Abortion

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Abortion is a form of murder because it takes the life of an innocent human being.

The Facts of Life

At conception, we become ourselves both by the action of biology and by God's sovereign action in giving the soul (the form of the body) spiritual powers: intelligence, free will, and immortality.

The human person is not just a byproduct of complex forms of matter; the human person is created directly and personally by God at the moment of our conception.

The zygote possesses its own DNA distinct from both parents. It has its own bodily identity and life. If it was not alive, it would not develop into a morula (sixteen cells) and then a blastocyst, which consists of the cells that will become the placenta and the cells that will become the embryo. The new human being has its own genetic identity from the first cell to the last nucleated cell developed by its body before death.

If the embryo does not have its own life, it would not continue developing within the mother's womb. It would be a miscarriage and no abortion would be needed.

The new being takes in nutrients metabolizes them, and excretes waste. These are the signs of life that scientists are dying to find on Mars; the baby passes every test for life that any biologist could construct.

The simple proof that it is alive is that if it were not alive, no one would have to kill it.

The new living being is unquestionably human. It is not a dog, a giraffe, an elephant, or a platypus.

The placenta is created by the blastocyst and embryo; it is not part of the mother's body--no part of the baby's body is part of the mother's body. The mother's body is identifiable by her own genetic signature and the baby's body is identifiable by its own genetic signature.

There is a boundary between the baby's body and the mother's body. The baby produces the placenta precisely to differentiate itself from the mother. The baby has its own blood type and its own blood.

All of this is basic biology. It is a matter of fact. One need not turn to revelation to discover that the child is a unique, living, human being who possesses the same rights as all other human beings: "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Statistics

2006
The dangerous abortion drug RU 486 ... has killed at least 13 women worldwide and injured 1,100 women in the U.S. alone as of 2006, according to the FDA."[1]
January 2011
"A new statistic released by the New York City health department is shocking pro-life advocates across the country today as it shows 41 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.
"That compares with the figure of about 20 percent of pregnancies nationwide ending in abortions, as the abortion rate has been reduced over the last two decades from one in three to one in five pregnancies resulting in an abortion and the destruction of human life."[2]
Janury 2011
"The Guttmacher report shows '54 percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method, usually a condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.' These figures are similar to those of a report in Spain showing abortions doubling despite increased family planning promotion."[3]

Public Policy

HHS Mandate

Obama's HHS Mandate before compromise
1. The Church pays for insurance.
2. Insurance covers free morning-after pills.
Obama's HHS Mandate after compromise
1. The Church pays for insurance.
2. Insurance covers free morning-after pills.

"Bishop William Lori argued that making Catholics fund contraceptives, abortifacient contraception and sterilizations is like making kosher delis serve pork. Actually, it is more like making all of us, and particularly the Anti-Smoking League, fund cigarettes."[1]

The strongest rhetorical leg we have to stand on is showing that our objection to the HHS mandate is about murdering the defenseless.

  1. The pill kills newly-conceived babies by preventing implantation.
  2. The mandate explicitly requires the abortifacient (baby-killing) "day after" pill (which also, incidentally, kills some of the women who take it).
  3. Surgical abortion may be defined as a "procreative right" and a health-care cost to be borne (pun half-intended) by employers; if the abortifacient pill is mandated, why not other forms of abortion?
  4. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are waiting in the wings as "health-care expenses" that should become part of mandated "health" insurance. If murdering babies is a "health-care" activity, then so should murder of the incapacitated and the depressed be thought of as "health care."

Sterilization

"Free Sterilizations for Children."
Children as young as 15 may obtain free sterilization surgery in Oregon.

The Slippery Slope

If pharmacological contraception is morally neutral, so are abortifacient drugs. The pill may allow conception but prevent implantation of the blastocyst, so it is abortifacient at some times.

If chemical abortifactients are morally acceptable and, in fact, are mandated "health services" to which all women have a natural right, then surgical abortion procedures are equally a form of "health service" to which women are entitled.

If women have a moral right to murder their children in the womb, doctors have a corresponding moral obligation to provide abortions on demand.

In a similar fashion, if the murder of living human beings in the womb is a health service, so the murder of humans rendered defective by genetic mutations, accidents, illness, or age must be classified as "health services." Just as with abortion, if people have a right to murder their family members or themselves as a "health service," then doctors--and insurance companies--have an obligation to provide euthanasia.

If the murder of a living, human being in its mother's womb is acceptable, then so is infanticide.

Signs of Life

Science Says Life Begins at Conception

The Church's objections to abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning, and eugenics ("designer babies") all derive from a basic scientific fact: life begins at conception.

Science teaches us that the process of life begins with the fertilized egg (the zygote) and continues without interruption until we die. This is the true "seamless garment" of life. The development of the human being continues for 25 years. That is when the last major systems of the brain emerge.

  1. zygote: fertilized egg
  2. blastocyst: inner group of cells, which will become the embryo, surrounded by an outer shell, which will become the placenta
  3. embryo: highly differentiated
  4. fetus: 11th week to birth. Recognizably human.

From the first moment of conception, there is life.

Biology is on the side of the pro-life movement, though many biologists are not pro-life. We know that the very first cell is alive, that it has its own unique DNA, that it is human, that the process of development--the process of life!--is directed by that DNA, and that it will grow into a fully-formed human being if the process is allowed to continue naturally, all things being equal. If it was not a living human being, it would not have to be killed. If it was not a living human being, no one would object to the "process" being terminated (as is done, for example, when a tumor is removed). The growth from a single cell into a fully-developed child is a seamless process. It is the life in the first cell that gives life to every other cell in the child's body.

Informal demonstration

  • If the zygote wasn't alive, it couldn't turn into a blastocyst.
  • If the blastocyst wasn't alive, it couldn't turn into an embryo.
  • If the embryo wasn't alive, it couldn't turn into a fetus.
  • If the fetus wasn't alive, it couldn't turn into an infant.
  • At every stage, if it weren't alive, it wouldn't have to be killed.

Scientific demonstration

1. Biological "signs of life"
  • Ingestion of nutrients from the environment.
  • Metabolism of the nutrients.
  • Excretion of waste.
  • Maintenance of homeostasis--self-regulation of its own internal processes.
  • Growth through cellular division.
  • Completion of development: actualizing the full mental and bodily potential of the human species, including the power to reproduce. This is the goal (telos) toward which the entire biological process moves from the moment of conception.
"Confession of a Former Zygote."
McKay, Davison and Koshland (he developed a similar definition using PICERAS as an acronym) have come up with seven principles to determine if something is living (in reference to all living things):
  • Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
  • Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
  • Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
  • Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
  • Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism’s heredity, diet, and external factors.
  • Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
  • Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.
I don't think that last point is entirely correct. Mules are clearly alive, even though they are, by nature, sterile. The ability to reproduce is a quality of a species, not necessarily of each member of the species. If "the ability to produce new individual organisms" was taken literally, then humans are not alive until puberty, and women die after menopause.
2. The DNA proves that it is a human life.
  • We know that the DNA in the zygote is human--the cell cannot turn into a dog, a cat, or a giraffe. It can only become a human being.
3. This living human being is unique
  • Every nucleated cell in the mother's body contains her genetic identity. We can tell what is and is not part of her body through genetic testing.
  • Every nucleated cell in the child's body contains his or her genetic identity. It is from both parents.
  • Every part of the mother's body is nourished by her blood.
  • Every part of the child's body is nourished by its own blood.
4. The child's spiritual powers are given to it by God
  • Aristotle--intellect and will come from above and are immortal. They can only be caused in us by the action of a spiritual being.
  • The Psalms.

Yes, this is bio-centric reasoning. It is the biology that tells us the species of the act being contemplated. If we were talking about lab rats instead of human beings, the ethics of killing would be entirely different.

The Logic of the Argument against Abortion

"Straight Talk about Abortion,"
The logic of the pro-life position is straightforward and undeniable:
  1. Deliberately killing an innocent human being is always wrong.
  2. Abortion deliberately kills an innocent human being.
  3. Therefore, abortion is always wrong.
The argument is so simple that even a child can understand it. If the two premises are true then the conclusion that follows from them is also true.

The Logic of Infanticide

  1. We are allowed to kill innocent human beings in the womb.
  2. The being that emerges from the womb is the same being that was in the womb.
  3. Therefore, we may kill innocent human beings after birth.

Kreeft's Argument against Ignorance

Either the fetus is a person, or not; and either we know what it is, or not. Thus there are four and only four possibilities:
  • that it is not a person and we know that,
  • that it is a person and we know that,
  • that it is a person but we do not know that, and
  • that it is not a person and we do not know that.
Do we know it is a person? Is this a person?
  • It is a person.
  • We think it is not a person.
Manslaughter.
  • It is a person.
  • We know it is a person.
Murder
  • It is not a person.
  • We do not know it is not a person.
Criminal negligence.
  • It is not a person.
  • We know it is not a person.
Abortion OK.

Rape and incest

Reasons to carry the child, even if it from rape or incest:

  • Life is good
  • Life is worth living.
  • The child is a human being and has human rights.
  • Abortion does not keep a woman from becoming a mother--it makes her the mother of a dead child.
  • Karma--good to do good to others. Law of love. Altruism. Good philosophy.
  • Make someone else happy--the child, the adopting parents. Listen to testimony of survivors of abortion who were adopted.

Slogans

"Having an abortion does not make you un-pregnant; it makes you the mother of a dead baby."

Fr. Poblocki
Q: "What do you call a woman who has confessed the sin of abortion?"
A: "Forgiven."

Children are being murdered:

  • For their money.
  • Because they are handicapped.
  • Because they are female.

Abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse.

Horton the Elephant
"Even though you can’t see or hear them at all, a person’s a person, no matter how small."

New York State Reproductive Health Act

"Catholic Pushback Stalls Cuomo's N.Y. Abortion Blitz."
The RHA would make abortion a “fundamental right” in New York law and remove all mention of abortion from the penal code. The bill would legalize late-term abortion after 24 weeks for health reasons, allow non-physicians to perform some abortions, and remove some criminal charges prosecutors use against individuals who kill an unborn child against the mother’s will.
The NYCC has warned the bill would preclude legal abortion restrictions, such as parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion bans of any kind. The conference also says it creates a legal basis for the state to pull the operating certificate of Catholic hospitals and agencies that refuse to perform or refer for abortions.
Mechmann said Cuomo’s plans are out of step with existing federal law that provides legal protection for unborn victims of violence, bans partial-birth abortion and restricts federal funds from paying for most abortions.
The Guttmacher Institute’s New York abortion data shows 33% of New York pregnancies end in abortion — nearly twice the national rate of 19%. New York City itself has an average abortion rate of 41%, with some areas as high as 67%, according to New York City Health Department data gathered by the Chiaroscuro Foundation.

Kathleen M. Gallagher

Gallagher headshot.jpg
  • Kathleen or Kathy?
  • Kathy Gallagher, the director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference.
  • "Pro-choice is an empty slogan if people can’t choose to be pro-life. Pro-choice shouldn’t mean no choice."
  • Married Joe in 1987. 25 years ago.
  • Two sons, Joey and Michael, one in college, one who lives away from home. 2011: both in college.
  • “We’re training people to be more effective and joyful communicators of their faith,” she said. “The Church is under attack in a lot of ways in our country right now. We want to put forth a pro-active joyful message about our faith.”

Links

Morning After Pill (MAP)

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) has outlined four essential conditions that must be met before administering an MAP. They are:
  1. The woman is not already pregnant from prior, freely-chosen sexual activity.
  2. The woman has been sexually assaulted.
  3. The woman has not yet ovulated (i.e. has not released an egg from her ovary into the fallopian tube where it could be fertilized by the attacker’s sperm).
  4. The morning-after pill can reasonably be expected to prevent her from ovulating.


Afterlife for aborted children

"Do Aborted Babies Go To Heaven?"
The real issue remains, however, whether or not Holy Mother Church has the power to declare that aborted infants are in Heaven, or in the current terminology, "Companion Martyrs to the Holy Innocents." It must be immediately affirmed that the ultimate decision on this issue in no way makes judgment upon the Divine Mercy, for indeed God may allow into his kingdom whomsoever he chooses. That is not subject for debate. The matter at hand is concerned specifically in determining the ability of the Church to make such a declaration.
[Msgr. John F. McCarthy, head of the Roman Theological Forum, in the July 1996 issue of his journal, Living Tradition] breaks down the many fine points of theology involved into two fundamental questions (both resting, of course, on the overriding question of the ecclesiastical capability): "Problems inherent in this question gravitate around 1) the necessity of Baptism in order to be saved and 2) the necessity of having been killed as a witness of Christ in order to be a martyr."
The fact that God's mercy is infinite does not allow the Church, on that basis alone, to make a declaration of collective salvation in a particular case. "Other emergency forms of baptism for children dying without sacramental baptism, such as prayer and desire of the parents or the Church, or the attainment of the use of reason in the moment of death, so that the dying child can decide for or against God, or suffering and death of the child as a quasi-Sacrament, are indeed, possible, but their actuality cannot be proved from Revelation."24 These infants are truly worthy of prayers and the desire for the mercy of God. However, the lack of Divine Revelation, in union with the traditions of the Church which serve as holy precedent, leave little room for any canonical decree on this difficult issue.
"Finally it must be borne in mind that unbaptized infants, if deprived of heaven, would not be deprived unjustly. The vision of God is not something to which human beings have a natural claim. It is a free gift of the Creator who can make what conditions he chooses for imparting it or withholding it."[2] As it has always stood, such a condition as afforded to the Church remains the sacrament of Baptism. All that falls outside of this realm is commended entirely to the mercy of God. Given the limitations presented to the aborted infants, such a declaration of categorical salvation would undermine the reality of original sin, the necessity of infant baptism, defy the sacramental means of the Church, and present a universal certainty when indeed one is lacking. Rather, maintaining the traditional stance of the Church, as so beautifully voiced in the Catechism of Pope John Paul II, does much to increase hope in the mercy of God who can indeed admit to the Beatific Vision whomsoever he pleases. This is the very hope echoed by the Angelic Doctor, when, although affirming that the normal means of Baptism are not available to the infant in the womb, they "can nevertheless be subjected to the action of God, in whose presence they are living, in such wise that they achieve sanctification by some privilege of grace, as is evident regarding those who have been sanctified in the womb."[3] McCarthy, who maintains that "one can hope that the same grace may also be given to babies, lethally attacked, who have never been enemies of God in mind or in evil works," reechoes this sentiment.[4]
As the question of the status of the aborted infants utterly surpasses the bounds of the sacramental authority of the Church and of divine revelation, our prayer for these souls becomes all the more necessary in this great holocaust of our time.
CCC #1261 (emphasis added)
As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"[5] allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
We are obliged to Baptize children. We know that the sacrament has a real effect on them. It takes them out of the kingdom of evil and makes them full members in the Kingdom of Heaven. They are born again and receive the power to participate in God's own life. The obligation that rests on us toward our children says nothing about how God acts to join innocent souls to Himself in Heaven. When we see what He has done, we will praise His justice and mercy toward these holy innocents.

References

  1. "Religious Liberty, Blood Transfusions, Cigarettes and Contraception."
  2. Catholic Encyclopedia, "Baptism."
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, q. 68, art. 11, ad. 2.
  4. McCarthy, 9.
  5. Mk 10 14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4.

Links

Papal vigil

Post-abortion healing

Abortifacients

Post-Birth Abortion (the crime formerly known as "infanticide")

This is actually the pro-life position, but reversed. We say that killing babies in the womb is no different from murdering a newborn, and that, therefore, both acts are morally repugnant. The "experts" say that murdering a baby after birth is no different from murdering the baby before birth, and that, therefore, both acts are equally acceptable.

Other Links