6.What is abortion by ucfm2005

VIEWS: 728 PAGES: 69

									   What is abortion?
   What is the current British legislation on
   What is the Catholic churches attitude
    towards abortion?
30 hours
6 weeks
8 weeks
8 weeks
14 weeks
18 weeks
5 months
24 weeks
   Abortion
   Natural Abortion
   Procured abortion
   Abortion on demand
   What is abortion?
   What is the current British legislation on
   What is the Catholic churches attitude
    towards abortion?
    Rich Deem – the agnostic
    Libertarians for Life (L4L.org) – atheists
    A Secular Case Against Abortion by Jennifer
     Roth – secular humanist
    Feminists for Life (feministsforlife.org) –

    *Former agnostic, now Christian
1999 Gallup Poll on Abortion
 Opinion nearly split            Undecided
                                 Prolife    Prochoice
Only ~50% feel strongly                       (48%)
  either way                     (42%)
Nearly half have no strong
  opinion (i.e., can be
  persuaded)                                Strongly
                               No strong      (26%)
                                 (45%) Strongly Prolife
   Scientific considerations
     Human Embryology 101
     When does human life begin?
   Legal Issues
     Is the unborn a person?
     Are the laws logically consistent?
   Moral Issues
     When does a person begin to exist?
When does human life begin?
   Medical textbooks
   Statements of doctors
When does abortion occur?
“Products of conception” – just a “blob of
The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented
  "Zygote: this cell results from the union of
  an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the
  beginning of a new human being (i.e., an
  embryo). Human development begins at
  fertilization… This highly specialized,
  totipotent cell marks the beginning of
  each of us as a unique individual.”
Essentials of Human Embryology
“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.”
Human Embryology & Teratology
“Fertilization is an important landmark
because, under ordinary circumstances, a
new, genetically distinct human organism is
thereby formed…”
Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of
  “I have learned from my earliest medical education
  that human life begins at the time of conception.”
Dr. Jerome LeJeune (University of Descartes):
  “after fertilization has taken place a new human
  being has come into being.”
Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic):
  “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is
  present from the moment of conception.”
Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth (Harvard
University Medical School):
  “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual
  human life begins at conception”
 Fetal heart begins
  to form 18 days after
 Measurable heart beat
  21-24 days after
Fetal brain begins to form on
  day 23
Brain waves produced by 6
  Weeks of Gestation                     Abortions (% of total)
                <6                                      22
                 7                                      18
                 8                                      18
                >8                                      42
Therefore, 78% of abortions occur after fetal
brain waves have begun
Elam-Evans, L.D., et al. 2002. Abortion Surveillance -- United States, 1999.
Surveillance Summaries 51(SS09) 1-28. (Center for Disease Control and
“I opened the sock up and I put it on the towel and
there were parts in there of a person. I’d taken
anatomy; I was a medical student. I knew what I was
looking at. There was a little scapula and there was
an arm, and I saw some ribs and a chest, and I saw a
little tiny head, and I saw a piece of a leg, and I saw
a tiny hand. ... I checked it out and there were two
arms and two legs and one head, etc., and I turned
and said, I guess you got it all ... It was pretty awful
that first time... it was like somebody put a hot
poker into me.” (Dr. David Brewer, in training)
“I watched as the contents of the woman’s womb
came through a suctioning device and into a
stainless-steel pail sitting at his feet. I stepped back
and wiped the perspiration from my brow. “This is
kind of gruesome,” I said…. The doctor said, “At this
point in a pregnancy, the products of conception
aren’t much.” I stepped forward and peered into the
pail. This time I broke out in a cold sweat. I backed
up and leaned against the wall, my eyes closed.
Dear Jesus! I thought. I just saw someone murdered!
And I just stood and watched! (Nurse Don Haines,
in training)
“I had a quick sonogram and then received a shot of
methrotrexate. After the shot, I came home... I went to
bed that evening around 9 p.m… I continued
contracting and bleeding most of the night. Around
three in the morning, I went to the bathroom. When I
stood up, I noticed that the pain and the pressure was
not from clots, but from passing the placenta. When I
looked in the commode, I saw laying in the center of the
placenta my baby. I saw the baby's perfectly formed
hands, the little fingers. I remember the scream that
came from my mouth... [from a 7 week abortion] (Char,
“I used to be Pro-choice...But…”)
   Human life begins at conception
   Human development proceeds rapidly (all
    organs and systems are in place by week 8)
   Abortion stops a beating heart
   Most abortions occur after the fetus exhibits
    measurable brain waves
   Right to life
   Supreme Court decision
   Legal definition of murder
   Definition of murder – exceptions
   Personhood issues
The Declaration of Independence of the United
States guarantees “certain unalienable Rights, that
among those are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
   The Supreme Court held that the “right to
    privacy,” assured the freedom of a person to
    abort unless the state had a “compelling
    interest” in preventing the abortion.
   The Court then held that, though the state
    had an interest in protecting fetal life, this
    interest did not become “compelling” until
    “fetal viability” occurred in the third
    trimester of pregnancy.
    SECTION 187-199
    a. Murder is the unlawful killing of a human
       being, or a fetus, with malice

   b. This section shall not apply to any person
      who commits an act that results in the
      death of a fetus if any of the following
         3. The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or
            consented to by the mother of the fetus.

   The fetus is granted personhood if wanted by
    the mother
   The fetus can become a non-person at the
    discretion of the mother
   However, a mother may not choose to kill
    her born child
   How can the personhood of a human being
    be decided by another person?
   “Benefit” to women
   “Benefit to child (every child “wanted”)
   “Right” to control their own body
   Population control
   Fetus is not a person – personality
   Prevention of deaths from “coat hanger” or
    “back alley” abortions
   Cases of rape or incest, fetal abnormalities or
    threats to mother’s life or health
   Abortion alleviates economic and social
 Year        Abortion-related Deaths
 1940               1,470
 1950                 263
 1965                 201
“We spoke of 5,000-10,000 deaths a year.... I
confess that I knew the figures were totally false.”
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, (co-founder NARAL),
testimony before the Supreme Court in 1972
                        Deaths From Abortion
Year    Legal Abortions   Legal     Illegal
1972          ?              24         41
1973       615,831           25         21
1974       763,476           26          7
Tietze, C. 1983. Induced Abortion: A World
View. The Population Council, New York.
Abortion must be available for:
 cases of rape or incest
         Represent only 1% of all cases
       cases of fetal abnormalities
         Represent only 1% of all cases
       mother’s health is at risk
         Represents only 3% of all cases

The Alan Guttmacher Institute
   Pregnancy subjugates women, interferes with
    career and educational choices
   For most women, pregnancy does not interfere
    with the ability to work or attend school, except
    after birth
   Laws prevent employers from firing or
    discriminating against pregnant women
   Women are not forced to keep their children.
    Adoption is always an option
   The existence of social problems is not justification
    for another evil
   Being wanted is not a condition of the child,
    but of the adult
   Is it fair to kill a child because of the attitude
    of an adult?
   Wanted children are less likely to suffer
    abuse (next slide)
                        Reported Child
           Year          Abuse Cases
           1973            167,000
           1980            785,100
           1987          2,025,200
           2000          1,726,000
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Center
of Child Abuse & Neglect; National Analysis of Official Child
Abuse and Neglect Reporting
   Is the fetus part their body?
     Separate circulatory system
     Unique DNA
   Do we have rights to do anything with our
     Assault
     Illegal drugs
     Use of drugs/alcohol during pregnancy
   Those countries that outlaw abortion have
    an overcrowding problem
     This does not indicated cause and effect –
      these countries also have little or no access to
      birth-control, poor education, etc.
     War, disease and famine also curb population
      growth. Should we condone them?
“Persons . . . are members of a social
community that shapes and values them, and
personhood must be defined in terms of
interactions and relationships with others.”
Susan Sherwin. 1999. Ethical Issues:
Perspectives for Canadians. Ed. Soifer, Eldon.
Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, p. 267
   Personality definition problems
       Does a human non-person exist?
       What traits define personhood?
       Who makes the definition?
       Society has excluded certain humans from
        personhood before (e.g., African slaves, Chinese,
        etc.) Should we make a new list of human non-
   The lack of certain personality traits would
    remove from personhood:
     Those who are in a coma
     Elderly with degenerative disorders
      (Alzheimer's, etc.)
     Mentally deficient
      ▪ Genetic
      ▪ Neurological disease
      ▪ Mental illness
     Is is okay to consider these human beings as
   One who is consciously performing personal
    acts – eliminates those who are sleeping
   One with a present capacity to perform
    personal acts – eliminates those who are in a
   One who has a history of performing
    personal acts – eliminates one who was in a
    coma from birth, but wakes up
   One with a future capacity for performing
    personal acts – makes those who are dying as
   Newborns lack the ability to perform
    personal functions – in fact, newborn
    humans are less capable physically and
    mentally than virtually all other mammals
   Therefore, on the basis of functionally-
    defined personhood, newborns fail the test
    could be killed on the basis of “non-
   At conception
   After 20 weeks’ gestation
   After 24 weeks (fetal viability outside
    the womb)
   At birth
   At the point that the individual
    expresses self-consciousness and an
    interest in their continued existence
 Fertilized eggs are single cells, like blood
    cells or other parts of the body
 The single cell is unique from both the
    father’s and mother’s cells and is the
    beginning of every new human being
   A person possess an individual human
   Prior to 20 weeks’ gestation, the cerebral
    cortex has not yet developed to the point
    that the fetus can possess an individual
    human personality
   The fetus prior to 20 weeks’ gestation is
    not a person.
Person = Personality Problem
     All persons were once fetuses. When did we
      go from non-person status to person status?
     To say that personality defines personhood is
      to deny the role of the body
     Mind/Body dualism?
Brain Development Problem
   The development of the brain is programmed
   by the DNA – it is an inherent function of the
   fertilized ovum and continues even after birth
       Depends upon current technology
         Age of viability used to be 28 weeks
         Changed to 24 weeks in 1990
       Artificial womb (Nature, 2002)
         Developed for premature infants
         Uses oxygenated perfluorinated
         Could cut the point of fetal viability in half?
 ‘In Defense of Abortion and Infanticide,’ Michael
  Tooley claims that individuals have a right to life
  only at the point of self-consciousness and an
  interest in their own continued existence
 Tooley concludes, therefore, that infanticide is
  morally acceptable
 If the individual will, in the future develop such
  interest, is it permissible to kill the individual before
  such interests develop? Can fetuses be excluded
  from allowing such development to occur?
   Often quoted, “safe, legal, and rare” – Why
   Abortion rate “too high”
     ~30% of pregnancies in the U.S.
     ~70% of pregnancies in Russia
   If abortion is good, wouldn’t higher be
Even though 51% claimed to be
“pro-choice” only 36% believe     Don’t Know
that abortion was not morally        (8%)
                                  No            Yes
                                (36%)          (56%)

 Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey
 Research Associates. October 29-30, 1998
   Why are you personally against abortion?
   If you believe it is immoral, why do you think
    it should be legally allowed?
     I am personally against murder, but…
     I am personally against robbery, but…
Abortion (2003)               Slavery (1850’s)*
“They’re not                  “They’re not persons,
persons”                      but property”

It’s a personal choice It’s a personal choice

It’s a religious issue        It’s a religious issue

 *Stephen Douglas used all of these arguments in favor of
 retaining slavery

To top