It seems that in the making of excuses to kill a baby, there is no end. Countless reasons are offered by the pro-death camp as to why abortion must be legal and widely available. I have previously dealt with some of the main abortion myths, but here I offer another selection from the pro-abortion activists.
One oft-heard myth is that abortion is needed since women should not be forced to have unwanted babies. Pro-death advocates argue that it is cruel to force a woman to have a child she does not want. As one letter writer to the Melbourne Age put it today, “It would be a cruel society to force women to become mothers when they clearly don’t want to, or are not prepared for the huge task ahead of them.”
Consider the logic of this way of thinking. The truth is, children of all ages can be a “huge task”. At times any child will be unwanted, or deemed burdensome. Consider toddlers for example. They can be very demanding, a real handful, and often not wanted. By the reasoning of the pro-abortionists we should just bump off little two-year-old Johnny or Sally. After all, it’s a mother’s right to choose, and we don’t want society to be cruel and force poor mums into looking after children which are unwanted.
If a woman becomes pregnant and considers having a child too burdensome for economic, career or other reasons, the answer is surely not to kill the baby. Adoption is always an option. Indeed, there are far more families wanting to adopt babies than there are babies available. So just because the mother does not want the baby does not mean it is unwanted by everyone else. Many would desperately love to be able to raise, nurture and care for the baby.
It may seem like it is impossible to raise a child because of limited income. But in the West at least, most nations have various welfare programs and provisions in place. And in the non-Western world, most people may well struggle to make ends meet. Killing the baby is usually not the remedy however. Many children are born into grinding poverty around the world. But they are usually loved, not deemed a liability.
Moreover, circumstances can and do change, and conditions and feelings never remain the same. Pregnant women may not want the baby at first, but many change their minds later on. Indeed, there is a “difference between an unwanted pregnancy and an unwanted baby. Many children who are at first unwanted by their mothers are very much wanted later in the pregnancy, and even more so at birth. . . . The problem is not unwanted children, but unwanting adults.”
And given that feminism is such a major player in the pro-abortion camp, this thought is worth bearing in mind as well: “For years women were degraded when their value was judged by whether or not they were wanted by men. Just as a woman’s value is real whether or not a man recognizes it, so a baby’s value is real whether or not his mother or father recognizes it.”
Moreover, this argument is really just an appeal to pity. It says, in essence, ‘I, as a mother, would be too financially disadvantaged by the child, or too emotionally devastated, or psychologically hardshipped. I just could not cope.’ There are all sorts of situations in life which we cannot easily cope with. But our emotional responses really have nothing to do with the issue at hand: the rightness or wrongness of killing an unborn baby.
Of course every child should be wanted, loved, accepted, cared for and nurtured. That is the ideal. Sadly this does not always happen. Sometimes a child is not loved and not wanted. But is that a reason for killing him or her? As one ethicist puts it,
“It is very difficult to demonstrate that the moral and metaphysical value of a human being is dependent on whether someone wants or cares for that human being. For example, no one disputes that the homeless are intrinsically valuable even though they are, for the most part, unwanted.”
Following on from the last myth, it is often stated by the pro-death lobby that we must have abortion, because an unwanted baby might be abused. ‘A wanted baby is a loved baby’ we are told by the pro-abortion crowd.
However, a simple look at the facts dispels this myth. In the same period that abortion has increased, so too has child abuse. Indeed, one can argue that the abortion culture leads to the child abuse culture. As Maggie Gallagher has expressed it, “The ethic of the child-batterer is the abortion ethic. Child abusers, like abortion activists, believe in adults’ right to be in control of their lives. Child abusers, like abortionists, believe that only children who gratify parental desires have a right to exist. It is hard to believe that the cultural message contained in abortion, the insistent eulogies to control, and the references to parenting as a right and a pleasure have not contributed to the explosion in child abuse and neglect”.
Research reveals that a “planned” child is as much at risk of abuse as an “unplanned” child. “There is no assurance that the child that was planned for will continue to be well treated by its parent or parents. Indeed, over 90 per cent of the children in the United States who are abused by their parents were originally wanted babies. At all events and notwithstanding the annual one and a half million abortions, there is no indication that family life in America is becoming happier. On the contrary, since abortion on demand was made legal in 1973, the number of abused children is estimated to have risen by over 300 per cent.”
The most obvious response to this myth however is the simple fact that killing an unborn child is the ultimate form of child abuse.
The pro-abortion camp is fond of speaking about rusty coat-hanger abortions and other horror stories associated with illegal abortions. But there are a number of mistruths and deceptions going on here.
First, legalising abortion did not make abortion safer. It was made safer in the 1940s and onwards with the availability of antibiotics. As one commentator puts it, “Death rates from infections and all types of surgeries, including illegal abortions, had already fallen precipitously after World War II, when antibiotics finally became available to the general public.”
Second, the majority of abortions performed before legalisation were done in doctor’s offices, not in “backyards”, something even Planned Parenthood has admitted.
Third, the claim that thousands of women died each year in America before the 1973 decision to legalise abortion is simply not true. Bernard Nathanson ought to know. He was a leading abortionist during this period – having performed 60,000 abortions – and helped to make up this figure of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year: “I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible”.
Nathanson goes on to describe the real figures: “In 1967 … the federal government listed only 160 deaths from illegal abortion. In the last year before [Roe v Wade], 1972, the total was only 39 deaths”. While 39 is too many, the figure must be held up to the 1.5 million babies killed each year in the US since 1973.
Fourth, women are still dying from abortions, even though they are now legal. There are a number of serious physical problems associated with abortion. Death is the worst complication. One former abortionist recounts a number of cases where botched (and legal) abortion led to the death of the mother. How many women die as a result of abortion is not known, but the figure must be quite high.
And there are many other physical complications. Internal bleeding, for example, is normal after an abortion. Not uncommon are perforated uteruses. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection which occurs with abortion – it may occur in as much as 30 per cent of all cases. And women who have had an abortion are two to four times more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy.
As long as people think it is OK to kill unborn babies, they will continue to roll out any and all excuses to justify the killing. But these excuses are just that: excuses designed to fool a gullible public into thinking that abortion is just as benign and harmless as having a toenail clipped. But the truth is abortion is about one thing and one thing only: the killing of a living, human baby. No amount of excuses and myths can cover up that most basic of truths.