Rather than trying to ban abortions, the pro-birth side could choose to focus instead on the common goal shared by almost everyone who has an opinion on the topic – reducing the number of children born to parents who are ill-equipped for any reason to adequately care for them. That they don’t do so not only interferes with any progress that society can agree is an improvement, it actually deters us from making any real progress at all.
The central dilemma under question is over presumed and perceived rights, and which should take precedence. This is further subject to debate based on the philosophical question of when, exactly, life begins. In theory, it’s either conception or birth, but in practice this is a question that has no definitive answer. In Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court stated: "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to an answer." Turning to the Bible for guidance produces answers that are in conflict with each other. The only solution in a functioning democracy is to allow the moral consequence to remain between the individuals in question and their personal God.
The Separation of Church and State exists for very valid reasons. Theocracy and democracy are fundamentally incompatible. Canon law and civil law are not the same thing, and they are not interchangeable – the founding fathers went to great lengths to ensure that it remains that way. FACTS:
Bible does not address the issue directly, in fact there are several passages that conflict with each other AND with the pro-life position:
• Gen 2:7 & Ezekiel 37:5-6 both state that life begins at first breath; Exodus 21:22 explains the fine to be paid by any man who causes a woman to miscarry, but also states that if that act results in her death, he pays with his own life. The life of the woman is more valuable than that of the child she carries. The miscarriage is treated much like a property loss. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s there.
• Leviticus 27:6 and Numbers 3:15-16 both claim that personhood is at one month
• Numbers also includes instructions to induce an abortion in a woman who may be pregnant by a man other than her husband (Numbers 5)
• The 10 Commandments do not address it in any way
• Exodus 34 fails to address it as well, although the list of “shall” and “shall not” is quite long, and explicit.
• Other passages support the idea that God calls to individuals before conception (Genesis 18:9; 1 Samuel 1:17; Luke 1:31). Will we be hearing anyone make the case that human life begins before conception?
• References are oblique and ambiguous at best, and conflicting at worst. Now that we have the biblical context out of the way...
The Constitution appears to protect legal abortions in two places – one directly and one overtly:
• 14th Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The only citizen identified in the 14th Amendment is the pregnant woman, who is already born, and thus subject to both protection and due process. The wording of this amendment is the basis of the “personhood for fetuses” movement.
• Preamble: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – family planning and the decision to take on the responsibilities of parenting obviously belong under this inalienable Constitutional right.
On the issue of rape that results in pregnancy:
• Approximately 25,000 women get pregnant as a result of being raped each year – this is hardly an insignificant number
• 31 states allow men who father through rape to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their child or children. The perpetrator is permitted to continue tormenting the victim by legally supported means, regardless of conviction status
• Only two studies have ever analyzed the outcomes of pregnancies from rape, but they both indicate that at least 30% of these women do chose to complete the pregnancy and raise the child – would that number be higher with better laws in place to shield both mother and child from the rapist?
Banning legal abortions creates more problems than it attempts to solve:
o Banning legal abortions will not stop abortions, it will simply make them more dangerous, and will do nothing to increase the number of wanted children born to people prepared to raise them to become responsible, productive adults who can function in society
o It does nothing to decrease the additional societal problems created by unwanted pregnancies, it actually serves to increase them by putting additional pressure on already strained resources
o It opens the door to legislating morality and literal abuses of the woman in questionSearch results current 10.31.13
Facts on abortion in the US:
• Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
• Forty percent of pregnancies among white women, 67% among blacks and 53% among Hispanics are unintended.
• In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions occurred.
• Each year, two percent of women aged 15–44 have an abortion. Half have had at least one previous abortion.
• At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and, at current rates, one in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in 10 by age 45.
Facts on who seeks abortions:
• 18% of U.S. women obtaining abortions are teenagers; those aged 15–17 obtain 6% of all abortions, teens aged 18–19 obtain 11%, and teens younger than age 15 obtain 0.4%.
• Women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions; women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and women aged 25–29 obtain 24%.
• Non-Hispanic white women account for 36% of abortions, non-Hispanic black women for 30%, Hispanic women for 25% and women of other races for 9%.
• Thirty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant and 28% as Catholic.
• Women who have never married and are not cohabiting account for 45% of all abortions
• 15% of all abortions in the US are performed on married women
• About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.
• Forty-two percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830 for a single woman with no children).
• Twenty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes between 100–199% of the federal poverty level.
• The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.
Facts on contraception use related to abortion statistics:
Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use.
• Forty-six percent of women who have abortions had not used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. Of these women, 33% had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy, 32% had had concerns about contraceptive methods, 26% had had unexpected sex and 1% had been forced to have sex.
• Eight percent of women who have abortions have never used a method of birth control; nonuse is greatest among those who are young, poor, black, Hispanic or less educated.
• About half of unintended pregnancies occur among the 11% of women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy but are not using contraceptives. Most of these women have practiced contraception in the past.
• An astonishing majority of women who practice some kind of birth control/family planning use either a medical or a barrier method. Only 1.5% follow what is commonly referred to as “natural family planning”, or practice abstinence during fertility.
• 98% of women who identify as religious practice birth control by non-natural family planning methods
The link between viability and abortion limits:
o survival rate of premature infants:
? 2% of babies born at 22 weeks
? 19% of babies born at 23 weeks
? 40% of babies born at 24 weeks
? 66% of babies born at 25 weeks
? 77% of babies born at 26 weeks
o Abortion rate percentages by date:
? 61.8% before 9 weeks
? 17.1% weeks 9-10
? 9.1% weeks 11-12
• This accounts for 88% of all abortions performed in the US, long before the fetus has any chance of survival outside the womb if miscarriage occurs instead
? 6.6% weeks13-15
? 3.8% weeks 16-20
? Only 1.5% during week 21 or later
• No state permits unrestricted abortion past 24 weeks unless rape of life of mother exemption applies
What problem are we trying to solve? Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. So let’s consider unintended pregnancies:
• Most American families want two children. To achieve this, the average woman spends about five years pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant, and three decades—more than three-quarters of her reproductive life—trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy.
• Most individuals and couples want to plan the timing and spacing of their childbearing and to avoid unintended pregnancies, for a range of social and economic reasons. In addition, unintended pregnancy has a public health impact: Births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies are associated with adverse maternal and child health outcomes, such as delayed prenatal care, premature birth and negative physical and mental health effects for children.
• For these reasons, reducing the unintended pregnancy rate is a national public health goal. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 campaign aims to reduce unintended pregnancy by 10%, from 49% of pregnancies to 44% of pregnancies, over the next 10 years.
• Currently, about half (49%) of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.2 million) are unintended.
There is a great deal more factual information available here: http://www.guttmacher.org/sections/abortion.php
. This source is used exclusively in the above post.