Commentary by James Shott
Many of us living today remember when pregnancy was regarded as the beginning of a new life, was usually a welcome and celebrated event, and religious people often viewed pregnancy as a gift from God. There were baby showers where the mother was treated to gifts for use after the birth of her child, and a positive air about the “blessed event.”
Abortion was considered taboo by society and was illegal, and because of the social and legal strictures, it was rare. As a result, abortions were usually performed in secret by the woman or by some shady character. It was dangerous to the mother because of the unsanitary “back alley” conditions of the procedure. A physician rarely performed an abortion, unless the life of the mother was at stake, or some other unusual situation required it.
Back then, people accepted responsibility for their behavior and took great care to prevent pregnancy until they were ready for parenthood. In those comparatively rare times when an unwanted pregnancy occurred, the man and the woman most often became parents, or perhaps the mother gave the baby up for adoption. Unwed mothers were a rarity.
Through the decades unintended and unwanted pregnancies have increased from rare episodes of bad luck and careless behavior to epidemic proportions, and instead of being seen as a reason to make changes to accommodate the new life that had been created, unwanted pregnancy is viewed today as an intrusion on the woman’s freedom, an inconvenience that demands relief, not so different from a headache or a cold. And to accommodate many women’s preference not to have the baby they have created, abortion has evolved from a rare thing to a routine procedure performed thousands of times each year. Now, many view a woman deciding to end the life of the child developing inside her as a right she may exercise as freely as the right to speak her mind.
Today, half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about 40 percent are terminated by abortion. Twenty-one percent of all pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, end in abortion.
In 1981, world-renowned scientists and physicians testified before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee that life begins at conception, which was the traditional view through the centuries. However, the question of when life begins is now being questioned by abortion advocates, and knowing the exact instant that life begins after conception and before the birth of a child is an important, if difficult to identify, piece of data to determine the point after which abortion becomes murder.
However, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards thinks when life begins is not important.
Appearing on Fusion TV's America with Jorge Ramos, she was asked, “For you, when does life start? When does a human being become a human being?”
“This is a question that I think will be debated through the centuries,” she said.
“But for you, what's that point?” Ramos asked.
"It is not something that I feel like is really part of this conversation,” she said. “I think every woman needs to make her own decision,” she finally said.
"But why would it be so controversial for you to say when do you think life starts?" Ramos pressed.
"I don't know that it's controversial. I don't know that it's really relevant to the conversation," she replied.
“I'm the mother of three children,” she finally said. “For me, life began when I delivered them,” adding that her children have “probably” been the most important thing in her life since their birth.
“But that was my own personal, that's my own personal decision,” she said.
The abortion industry certainly does not want to know the absolute point at which life begins, because then it would be clear that aborting a fetus is at some point killing a child. That would not be a good thing for those who perform abortions for money, for organizations like Planned Parenthood that get federal money for advising women on unwanted pregnancies, or for those who think women should have a right to end an inconvenient pregnancy at anytime.
From this less strict attitude about when life begins all sorts of horrors might evolve. And they have.
For example, some Planned Parenthood officials have gone so far as to advocate infanticide, giving women the right to end their child’s life after it has been born.
And only a little further down that slippery slope are the preposterous acts of Kermit Gosnell, the disgraced and imprisoned former physician who was in the habit of ending the lives of babies who were inconsiderate enough to survive his efforts to abort them by clipping their spinal cords after they were born alive. He is in prison for life after being convicted of murdering three babies.
An interesting sidebar to this story is that the baby-killer managed to spare himself a death sentence when he waived his right to appeal in return for a life sentence, an option millions of aborted babies never had.
It must be pointed out that all of those who support the unfettered right for women to abort their babies have already been born.
Cross-posted from Observations