The morality of abortion

In my opinion, as I have stated before, the biggest issue facing this country today is abortion. Over 18,000 babies are killed every year by abortion. If we had 18,000 people killed on the roads every year there would be an outrage, but when this occurs behind closed doors we somehow manage to ignore it.

I believe abortion is murder. I don’t believe this for religious reasons, the Bible doesn’t go into detail on when life starts. Rather I believe it for scientific reasons, and my Christian faith then tells me that murder is wrong.

The key issue here is when life starts. There is only one scientific point when a new human being is formed, and that is conception. At this point the new baby has a unique genetic makeup to its mother – her immune system actually has to be repressed to ensure it doesn’t kill the baby, as it is recognised as not being part of her body. There is no other point that can be defined scientifically as when life starts.

Sometimes people say life starts at implantation (which would justify the morning-after pill, which prevents implantation, but would not allow abortion). But nothing really changes at implantation for the child, rather it just goes from floating freely to being attached to the uterus – implantation is really just a change of location. Sometimes people say life starts when the child is conscious. But life has nothing to do with consciousness – when you are asleep it isn’t ok to kill you, when you are in a coma you aren’t dead, when you wake from a coma you haven’t come back to life – you are still alive, and still a human, regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not. There are all sorts of definitions, but none stands up to scientific scrutiny. Generally these definitions are used specifically to try and accommodate abortion, rather than to genuinely work out whether or not abortion is wrong.

If a child truly is a living human from conception, and killing a human is murder, then abortion is by definition murder.

This is a terrible thought to have to deal with for most people in our society today, as many people have had abortions, and pretty well everyone knows someone who has had one. As a result many people are not willing to address the issue and even entertain the thought that a child in the womb may have rights. Most teenagers these days have been raised to think the foetus is just part of the mother’s body and she has the right to destroy it if she wishes, and many are not willing to consider the implications of if this is not true.

But we must consider the implications, because if true, this is a massive moral outrage.

Furthermore, abortion is not just a simple procedure. Generally the baby is torn to pieces with no anaesthetic, it is a terrible way to die. Abortion can also have health implications for mothers, which people aren’t generally told about in NZ.

One emerging problem with abortion is eugenics. Eugenics is the belief that some people are “inferior” (such as disabled people, black people, homosexuals, Jews or pretty well whoever you want to define as “inferior”), and it is ok to sterilise or kill them to ensure the human race as a whole is healthy. This is an idea that was popular in the early 20th century, started in America, and formed the basis for Hitler’s slaughter of the mentally ill, homosexuals, Jews and gypsies. Before the Second World War many people favoured eugenics. After the War, seeing the horrible reality of what it actually meant when put into practice, eugenics was suddenly unpopular.

But it is back. Increasingly, genetic tests are available that will allow you to determine all sorts of things about a child in the womb. At present you can detect genetic disorders such as Downs syndrome, but the tests are becoming more accurate, and can conceivably be used to determine everything from whether you have a risk of developing cancer when you are 50 to your eye colour. As a result, parents can choose to abort children that are defective.

This is eugenics all over again – find the “defective” humans and cull them. But there is little outrage, as the moral standards of Western society have declined since the War and fewer people actually recognise that this is wrong. Effectively you are saying that disabled people don’t have a right to live, and it is ok to kill them. This is exactly what Hitler was doing, the only difference is that you kill them before you can hear them scream.

For more information, check out:

MandM’s excellent series on abortion from the perspective of liberal philosophy:

Is Abortion Liberal? Part 1, Part 2, Sentience Part 1, Part 2

Klan Parenthood – abortion and eugenics in America

Pictures of what abortion is really like from CBR and Priests For Life

Risks to the mother from afterabortion.org and abortionfacts.com

What are your views on the issue? Remember abortion is already illegal in NZ, the abortions that are carried out are done through a legal loophole, and although we effectively have abortion on demand this was never the intent of NZ’s abortion law.

Abortion and Hitler

Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, has written an excellent article on why abortion is completely wrong, in which he compares abortion to the eugenics practised by the Nazis. You can view it here. A few excerpts:

The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.

Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

Why do I not get into defining “human being,” defining “person,” defining “living,” and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who “chooses” to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.

Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs. Happily, there are few today who would hesitate to condemn in the roundest terms the self-deceit of Hitler, Stalin or even their subjects to the extent that the subjects could have done something to end the madness and protect living, innocent human beings.

It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets.

A new test is just being trialed in the UK which allows even more detailed analysis of the genetics of a baby before they are born. Note this:

Technically, it would be possible to use the test to select an embryo with a particular eye colour or to screen for multiple genes known to affect height or weight.

The whole thing works on allowing you to select the child you want (based on health initially, but potentially you can select for pretty well anything), and kill the rest. This is blatant eugenics, just like Hitler was using. The only difference is that if you kill them before they are born, you don’t have to listen to them scream.

Hat tip: Being Frank

Helen Clark seizes more control

Further to my previous post on Labour making constitutional changes, we just had another major one pushed through. Labour has passed the Police Bill (hat tip: Tumeke!), a bill which is probably well intentioned and has a lot of stuff the police certainly like the sound of.

BUT, this bill also:

  • Lets the Prime Minister appoint the Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner
  • Places the Minister of Police under the authority of the Prime Minister

As Bomber says:

Meaning the Police are answerable to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister hires and fires those who run the policy, it is a closed relationship that does as my co-blogger points out “invites political manipulation, under-performance and ultimately corruption”.

Once again this seems a minor change to law. What is really wrong with the Prime Minister being in charge of the Police? Someone has to and she is democratically elected after all. But when this Act is passed by a Prime Minister who has been investigated by the Police more than any other Prime Minister in the history of the country, who each time have declined to prosecute claiming it is “not in the public interest”, it becomes a bit suspicious.

When it comes at the same time as Labour is planning to abolish the Serious Fraud Office (currently independant of the police and not under the control of the Prime Minister), which is currently investigating the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and move its powers over to the Police (where they would be under the direct control of the Prime Minister now), it becomes still more suspicious.

When it comes after a long string of questionable constitutional changes by Labour, and is rushed in before they leave office, it becomes very worrying.

Now if the Prime Minister were to do something illegal or undemocratic, whether minor (say, speeding or blocking handicapped parks), moderate (such as financial fraud, such as what Mr Peters is currently accused of), or major (such as deciding we aren’t going to have an election after all), who could do anything about it?

  • The Police and the SFO, who could investigate, would be under her control.
  • The court system is under her control (through judicial appointments), and may be unlikely to rule against her.
  • The Governor General would probably not interfere, they are ultimately controlled by the PM.
  • The final safeguard, which you never wish to need, is a military coup. But the military is small and poorly equipped.

I am not suggesting that the current PM will choose not to call an election this year. But we have safeguards around the government for a reason. The more these safeguards are eroded, the more risk we have of some PM, sometime, doing something like this. Hitler was democratically elected, and should be a strong reminder of the need for these safeguards which Labour is systematically removing.