Reality Check: Abortion
by Leonard Benton
This article first appeared in The Havok Journal on January 29, 2015.
In the modern world, we still have medieval values. A persistent and volatile argument revolves around the birth of the soul and the right of a woman to do as she sees fit with her body. The idea of life at conception and choice of self are diametrically opposed and have solidified into a political ideology with no signs of common sense breaking out any time soon.
We are in this position primarily because of religious values, first and foremost the views of the Catholic Church, and how those religious mores affect society. You might not be a Catholic today, but Protestantism is an offshoot of Catholicism and maintains many of the value systems.
Foremost of those was the idea that sexual intercourse was for the production of offspring and the need to procreate and to bring more followers to the church. Argue to your heart’s content, but religious values and the creation of the family unit go hand in hand.
And today, when religion in the West is worn lightly in some and heavier in others, there are still subjects in which there is no quarter asked and none given. Abortion is one of those points of conflict leaving little room for compromise.
Before we go all mystical, let’s consider some facts. The human female is fertile all year round and can conceive without regard to season, location, or anything external to the person besides her partner. Animals focus on fall for mating so that babies are born during the plenty of springtime. Humans unconcerned with such constraints have made an art form of sex.
Humans also have sex for fun. Because it is fun. We do it when we don’t need to procreate. Sex is used for emotional needs, physical pleasure, control, manipulation, and reproduction. Is it any wonder that we are wrapped around the axles when there is more to consider than just procreation?
Our problem is simple. Sex is enjoyable. We want it as much as we can get it. Because sex sells, the idea of sex and the alluring nature of arousal allow the advertising industry to focus on sex as part of the display of a product.
Sexually subliminal and blatant messages bombard us every day from the television, internet, and other advertising. If I said “little blue pill”, you know what I mean.
Sex is the one pleasure available to everyone, or nearly so. And we have a host of problems related to sexual behavior: adultery, pedophilia, underage sex, rape, necrophilia, and incest — just to name the top of the list.
The overwhelming reason for sexual activity today is for pleasure. Conception is a secondary consideration and only thought about when a couple deliberately wants a child. Try getting couples to marry and not have sex, except for the process of conception, and you take most of the fun out of marriage.
And yet conception and desire for abortion is the issue that resonates as one of the most contentious and even violent issues of the last 40 years.
Does life begin at conception? There is no answer to that question that does not imply religious belief. Science has no accurate measurement. The date of conception can only be ascertained after the pregnancy has been determined. We have terms for when a woman is fertile but we don’t know!
Science does give dates based on the survivability of the fetus and even those dates are estimates because they are created using averages. Size, estimated weight, and image on the sonogram allow the doctor to make a guess. It is an educated guess, but it is nonetheless still a guess.
The medical profession provides a date of gestation in which a premature fetus can be delivered successfully and with appropriate medical intervention the child can survive. Twenty-six weeks seems to be the most common denominator. Babies born after 26 weeks, providing they have medical assistance, have a high survival rate. Babies born before 26 weeks do not have a high survival rate, even with major medical intervention.
That is the rub. Estimation of which week goes back to guesswork based on averages. Factually, we cannot know when the soul invests the body. We cannot prove we have a soul in the first place. No one can prove they have a soul because it is a faith-based construct anyway.
The debate seems to forget that the woman is already accepted to having a soul and a life, but depending upon which side of the argument you are on, either the woman is nothing more than a vessel for fun and then procreation or she is a person who has a right to her own body.
There is no logical reason to deny a woman the ability to abort a fetus. The only reason for procreation is the survival of the species and at seven billion strong, we got that covered. The only reasons to refuse a woman the right to control her body are moral implications shaped by religion.
Religious arguments are based outside the realm of fact and exist solely in the nature of religious teachings and established practices. They are not based on science, but on a spiritually agreed upon truth.
With the proven case that sex is fun, available for a smile, and open entertainment at any time you can get it, there is simply no possible way to stop people from fucking. It will not happen.
Even in the Church, priests are supposed to remain celibate and chaste. Yet, we’ve seen scandal upon scandal of priests abusing members of the congregation. If those highest in the church hierarchy cannot control sexual behavior amongst the clergy, how exactly do they expect the masses to control it?
The answer is? They don’t. They want sex because they want procreation which sits within the tenants of the value system that they prescribed to their flock.
The problem arrives twofold. Not everyone is a member of the church and even if they were, the church has no right to the body of a woman. That being the case, there should be no laws to limit the woman in any way in the control of her body. There is a religion that controls the body of the woman. Care to guess its name?