Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Face of Abortion

And now for something connected to my profession. I intend for this blog to be dedicated to, among other things, bioethical issues and the pro-life cause and I consider both to be inseperable from a career as a medical Doctor.

Let us start with getting one thing straight: As far as I am concerned, the Catholic Christian faith holds the key to the truth about human existence. Its prescriptions regarding right behaviour is in full accord with the Divine and Eternal Law which governs the Universe, and thus also in accord with Natural Law. If Man rebels against the Natural Law, he rebels against the very foundation of his existence and things are bound to go wrong.

I won't go into a detailed explanation of the essence of the Natural Law here, but suffice it to say that basically this is the law which all persons, regardless of faith and culture, recognize as the foundation of society and human existence (even though they may not grasp all its implications). There is no culture whatsoever where it is considered legitimate to kill other people inidscriminately; all cultures recognize to a certain extent that life is sacred and worthy of safeguarding. When the Decalogue, the law given by God to Israel, states, "Thou shalt not kill", it is not an arbitrary commandment imposed for God's own amusement. It is an expression of the law which Man already in his heart knows governs him.

Now, this commandment is not absolute. First, it chiefly refers to human beings. Second, it is justifiable in a just war. Third, at least in the past when there was no such thing as CSI's or criminal registers, it was justifiable when it came to criminals. But every human being in his heart knows that it is never justified to kill an innocent human person!

So where does that leave, for instance, abortion? I've heard it said more times than I can remember that a foetus is not a human being. Which begs the question, what is it then? I'll come back to that in another post. For now, let me just share with you one observation:

I am acquainted with a lady with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder caused by brain damage which has left her unable to walk properly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her intellectual capabilities and she is a wonderful woman who works with my dad's charity and, despite her extremely poor walking abilities, spends a lot of time walking around town sharing her faith with others. She recently shared with me that she is a survivor of a late-term abortion. To the dismay of the Doctors, she was alive when they retrieved her from the womb and she was left on a table to die. When she refused to do so, the hospital staff finally had mercy on her and took her to neo-natal care, but not before she had sustained the injuries which mar her today.

Ah, the glories of 'choice' - being able to choose who we want to view as persons and who we don't, and when. Being able to choose for ourselves what is right and wrong. Welcome to the postmodern world, where nothing matters except my own opinions and desires. You? Who are you? Line up over there and I'll see if I can bring myself to acknowledge your existence...

1 comment:

  1. Well, I must say I agree with you. In theory. I don’t like abortion, I find it a crude and brutal procedure, often leaving women with emotional and moral regrets for having to make that impossibly difficult choice. In a perfect world abortions would be unnecessary; every child wanted and loved, every parent emotionally and financially capable of supporting their offspring, congenital disorders eradicated by some miracle of medicine or divinity.

    However, in actuality, having a child is simply not that easy. Some people are frankly incapable of caring for a child, for whatever reasons, be it a lack of emotional or financial stability, age, proper living conditions, or the resources to handle the lifelong commitment of having a handicapped child. Denying these women the option of terminating their pregnancy results in acts of extreme desperation: in the USA alone, restrictions on abortion cause the death of 68.000 women every year from unsafe back-alley abortions (source: Sex og Samfund’s webpage), let alone the vast number of women mutilated and sterilised. Unimaginable desperation drives women to such extreme measures, not merely a concern for future comfort and easy-living. The ‘choice’ of abortion is always the result of personal tragedy, and very few women approach it with anything but grave deliberation.

    In the end it boils down to this fact: women will have abortions, regardless of religious and political legislation. While we may condemn the immorality of it, practically, society has no choice but to provide women with a safe procedure for abortion, or risk them dying of complications from unsafe procedures. Does terminating an unwanted pregnancy warrant a death penalty? If not, we must allow abortions, and couple them with proper sexual education and guidance to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place, to strive for the utopian society where every child is indeed wanted and loved.