n Roman times, abortion and the destruction of unwanted children waspermissible, but as out civilization has aged, it seems that such acts were nolonger acceptable by rational human beings, so that in 1948, Canada alongwith most other nations in the world signed a declaration of the UnitedNations promising every human being the right to life. The World MedicalAssociation meeting in Geneve at the same time, stated that the utmostrespect for human life was to be from the moment of conception. Thisdeclaration was re-affirmed when the World Medical Association met in Osloin 1970. Should we go backwards in our concern for the life of an individualhuman being? The unborn human is still a human life and not all the wishfulthinking of those advocating repeal of abortion laws, can alter this. Those ofus who would seek to protect the human who is still to small to cry aloud forit’s own protection, have been accused of having a 19th Century approach tolife in the last third of the 20th Century.
But who in reality is using argumentsof a bygone Century? It is an incontrovertible fact of biological science -Make no Mistake – that from the moment of conception, a new human lifehas been created. Only those who allow their emotional passion to overidetheir knowledge, can deny it: only those who are irrational or ignorant ofscience, doubt that when a human sperm fertilizes a human ovum a newhuman being is created. A new human being who carries genes in its cellsthat make that human being uniquely different from any and other humanbeing and yet, undeniably a member, as we all are, of the great human family.All the fetus needs to grow into a babe, a child, an old man, is time, nutritionand a suitable environment. It is determined at that very moment ofconception whether the baby will be a boy or a girl; which of his parents hewill look like; what blood type he will have. His whole heritage is foreverfixed.
Look at a human being 8 weeks after conception and you, yes everyperson here who can tell the difference between a man and a women, will beable to look at the fetus and tell me whether it is a baby boy or a girl. No, afetus is not just another part of a women’s body like an appendix orappendage. These appendages, these perfectly formed tiny feel belong to a10 week developed baby, not to his or her mother. The fetus is distinct anddifferent and has it’s own heart beat. Do you know that the fetus’ heartstarted beating just 18 days after a new life was created, beating before themother even knew she was pregnant? By 3 months of pregnancy thedeveloping baby is just small enough to be help in the palm of a man’s handbut look closely at this 3 month old fetus. All his organs are formed and all hissystems working. He swims, he grasps a pointer, he moves freely, heexcretes urine. If you inject a sweet solution into the water around him, hewill swallaw because he likes the taste.
Inject a bitter solution and he will quitswallowing because he does not like the taste. By 16 weeks it is obvious toall, except those who have eyes but deliberately do not see, that this is ayoung human being. Who chooses life or death for this little one becauseabortion is the taking of a human life? This fact is undeniable; however muchof the members of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the new Feminists,Dr.
Henry Morgentaler or the Canadian Medical Association President feelabout it, does not alter the fact of the matter. An incontrovertible fact thatcannot change as feelings change. If abortion is undeniably the taking ofhuman life and yet sincere misguided people feel that it should be just apersonal matter between a women and the doctor, there seems to be 2choices open to them. (1) That they would believe that other acts ofdestruction of human beings such as infanticide and homicide should be of noconcern of society and therefore, eliminate them from the criminal code. ThisI cannot believe is the thinking of the majority, although the tendency fordoctors to respect the selfish desire of parents and not treat the newborndefective with a necessary lifesaving measure, is becoming increasingly morecommon. (2) But for the most part the only conclusion available to us is thatthose pressing for repeal of the abortion laws believe that there are differentsorts of human beings and that by some arbitrary standard, they can placedifferent values on the lives of there human beings. Of course, differenthuman beings have different values to each of us as individuals: my mothermeans more to me than she does to you.
But the right to life of all humanbeings is undeniable. I do not think this is negotiable. It is easy to beconcerned with the welfare of those we know and love, while regardingeverybody else as less important and somehow, less real. Most people wouldrather have heard of the death of thousands in the Honduras flooding disasterthan of a serious accident involving a close friends or favourite relatives. Thatis why some are less disturbed by the slaughter of thousands of unbornchildren than by the personal problems of a pregnant women across thestreet. To rationalize this double standard, they pretend to themselves that theunborn child is a less valuable human life because it has no active socialrelationships and can therefore, be disposed of by others who have anarbitrary standard of their own for the value of a human life. I agree that thefetus has not developed it’s full potential as a human being: but neither haveany of us.
Nor will any of us have reached that point: that point of perfecthumaness, when we die. Because some of us may be less far along the paththan others, does not give them the right to kill us. But those in favour ofabortion, assume that they have that right, the standard being arbitrary.
Tosay that a 10 week fetus has less value that a baby, means also that one mustconsider a baby of less value than a child, a young adult of less value than anold man. Surely one cannot believe this and still be civilized and human. Asociety that does not protect its individual members is on the lowest scale ofcivilized society. One of the measures of a more highly civilized society, is itsattitude towards its weaker members. If the poor, the sick, the handicapped,the mentally ill, the helpless are not protected, the society is not as advancedas in a society where they are protected. The more mature the society is, themore there is respect for the dignity and rights of all human beings. Thefunction of the laws of the society, is to protect and provide for all membersso that no individual or group of individuals can be victimized by anotherindividual group. Every member of Canadian society has a vital stake in whatvalue system is adopted towards its weak, aged, cripple, it’s helplessintra-uterine members; a vital stake in who chooses life or death.
As some ofyou may know, in 1969, the abortion laws were changed in Canada, so that itbecame legal for a doctor to perform an abortion if a committee of 3 otherdoctors in an eccredited hospital deemed that continuation of the pregnancyconstituted a severe threat to the life and health, mental or physical of thewomen. Threat to health was not defined and so it is variously interpreted tomean very real medical disease to anything that interferes with even social oreconomic well being, so that any unwanted or unplanned pregnancy thusqualifies. What really is the truth about the lasting effect of an unwantedpregnancy on the psyche of a womem? Of course there is a difference ofopinion among psychiatrists, but if unbiased, prospective studies are examinedcertain facts become obvious. (1) The health of women who are mentally illbefore they become pregnant, is not improved by an abortion. In fact in 1970an official statement of the World Health Organization said, “Serious mentaldisorders arise more often in women previous mental problems. Thus the verywomen for whom legal abortion is considered justified on psychiatric grounds,are the ones who have the highest risk of post-abortion psychiatric disorders.(2) Most women who are mentally healthy before unwanted pregnancy,despite a temporary emotional upset during the early weeks for thepregnancy, are mentally healthy after the pregnancy whether they wereaborted or carried through to term.
Do we accept killing a human beingbecause of a temporary, emotional upset? All obstetricians and gynaecologistsknow of many cases where the mother, be her single or married, has spokenof abortion early in the pregnancy and later on, has confessed her gratitude tothose who have not performed the abortion. On the other hand, we have allseen women what have been troubled, consumed with guilt and developmentsignificant psychiatric problems following and because of abortion. I quote Ft.John L. Grady, Medical Examiner for Florida State Attorney’s Office, “Ibelieve it can be stated with certainty that abortion causes more deep-seatedguilt, depression and mental illness than it ever cures”.
We used to hear a lotabout the risk of suicide among those who threatened such action if theirrequest for abortion was refused. How real is that risk – it is not – in fact, thesuicide rate among pregnant women be they happy of unhappy about thepregnancy, is 1/4 of the rate among non-pregnant women in child-bearingyears. An accurate 10 year study was done in England on unwed motherswho requested abortions and were refused. It was found that the suicide rateof this group was less than that average population. In Minnesota in a 15 yearperiod, there were only 14 maternal suicides. 11 occurred after delivery.None were illegitimately pregnant. All were psychotic.
In contrast, among thefirst 8 deaths of women aborted under the liberal law in the United Kingdon, 2were from suicide directly following the abortion. Are there any medicalindications for abortion?? Is it valid for a doctor to co-operate in the choicefor abortion? The late Dr. Guttmacher, one of the world leaders of thepro-abortion movement, has stated: “Almost any women can be broughtthrough pregnancy alive unless she suffers from cancer or leukemia, in whichcase abortion is unlikely to prolong her life much less save it.” As an opponentto abortion, I will readily agree, as will all those who are against abortion, thatpregnancy resulting from rape or incest is a tragedy. Rape is a detestablecrime, but no sane reasoning can place the slightest blame on the unborn childit might produce. Incest is, if that is possible, even worse, but for centuries,traditional Jewish law has clearly stated, that if a father sins against hisdaughter (incest) that does not justify a second crime – the abortion of theproduct of that sin. The act of rape or incest is the major emotional physicaltrauma to the young girl or women.
Should we compound the psychic scaralready inflicted on the mother by her having the guilt of destroying a livingbeing which was at least half her own? Throughout history, pregnant womenwho for one crime or another were sentenced to death, were given a stay ofexecution until after the delivery of the child: it being the contention of courtsthat one could not punish the innocent child for the crime of the mother. Canwe punish it for a crime against the mother? If rape occurred the victimshould immediately report the incident. If this is done, early reporting of thecrime will provide greater opportunity for apprehension and conviction of therapist, for treatment of venereal disease and prevention of pregnancy. Let isgive our children good sex education; and let us get tough on pornography,clean up the newstands, literature and “Adult Movies” and televisionprogrammes which encourage crime, abusive drugs and make mockery ofmorality and good behaviour and therefore, contribute to rape.
By somepeculiar trick of adult logic, proponents of abortion talk about fetal indicationsfor act. Whatever abortion may do for the mother, it so very obviously cannotbe therapeutic for the fetus. Death is hardly a constructive therapy. As Dr.Hellegers of John Hopkins Hospital says, “While it is easy to feel that abortionis being performed for the sake of the fetus, honesty requires us to recognizethat we perform it for adults”.
There is no evidence to indicate that an infantwith congenital or birth defect would rather not be born since he cannot beconsulted. This evidence might exist if suicides were common among peoplewith congenital handicaps. However, to the contrary, these seem to value life,since the incidence of suicide is less than that of the general population. Canwe choose death for another while life is all we ourselves know? Methodsare being developed to diagnose certain defects in the infants of mothers atrisk before the infant is born.
The fluid around the fetus can be sampled andtested in a very complicated fashion. If we kill infants with confidentialdefects before they are born, why not after birth, why not any human beingwe declare defective? It is no surprise of course for many of us to learn thatin hospitals across North American Continent such decisions affecting thenewborn and the very elderly or those with incurable disease, are being made.What is a defect, what is a congenital defect? Hitler considered being 1/4Jewish was a congenital defect incompatible with the right to life. Perhapsyou have all heard this story : One doctor saying to another doctor, “About thetermination of a pregnancy, I want your opinion.
The father was syphilitic(venereal disease). The mother tuberculous (small lumps on skin). Of the fourchildren born, the first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf anddumb, the fourth also tuberculous. What would you have done?” “I wouldhave ended the pregnancy”.
“Then you would have murdered Beethoven”.Not content with the Abortion Act of 1969 which allows 40,000 unbornchildren to be killed legally in our country in 1973, many noisy and emotionalpeople are campaigning for abortion on request. They are aided by acrusading, misguided press and media which continues to utter as fact, thefiction of fertile imaginative minds. We have been told by the media that themajority of Canadians wish to have abortion legalized but the latest censustaken by the Toronto Star in March of 1989 reports that 35% of those polledthought that abortion was already easy to obtain, 26% thought it too hard,19% about right and 21% had no opinion. Men more then women thought ittoo hard.
Even if the majority did want it, this does not make it right.Centuries ago, most Americans thought slavery was right. The electedleaders of this country must have the wisdom and integrity for what is right,not for what might be politically opportune. One of the uttered justificationsfor abortion on demand is that every women should have the mastership ofher own body, but should she? To quote Dr. Edwin Connow, “Should shehave the right for what is really judicial execution of new life – not a cat, not achicken but a human being – not only potential but actual”. In a society one isnot totally free to do what one will with one’s own body (we don’t have theright to get drunk or high on drugs and drive down Young Street.) The greatconcern has been shown for the innocent victims of highjacking but what isabortion but this? The highjacking without reprieve, of an innocent passengerout of his mother’s womb.
Should we really leave the right to hijack as apersonal decision only? Those campaigning for further liberalization of theabortion law, hope to make abortion available and safe for all who wish itduring a pregnancy. Qualifications have been placed on the abortion ondemand routine by other groups, for example, a time limit for the duration ofpregnancy or clause that the operation be performed in an accredited hospital.Before exploring the reality of so-called safe abortion, let me tell you a littlemethod of procuring an abortion. Before 13 weeks of pregnancy, the neck ofthe womb is dilated – a comparatively easy procedure in someone who hasalready had a child – much more difficult if childbirth has not occurred. Theproducts of conception in many hospitals are removed but a suction apparatus- considered safe and better that the curettal scraping method. After 13weeks pregnancy, the fetus is too big to be removed in this was and either adangerous method of injection a solution into the womb is carried out, thissalting out method results in the mother going into what is really a miniaturelabour and after a period of time, expelling a very dead often skinned baby. Insome hospitals because of the danger of this procedure to the mother, anoperation like a miniature Caesarean section called a hysterotomy has to beperformed.
There area also many other methods. Let us now look if we can,at consequences of such license to kill an individual too small to cry for it’sown protection. Abortion by suction curettage is not just as simple as a pelvicexamination performed in a doctor’s office as Dr. Morgentaler and thetelevision programe W5 who were doing a great disservice to young womenin Canada would have us believe. In Canada as reported in the CanadianMedical Association Journal (the Statistics from Statistics Canada), thecomplication rate and this being for immediate complications of early abortionis 4.5%. According to the Wyn report with statistics from 12 counties, womenwho have a previous induced abortion have their ability to bear children in thefuture permanently impaired.
There is a 5-10% increase in infertility. Thechances of these women having a pregnancy in the tube increases up to 4times. Premature delivery increases up to 50% and when one realizes thatprematurity is the commonest cause for infants being mentally or physicallydefective, having cerebral palsy or other difficulties, then one realizes thatthose doctors doing abortions in great numbers south of the border or acrossthe water, even in Canada may not be doing the women and her family aservice. They will tell you that abortion has almost no complications.
Whatmost of them will not tell you, is that once the abortion is done they mayrefuse to see the women again and that she must take her post-abortalproblems elsewhere. Those seeking repeal of the present abortion law willrapidly point out that nevertheless, it is safer to have a legal abortion thanillegal abortions, safer for the women that is. This I don not dispute, but hereis the real rub. Liberalized abortion laws do not eliminate illegal, back streetabortions and in some cases, the overall number of illegal abortions actuallyrise, usually stays stagnant, and rarely falls. There are still people who wouldrather try it themselves or go somewhere they will be completely anonymous.Another factor enters the total number of people seeking abortion, legal orillegal rises. The overall pregnancy rate rockets and people become carelesswith contraception and a women can have 3 or 4 abortions during the time ofone full term pregnancy.
Are doctors really being kind to the girl to allow herto choose life or death for her unborn child? In aborting a 16 year old thisyear with so-called informed consent, we may be preventing her from havingeven 1 or 2 children 10 years later when happily married. No, repealing theabortion law does not make it possible for every women to safely eliminate,what is for her, an unwanted pregnancy. Would limiting abortions toaccredited hospitals make it safer? Yes, safer for the women, not for thefetus and it would jeopardize the continued well being of all of the membersof the community with the gross misuse of the medical manpower, hospitalfacilities and money. With almost 31,739 abortions performed in Ontario in1989, the cost to OHIP is about 9 million dollars. Yet to do as has been donein the U.S.
A and the United Kingdom – namely to make legal, abortions is toturn so-called ‘backstreet butchers’ into legal operators. Patients now go intothe office through the front door instead of the rear. I have heard it said thatis abortions became available on request, many less children would be bornand we could use the pleasant delivery suites and postnatal beds forabortions. As I have pointed out, however, before today, liberalization ofabortion does not reduce the birth rate. There would be little increase inavailable facilities or indeed doctor’s time. By the very nature of the operationand because the longer pregnancy lasts, the more difficult it is, patients forabortions are admitted as urgent cases or emergencies so that all othermembers of the community must wait longer for their hospital bed or thesurgery they need. Who will pay for there abortions? With medicare, ofcourse, it is you and I.
I know one full tern pregnancy costs most than anabortion, but not much more. And it does not cost more than 3 abortions andthat is what happens when the climate or choice for life or death of theunborn child changes. Let us use this money for constructive purposes, notdestructive.
It has been suggested that abortions on request would enable thepoor to secure abortion as easily as the rich but regrettably, it has been shownthat abortion-minded physicians in great demand will respond to the age-oldcommercial rules, as has already happened in the States and in Britain.Abortion on demand a women’s right to choose not to continue an unplannedpregnancy would prevent there being unwanted children in this country, so weare told. This is the final and desperate emotional plea of people anxious, atwhatever price, to escape the responsibility for their actions. Nobody here orin Canada, wants there to be unwanted children in this city, and in thiscountry, and also in this world. There is nothing more pitiable or heat rendingthat an unwanted fetus becoming an unwanted babe or an unwanted babebecoming an unwanted child, or an unwanted child becoming an embitteredadult. But few would think it right to kill or have killed an unwanted baby toprevent it from becoming an unwanted child.
Then how can they think it rightto kill an unwanted fetus, even more defenceless than a newborn babe justbecause it may grow into an unwanted child. Once a women has conceived,she already is a parent, be it willing or otherwise. The only way she ceases itbe a parents is by a natural death or an act of killing.
Killing in any form is notthe solution to so-called unwanted human beings at any age. Hitler thoughtthis was right. Canadians surely do not.
It is a permissive and frightenedsociety that does not develop the expertise to control population, civil disorder,crime, poverty, even its own sexuality but yet would mount an uncontrolled,repeat uncontrolled, destructive attack on the defenceless, very beginnings oflife. Let us marshall all our resources financial, educational, those of socialagencies, but above all, of human concern and passion for our fellow humans.Let us by all means, make available to all, knowledge of conception andmethods of contraception. Let us offer ourselves as loving humans to those