Abortion ­ Who Should Decide and How?

Abortion_clip_image002Some argue that unplanned pregnancies incapacitate the woman and burdens society. bad credit loan The aged, the deformed and the mentally retarded burden the society. Should they too be eliminated? Should the depressed be provided with Kerkovan Euthanasia? What about infanticide for the unwanted newborn? When men begin to play God, some may decide that some races should be eliminated as Hitler did. The superpowers may think that some backward country should be their backyard for dumping nuclear waste.

Even desired and  planned  pregnancies incapacitate  the woman within and beyond the confinement. Abortions  are demanded for ‘unwanted’ pregnancies. Granting the abortion demand cannot  bring biological or social equality. If one views pregnancy and motherhood  as a social inequality created by nature, how will we go through desired and planned pregnancies? Has the mother got to be loaded with the  thought `oh  wretched me, I have to bear; not my husband’. No! We did not  think that way until depersonalization of 20th century man and moral relativism began to pervade our thinking. Thank God that the majority of Sri Lankan women do not think like that.

Secondly if men and women say, ‘we have a right over our body and wish to commit suicide’, will that too be granted? Killing because the baby is unwanted will leave the door for the elimination of all kinds of unwanted persons. E.g. Old age, mentally retarded, some races.

Why was the Hippocratic oath liberalized? At a time when abortion was practiced secretively, Hippocrates thought it necessary to put his students on oath against it. Today the medical and legal professions are in the forefront of the pro-abortion debate. It is the common citizen who should decide on this, as it concerns all of society.

Hence the abortion – issue cannot be based on nature’s inequality – argument. A career woman or any other woman has only to plan her pregnancy and abortion cannot be a mode of contraception. Why have all societies initially been unwilling to legalize abortion and why did all cultures consider abortion undesirable and unethical? This is confirmed in the original Hippocratic oath in which the practitioner was required to say, ‘I will not aid a woman to procure abortion’.

What is not known by most is that many ancient civilizations had laws that proscribed abortion. An ancient Assyrian Law, dating between 1450 and 1250B.C. recommended death sentence to those who procure abortion. (Middle Assyrian Law 53. Sumerian Laws 1-2, Lipit Islitar Laws III, 2-13, Code of Hammurapi 209-14, Hittite Law Code 17-18 similarly censured abortion). Among the Hebrews, the Bible laid down strict penalty for those who practiced abortion. Exodus 21:21-24.

Plato and Aristotle suggested that in their ideal societies abortion would be mandatory, chiefly to limit family size. Such thinking led to widespread abortions and also infanticide from exposure in the Greeco- Roman World. Even in such a context, Hippocrates clearly laid down a prohibition on abortion to his students. Hasting’s in his authoritative Encyclopaedia of Religions points out that, Christianity as it spread re-established the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Russia in 1920, legalized abortion for economic reasons. Roe Vs Wade decision in 1973 in the USA and UK abortion act of 1967, were completely against the flow of legal premises that obtained at that time. In both countries these landmark decisions have come under severe censure. We in Sri Lanka should be guided by our own premises of law making and not by erroneous precedent. Moral degradation of another country cannot be the basis of our lawmaking.

Right to the Body

Abortion must be viewed as an issue that concerns the very basis of life and society. Marriage was a social institution (a social contract) and not a private act. Sexual intercourse was meant to be a responsible contract within the MARITAL COVENANT. Two individuals by their free will initiate a new life, in the zygote. It has unique features, that neither father nor mother has.

Once fertilization has begun, one should know that he/she creates an irrevocable individuality. Neither (father nor mother) has the right to destroy the individuality. To create that new life is delegated authority from nature. There are many methods available to prevent fertilization. Once the unique potential life in the zygote is made by the will of two, who had socially contracted with the approval of society, then, no one individual should be allowed to destroy that life.

Restrictive laws of abortion were brought in the 19th century only because prior to that abortion was considered murderous and all societies had inbuilt moral restrictions that prevented abortions. In every culture abortion was done in secrecy. The issues involved in abortion are not scientific, but moral and societal. Who ought to opine on abortion and formulate laws, are not doctors or lawyers, but the woman on the street and certainly the entire family unit. Let all our women, not merely the elite, give their verdict in a referendum. Each country must decide for itself. We should not be governed by what America , Russia or any other country thinks and does.

“Women must have the right to control her body” is the usual slogan. Even in a marriage contract the woman and the man compromise their right. When a woman demands abortion for the person in her womb, she is not asking to control her body, but the murder of another. When a woman allows the fertilization of an ovum, she ceases to have control of that new unique life in the zygote. Surely the fact that a mother conceives a male baby shows that from the outset, he is a separate person.

“Unwanted child” is the victim not of his own shortcomings but of those in a society attempting to solve its social, economic, and personal problems by the sacrificial – offering of its children.”

When Personhood?

So,  when cash lending companies does human life begin? When does the tiny human organism  developing inside  the  mother  actually become a human being? When is  he  a  real person – an individual with all the basic rights that all human beings have ­ particularly the right to life?

At  the  moment of conception/fertilization, all the  necessary  elements that  create a new human being are present. When the chromosomes  of the father  and  mother unite they form an absolutely  unique  never-to-be duplicated  human person. At that moment life begins. From  that  moment onwards  any  further  formation  of  the  person  is  purely  a matter   of

development, growth and maturation. From the moment of  conception  the child grows and keeps growing until life ends.

At three weeks, the tiny human being, only one tenth of an inch long, already has the beginning of eyes, spinal cord, nervous system, lungs, stomach, and intestines. The primitive heart, which began beating at about 18 days, now pumps more confidently. At this time or before, the mother may even be aware of this new life within her.

By six and one half weeks, the child is making body movements, a full 12 weeks before the mother may notice such stirrings.

By 8 weeks, the developing child can make a tiny fist, get hiccups, suck a thumb, wake and sleep. All bodily systems are working.

At 11 weeks, while the placenta continues to supply food and oxygen, the child can make complex facial expressions and even smile. All bodily systems are becoming more efficient.

At 16 weeks, only 5 ½ inches long, the child can use hands to grasp, can swim and turn somersaults.

The 18-week-old child is active and energetic, flexes muscles, punches, and kicks. Now the mother feels the child’s movements. Before modern science, some said that at this time – the time of “quickening” – life begins. But the child’s development actually began at conception, 18 weeks earlier.

While growing within the mother, the child develops separately from her, with a separate, individual blood supply. The child’s life is not the mother’s life, but a separate, individual life.

And the child has much the right to his as the mother has to hers. Or as any other human beings of any age have to theirs.

This right to life is the most fundamental right of every human being. To violate this right, to destroy a life, to kill a human being at any age or stage of development – whether in the womb or out of the womb – is a crime against God and humanity.

Conservative Contraception

Sri Lanka has an excellent record on the success of conservative family planning methods. Legalizing abortions invariably provides a way out of the conservative methods. Some have attempted to recommend and legalize abortion for failed contraception. If such a door is kept open, one opens the opportunity for any and every abortion under that loophole. Legalizing abortion is the sure way for unscrupulous husbands to impregnate the wife at random and demand that she go to the abortionist. The pain, morbidity, guilt-have all to be borne by the mother. Legalizing abortion will only threaten the woman’s position further, absolving the husband of the responsibility to adopt prevention. No mention is made at all about the mental trauma that a woman undergoes during and after abortion. The mental trauma will not be eliminated by legalization as evidenced in countries where abortion is freely available.


1. Scrutinizing abortion statistics in UK brings out some interesting facts.

In 1983 – abortion because of risk of mother’s life –549

In 1974 – abortion because of risk of mother’s life – 4146

In 1983 – abortion because of injury of mother’s mental or physical health – 158,389

In 1974 – abortion because of injury of mother’s mental or physical health – 131,126

This clearly proves how liberalization of abortion has caused and upsurge in unnecessary abortions.

In USA statistics. ( US- CDC – annual abortion surveillance summaries)


ABORTIONS 1973 1980(after legalization)
Age under 15 years 11,600 15,300
Age 15-19 years 232,400 444,800
Married women 216,200 319,900
Unmarried women 528,400 1,234,000
No prior live births 375,200 900,000
One prior live birth 137,400 304,800
Three prior live births 61,700 82,900

These statistics clearly underscore the moral slide that results from legalization of abortion. In 1973 the number of unmarried women who sought abortion was double that of the married. In 1980 the number of unmarried was four times that of the married. The largest category who seeks abortion are those who have never had a live birth. These statistics speak volumes for the moral tragedy that results from legalizing liberal abortion policies.

How many are honest to record about what happens when a live baby of 20 weeks is delivered after abortion. How many live babies have been obliterated by all kinds of techniques after birth? Is this not murder?

At 8-12 weeks of gestation baby’s heart beats, baby can respire, and responds to maternal emotion.

Idea of dependence and independent existence is central to the debate on the viability of the fetus. How viable is the neonate without material or supportive care? At present even a 20 weeks fetus may be kept viable by intensive support systems. Hence viability is a variable factor. Fetus is dependent on the mother in one way, and the newborn too is easy loans for bad credit dependent on the mother in another way.

Medical Hazards of Abortion

Often abortions are the commonest cause of maternal mortality

Death rates: –

8 weeks – 1.7/100,000 abortions

9-12weeks – 3.8/100,000 abortions

13-24 weeks – 24/100,000 abortions

Morbidity aspects of abortion, its effects on subsequent pregnancies are often not highlighted. Psychological trauma too is great.

The problem with assessing medical sequelae of abortions has been the bias of the observer towards a pro-abortion position. Often studies were retrospective assessing data given by those who had abortions. Long term morbidity of abortion ought to be studied against, exact matched group of women who have not had abortion.

Immediate Complications

1. Bleeding 2. Infection

Pregnant uterus is highly vascular. Hence the dilation and curettage done for abortion is not comparable to the usual D and C.

Uterine wall is fragile. Excessive bleeding, damage to uterine wall, perforation (needing abdominal operation and sometimes hysterectomy), and damage to other abdominal organs, are all know to occur. Bleeding from cervix in a first trimester abortion can be severe and permanent damage to the cervix can occur.

Though antibiotics may prevent fatal infection, salpingitis can cause permanent infertility; chronic pelvic infections are not uncommon following an abortion.

Anaesthetic misadventures, amniotic fluid embolism, disseminated intra vascular coagulation are well known fatal complications, usually not explained to the mother asking for abortion.

In a clinical trial involving 6000 women in UK 10% had some form of morbidity. (RCGP/RCOG study 1985). 2% had major complications.

Long term Complications

Infertility, spontaneous abortion, premature births are commoner in women who have had abortions. A review showed that first trimester abortion by vacuum aspiration doubles future mid-trimester abortion rate. (Wendy Savage, British Journal of Hosp. Med. Oct. 1982)

An important complication is deep long lasting mental depression.

Suicide risk rises considerably in susceptible cases after abortion (op. Cit. Sim and Neisser). Murphy and O’drvs Cold did not find a single case of suicide in 74,000 deliveries in the Republic of Ireland where abortion is illegal.

Abortion is the third commonest of all surgical operations performed on women in England and Wales .

Conscientious objection

Section 4(1) of the UK Abortion Act (1967) states that ‘No person shall be under any duty, whether by contract or by any statutory or other legal requirement, to participate in any treatment authorized by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection.’ This covers all persons participating in the procedure, but as noted by Cook and Dickens ‘In jurisdictions incorporating conscience clauses, medical professional associations usually insist as an ethical requirement that exempted physicians refer applicants for abortion to another physician. This undermines the stance taken by any doctor who believes the abortion is morally wrong. For, if he or she is of the opinion that termination is not in the patient’s best interests or that the grounds are insufficient, a more ‘sympathetic’ physician can always be found who will accede.


Sentience (the point of time at which a fetus can be presumed to feel pain) can advance as medical science develops. At present neocortical activity of the baby can be detected by the 6th week. If so who knows when the baby actually feels pain. Therefore I submit that life should be respected from its very inception

The patient who would ask for a lethal remedy for pain is not in his right mind, and any right thinking doctor ought to relieve the patient and counsel him. If we give into Dr. Kevorkion philosophy, others may claim their mental pain is unbearable and ask for a lethal remedy. Legalizing abortion is the gateway to infanticide and euthanasia,

The legitimized way to prevent the unwanted child is to not conceive. One has to take responsibility from that initial decision which inevitably leads to creation of life. After a moment’s pleasure (that affects a whole life time ) to claim that the resulting child is unwanted, is a dangerous philosophy.

Some refer to a common law that recognised fetal age of 18 months as the point of sentience, before which abortion was considered legitimate, one must emphasize that no such common law was recognized till the dawn of the 20th century. Roe vs.Wade decision opened the door wide for abortion.

Prof. A. W. Liley, Research Professor. in Fetal Physiology in Auckland , New Zealand , is known as the “Father of Fetology.” As an internationally recognized researcher on life before birth, Dr. Liley pioneered the first successful treatment of the unborn child: the intrauterine blood transfusion. His intimate knowledge of unborn patients had led him to oppose abortion and to make the following comments:

In a world in which adults control power and purse, the fetus is at a disadvantage being small, naked, nameless and voiceless. He has no one except sympathetic adults to speak up for him and defend him.

Biologically, at no stage can we subscribe to the view that the fetus is a mere appendage of the mother. Genetically, mother and baby are separate individuals from conception. Physiologically, we must accept that the conceptus is, in a very large measure, in change of the pregnancy.

It is the embryo who stops his mother’s periods and makes her womb habitably by developing a placenta and a protective capsule of fluid for himself. He regulates his own amniotic fluid volume and although women speak of their waters breaking or their membranes rupturing, these structures belong to the fetus. And finally, it is the fetus, not the mother, who decides when labor should be initiated.

This, then, is the fetus we know and indeed once were. This is also the fetus whose existence and identity must be callously ignored or energetically denied by advocates of abortion.

(Garton: Who Broke the Baby. P41)

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