Arthur Asuncion


Articles -- Abortion: The War Within (June 2003)

While writing this column about abortion on Mother's Day, I can't help but notice society's double standard in paying tribute to faithful mothers (which I'm all for) while condoning the very act that is antithetical to motherhood. I realize that abortion is a polarizing, sensitive, and controversial moral issue with many sides. How then does one ascertain which side is right? Since this is a moral issue, one must first look to a moral authority.

If God created the universe, then He must be the ultimate authority. As I pointed out last article, the existence of a Creator naturally implies a regard for the creation, especially for human life created in God's image. From the creationistic worldview, a child, born or unborn, is more than just a “blob o' tissue”—it's a sacred blessing from the Creator. From this perspective, the act of abortion would be premeditated murder.

To the evolutionist who denies the existence of God, morality is simply a cultural construct that evolves and changes according to the whims of society—there are no absolutes and no true moral authority. Since humans are on the same level of value as animals, abortion is as morally harmless as killing an ant (in fact, from a pure evolutionistic standpoint, abortion, infanticide, genocide, or any other murder cannot be absolutely wrong, since it's survival of the fittest).

Some environmentalists go a little further and argue that abortion is necessary to keep the species of mankind from overpopulating. I remember my Writing 39B class where two writers that we studied, Garrett Hardin and Rachel Carson, frequently implied that that humankind was a pest that needed to be controlled because humankind was responsible for draining environmental resources.

Let me quickly diverge and say that the idea that humans are overpopulating this planet is a myth. Sure, some of the poorer nations are overpopulated, some desirable areas to live like Southern Cal. are overpopulated, and UCI's food courts and parking structures are overpopulated, but not the whole world. Some have estimated that the entire population of the world can live comfortably in the state of Texas. As for food and other basic necessities, I would venture to say that the resources of the United States alone could take care of the whole world.

Many people are not as interested about moral authority or the creation/evolution controversy as in practical situations and hypothetical scenarios. One popular scenario is the poor pregnant teenager who cannot afford to give her baby a good standard of life. Many would argue that her only recourse is to abort. Take the same scenario but suppose that the baby was already born—society would definitely frown if the girl dispensed of the baby then. Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

The key issue is whether or not a fetus is a human. At first glance, a fetus sure looks like a human. Its heart beats (begins 21 days after conception), its brain transmits brainwaves (43 days after conception), and it can sometimes be seen sucking its thumb or doing a somersault. The only difference I see between a fetus and an infant is that the fetus is premature and still in the mother's body.

From a creationistic view, a fetus is indeed a human since life begins at conception. From an evolutionistic standpoint, it doesn't matter whether or not a fetus is a human—there is no sanctity of life anyways. From a practical stance, women need only to mentally justify that the fetus is a part of her body towards which she has the right to do anything, without realizing that the fetus is also its own individual with its own genetic makeup.

The bottom line is this: a fetus is not sub-human just because it is inside of the mother and at her mercy (and this sub-human ideology is analogous the pre-Emancipation justification of owning slaves). Amidst the deafening mantra of a woman's right to choose, where is the right of the unborn to live? It's nonexistent—even plants, animals, and animal eggs have more rights than an unborn child.

By the way, in regards to the popular argument about giving the baby a good standard of life, no one can accurately predict a person's standard of life. Even the poor, handicapped, and diseased can live decent lives (and trying to weed out those who are marred and imperfect is the basic ideology of Nazism).

A popular anecdote depicts a college professor once asking, “If the father is sick with syphilis, the mother has TB, the first child is blind, the second is dead, the third is deaf, the fourth has TB, and the mother is currently pregnant, what should the mother do?”

The class predictably recommended aborting the baby. The professor responded, “Fine, you've just killed Beethoven.”

I understand that most women who consider abortion are under a lot of stress and pressure. To those who have already committed an abortion and are living under the pangs of guilt, let me say that there is a God who forgives if one but turns to Him.

To those who haven't had an abortion yet, shouldn't they at least know the facts before making the decision? I suggest that they should not only be presented with a sonogram of the child and the gruesome procedures of terminating that child but also talk to those who have already had an abortion and are regretting it.

Although I was going to deal with the issue of the rights of government to legislate morality, space restricts me (stay tuned, though). From my own personal standpoint, abortion continues to be one of the biggest wars of the modern age as it claims multiple times the death toll of Jews in the Holocaust. It's the war within—within the nation, within the woman's body, and within the hearts and minds of Americans. In this battle for the sanctity of life, I choose to side with the silent and the unborn.