24 July 2007

"Aggravated Murder" or "Abortion"? Depends on the Woman's Location

Recently in Cincinnati, a young man was charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault for beating his ex-girlfriend with the intent to kill her unborn baby. You can read the full article here. Apart from the horrific nature of the crime and the trauma being experienced by the young woman, this raises some interesting discussion regarding abortion.

The authorities have rightly charged Price with murder, just as the California courts were right to charge Scott Peterson with two counts of murder for killing his pregnant wife. I know that there are differences between these cases and abortion: Anderson (the mother) did not want to end her pregnancy, and she was in her eighth month of pregnancy, in which cases abortions can be performed only if the mother's life or some significant bodily function of the mother is threatened by continuation of the pregnancy.

According to Ohio law, a physician cannot abort an unborn human (their term) after 23 weeks unless "the physician determines, in good faith and in the exercise of reasonable medical judgment, that the unborn human is not viable," which means that after determining gestational age, lung development, etc., the physician can decide whether or not he/she can go ahead with the abortion (I wonder how often physicians, especially at abortion clinics, refuse to abort at this point). So if a physician thought that Anderson's life or some significant bodily function (whatever that means) were threatened by this pregnancy, he could have performed a legal abortion, assuming for argument's sake that she wanted an abortion.

[[It should be pointed out that some of the greatest minds ever born were prematurely delivered or were "high risk" pregnancies: Johannes Kepler (born 1571, 2 months early); Isaac Newton (born 1642, born at three pounds); French philosopher Voltaire (born 1694, was not expected to live one hour, but lived 84 years); Winston Churchill (born 1874, at least 4 weeks early); Pablo Picasso (born 1881, thought to be stillborn); Franklin Delano Roosevelt (born 1882, nearly killed by the chloroform given to his mother). You can read about them here.

What frightens me is that if these people's mothers lived in America in the 20th-21st centuries, many of their children would have been deemed "not viable." How many great minds and heroes have been killed before they even had a chance to live! Nearly 49 million abortions (officially) have occurred since Roe v. Wade in 1973; could there have been another Newton? Churchill? Picasso?]]

My two thoughts are these: what determines viability, anyway? 20 years ago, technology could not help an extremely premature newborn survive the way it can now; the UK charity Bliss reports that about 80% of newborns weighing less than 2.2 lbs survive, compared to a 20% survival rate 20 years ago. So an unborn baby weighing 2.2 lbs could be aborted 20 years ago, but not today? What about 20 years from now? Scientists are already creating artificial wombs that can develop fetuses completely outside of a human body. This proves that viability is a bad guideline for determining who lives and who dies.

Second thought: using similar terminology, the case in point looks like this: the young woman's fetus was aborted. What if she wanted her boyfriend to beat her abdomen until her baby died? Then there would have been consent. The only difference would be (please forgive me for the detached tone here) that an amateur, not a professional, performed the abortion, and the location was a bus stop, not a Planned Parenthood office.

This has been a long post about an emotionally-charged topic. I know some of you disagree with me, possibly intensely. That's okay; I understand that we all don't come from the same worldview. That's why you can leave comments. I only ask that you attack my arguments, not my worth as a human, my faith (which, by the way, is intentionally absent in this argument - you can be pro-life apart from being an evangelical Christian), or the fact that I am a man and "don't understand." Any violent or ad hominem arguments will be deleted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Adam, great texts !! Good job... Rafa