To clarify before I begin, when I use the word abortion, I mean that it is the intentional act of killing a human being in utero. This is an important distinction because there are medical procedures that could result in the death of an unborn human being, but the primary goal of those actions would be to save either both lives or the life of the mother.
The unborn is a human. Science consistently tells us that at conception, the unborn is a living, distinct, whole, and unique human being. According to Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School, “….it is scientifically correct to say that human life begins at conception.” At conception, the embryo has its own genetic code, hereditary characteristics, and gender that it will carry throughout development and continue to have unchanged through the rest of its life. The unborn is, by scientific standards, a living organism in that it undergoes cellular growth and internal development; in the span in five weeks, an embryo goes from two cells to developing cells for specific functions: blood cells, kidneys, a nervous system including the spine and brain, and a digestive tract. Its rate of growth, metabolism, and function of parts contribute to its own development. It responds to stimuli, such things like sound, pain, a twin, and nutrients. One embryology textbook argues that birth is simply part of the developmental process for a human, as “it should always be remembered that many organs are still not completely developed by full-term.” And these statistics and the plethora of others that exist lead to the logical conclusion that human beings are human at conception, through intra-womb development, and after birth.
Therefore, because science has proven that the unborn is human, logically the unborn should be entitled to the rights that post-birth humans intrinsically bear, such as the right to life. The United Nations recognized this in 1990 in their Declaration on the Rights of a Child, stating that, “the child... needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”. We know from class that, “human rights are possessed by all people simply because they are human. Such rights do not rely on states, treaties, constitutions, or nongovernmental organizations ...for their existence. They are inherent.”(SHRJ). Why then is the act of intentionally killing a human being in utero protected by the United States Constitution under the right to privacy in the 14th amendment?
Because of the interpretation of the Courts of the United States, abortion continues to be legal. The closest estimates for the loss of lives from surgical abortion is at 58 million human beings total since 1973, and growing approximately one million per year; some include chemically administered abortions and put the cumulative number as high as 410 million lives. Eighty seven (87) percent of women choose to get an abortion for reasons of convenience: pregnancy interferes with work, financial concerns, or simply the desire not to be pregnant at that time. Only twelve percent of women report “physical concerns”, and only one percent report rape or incest as their primary reason for an abortion.
Some States simply do not report their abortion statistics to the government, which does not require statistics to be sent. The CDC allows States to voluntarily submit their abortion statistics.
To further the injustice, abortion is being sponsored by the government. Though the Hyde Amendment was passed in 1977, preventing federal funding for abortion “except in cases of ...rape or incest”, which all States are required to provide, 17 States go further, extending state funds for these reasons as well, and “three States provide state funds for abortions in cases of fetal impairment.” In sum total, that amounts to 14% of all abortions in the United States paid in near totality with public State funding. South Dakota is the only State in the Union to allow state funds only for “abortions in cases of life endangerment”, or as I explained earlier, state funding for medical procedures that result in the death of the unborn to save the life of the mother- not an abortion.
Beyond offering funding for abortions at the State and federal level, the government at all levels provides the largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood with funds which increased “from $203 million (30 percent of Planned Parenthood’s consolidated revenue) during its fiscal year 2000–2001 to $528 million (41 percent of revenue) during 2013–2014.” Though Planned Parenthood argues that its abortion procedures are three percent of its overall services, “Planned Parenthood affiliates perform about 20 abortions for every prenatal care visit and about 200 abortions for every adoption referral based on the approximately 300,000 abortions they perform each year.” And they’ve doubled the amount of abortions they have provided from the years 2000 to 2011 despite an overall national decline in the number of abortion procedures in the United States. Currently one in three abortions are provided by the abortion giant.
Legal action on this injustice has been fitful at best. Since Roe v. Wade and other cases like it, States have constructed a complex structure of laws to educate, prevent, and discourage abortions. Everything from preventing barbaric abortion practices like partial-birth abortions, gestational limits, and funding to waiting periods, education for the mother, and parental consent are required in several States and not others. Often times, against the will of the state citizens, a law will rise to the Supreme Court to be struck down as unconstitutionally preventing a woman’s right to the privacy to intentionally kill a human being in utero.
In order to fight this injustice, we need to educate, support, and legislate. We need to educate the public about abortion and the intrinsic human rights that the unborn have. We need to support pregnant mothers by offering them counseling, adoption resources, and post-abortion healing services. Finally, we need to work with our legislators to strengthen life preserving anti-abortion bills. Court cases that value the mother’s opinions over the child’s rights can be overturned, and the dignity of human life can once again be recognized in the United States.
We’ve talked in this class about how it is critical that we demand justice for the silent, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the ignored in any way we can. Science has proven that the unborn are human beings. We now need to bridge the gap. When we recognize that they are human, we must recognize that it is critical that we step up and demand justice for the unborn.
(References are available on request)