fundamental. Like so many abortion arguments, this one assumes something about the unborn embryo or foetus that it hasn't proved. It assumes, in fact, the very thing that it must prove before the argument can hold any water.

Isn't it true, that there are born-children in the UK today who are growing up in poverty? Yes it is true, but has anyone ever heard someone argue that the mothers of these born-children should have the right to kill them, since they can't afford to raise them? No one makes such an absurd and heartless argument because we all know that no amount of financial hardship is sufficient rationale for killing another human being, particularly an innocent child. The only reason anyone uses this argument to try and justify abortion is because they are assuming that unborn children are not human persons. But until abortion advocates can demonstrate that children are not human beings before they're born, all such appeals to financial hardship have no foundation. Poverty is not the issue. The real issue is the humanity of the unborn child. 

Another reason this "poverty" argument falls apart is because most abortion advocates support abortion on demand. They want women to have the right to abort their children for any reason or no reason at all. Therefore appealing to the hard cases of financial instability is just a smoke-screen designed to mask what is an incredibly broad agenda.

Finally, and most practically, it is simply not true to suggest that there are any women in UK who cannot afford to carry their pregnancy to term. Even in the more difficult situations there are large numbers of crisis pregnancy centres across the UK willing to counsel, support and provide for these women for no charge at all compared to the abortion providers who will kill your unborn child for a fee.  Any woman who is pregnant, no matter what her financial situation, can receive the resources she needs to carry her baby to term.

Disability

As shocking a reality as this is, abortion advocates would have you believe that putting a child to death is an acceptable solution to that child's physical or mental disability. In much the same way that they argue for aborting children who might grow up in poverty, abortion advocates also argue for the right to abort children who might grow up with a disability...as if disease or disability somehow strips a person of their right to live and relegates them to a life of misery. Such a suggestion is barbaric and inhumane and has no place in a just society. There are children of all ages, and adults too, who are alive today and are living through all manner of disease and disability  CHECK OUT NICK VUJICIC. Do these physical limitations make them less than human? Is killing everyone who is sick really an acceptable way to treat sickness?

The only reason anyone can suggest for children before birth what they would never suggest after birth is that they are assuming something about that child which they have not proven. Anyone who argues that abortion is a necessary safeguard against a life of suffering and disability is assuming that the unborn child is not yet a living human being. But this is exactly the point that they must prove before they can even begin to make such claims. Disability isn't the issue, it's humanity. We do not kill people for their disabilities, full stop. Therefore, unless we're not human beings before we're born, our disabilities should no more disqualify us from life before birth than they do after birth.

Furthermore, this pressure to abort disabled babies is built largely on conjecture, on the mere "likelihood" that a child has some kind of disability. Often, the tests prove wrong, and more often still, these children, if allowed to live, end up with lives of joy and happiness that far exceeds those of their "more healthy" peers. Suffering and hardship are not bad things. They are means to a greater end, a crucial part of the human journey. Anyone who tries to eliminate suffering by killing the "sufferers" is establishing a very, very, very, very dangerous trend! It is not for us to decide who has a life worth living and who doesn't, and we certainly wouldn't want someone else making that decision for us!

In the end, this whole question of disability is a mere disguise to divert attention from abortion's true agenda. The fact is, abortion advocates support killing babies whether they have disabilities or not. They're not arguing that abortion should be limited to foetuses with severe handicaps. They're arguing that the mother, alone, should have the right to kill her baby for any reason under the sun, and that is the most shocking reality of all.

Adapted by kind permission from Abort73.com


Choice: Since abortion is impossible to justify on the merits (it kills a living human being, remember), "choice" has become the foundation of its political justification. Abortion advocates don't want to talk about facts or science, but they love to talk about "choice". "It’s my body. My choice!" Read more »

Political Case Against Abortion
The political case against abortion

Choice

Since abortion is impossible to justify on the merits (it kills a living human being, remember), "choice" has become the foundation of its political justification. Abortion advocates don't want to talk about facts or science, but they love to talk about "choice". "It’s my body. My choice!"

Nothing has so clouded and confused the politics of this debate more than the misconstrued application of this one little term. The bottom line is this: Choice is nothing apart from the context to which it is applied. Individual choices are either recognised or restricted based upon the circumstances at hand. That's how our laws work. You simply cannot talk about choice in isolation.

For forty years, however, abortion advocates have sought to bestow upon choice a nobility all its own, a nobility it has no claim to. They refuse to be called "pro-abortion", but they gladly accept the label "pro-choice" (despite the fact that there are countless other issues for which they are decidedly not pro-choice). The fact is, laws against rape, murder, assault, theft, speeding, drink-driving and even smoking are all "anti-choice". They take away legal protection from one particular choice in order to protect a more foundational freedom. All such laws are "legislating morality". That's the only way society can survive. Personal choices that infringe on the life or livelihood of another human being must be legislated against. Therefore, anyone who defends legal abortion by simply arguing that people must be free to make their own choices is either ignorant or dishonest.

Furthermore, in almost 99% of all UK abortions, the woman having the abortion chose to have sexual intercourse in the first place. Therefore, it could just as easily be argued that these women already made their choice when they chose to engage in behaviour that often leads to pregnancy. Ultimately, restricting a woman's right to abortion does not restrict a woman's right to not be pregnant. Abortion, after all, does not keep a woman from being pregnant. Abstinence does that. Abortion simply ends the pregnancy of an already pregnant woman by killing the embryo or foetus living within her.

In the end, we are only free to choose so long as that choice doesn't kill or harm someone else, and our government exists to take away those choices that do. Nobody argues that a man should be free to choose when the context is sexual assault. What a fool he would be to try and justify rape by saying, "My body, my choice." Why? Because rape is a violent assault which involves more than just one body. And so is abortion. The heart of the issue is not "choice". The real question is humanity, and nothing short of anarchy can guarantee the perfect freedom of choice.

Personhood

There are essentially two issues which must be resolved concerning unborn embryos and foetuses. The first is, "Are they human beings?" The second is, "Should they be recognised as persons under the law?" We've already established that there is no debate on the first question. It is a matter of plain, objective science. Embryos and foetuses are fully and individually human from fertilisation on. If this were not true, if unborn children were not demonstrably human, there would be no need to even talk about rights of personhood. "Removing a foetus" would be the moral equivalent of pulling a tooth. This, however, is not the case, and so the debate must now enter the political arena.

There is a very real sense in which the need to answer this second question is, in itself, an absurdity. If you look up the word "person" in your average dictionary (we'll use Webster's), you'll find something like this:

Person n. A human being.

A person, simply put, is a human being. This fact should be enough. The intrinsic humanity of unborn children, by definition, makes them persons and should, therefore, guarantee their protection under the law. For more than forty years, however, this has not been the case. The situation we are left with is this. In the UK today, there is a huge and singular group of living human beings who have no protection under the law and are being killed en masse every day. Is that not astounding?! It is astounding, but not wholly unprecedented.

This isn’t the first time a specific group of human beings have been stripped of their rights of personhood, and consequently brutalised. 200 years ago we celebrated the abolition of Slavery. Africans were sold into slavery and treated as property. This was justified on the premise that they were sub-human. In Nazi Germany, millions of Jews were mistreated and murdered justified on the premise that they were sub-human.

There remains one, and only one, group of human beings in the UK today for which being human is not enough. The inconvenience of their existence has resulted in a legal loophole of shameful proportions. What is a person? A person is a human being (unless, of course, you haven't been born yet, in which case we'll define personhood in any way possible so as to exclude you, kill you and forget you).

This is civilised society?


Four Differences: There are four basic ways that the embryo or foetus (who is not protected under the law) is different from a newborn baby (who is protected under the law).Read more »

Philosophical Case Against Abortion
The philosophical case against abortion

Four Differences

There are four basic ways that the embryo or foetus (who is not protected under the law) is different from a newborn baby (who is protected under the law).

Size

The first difference is size. Embryos are smaller than foetuses who are smaller (usually) than newborns. The question, then, is this. What does size have to do with rights of personhood? The answer: nothing.

Smaller people are no more or less human than those who are bigger. Embryos and foetuses are smaller than newborns just as newborns are smaller than infants and infants are smaller than toddlers and toddlers are smaller than adolescents and adolescents are smaller than teenagers and teenagers are smaller than adults. Size doesn't matter. It is lawful to kill a fly and not lawful to kill a person, not because the person is bigger, but because the person is human. Humanity is what matters. Trees are generally bigger than people, but it is lawful to cut the branches off trees, but unlawful to cut arms off people. Why? Because humanity, not size, is what determines rights of personhood. This might seem laughably obvious but there are a large number of people out there who actually justify abortion based simply on the tiny size of the embryo or foetus.

Think about this, it is often true that newborn babies, born prematurely, are smaller than other foetuses who are still inside the womb. Those foetuses still in the womb, may be legally aborted despite the fact that they are bigger than many premature newborns. To argue that abortion is justified because early embryos and foetuses are so small is a rationale with no logical basis. Size doesn't determine personhood after birth and it shouldn't determine personhood before birth.

Level of Development

It is quite true that embryos and foetuses are less developed than a newborn (unless, of course, that newborn was born prematurely). But this, too, is a distinction which has no moral significance. It is a difference of degree, not of kind. Physical and/or intellectual development has nothing to do with determining personhood outside the womb. It is equally insignificant for determining personhood inside the womb. Children are generally less developed than adults. Adults with developmental disabilities may be less developed than some children, and those with extraordinary mental capacity are no more human than those with lesser I.Qs. It is humanity, not brain capacity or arm strength that determines personhood.

A person, as defined by the dictionary, is nothing more or less than a living human. Anyone who tries to narrow this general definition of personhood does so in an attempt to eliminate a certain group of people who is either getting in their way or has something they want. Creating self-defined definitions of personhood that are uniquely crafted to eliminate certain individuals from protection under the law has long been the method of choice for implementing all manner of genocidal atrocities.

A person, simply put, is a human being. This fact should be enough. The intrinsic humanity of unborn children, by definition, makes them persons and should, therefore, guarantee their protection under the law. For more than forty years, however, this has not been the case. The situation we are left with is this. In the UK today, there is a huge and singular group of living human beings who have no protection under the law and are being killed en masse every day. Is that not astounding?! It is astounding, but not wholly unprecedented.

Environment

The unborn child is exactly where he or she should be to mature for 9 months. At around this time (thought to be determined by the child) the child travels a few inches down the birth canal in to the hands of the midwife.

What is it about this short journey that bestows value on to the child? One minute the child can be legally killed through abortion, the next minute the child’s death would result in a prison sentence. What changes?

You may have seen in the newspapers, stories of very premature babies being born and given hard-line neo natal care to sustain their lives. If someone were to walk in to the neo-natal care unit and dismember one of these children they would be put on trial for murder. Yet at this same stage of development a pregnant woman can lawfully kill her child just because she doesn’t want it and her choice is celebrated by pro-abortionists.

The fact is there is no moral difference between a child in the womb and a child outside the womb. The only difference is geographical.

Degree of Dependency

Is our humanity and therefore our worth dependent on how much we need others? Embryos and foetuses are certainly dependent on their mother for their nutrition. Without the mother’s body (until “viability”) the child will die. Through the umbilical cord the child is supplied with oxygen and nutrients.

But think about this: even when the child is born he is still dependent on his parents for his sustenance. The way in which he receives his nutrition may well change from being through the blood to being through either breast or bottle. In fact the child would have to be several years old until he could really be “viable.”

A kidney patient is dependent on her dialysis machine in order to survive. Does this mean she is not valuable? Someone living with diabetes must take insulin to avoid slipping in to a coma. Are we permitted by law then to kill those who are dependent on drugs to live? We are not because our value is not determined by how much we need others.

Embryos and foetuses are not dependent on their mother to be valuable.


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