Abortion ranks high on the list of contentious issues in this country. Sternly divided on both sides of the aisle sit advocates of pro-choice, who approve abortion at various stages during pregnancy, and pro-life, who believe abortion under any circumstance to be abominable.
The former stance is inherently ambiguous; when asserting the pro-choice argument, one is usually confronted with the question of how late in the pregnancy an abortion becomes unwarranted, with answers typically consisting of arbitrary time frames that seek to provide moral clarity. But the problem with this is that clarification cannot be made when benign morals are not involved in the first place. Trekking into the political realm, abortion has invalidly transformed from a straightforward matter into one of intense, national debate.
I have long endorsed the pro-choice stance until recent reflection forced me to reconsider the moral implications. Indeed, the moral implications of fetal intervention are more compelling and important than the social, economic and political. Let’s break down the argument: what is abortion?
Abortion entails the deliberate termination of human pregnancy through the methods of pharmaceuticals, labor induction or surgical procedure. In the United States, the latter is the most common: about 1.06 million abortions are documented each year, with 60 percent performed on women in their 20s while 30 percent of women admit to having one by the age of 45. In fact, by the time you reach the last sentence of this column, nearly four unborn babies will have their short lives put to an abrupt end. An abhorrent amount of babies are being killed each year and the government approves all of it.
Euphemize any way you like, but that is the essence of abortion. In the political sphere, the left cites bodily autonomy and the right for women to do whatever they like with their bodies as justification for abortion. The left’s argument is perfectly sensible until one realizes that abortion affects two bodies. This perspective is combated by the notion that fetuses are not human yet, since they are incapable of surviving on their own. Such logic is deeply flawed. What if a 50-year-old man is hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism and has to be temporarily attached to a circulatory-filtration device? Clearly, that man cannot survive on his own; does that mean he is no longer a human? Of course not.
Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator and editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire, puts forth the following analogy:
“It’s truly amazing how history repeats itself,” he said. “The argument in favor of abortion is exactly the same as the argument in favor of slavery. ‘You’re on my land? Then I get to decide whether you’re a person or property.’ Then you have women who say, ‘It’s in my womb, I get to decide whether this is a child or not.’ Well it turns out in human history there is a long, inglorious chain of people who said, ‘I get to decide whether this is a person or not’ and it never ended with anything but mass death.”
There are certainly scenarios that do not fit this mold. Pregnancies that pose a significant health threat to the life of the mother should undeniably be terminated and rape victims should be allowed the same privilege. But the act of killing someone simply out of convenience or as a method of birth control cannot possibly be defended in an objective moral argument.
Fetuses are not merely bundles of cells, but early-developed human beings capable of eventually living fruitful lives. Our society should be able to use contraceptives effectively and act responsibly when such measures fail, rather than pretend like it is ethically sound to perform these procedures.