Pregnant means “having a child or young developing in the uterus” (Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English). Therefore terminating a pregnancy means terminating the child developing inside the uterus (womb). Abortion can be chosen as a matter of “convenience”, but is also very often influenced by negligence in the care and support which should be given to pregnant women. There are alternatives to abortion which can help meet their needs and concerns and preserve the life of the child.
What is the legal status of abortion in Canada? Canada has no laws regulating abortion. Consequently, abortion is legal througout pregnancy, up until the onset of labour, for any reason or no reason.
Are there any health risks associated with having an abortion? Abortion causes harm beyond ending a human life. Here are some of the risk factors:
Death: Athough maternal death from an abortion is extremely rare- perhaps as rare as 1 in 100,000 or less- there are occassional deaths associated with an abortion procedure due to complications such as hemorrhaging, or infection developing as a result of unremoved fetal or placental tissue. Reliable statistical data on this is difficult to obtain, as the cause of death in such cases is usually not reported as being abortion. However, we can be certain of at least some of these deaths by the occasional cases in which abortionists are prosectued for causing a patient’s death.
Cervical lacerations, uterine or bowel perforations: These, as with maternal death, may be very rare, but they can be the cause of the fatal hemorrhaging associated with a death from an abortion. The reason why these lacerations and perforations may occur has to do with a sharp-edged instrument used in the abortion procedure called a ”curette”.
Possible future risk of miscarriage or infertility/Possible link to breast cancer risk/Psychological and emotional risks: An excellent and detailed explanation of these and all health risks associated with abortion has been compiled by the DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research. To see this information, click here: http://www.deveber.org/womens-health-after-abortion
Why do people have abortions?
There are many reasons why women or couples decide to have an abortion. An internet search will yield various results, statistics, and percentages, citing socio-economic reasons, not wanting children or any more children, fear of health risks, and many others. Although abortion takes an innocent human life, and the gravity of that fact cannot be mitigated, it is important remember that many factors can go into an abortion decision, such as fear, desperation, and ignorance (the person(s) have perhaps become convinced by others whom they trust that the preborn child is not a living human being).
“Arguements” for supporting abortion.
Abortion is a ”right”. There is a cultural myth that abortion is a “right”. Abortion is neither a right in the true legal sense or in the ethical sense. There is nothing in Canadian law that specifically states that abortion is a protected legal right; it is simply permitted because there are no limits or conditions to regulate it. Abortion, because it terminates a human life, is not an ethical right just as slavery never was, although that institution was once permitted by law. Slavery, laws which permitted wife or child abuse, and child labour laws which allowed industry owners to subject children to long hours and unhealthy working conditions, were never human rights just because they were allowed to exist for a time. True rights protect human beings and their rightful property from harm, and to ensure protection of basic freedoms- but not to cause harm to others. Even “rights” to persue legal prosecution which may result in some actions which may cause “harm” (imprisonment, heavy fines, etc.) never target the innocent. Abortion is not a right, but a legally permitted institution which targets the innocent.
We have to have abortion because the world is getting overpopulated. Beyond the ethical problems with abortion, the arguement that its needed for “population control” is completely invalid. Population experts have found that the world’s population is currently on a deceleration trend of a huge boom that began around the middle of the last century. During this time, world population increased at such an accelerating rate that many people began to become alarmed that this acceleration would continue and the world would very soon begin to have insufficient resources to handle the growth. What is often left out of the picture is that the huge increase in population was mainly due to a huge increase in health knowledge and implementation of that knowledge around the world, so that far more people were living into their 60s, 70s, and 80s than ever before. This trend has begun to level out and unless there is another such rapid increase in the average human lifespan, there will not be another rapid population explosion. In fact, research has discovered that varying factors have contributed to the shrinking of the average family worldwide, and that in some countries, more people are dying than are replacing them. Some experts predict that world population will contine on a decelerated growth until around 2050, then actually begin to decline, due to these factors.
It is the woman involved’s right to do with her own body whatever she wants. In a pregancy, there is not one body, but two; not one living being, but two. The preborn child is connected to her mother’s body- but is not a PART of her body. She is not a tooth, a liver, an appendix- but a distinct, self-contained, self-directed individual TEMPORARILY inside another individual. She has her own beating heart, blood type, brain activity, and unique, unfolding genetic identity- NOT her mother’s. Yes, the preborn child is dependent on the mother for his life, but since when does having people dependent on us mean that we have power over their life and death?
I am personally against abortion, but I think people should have the right to choose abortion if they think it is right for them. If someone believes that abortion is a serious moral wrong, then to take this position is no different than saying one is against rape or child abuse, but that people should have the right to choose these if they think they’re right for them.
What about abortion after rape? Rape is one of the most horrible tragedies imaginable. When a woman is raped, aside from the physical harm, she can suffer the deepest interior pain and sorrow. If she has incurred a pregnancy as a secondary result of the rape, she will be even more distressed. She is enduring intense grief and on top of that she has a child growing within her that had nothing to do with love, but from a man who violated her person and dignity in the most grave manner. She has very troubling feelings about her situation. She may feel that the child would be a perpetual reminder of the rape and the rapist. She may fear that she would hate the child or that she is too distraught to deal with a pregnancy, or that she would see the child as a stranger, that the whole situation is an unfair double affliction. Abortion can easily appear to be a very quick and easy remedy to at least part of her predicament. Yet will it actually help her? What she needs is anything that will help bring any true, permanent healing. Even many supporters of abortion will admit to the fact that abortion is a tragedy- it is not something that brings joy and healing. Nobody looks back on an abortion and celebrates its memory with warm and happy feelings. It is more likely that an abortion would only increase the long term troubling memories stored away deep inside her. Can choosing to keep the child bring her healing? If she looks at the child’s innocence and individuality- who knows nothing of the rape or has any of the acqured corruption of the father, she may find not only a source of healing in the love this child, completely helpless and dependent on her, can give to her, but in the love she can give to him. She may at times be reminded of the first tragedy- but will never have to bear the memories of a second one. Rebecca Kiessling, a woman whose mother was raped and wanted to abort her, but was prevented by law at the time of her birth and instead put her up for adoption, testifies that her mother was later consoled in her suffering that the abortion had not been possible. Their reconciliation has brought healing to both of them. To read Rebecca’s story, click here.
Without legalized abortion, women will die from unsafe, ”back alley” abortions. Women sometimes die from unsafe, legal abortions. Many of the same pr0-abortion doctors who performed illegal abortions simply continued to perform them when they became legal- such as Dr. Henry Morgentaler. It is likely the number of deaths would not be too different either way. But whether or not this would happen is basically irrelevant, as abortion is a grave ethical wrong, and a serious moral wrong cannot be justified to exist just because “alot of people are going to do it anyway”. The abortion issue is not about how “safe” or “unsafe” abortions are. Its about whether or not the preborn child is human and as such has the most basic of all human rights, the right to live.
Abortion reduces crime and child abuse. Every child should be a wanted child. As yet there is no crystal ball invented that we can look into and see what a child will become or know for certain that she will not be cared for by her parents. We cannot take a life based on a maybe. It is possible that someone born in a wealthy organized crime family may grow up to be a criminal- would we have the right to prevent him from being born because of that possibility? As there is no time machine to travel into the future to see if these things, there is no study that shows indisputable evidence that abortion has reduced crime and child abuse. Child abuse, in fact, has been on the increase since the legalization of abortion. As well, adoption agencies and many parents who cannot have children of their own will verify that there is no such thing as an “unwanted” child.
“If you don’t want the child, I want the child.”
– Mother Theresa, Parliament Hill, Ottawa September 17,1988
What about the case if the mother’s life is in danger? When the mother’s life is in danger as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, intervention is required to save the lives of both the mother and child. In most cases it is impossible to save the life of the child. However, this is not considered an abortion because abortion always intends to eliminate the child. This is a medical procedure with the intention to save both lives, even if we know in advance that it may be impossible.
Help is available. An abortion, intending to end the life of the child, never has to happen. It is never the only option. Adoption is an alternative in which someone who feels they cannot ever be a responsible parent, even with free aid from organizations which assist women in their pregnancy and child care, can ensure that their child is allowed to live. Another option is the possibility of help from family or friends, such as grandparents, who can care for the child until the mother feels she is ready to resume care of the child. Many agencies and organizations exist to help women or parents in a situation in which they are or feel to be unready or unable to care for their preborn child, during and after pregnancy. For a list of these organizations, click here.