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England 17th Essay, Research Paper

Abortion Debate – Pro-Life Stance

In Roman times, abortion and the destruction of unwanted

children was permissible, but as out civilization has aged, it seems

that such acts were no longer acceptable by rational human beings, so

that in 1948, Canada along with most other nations in the world signed

a declaration of the United Nations promising every human being the

right to life. The World Medical Association meeting in Geneve at the

same time, stated that the utmost respect for human life was to be

from the moment of conception. This declaration was re-affirmed when

the World Medical Association met in Oslo in 1970. Should we go

backwards in our concern for the life of an individual human being?

The unborn human is still a human life and not all the wishful

thinking of those advocating repeal of abortion laws, can alter this.

Those of us who would seek to protect the human who is still to small

to cry aloud for it’s own protection, have been accused of having a

19th Century approach to life in the last third of the 20th Century.

But who in reality is using arguments of a bygone Century? It is an

incontrovertible fact of biological science – Make no Mistake – that

from the moment of conception, a new human life has been created.

Only those who allow their emotional passion to overide their

knowledge, can deny it: only those who are irrational or ignorant

of science, doubt that when a human sperm fertilizes a human ovum a

new human being is created. A new human being who carries genes in its

cells that make that human being uniquely different from any and other

human being and yet, undeniably a member, as we all are, of the great

human family. All the fetus needs to grow into a babe, a child, an old

man, is time, nutrition and a suitable environment. It is determined

at that very moment of conception whether the baby will be a boy or a

girl; which of his parents he will look like; what blood type he will

have. His whole heritage is forever fixed. Look at a human being 8

weeks after conception and you, yes every person here who can tell the

difference between a man and a women, will be able to look at the

fetus and tell me whether it is a baby boy or a girl.

No, a fetus is not just another part of a women’s body like an

appendix or appendage. These appendages, these perfectly formed tiny

feel belong to a 10 week developed baby, not to his or her mother.

The fetus is distinct and different and has it’s own heart

beat. Do you know that the fetus’ heart started beating just 18 days

after a new life was created, beating before the mother even knew she

was pregnant? By 3 months of pregnancy the developing baby is just

small enough to be help in the palm of a man’s hand but look closely

at this 3 month old fetus. All his organs are formed and all his

systems working. He swims, he grasps a pointer, he moves freely, he

excretes urine. If you inject a sweet solution into the water around

him, he will swallaw because he likes the taste. Inject a bitter

solution and he will quit swallowing because he does not like the

taste. By 16 weeks it is obvious to all, except those who have eyes

but deliberately do not see, that this is a young human being.

Who chooses life or death for this little one because abortion

is the taking of a human life? This fact is undeniable; however much

of the members of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the new Feminists,

Dr. Henry Morgentaler or the Canadian Medical Association President

feel about it, does not alter the fact of the matter. An

incontrovertible fact that cannot change as feelings change.

If abortion is undeniably the taking of human life and yet

sincere misguided people feel that it should be just a personal matter

between a women and the doctor, there seems to be 2 choices open to

them. (1) That they would believe that other acts of destruction of

human beings such as infanticide and homicide should be of no concern

of society and therefore, eliminate them from the criminal code. This

I cannot believe is the thinking of the majority, although the

tendency for doctors to respect the selfish desire of parents and not

treat the newborn defective with a necessary lifesaving measure, is

becoming increasingly more common. (2) But for the most part the only

conclusion available to us is that those pressing for repeal of the

abortion laws believe that there are different sorts of human beings

and that by some arbitrary standard, they can place different values

on the lives of there human beings. Of course, different human beings

have different values to each of us as individuals: my mother means

more to me than she does to you. But the right to life of all human

beings is undeniable. I do not think this is negotiable. It is easy to

be concerned with the welfare of those we know and love, while

regarding everybody else as less important and somehow, less real.

Most people would rather have heard of the death of thousands in the

Honduras flooding disaster than of a serious accident involving a

close friends or favourite relatives. That is why some are less

disturbed by the slaughter of thousands of unborn children than by the

personal problems of a pregnant women across the street. To

rationalize this double standard, they pretend to themselves that the

unborn child is a less valuable human life because it has no active

social relationships and can therefore, be disposed of by others who

have an arbitrary standard of their own for the value of a human life.

I agree that the fetus has not developed it’s full potential

as a human being: but neither have any of us. Nor will any of us have

reached that point: that point of perfect humaness, when we die.

Because some of us may be less far along the path than others, does

not give them the right to kill us. But those in favour of abortion,

assume that they have that right, the standard being arbitrary. To say

that a 10 week fetus has less value that a baby, means also that one

must consider a baby of less value than a child, a young adult of less

value than an old man. Surely one cannot believe this and still be

civilized and human. A society that does not protect its individual

members is on the lowest scale of civilized society. One of the

measures of a more highly civilized society, is its attitude towards

its weaker members. If the poor, the sick, the handicapped, the

mentally ill, the helpless are not protected, the society is not as

advanced as in a society where they are protected. The more mature the

society is, the more there is respect for the dignity and rights of

all human beings. The function of the laws of the society, is to

protect and provide for all members so that no individual or group of

individuals can be victimized by another individual group. Every

member of Canadian society has a vital stake in what value system is

adopted towards its weak, aged, cripple, it’s helpless intra-uterine

members; a vital stake in who chooses life or death.

As some of you may know, in 1969, the abortion laws were

changed in Canada, so that it became legal for a doctor to perform an

abortion if a committee of 3 other doctors in an eccredited hospital

deemed that continuation of the pregnancy constituted a severe threat

to the life and health, mental or physical of the women. Threat to

health was not defined and so it is variously interpreted to mean very

real medical disease to anything that interferes with even social or

economic well being, so that any unwanted or unplanned pregnancy thus

qualifies. What really is the truth about the lasting effect of an

unwanted pregnancy on the psyche of a womem? Of course there is a

difference of opinion among psychiatrists, but if unbiased,

prospective studies are examined certain facts become obvious. (1) The

health of women who are mentally ill before they become pregnant, is

not improved by an abortion. In fact in 1970 an official statement of

the World Health Organization said, “Serious mental disorders arise

more often in women previous mental problems. Thus the very women for

whom legal abortion is considered justified on psychiatric grounds,

are the ones who have the highest risk of post-abortion psychiatric

disorders. (2) Most women who are mentally healthy before unwanted

pregnancy, despite a temporary emotional upset during the early weeks

for the pregnancy, are mentally healthy after the pregnancy whether

they were aborted or carried through to term.

Do we accept killing a human being because of a temporary,

emotional upset? All obstetricians and gynaecologists know of many

cases where the mother, be her single or married, has spoken of

abortion early in the pregnancy and later on, has confessed her

gratitude to those who have not performed the abortion. On the other

hand, we have all seen women what have been troubled, consumed with

guilt and development significant psychiatric problems following and

because of abortion. I quote Ft. John L. Grady, Medical Examiner for

Florida State Attorney’s Office, “I believe it can be stated with

certainty that abortion causes more deep-seated guilt, depression and

mental illness than it ever cures”.

We used to hear a lot about the risk of suicide among those

who threatened such action if their request for abortion was refused.

How real is that risk – it is not – in fact, the suicide rate among

pregnant women be they happy of unhappy about the pregnancy, is 1/4 of

the rate among non-pregnant women in child-bearing years. An accurate

10 year study was done in England on unwed mothers who requested

abortions and were refused. It was found that the suicide rate of this

group was less than that average population. In Minnesota in a 15 year

period, there were only 14 maternal suicides. 11 occurred after

delivery. None were illegitimately pregnant. All were psychotic. In

contrast, among the first 8 deaths of women aborted under the liberal

law in the United Kingdon, 2 were from suicide directly following the


Are there any medical indications for abortion?? Is it valid

for a doctor to co-operate in the choice for abortion? The late Dr.

Guttmacher, one of the world leaders of the pro-abortion movement, has

stated: “Almost any women can be brought through pregnancy alive

unless she suffers from cancer or leukemia, in which case abortion is

unlikely to prolong her life much less save it.”

As an opponent to abortion, I will readily agree, as will all

those who are against abortion, that pregnancy resulting from rape or

incest is a tragedy. Rape is a detestable crime, but no sane reasoning

can place the slightest blame on the unborn child it might produce.

Incest is, if that is possible, even worse, but for centuries,

traditional Jewish law has clearly stated, that if a father sins

against his daughter (incest) that does not justify a second crime –

the abortion of the product of that sin. The act of rape or incest is

the major emotional physical trauma to the young girl or women. Should

we compound the psychic scar already inflicted on the mother by her

having the guilt of destroying a living being which was at least half

her own? Throughout history, pregnant women who for one crime or

another were sentenced to death, were given a stay of execution until

after the delivery of the child: it being the contention of courts

that one could not punish the innocent child for the crime of the

mother. Can we punish it for a crime against the mother?

If rape occurred the victim should immediately report the

incident. If this is done, early reporting of the crime will provide

greater opportunity for apprehension and conviction of the rapist, for

treatment of venereal disease and prevention of pregnancy. Let is give

our children good sex education; and let us get tough on pornography,

clean up the newstands, literature and “Adult Movies” and television

programmes which encourage crime, abusive drugs and make mockery of

morality and good behaviour and therefore, contribute to rape.

By some peculiar trick of adult logic, proponents of abortion

talk about fetal indications for act. Whatever abortion may do for the

mother, it so very obviously cannot be therapeutic for the fetus.

Death is hardly a constructive therapy. As Dr. Hellegers of John

Hopkins Hospital says, “While it is easy to feel that abortion is

being performed for the sake of the fetus, honesty requires us to

recognize that we perform it for adults”. There is no evidence to

indicate that an infant with congenital or birth defect would rather

not be born since he cannot be consulted. This evidence might exist if

suicides were common among people with congenital handicaps. However,

to the contrary, these seem to value life, since the incidence of

suicide is less than that of the general population. Can we choose

death for another while life is all we ourselves know? Methods are

being developed to diagnose certain defects in the infants of mothers

at risk before the infant is born. The fluid around the fetus can be

sampled and tested in a very complicated fashion. If we kill infants

with confidential defects before they are born, why not after birth,

why not any human being we declare defective? It is no surprise of

course for many of us to learn that in hospitals across North

American Continent such decisions affecting the newborn and the very

elderly or those with incurable disease, are being made. What is a

defect, what is a congenital defect? Hitler considered being 1/4

Jewish was a congenital defect incompatible with the right to life.

Perhaps you have all heard this story:

One doctor saying to another doctor, “About the termination of

a pregnancy, I want your opinion. The father was syphilitic (venereal

disease). The mother tuberculous (small lumps on skin). Of the four

children born, the first was blind, the second died, the third was

deaf and dumb, the fourth also tuberculous. What would you have done?”

“I would have ended the pregnancy”. “Then you would have murdered


Not content with the Abortion Act of 1969 which allows 40,000

unborn children to be killed legally in our country in 1973, many

noisy and emotional people are campaigning for abortion on request.

They are aided by a crusading, misguided press and media which

continues to utter as fact, the fiction of fertile imaginative minds.

We have been told by the media that the majority of Canadians wish to

have abortion legalized but the latest census taken by the Toronto

Star in March of 1989 reports that 35% of those polled thought that

abortion was already easy to obtain, 26% thought it too hard, 19%

about right and 21% had no opinion. Men more then women thought it too

hard. Even if the majority did want it, this does not make it right.

Centuries ago, most Americans thought slavery was right. The elected

leaders of this country must have the wisdom and integrity for what

is right, not for what might be politically opportune.

One of the uttered justifications for abortion on demand is

that every women should have the mastership of her own body, but

should she? To quote Dr. Edwin Connow, “Should she have the right for

what is really judicial execution of new life – not a cat, not a

chicken but a human being – not only potential but actual”. In a

society one is not totally free to do what one will with one’s own

body (we don’t have the right to get drunk or high on drugs and drive

down Young Street.) The great concern has been shown for the innocent

victims of highjacking but what is abortion but this? The highjacking

without reprieve, of an innocent passenger out of his mother’s womb.

Should we really leave the right to hijack as a personal decision


Those campaigning for further liberalization of the abortion

law, hope to make abortion available and safe for all who wish it

during a pregnancy. Qualifications have been placed on the abortion on

demand routine by other groups, for example, a time limit for the

duration of pregnancy or clause that the operation be performed in an

accredited hospital. Before exploring the reality of so-called safe

abortion, let me tell you a little method of procuring an abortion.

Before 13 weeks of pregnancy, the neck of the womb is dilated – a

comparatively easy procedure in someone who has already had a child –

much more difficult if childbirth has not occurred. The products of

conception in many hospitals are removed but a suction apparatus –

considered safe and better that the curettal scraping method. After 13

weeks pregnancy, the fetus is too big to be removed in this was and

either a dangerous method of injection a solution into the womb is

carried out, this salting out method results in the mother going

into what is really a miniature labour and after a period of time,

expelling a very dead often skinned baby. In some hospitals because of

the danger of this procedure to the mother, an operation like a

miniature Caesarean section called a hysterotomy has to be performed.

There area also many other methods.

Let us now look if we can, at consequences of such license to

kill an individual too small to cry for it’s own protection. Abortion

by suction curettage is not just as simple as a pelvic examination

performed in a doctor’s office as Dr. Morgentaler and the television

programe W5 who were doing a great disservice to young women in Canada

would have us believe. In Canada as reported in the Canadian Medical

Association Journal (the Statistics from Statistics Canada), the

complication rate and this being for immediate complications of early

abortion is 4.5%. According to the Wyn report with statistics from 12

counties, women who have a previous induced abortion have their

ability to bear children in the future permanently impaired. There is

a 5-10% increase in infertility. The chances of these women having a

pregnancy in the tube increases up to 4 times. Premature delivery

increases up to 50% and when one realizes that prematurity is the

commonest cause for infants being mentally or physically defective,

having cerebral palsy or other difficulties, then one realizes that

those doctors doing abortions in great numbers south of the border or

across the water, even in Canada may not be doing the women and her

family a service. They will tell you that abortion has almost no

complications. What most of them will not tell you, is that once the

abortion is done they may refuse to see the women again and that she

must take her post-abortal problems elsewhere.

Those seeking repeal of the present abortion law will rapidly

point out that nevertheless, it is safer to have a legal abortion than

illegal abortions, safer for the women that is. This I do not dispute,

but here is the real rub. Liberalized abortion laws do not eliminate

illegal, back street abortions and in some cases, the overall number

of illegal abortions actually rise, usually stays stagnant, and rarely

falls. There are still people who would rather try it themselves or go

somewhere they will be completely anonymous. Another factor enters the

total number of people seeking abortion, legal or illegal rises. The

overall pregnancy rate rockets and people become careless with

contraception and a women can have 3 or 4 abortions during the time of

one full term pregnancy.

Are doctors really being kind to the girl to allow her to

choose life or death for her unborn child? In aborting a 16 year old

this year with so-called informed consent, we may be preventing her

from having even 1 or 2 children 10 years later when happily married.

No, repealing the abortion law does not make it possible for every

women to safely eliminate, what is for her, an unwanted pregnancy.

Would limiting abortions to accredited hospitals make it

safer? Yes, safer for the women, not for the fetus and it would

jeopardize the continued well being of all of the members of the

community with the gross misuse of the medical manpower, hospital

facilities and money. With almost 31,739 abortions performed in

Ontario in 1989, the cost to OHIP is about 9 million dollars. Yet to

do as has been done in the U.S.A and the United Kingdom – namely to

make legal, abortions is to turn so-called ‘backstreet butchers’ into

legal operators.

Patients now go into the office through the front door instead

of the rear. I have heard it said that is abortions became available

on request, many less children would be born and we could use the

pleasant delivery suites and postnatal beds for abortions. As I have

pointed out, however, before today, liberalization of abortion does

not reduce the birth rate. There would be little increase in available

facilities or indeed doctor’s time. By the very nature of the

operation and because the longer pregnancy lasts, the more difficult

it is, patients for abortions are admitted as urgent cases or

emergencies so that all other members of the community must wait

longer for their hospital bed or the surgery they need.

Who will pay for there abortions? With medicare, of course, it

is you and I. I know one full tern pregnancy costs most than an

abortion, but not much more. And it does not cost more than 3

abortions and that is what happens when the climate or choice for life

or death of the unborn child changes. Let us use this money for

constructive purposes, not destructive. It has been suggested that

abortions on request would enable the poor to secure abortion as

easily as the rich but regrettably, it has been shown that

abortion-minded physicians in great demand will respond to the age-old

commercial rules, as has already happened in the States and in


Abortion on demand a women’s right to choose not to continue

an unplanned pregnancy would prevent there being unwanted children in

this country, so we are told. This is the final and desperate

emotional plea of people anxious, at whatever price, to escape the

responsibility for their actions. Nobody here or in Canada, wants

there to be unwanted children in this city, and in this country, and

also in this world. There is nothing more pitiable or heat rending

that an unwanted fetus becoming an unwanted babe or an unwanted babe

becoming an unwanted child, or an unwanted child becoming an

embittered adult. But few would think it right to kill or have killed

an unwanted baby to prevent it from becoming an unwanted child. Then

how can they think it right to kill an unwanted fetus, even more

defenceless than a newborn babe just because it may grow into an

unwanted child.

Once a women has conceived, she already is a parent, be it

willing or otherwise. The only way she ceases it be a parents is by

a natural death or an act of killing. Killing in any form is not the

solution to so-called unwanted human beings at any age. Hitler thought

this was right. Canadians surely do not. It is a permissive and

frightened society that does not develop the expertise to control

population, civil disorder, crime, poverty, even its own sexuality but

yet would mount an uncontrolled, repeat uncontrolled, destructive

attack on the defenceless, very beginnings of life. Let us marshall

all our resources financial, educational, those of social agencies,

but above all, of human concern and passion for our fellow humans. Let

us by all means, make available to all, knowledge of conception and

methods of contraception. Let us offer ourselves as loving humans to

those already in this country who are unwanted by their natural

parents. And incidentally, I am sure I do not need acquaint you with

some of the facts about so-called unwanted children. The Children’s

Aid Societies in Toronto and in fact in every major city across our

country have many more potential parents anxious and willing to adopt

infants and young children than they have such children available for

adoption. Let us marshall our technology and humanity in the service

of the unfortunate.

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