I am opposed to abortion. Why?

How do you feel about infanticide (the intentional killing of infants and small children)? Should parents have the right to kill a newborn baby? At least one “scientist” has recently suggested in print that they should, and outside the Judeo-Christian tradition, infanticide has always been an accepted practice. Can you accept infanticide as a normal part of life? I can’t. What if the infant is deformed, or retarded, and will have to be taken care of by someone throughout the entirety of the defective child’s long and useless life? Would that make the killing all right? Some people say yes. I say no. I say there is no excuse for the deliberate taking of innocent life. What do you say?

If you would not allow the parents to kill the child after birth, how about while he is in the birth canal? Just before entering the canal? One day before birth? Late term abortions are performed all the time. How do you feel about killing the child one day before birth? Two days? Three days? If you believe abortion should be legal and you do not support infanticide, you are going to have to pick a day after which the child may not be killed, but before which he may be killed with impunity. What day do you think that should be?

Several years ago an unmarried teenage girl gave birth to a child. In order to avoid the inconvenience of a bastard child, the girl and her boyfriend killed the baby and threw its body into a trash bin. They were convicted of murder. I thought at the time that they deserved to be severely punished for stupidity, if for nothing else. If the day before the baby was born they had gone to a late term abortion mill they could have solved their problem in an hour with no unpleasant consequences. The result would have been exactly the same, except for the part about the murder conviction.

If you oppose infanticide and late term abortion, but support a mother’s right to choose (death for her child), then you are going to have to pick that magic day before which the child is just a mass of cells and fair game for the abortionists instruments, and after which the child is entitled to the protections afforded to other human beings. How are you going to choose that day? Some people say that if the child can live outside the womb (viability) it cannot be aborted, but before that it may be ripped apart and the pieces pulled from the womb and thrown into the trash.

Viability is a bad standard for several reasons: 1) Viability has no effect on the nature of the fetus. Whether it can live outside the womb does not determine whether or not it is human. The issue which must determine whether or not abortion is immoral is not viability, but humanity. If the fetus is a human being, killing it is no different than murdering a newborn. 2) When we talk of living outside the womb, do we mean in a cradle, or in an incubator in the intensive care unit of a hospital nursery. There should not be a difference since a newborn’s status as a human being cannot be determined by location (inside or outside an incubator). When we accept that a child in an incubator is a human being, we make choosing the magic date much more difficult, since premature babies are today surviving at ever earlier birth dates. Recently a child in the twenty-second week of gestation survived the experience of premature birth. 3) If we use as our test the ability to survive outside an incubator and without a nest of tubes and wires, then viability makes even less sense. To say that an infant can survive on its own is nonsense. Very few human beings are able to survive without almost constant care for at least the first two years of life. It would be a rare child indeed who could survive on his own before the age of three. Why would we choose “ability to survive” as the test of whether terminating a pregnancy is allowed. No newborn can survive outside the womb without a great deal more effort and attention than was required while in the womb.

Whether or not abortion is immoral is dependent upon whether or not the fetus is a human being. Very few people would claim that a newborn is not a human being, and there is very little difference in a baby at the entrance to the birth canal and one at the exit. At some time before birth the child becomes a human being. I cannot prove that this occurs at conception, and abortion proponents cannot prove that it does not. Homicide is the killing of a human being. Abortion is homicide. Murder is the intentional and unlawful killing of a human being. Abortion is the intentional killing of a human being, but it is not murder because it is not at present unlawful. It should be.