One of Those Controversial Topics.

I'm thankful this little guy wasn't aborted.

     A lot of people seem to think that I don’t have the right to say anything about this topic since I’m a conservative Christian teenage gent. Evidently I’m not supposed to say anything about this because I can’t understand the emotions that are attached to it. I always find that sort of censorship irritating. That said, I think I’ll ignore the suposes and go ahead and blog about abortion.

     Sure it’s a very common topic, but it’s been rattling around my cranium these days, so I thought I’d let it out. Not to mention, I think there cannot be too much discussion about it, not until something is done. I think it’s a topic that has become excessively politicized to the point where it has become a purely political issue instead of the life and death issue that it is. I’m sure I’ll draw a good deal of criticism for this post, but I’m not afraid of it, I’d be open to a discussion.

     I suppose I should begin by discussing whether the issue truly is about women’s rights, or if it is an issue about the life of a child. This is the pivotal point that directs the course of the discussion. If indeed the issue is only about women’s rights and is merely a minor surgery to remove some unwanted tissue, as some claim, then the debate is obviously being blown strangely out of proportion. Conversely, if the issue is more than that, if it is truly about the life of a human being, then it is definitely a battle worth fighting and a cause that must not be forgotten.

     Apologist Gregory Koukl sums it up nicely: “Is the unborn a member of the human family? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. It treats the distinct human being, with his or her own inherent moral worth, as nothing more than a disposable instrument. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, killing them for any reason requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled.”

     On the one hand, the baby (or fetus, as some would prefer to call it), is indeed inside of the woman’s body. Since the fetus is in the woman’s body she makes decisions which effect it. She has the power to destroy it if it is inconvenient, or to allow it to develop and be born. So do law-makers have the right to tell her what to do with something that is inside of her body?

     If indeed a fetus is nothing but a meaningless blob of tissue then there is no issue here, it is practically the same as trimming a fingernail. Yet, strangely it is obviously more than that. I constantly hear Pro-Choice advocates declare that it is a very important decision. Why would it be an important decision if the fetus was simply a compilation of cells? 

     A fetus is more important than other blobs of tissue because it has potential to become a human being. So then, three questions arise in my mind: Is it wrong to destroy something that will one day become human? And when does it become human? And most imporantly, what constitutes a person?  

     I have no idea how to approach the first question. Though, I suppose the first thought that comes to my mind is a rather poor analogy. Let us say for a moment that there is an author who is working on a story, we will call him Mr. Dominic. At this point he has a beautifully outlined plot and well-developed characters, and if he completes his book it will one day be the next great American novel.

     Now, let us say that Mr. Dominic has a rival, Mr. Stephens. Now, Mr. Stephens has heard all about Dominic’s novel and understands that it will be successful, and won’t to stop at anything to stop it. Let us say that he has two options. He can allow Mr. Dominic to write the novel, and then to crush it when it is already written through excessive criticism, and perhaps paying off book-sellers and publishers. His other option is that he can bribe, blackmail, or kill Mr. Dominic, or steal and destroy the manuscripts, or other such things, in order to prevent him from publishing the book that will one day become the next great work of literature.

     The analogy is terrible, perhaps, though the thing I want to be noticed is that the outcome is the same: a book that has the potential to be something wonderful is destroyed. Either it is squashed when it is completed, or it is prevented from ever being written and reaching its potential, in either case the novel is not what it should be, and either way Mr. Stephens did a terrible thing. I don’t ask you to agree with me, but that is how I see destruction of something that has potential to be human. The outcome is the same: a person does not get to live. Either because they were murdered after they were already born, or they were prevented from being born, they were denied life.

     But perhaps you don’t agree with me about destroying something that has potential to be human as still being wrong. That may be the case, but I am certain that very few people would disagree with me when I say that murdering a person is wrong. So then, when does a fetus become a baby? Some say at conception, some say at 3 months, some say at 6 months, some say when the baby leaves the womb.

     I find it very strange that people assign a specific amount of months to when a fetus suddenly becomes a person. Especially since, as Rep. James Lankford pointed out, some of these same people will say things like: “I’m a father” when they find out that their wife has just conceived, or “How is the baby?” when a friend is pregnant, or “I felt the baby kick.” None of those phrases work with “fetus.” Do we start saying: “I felt the fetus kick today” until it reaches six months?

     I also wonder about pre-mature births. I have personally met a girl that was born at 3 months. I would defy anyone to claim that she is not a person because she was born at an under-developed age. Did she suddenly become a person several months after being out of the womb? I do believe her mother would find that ridiculous. Just the fact that people like her are alive today shows that it is possible for a fetus to become a person even at 3 months. I would like to see scientific evidence for the existence of a date at which the living fetus suddenly becomes a person instead of just a blob of tissue.

     What is it that seperates a person from a fetus? Is it its level of development, or whether or not it is outside of the womb, or its size, or its level of dependency? These are generally the topics I hear used to claim that fetuses are not part of the human family. Certainly, some may object that I am over-simplifying their stand-point, but my goal is simply to take the spin off the arguments and show them for what they are actually saying.

     It is commonly argued that embryos and fetuses are not human because they are not developed, like people outside of the womb are. This line of thinking fails to match up because it places the value of a person on how physically and mentally developed they are. If taken to its logical conclusion, that viewpoint becomes absurd in that 30 year-old men would be more human than 10 year-old boys, or a person that has no mental disabilities is more valuable than a person with down-syndrome. The level of development, whether physical or mental, has no bearing on what constitutes a person.

     Sometimes it is even argued that fetuses are not human because they are small. This is just crazy. Without a doubt, people that are tall do not deserve more rights than those that are stunted in their growth. To quote the brilliant Dr. Seuss: “A person is a person, no matter how small.”

     It is interesting that some claim that the environment of the fetus is what defines whether or not it is human. Saying, if it is in the womb it is not human, if it is out of it then it is a human. Does the fetus suddenly become a baby because it travels a few inches from inside the womb to outside of it? If a 5 year-old goes to school it is just as much a person in school as it is at home. Physical surroundings simply do not effect what makes a person.

     Similarly, just because the baby depends entirely on his or her mother does not mean that it is any less human. Again that would assume that value is tied to something external, in this case, independence. Am I more valuable then one of my 10 year-old students because I have a driver’s liscence and know how to cook my own meals instead of requiring parental assistance? Such a thought is nothing short of absurd. Is someone that depends on medicine or medical machinery less human than a person that does not? 

     All of this to say, if the unborn are indeed children, then killing them for the sake of convenience, women’s rights, or privacy simply can never be right. If they are not human, then the discussion itself is pointless and I just wasted a good portion of your time. It is my conviction that abortion is one of the great moral tests facing America today. Will we speak for those who cannot and save the lives of the unborn? Or will we stand by in our tolerance and allow evil to destroy the potential of millions of lives? Thanks for reading my cliche blog that I wasn’t supposed to write, hopefully it accomplished something. And remember: I am thankful that you are here because your mom didn’t abort you.

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About Jonathon Thigpen

I am a student, writer, photographer, traveler, teacher, and Lego enthusiast, who is endeavouring to be a man after God's own heart.
This entry was posted in Philosophy, Redemption and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to One of Those Controversial Topics.

  1. Kathleen says:

    By the time a woman finds out she is pregnant the heart is already beating even if it can’t be heard yet. How can you have a beating heart and not be alive? I believe an abortion at any stage is destroying life, which is what satan always sets out to do….destroy LIFE.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Who says you aren’t suppose to write about abortion? If you have something sensible to say, then by all means say it! We’re waiting to hear it!

  3. Joanna says:

    As a former fetus, I’d say you have every right to speak on the issue.

  4. Alex says:

    A person is different from a fetus because, unlike a person, a fetus is not self sustaining and is unable to sense and respond to outside forces(which are the requirements to be considered alive). I don’t know where Kathleen got that a fetus has a heart once it’s conceived, it doesn’t have one until three months, when it’s also grown arms, legs a brain, and a few other organs, which is why most people consider it alive or a baby at that point.

    It’s because before three months that people consider the baby a fetus, which is not alive(as far as science can tell) and that’s why it’s ‘okay’ to eliminate them at that point, but at three months when they’re alive abortions shouldn’t be allowed.

    And while I agree with you that they should be considered alive just because they have the potential to be alive, a lot of people would disagree, and you can’t really say ‘Fetus’ are alive because a person’s a person no matter how small’ when they don’t stick to the actual definition of being alive, so either the definition would have to be changed or abortions shouldn’t be allowed for any kind of baby that’s three months or older(or contains said functions that consider it alive).

    • Thank you for your well thought-out response.
      Though, firstly I’d like to point I think that definition of life is not always complete. For instance, is a person in a comotose state able to be self-sustained, able to sense and respond to outside forces? No, they are not, but they are clearly not dead, and if someone were to kill them they would still be charged with murder.
      Actually, the unborn have organs and distinct facial features be 8-weeks.
      Well, I certainly don’t expect people to agree with me. Although concensus is nice, it doesn’t really have any bearing on the correctness or incorrectness of the argument.
      I’ll have to look into the functions of the baby prior to three months, since I readily admit that I am no expert, but I am pretty certain that it is alive. However, even if it is not, I believe just the fact that it will be should be enough grounds to argue that it is immoral to kill it.

      • Alex says:

        Sure, comatose people aren’t able to self sustain, but that’s more of a different story. They aren’t able to self sustain or respond because of either an illness or accident that has happened, not because they lack the metabolism to do so. And yes, if someone were to intentionally murder them they would be given murder charges, but if they were taken off of life support under the circumstances and conditions of the family then it wouldn’t be so(similar to how it’s the families decision whether or not they want to keep the ‘baby’ or not).

        8 Weeks, three months, either way, at that point most people consider them alive because they have organs and have a conscious and what not.

        Except it does affect the argument. They have no consciousness and have no senses. So if one cannot see, hear, taste, smell or feel, how can one be alive? And again comatose people are different, you can take them off life support and it not be murder, but would it be fair to say that all comatose people must be kept on life support incase they wake up, even if they end up a vegetable, even if that’s against their wishes and the wishes of the family, and ignoring the families possible financial situation and all that other jazz.

        I’ve checked and basically the fetus prior to 3 months is just skin tissue and juices forming together which will eventually be the baby, and from what anyone can tell, that’s all it is, a fertilized egg.

        I do however agree with you. The fact that it will(in most cases; there are miscarriages and whatnot) be alive should be enough reason as to why it should be considered alive, but it really isn’t quite enough. In the eyes of someone who thinks “It has no life, therefore removing it is not taking away life, as it didn’t have it to begin with” is hard to convince otherwise. I’m actually trying to do it at the moment, I’ll let you know if I’m able to drum up something logical if you’re interested.

      • Alex says:

        Sorry for my late reply by the way, I found your blog on facebook the first time and had a hard time finding it again.

      • Alex says:

        Just thought I would let you know, in case you were interested, in my other debate I pointed out that the constitution says everyone has the right to life. Everyone. As for the case of rape and incest, if the mother doesn’t want to keep the baby there’s adoption, and if the mother doesn’t want to carry the baby there are embryo transfers, and at the point when the baby is no longer an embryo, around 8-9 weeks, it’s considered alive, and thus shouldn’t be aborted anyway. It’s been about a week and the person I was debating with hasn’t responded, so I count that as a win, zing? Anyways just figured you might be interested.

      • Good point there, Alex! Yeah, I’d definitely mark that down under the win, zing book. I like it!

    • Rebecca says:

      I just looked some of that stuff up in a little booklet that I have, and it says that at 5 weeks, the heart is formed and begins to beat. “The first signs of brain development are evident, and the foundation for every organ system is already established and beginning to develop.” (quote from the booklet)
      At 7 weeks, the beating heart can be seen, and the arms and legs are beginning to form.
      At 8 weeks, the baby can respond to reflexes and can move its limbs.
      At 11 weeks, the baby is “has all the major organ systems and is a distinctly recognizable human being.” The baby is actually called an embryo until 11 weeks, and then term “fetus” is applied.
      At 16 weeks, you can tell the sex of the baby, and at 18 weeks, he/she can feel pain.
      Unless you’re excluding reflexes, I wouldn’t say that the baby can’t respond to outside forces. At 26 weeks, the baby can react to sounds outside the mother’s body, and the eyes respond to light.

      Looks human and alive to me.

      • Great thoughts, Rebecca! I think I will be sure to look into what that booklet has to say. Thanks a ton for the comment!

      • Alex says:

        Wikipedia trumps your booklet, sorry, the heart is formed and working at 9 weeks(three months), which is when most of the community considers the fetus a living baby, the rest of your points are after 9 weeks and are moot.

        My point was that a 2 week old fetus can’t make a conscious effort to realize that something is affecting it and then respond to it. Even if it were to sense the mother’s hormones for example, or the mother’s nutrients, it couldn’t say “hmm nah I don’t feel like eating today, thanks though” it just happens.

  5. Julie B says:

    Just wanted to respond here…very well written, logical argument without being accusatory or judgemental. I like the book analogy. As for when is it a life..from a scriptural stand point… Numbers 17 states that the life is in the blood …and an embryo/fetus has blood at 21 days (thank my daughter for that bit of analysis). So by the time anyone discovers the existence of the life, it is one.

    As for facebook all the facebook stuff…they’re responding to a one line comment. This piece, on the other hand is very well written.

  6. Julie B says:

    One comment / questions…. You claim that you will continue to talk about abortion until something is done…but you make no mention of “what” should be done, or by “who” nor “how”. Curious, who is your target audience and what is the desired response, and what are you, who are so passionate about the issue, doing?

    • Thank you for reading and responding! I am glad that you did not find my writing accusatory or judgemental, I wish more people could see that. That is a fascinating point about the blood. I will certainly give it some thought.
      Yeah, I could have probably worded my comment better, but that was a response of horror generated from viewing images of abortions from doing research for this blog. I was rather surprised by the ferocity of some of the responses my status generated.
      And that is a very good question. Well, of course I desire the necessary and obvious changes in legislation, because it is factual that the numbers have unequivocally sky-rocketed since abortion’s legalization. However, I would say the best approach is education. As the folks at abort73.com say, “You cannot change the laws without changing a lot of minds first.” I think more people need to see the horror of the act itself and understand what is actually happening. Even many pro-lifers understand that abortion kills babies, so they don’t support it, but surprisingly few are willing to look the evil in the face and act to stop it. As for my targeted audience: anyone and everyone. Anyone willing to read and honestly consider what I have to say. As for what I am doing: I am writing, I am researching, I am sponsoring a child (sounds irrelevant, but so many claim that poverty is a justification for abortion, so alleviating poverty, at least in some small measure works not only to better that child’s life, but also to show that it is not hopeless for children who would otherwise be born into such circumstances), I am looking into volunteering for organizations that educate about the issue, help women considering, or suffering after-effects of abortion, and work to stop it from happening, I am hoping to organize a table at PPCC to educate the students as to what is actually happening, and when I am married and have a steady income I am going to adopt a child. Rest assured, my words are not idle speculations.

  7. Do not let heated responses get you down when broaching the subject of abortion. I once lost a job over saying “Abortion is murder” outloud in a restaurant in the hearing of a work manager, though it was not directed at her but to a fellow workmate. The truth is, intentional miscarriage, or abortion, IS the murder of a helpless, innocent child. We know this in our heart of hearts. ALL women getting an abortion know this, too, especially after the fact. The statistics on post-abortion testimonials bear this out. These same people who are vehemently opposed to abortion are adamently in favor of people being prosecuted for killing endangered animals. The thought process here is that these animals are more important than a human life. This is the fruit of relativism [any theory holding that truth or moral or aesthetic value, etc, is not universal or absolute but may differ between individuals or cultures] and the humanistic [a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in god,] evolution-based mindset which began to infect our country after World War II, when so many of the German scientists relocated here, bringing their theology of eugenics with them. I do not blame them entirely but neither can their influence cannot be discounted.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! Wow that’s rough about the job. It’s interesting how heated the topic becomes sometimes. That is very true.
      I actually have a German friend that wrote to a newspaper comparing it to what happened in WWII Germany. Very fascinating!
      It is very interesting to see how much eugenics has influenced abortion. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood was a strong supporter of eugenics.

  8. Annie says:

    Jon, this is beautiful. I am proud of you, my dear friend. Continue to be moved by your zealous passion for righteousness and do not shirk from or apologize for the truth. In no regard to what others may say in contradiction, He will most definitely use you in powerful ways to a powerful end. Jesus loves you. : )

  9. Rebecca says:

    Actually, Alex, I would rather trust a booklet on pre-birth growth than Wikipedia. Here at college, we’re not allowed to use Wikipedia because it’s not really a reliable source. Wikipedia is written by anyone and everyone, so how do we know where they got their information? The booklet was written by people who study fetal growth, so I’d go with that over an open web encyclopedia.

    • Yeah, I definitely have to agree that the booklet probably trumps Wikipedia. In my experience, Wikipedia tends to be biased, and not thoroughly researched, so I’m not all that impressed with it really.

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