Respect for the Sanctity of Life
The Hippocratic Oath was written by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. In part, the Oath states:
To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary [device] to procure abortion.
For 2400 years, physicians made these solemn promises. Until very recently (the last 30 years or so) the Hippocratic Oath was taken by all new physicians. It was a rite of passage.
I understand this oath is no longer required or sworn to by current practicing physicians. What does this say about our society? Apparently our society is no longer concerned, alarmed or offended by this.
“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists, as the mother can love the unborn child.” From A Year with G.K. Chesterton, Kevin Belmonte, Editor
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – G.K. Chesterton, Chapter 5, What’s Wrong With The World, 1910
It seems to me, it is not important to consider whether abortion should be legal or illegal, but whether or not it should ever be performed. Making it illegal, as it was before the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, will not immediately stop all abortions. It can be argued that it may reduce the annual number performed, but surely it must be conceded that will not eliminate abortion. I believe it can be argued that making it illegal will potentially only result in making criminals out of the ones who pursue it and those who perform it. In the days when it was illegal, women still sought to abort their babies. The difference then was the performers were often not physicians, or even rudimentarily trained medical staff. Likewise, such abortions, of necessity, were most often performed in circumstances less than ideal at best and totally unsanitary and brutal at worst.
The principle difference back before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal; it was a time before totally effective birth control, was wide-spread and economically available to rich and poor alike. This circumstance led to many, legitimately un-planned and often unwanted pregnancies.
Today, with the readily available, economically obtainable effective birth control, it’s hard for me to believe any un-wanted pregnancy should ever exist! Certainly, there is never an excuse for and un-planned pregnancy. Of course, this assumes a minimum measure of responsibility on the part of the participants. And it can be concluded, if you are irresponsible in this endeavor, like all acts, you must accept responsibility for the consequences.
The fact that abortion is legal does not make it a legitimate and proper form of birth control!
“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.” G.K. Chesterton – A Short History of England, Ch.10
1973: In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that all state and federal laws against abortion violated a “constitutional right to privacy.” Nowhere is such a right written in the Constitution of the United States.
The women’s lobby, the ACLU and such organizations as Planned Parenthood, espouse the mantra: “It’s my body and I have a right to do with it as I please.” As with all rights, there come responsibilities. Again, with the wide-spread availability of economical, almost totally effective birth control, once a woman decides to become sexually active, if she does not want to become pregnant, there is almost never any reason for her to become pregnant. Provided she is responsible!! (I know, what about being raped?) I’ll try to address that later.
And if it were only the woman’s body involved, the argument above would have a lot more credibility. But once a sperm penetrates and fertilizes the ovum, there is another real and legitimate life to consider and the woman who decides to have an abortion is not just involving her body, but the body of another living creature (if that phrase is more comfortable for you – but in reality) human being.
The time-frames established, and terms used, attempting to define when a life is a life; when is it really a baby, can it survive outside the womb are all arbitrary attempts to whitewash and make more palatable what is really being done!
The sperm is alive!
The ovum is alive!
The minute that ovum is penetrated and thus fertilized by the sperm, there is a living creature containing all the blue-printed instructions for a fully developed human being. And because of this, it’s easy for me to conclude…….life begins at conception! Therefore, I contend, it’s not just the woman’s body involved!
Now, I’m satisfied my argument on this subject is no more persuasive than all the others offered previously. I said all that to say, the fight to reverse and again make abortion illegal is not the battle that should be waged.
Let it remain legal! Let it remain legal for all the reasons those who believe in it espouse.
The battle should be to change our attitude toward the sanctity of life. Our battle should be to convince young women there are other more affective and cheaper alternatives for birth control than abortion. We should focus on elevating the importance and value of life itself! We should teach, require, and demand, personal responsibility in such an important matter. We must inform upon them and teach them the gravity and seriousness of what they are doing. They must be taught to understand and appreciate and believe in the Sanctity of Life! It must not be dismissed or trifled with. A decision to abort in not inconsequential!!
Because we understand the process of how pregnancy occurs, because we can describe the process and illustrate it in books, because it is no longer considered miraculous, does not diminish the fact that it is!!
“But I began to make for myself a sort of rudimentary philosophy …. Which was founded on the first principle that it is, after all, a precious and wonderful privilege to exist at all. It was simply what I should express now by saying that we must praise God for creating us out of nothing.
But I expressed it then in a little book of poems, now happily extinct, which described (for example) the babe unborn as promising to be good if he were only allowed to be anything, or which asked what terrible transmigrations of martyrdom I had gone through before birth, to be made worthy to see a dandelion. In short, I thought, as I think still, that merely to exist for a moment, and see a white patch of daylight on a gray wall, ought to be an answer to all the pessimism of that period.” G.K. Chesterton
The right to abort is only espoused and supported by those currently alive!
How precious is a life?
How miraculous is a birth.
How callous, selfish, and insensitive is any other attitude toward the subject?
This is where the argument should start and where the battle should be waged!
Likewise the indiscriminate use of the womb as an asset to increase welfare income: Having multiple babies by multiple male sires, (you noticed I didn’t say fathers) all born to unwed mothers. “Who’s your babies daddies?” Offended by that?……………..sorry. It happens daily and repeatedly in our current society. How much respect for the sanctity of life, not to mention personal responsibility, does this attitude have?
We’re ignoring it, and by doing so, providing tacit approval. Why is that? In my opinion we do so at our ultimate peril.
The issue of rape and abortion:
First of all, I think it necessary to state that rape is not a sexual crime, but a violent crime. Stating that doesn’t diminish the severity of the crime nor the physical and emotional trauma to the victim. However, if a women is sexually active, and doesn’t want to become pregnant, she is or should be using oral contraceptives. In which case, rape wouldn’t result in a pregnancy, rendering the need for an abortion mute.
On the other hand, in the case of a young girl, not yet sexually active, but mature enough to conceive, or a chaste women not using contraception who might be raped and as a consequence become pregnant – I have no advice. While I believe the embryo/fetus growing inside her is alive, and while adoption is always an option in any unplanned, or unwanted pregnancy, I would not presume to advise what she should do, or how it should be handled. Regardless of the consequences, that decision must be hers, with the advice of any and all counsel she may seek. And as in all cases, she must be advised and prepared to live with the consequences.
Likewise Legally Assisted Suicide:
NOTE: The “right to die” movement has two main goals:
- Gain social and legal acceptance for euthanasia by omission (removal of all medical treatment and care, particularly food and fluids) and action (lethal injection) whether or not the patient has expressed a wish to die.
- Legalize physician-assisted suicide.
To gain a historical and legal perspective, visit American Life League’s website: www.all.org/
Currently five states (California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) have Legal Physician Assisted Suicide.
- 45 States & DC consider assisted suicide illegal
- 38 States have laws specifically prohibiting assisted suicide
- 3 States (Alabama, Michigan & West Virginia) & DC prohibit assisted suicide by common law
- 4 States (Nevada, North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming) have no specific laws regarding assisted suicide, may not recognize common law, or are otherwise unclear on the legality of assisted suicide.
This is a very complex and complicated issue. One that I am not prepared to address from any definitive position.
It is one thing to allow an individual of clear and sound mind in the face of terminal and or/imminent death to state in an Advanced Directed, or Living Will – “I request that no extra-ordinary measures be administered to prolong my life artificially.” It’s an entirely different matter when these concepts and ideas get blurred and adjudicated to allow family members or the state to legally take the life of the mentally ill, aged or infirmed. Much evidence suggests there is a concerted effort to affect this as the end game.
I fear we may be on that very slippery slope!
I think it can be argued, if we are created, there must of necessity be a creator, in which case we are his and not our own. If our life comes from and belongs to another – wherein lie’s our right to end it?
If you want to see an example of appreciation for the sanctity of life, watch ESPN’s E:60 Program on Ernie Johnson.