Asking about Abortion

Do you have strong views about abortion? Have you done all the thinking you should about this important question? Have you asked all the questions? Are your views open to questioning?

Would you read this if it only asked questions? Would you at least think about them; perhaps even try to answer them?

Where do we begin?

It's a question of life: When does human life begin?

Is it that a life doesn't become human until a certain stage of development? When it gets to a certain size? Age? Physical location? Level of independence from the mother? Could it be that until a certain time, a life - be it a zygote, embryo, fetus - is a different kind of organism, other than human?

Is a 20 year old adult a different kind of organism to a 2 month old child, who is less developed and more dependent? Is a new born fundamentally different in kind to a newly conceived? Does a baby in utero aquire personhood the moment it is born, or when the cord is cut?

Or is it that from the moment of conception a human life lives?

What do we give?

It's a question of value: What value do we give a life?

What determines the value of a human life? Is a larger human more valuable than a smaller one? Are older people worth more than younger people? Does quality of life give one more value?

Is the life of a 30 year old man, who is bigger than a 12 year old child, worth more? Is a happy person more precious than a sad person?  What about health? The sicker the person the worse we can treat them?  Does the level of dependence affect value? Are children of less worth because they are more dependent on their parents than adults?

Would it be ethical to kill mentally and physically disabled children who have already passed down a birth canal at some point in their life? Can we discriminate between people based on the circumstances of their conception? Is a child conceived during a ‘one night stand’ some how less valuble than a child born from a loving stable relationship?

Or is it that all human life, irrespectively, has equal value?

What do we care?

It's a question of right: Do people have rights? Is there such a thing as the right to life? If so, which people have it?

Is it okay to harm certain people in certain ways just because they are different? Is it naive to think that killing innocent people is wrong? Or is it merely disadvantageous or undesirable or inappropriate to do such things, sometimes?

Could killing innocent children actually be right in some situations - or rather, advantageous? Or is living without an umbilical cord a criterion before we have the right to safety and care, even protection?

Or is it a case of competing rights? Is upholding the right not to be pregnant a greater good than the right not to be killed? Or is it the lesser of two evils? Do the tragic situations into which children are born make it more evil to protect them than to kill them?

Or is it that sometimes killing really is completely wrong? Such as when it's murder; Like when it is a violent personal assault on an innocent, unprotected, indefensible victim?

Apart from the fact that murder is unlawful, is it actually wrong to murder people, always?

What does it matter?

It's a question of law: Does the law always get it right? Does our legal system always maintain justice and protect people as it should? Or does it fail in places?

What about the treatment of Indigenous Australians by a previous generation? Was the slaughter of thousands right simply because it was endorsed by the government and their laws at that time?

What about unborn children in our time? Why does our law condemn a person as guilty of murder if they kill a baby by injuring a pregnant mother, but then fail to recognise the situations in which abortion would also be murder?

Why will a mother be prosecuted if after giving birth she discards her baby in a rubbish bin, while another who carries out the same act but with the assistance of medical staff in a professional setting, be treated differently?

Should all parents be given the freedom to kill their children at any stage? Or do only mothers have this unconditional right, and for just a limited time?

Or is it that, regardless of the law and irrespective of one's relationship to the child, the question about abortion is one of murder?

What do you think?

It's a question of reason: Are there exceptional circumstances? Are there cases when we should be more distressed about a child's live birth than its abortion?

Is it a different question when, for example, abortion concerns a child conceived as a result of rape? Do we think the abortion of these babies is justified because they were forced upon us? Does the brutality of the first act mean the second is less brutal?

What about the abortion of seriously deformed children? Why do we think that this is any different to condoning the killing of all incapacitated children? Is it because a person born with brain damage is less human than one born with lung damage?

Are there even more serious situations than these, where abortion should be acceptable? What about the situation where the mother's life is in danger? Is a mother at liberty to 'let her child go' in order to save her own life? Is 'pulling the plug' on the life of a viable baby in utero in order to save oneself any different to 'putting down' a child whose life one can only uphold at the expense of one's own life?

If the killing of one life in order to save another is the only option, which life should be saved? The one more needed? In other words, the one of more value? But can one human life really be of more value than another? Which life is truely of more value? What really determines the value of a human life?

Does our full circle to the same question asked earlier show you that this reasoning misses the real question: Though all killing is tragic, is all killing murder?

Or is it just that in all situations where abortion is murder, it remains just as wrong as any other murder?

What do you know?

It's a question of conscience: Have you known this all along? Or have you forced yourself to ask these questions for the first time?

After thinking through these issues, will you think differently? Or regardless of what you truly know - whether you're prepared to admit these things or not - will you retain the same attitude and behaviour towards abortion as you always have had in the past?

What does this show you about yourself?

And are Christians, who may believe abortion is wrong, actually any better? Are they any more righteous than anyone else? Or for that matter, are they more righteous in any part of their lives ?

If not, what's the point of all this talk about right and wrong?

Does anyone have the ability to do what they know is right anyway? Is there anything anybody can do that is perfectly right? Could you do what is right, from this point on?

"As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”
(Romans 3:10-12, 23-24)

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