The issue of Abortion has been so tortured, manipulated, and contorted by those standing on either side of the issue, that it is difficult to separate the false and absurd from the true and the real. However, if reasonable people approach the subject objectively, it is one that easily lends itself to resolution.
Right off the bat, the core question to be answered is not whether Abortion is permissible, whether it is a woman’s private decision concerning a matter totally personal, relating only to her private personhood. The true and only core question which must answer in order to resolve the issue for you forever is really quite simple and straight forward:
is a fetus a living human?
Don’t pooh-pooh the question. It is the heart, the soul, if you will, of the issue. And the answer to that question, is, at one and the same time, the answer to any and every debate, controversy, or discussion about the termination of a pregnancy.
Simply, if a fetus is not a living human, but rather a collection of protoplasm, a thing, not yet alive, not its own entity, then the answer to the question and the issue of abortion is simple: abortion is absolutely permissible, personal, private, a matter affecting no one but the pregnant woman.
On the other hand, if a fetus is human, is its own totally independent being, requiring only nurture and shelter, hotel accommodations, if you permit a homely reference for a moment, if a fetus is indeed a living human, abortion is murder.
Many a woman reader has already bridled at the above ‘hotel accommodations’ reference. Yet, is there more? The man provides the semen; the woman the egg – both equally essential elements for procreation.
Moreover, at the very instant of conception, when the sperm fertilizes the egg, all facets of that future human being, all its genes, all it features, its hair and eye color, its height, its weight, all its everything are set forever. It has all it shall ever have, neither parent – I emphasize, neither parent – thereafter adds anything to the conception of that fetus. Thereafter, the fetus needs only nurture and shelter to continue to birth.
That the mother alone provides that nurture and shelter within her body is without question. However, because the mother alone provides that nurture and shelter does not add to the mother’s contribution to the procreation that has already taken place.
More significantly to our discussion, however, that fetus is vulnerable, helpless without continued nurture and shelter, does not make it less human that its mother or father. What mother or father, what human, of whatever age, can long remain alive, without continued nurture and shelter? Thus, the need for nurture and shelter does not determine human existence.
Thus, the basic question of the abortion issue is really rather simple and to the point: is the recently conceived fetus a living human being? Once that question is resolved, all the activists on both sides of the abortion hostilities can fold their signs, unload their guns, and go home: abortion becomes a non-issue.
While the simplification of the issue is easy, the answer to that simple question, the question of humanity is far from easy.
Some pro-life readers, might opine that the fetus is a human being at conception, and, therefore, abortion is murder. Other abortion proponents might assert that the fetus is not ipso facto, a human at conception, that humanity sets in at some later, some more formed state of existence, and that until that transformation occurs, the fetus is not a living human being, and, therefore, abortion is not murder.
All that has to be decided, then, is at what moment humanity begins. If it does not occur at the moment of conception, then when? Remember, everything except growth is already set for all time at conception – even the length of the future potential life. But, for discussion sake, when? At the beginning of heart beat? At the forming of the brain? At the opening of the eyes? At what point does the fetus becomes human?
And at that point, the question of the propriety of aborting (terminating the life of) that human resolves itself.
Perhaps if you view this discussion from a different point of view, it will come more easily into focus. Compare the reasoning concerning abortion with that of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case.
What? Didn’t the Dred Scott decision deal with Slavery? What in hell does slavery in the 1800s have to do with abortion?
In Dred Scott, the Supreme Court decided that Black slaves could be transported across state lines by their ‘owners’ since slaves were chattels, things, not humans, as such they were private property, work machines owned by their plantation owners. In today’s world, such reasoning is preposterous. Every fool knows a human is not, can not, be property.
But if a slave were property, then, the proposition that an ‘owner’ would be free to own or dispose of his or her private ‘property’, separate families (the idea of a family of work machines is ridiculous), sell them freely, and at will, is perfectly logical.
That Supreme Court decision held together, so long as the slave was not considered human, merely property.
You see it now, don’t you. If a fetus is not an independent human, but merely property, a thing carried at the will and whim of the mother human, then certainly, it’s ‘owner’ is free to own or dispose of her private ‘property’ freely, at will, arbitrarily.
But if there is humanity! Aye, there’s the rub.
What makes a slave human? What makes a fetus human?
The question of humanity is not at all the questions which was intended to be resolved in these comments. What was intended to be resolved was the issue of abortion, and, indeed, abortion has been settled as a non-issue. Abortion is perfectly acceptable IF and UNTIL the fetus is a living human being.
In sum, then, a woman is totally free to dispose of her private property freely, at will, even arbitrarily – including her unborn fetus, except…except if a fetus is a living human, in which case, abortion is murder.