ABORTION

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ABORTION

Every day 115,000 pregnancies are aborted around the world.[1] Is this wrong or is it right? Should it be legal, or illegal? Abortion is a complex and complicated issue that has been the subject of debate for decades, but perhaps it’s not as complex and complicated as it really seems to be. When we use instrumental agents of logic, science, morality and theology, it is possible to sort through the complexity and find simplicity in the argument. It is my hope that in using these tools, you will see the reality behind this long standing debate, and agree as a final cause, that the only moral, ethical and logical side to maintain in this great debate is the Pro-Life position. The question we all must address first and foremost is, when does life begin? The opinion of when life starts varies from as early as conception to as late as the actual cutting of the umbilical cord, finalizing the infant as an independent agent. The “life” I speak of is essentially that of a “human life,” since a human is the ultimate product of a pregnancy. Though some argue that just because something is living (let’s take an embryo for example) doesn’t make it human simply because it will eventually develop into a human. But let’s put this into perspective. Think of a child watching TV with his Grandpa. Who is more human, the Grandpa or the child? The answer is that they’re both equally human, despite the grandpa being older and more developed as a human. So if age and physical development do not determine the degree of which something is human, then how can we argue that an embryo is not human simply because is it less “developed?” This is where science enters the picture. At fertilization the 23 chromosomes from the father and the 23 chromosomes from the mother combine to create a genetically unique individual known as a zygote. From the moment the zygote is formed it has a unique identity with DNA separate from its mother and father, and begins dividing rapidly into cells creating the child. If we trace ourselves back to the earliest point of our existence as individuals, we must trace it back to when our genetic makeup first established us as whom we are individually from our parents. That point in time is fertilization. Yes, a zygote may not look like a human with legs, eyes and a cute nose. But regardless of appearances, identity is established genetically. And at a genetic level a zygote and embryo are just as human as you or I, just less developed physically. Like the grandpa and the child mentioned earlier. Your DNA was just as complex, and had the same information as to who you are and will be, then as a zygote or embryo, as it is now as an adult. Countless physicians and medical experts consider fertilization the point at which human life begins. Even the Official Senate report on Senate Bill 158, the “Human Life Bill“, acting as a counseling agent stated: “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”[2] In addition, every step in development after fertilization is not a debatable process from which humanness can be determined. As counseling agent Dr. Tommy Mitchell, a cellular biologist and biochemist, put it; “…at no time in this process is there a scientific point at which the developing individual clearly ‘becomes a person,’ any more than a baby becomes more human when it walks, talks, or is weaned. These milestones in zygote, blastocyst, embryonic, and fetal development are simply descriptions of anatomy, not hurdles met in the test of humanness. From a scientific point of view, the words are arbitrary and purely descriptive.”[3]  

Using science as a principal agent, we can establish the formal cause of the Pro-Life position in that human life begins at fertilization. Establishing this...
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