Nearly two months since I posted last. So much for my pledge to contribute weekly.
I’m going to post, in lieu of a lengthy one from me now, and article on abortion which I wrote at the end of my first semester. I hope you find it enjoyable, though it is somewhat lengthy.
I really have to stop reading English literature…
Anyway. Without further adieu, here is ‘The Death of a Child: An exploration into the practice of abortion.’
The Victorian Government was the first Australian state to make abortion on request a legal operation, despite petitions from various pro-life groups around the country. Feminist organisations and many voters were happy about the change in legislation. I am not as satisfied. There is a lack of unbiased information about pre-natal development generally available, especially to women considering abortions. What worries me the most about this new legislation is that there will now be more deaths of normal, healthy unborn children for healthy women who just do not want to give up their time to raise the next generation. In other states abortion is only available when there is the possibility of a foetal defect, such as dwarfism or Down’s Syndrome. But who are we to decide whether a child has the right to live or die? Abortion is a violent procedure and always results in taking a life – the life of a defenceless unborn baby.
Currently, Victoria is the only Australian state to make abortion on request up to 24 weeks – five and a half months – a legal procedure, whether or not the unborn child is completely healthy. Any time after 24 weeks – even up to the ninth month of pregnancy – the abortionist must find a second doctor who also believes that the abortion is necessary in the circumstances, which, in the legislation, are not explicitly stated. Additionally, if a woman’s GP is against abortion, the GP must refer her on to a doctor who is pro-abortion; however, if the woman’s life is perceived to be in danger if the pregnancy continues, no matter his – or her – moral misgivings, the doctor is legally required to perform an abortion.
Pro-abortionists, or pro-choice, as they call themselves, believe in reproductive rights as opposed the rights of an unborn child. They argue that it is the right of a woman to choose how she lives her life, and her decision should not be hindered by legislation at any level. However, what many do not know is that a baby’s heart begins to beat at 18 days, and is beating strong at 21. Brain waves have been recorded at as early as 40 days. By the second month of pregnancy, all the baby’s organs have been formed and are growing rapidly. This information is not made available to women before they go in for abortion, though it is freely available on the internet if the right search terms are used. The fact is, whether or not you believe that the termination of a pregnancy is “right” or not, by the time many abortions are undertaken the baby is a fully formed human being, albeit a tiny version.
Mother Theresa once said, “Saying there are too many children in the world is like saying there’s too many flowers in the garden.” In Australia around 80,000 abortions are undertaken each year. That’s 80,000 children a year that are not given the chance to live. Instead, they are destroyed without the flicker of an eyelid, using inhumane procedures that are painful to both the baby and the mother. Abortionist use language that dehumanises the unborn child in order to comfort the mother and make her believe that her baby is not a living, feeling being: amongst others, babies are called “tissue”, especially in the event of a botched abortion, something that occurs more often than doctors let on.
There are many methods by which abortionist can end an unborn child’s life. One of these, a surgical method, is called suction aspiration. In this procedure the woman’s cervix, a small ring of muscle located at the entrance to the uterus that’s closed tightly during a pregnancy to keep the baby and the contents of the uterus safely inside, is dilated quickly. Once dilated, a small suction curette, attached to a vacuum by a clear tube, is inserted into the uterus to suck the baby out. The baby is often broken to pieces in the suction, which is nearly thirty times more powerful than an average home vacuum cleaner. If the baby’s head is too big it is crushed in order to fit into the tube.
There is a chance with suction aspiration that some parts of the now decimated baby could be left in the uterus. In such cases a second method is also undertaken, though it is also performed by itself. Dilation and curettage involves once again dilating the cervix, but instead of using suction the abortionist inserts a knife (curette), cuts the baby into pieces, scrapes the contents out and discards them. Another similar method, performed toward the middle of the pregnancy, is dilation and evacuation. As with the first two, the cervix is dilated, and forceps are inserted. The abortionist then clamps onto the baby’s limbs and twists and pulls until dismembered. The baby must be reassembled by the assisting nurse to ensure that all parts are removed. Some abortions are conducted like a caesarean section, but instead of removing the placenta with the baby, the doctor instead cuts the the umbilical cord while the placenta is still in the uterus, causing the baby, who does not yet know how to breath through its mouth, to suffocate. The baby is then set aside to die.
A chemical method undertaken is salt poisoning through saline injection. Most of the amnionic fluid is drained away and replaced with three times the amount of saline solution (some doctors even inject the solution directly into the baby’s heart, destroying all possibility of the baby surviving by accident). The baby can take up to an hour to die, during which time it is burned inside and out. The mother goes into labour a couple of hours later and delivers a dead baby. A second chemical abortion uses Prostaglandin, which causes a woman to go into early labour. The contractions produced by this chemical, however, are several times stronger than natural contractions, and the baby is often killed by these alone.
But out of all the methods described here by far the most despicable and inhumane is that of partial-birth (intact dilatation and extraction). This procedure is performed from sixteen weeks forward, up to even just a few days before the mother’s due date. First, as with all the surgical procedures but the caesarean, the cervix must be dilated. This process generally takes two days. On the third day, the doctor pulls the baby out using forceps, until just its head is still resting inside the uterus. The doctor then cuts the base of the skull open, inserts a vacuum and sucks out the contents of the baby’s head, including brains. The skull is then collapsed in order to get the baby’s head out of the body.
For all these methods the baby is disposed of, usually into a rubbish bin with other babies killed by abortion. They are not even granted a decent burial.
There are, however, stories of children who have survived abortions and lived long enough to tell the tale. Gianna Jesson was born 2 months early due to a saline abortion on the 6th of April 1977. The only reason she is here to tell her incredible tale was that she was born at 6am rather than at 9am, before the abortionist was on duty. The nurse assisting her seventeen-year-old mother went against the protocol of killing an abortion survivor, often through strangulation, suffocation or just plain neglect, and called emergency. Gianna was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which was caused by the lack of oxygen to her brain at the time of birth. Doctors said that she would never even be able to hold her head upright without help. It was due to her foster mother that she can now walk, if with a slight limp. Gianna says about the women’s rights argument for abortion, “If abortion is merely about women’s rights, ladies and gentlemen, then what were mine? There was not a radical feminist standing up and yelling about how my rights were being violated that day; in fact, my life was being snuffed out in the name of women’s rights.” Today, she is a pro-life activist who has spoken against abortion in the Victorian Parliament House and across the USA.
A major argument for the performance of abortion is that it is merciful to end some children’s lives because there is a possibility that they will be disabled in some way after birth. At this point one must ask oneself, “Am I really making this decision for the mercy of the child, or because I don’t want a disabled child on my hands?” Some cultures even use abortion as a tool for ensuring that female children do not enter the world. This happens in both China and India, cultures that place value on men more than women. In some parts of India the problem is such that there is a ratio of two boys to every girl born. The problem is even worse in China, with its one child policy. Women are undervalued in Chinese society because they cannot carry on the family name. Unborn children who are shown to be female are often aborted. Even if these unwanted girls are born, parents, especially farmers who need boys to help around the farm, will often abandon, drown or even leave the babies in the weather to die, so they are allowed another chance at having a boy child.
To make an informed choice about abortion women must be educated fully on the state of the child they are carrying. This means that information given by abortion clinics should give the exact information about the development of the child she is carrying. Discrimination against the disabled or those of certain sex is illegal in adulthood – why should it be allowed in abortions? It is true that a woman should have the freedom – more importantly, the right – to choose how she lives her life. This point is something that both pro-choice and pro-life agree on. But to have the choice in exchange for the life of a baby, a being that can’t fight back? It is at that point that people go too far.
Abortion Law Reform Act (Vic). 2008. http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/PubLawToday.nsf/a12f6f60fbd56800ca256de500201e54/F13923891AA92BA8CA2576560019D8A9/$FILE/08-58a002.pdf (accessed May 31, 2010).
Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 1. 2008. Streaming video recording. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPF1FhCMPuQ (accessed June 2, 2010).
Heritage House, ‘76, Inc. 2006. Milestones of Early Life. http://www.abortionfacts.com/literature/literature_9438MS.asp (accessed June 2, 2010).
India Confronts Gender-Selective Abortion. 2006. Streaming sound recording. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5293148 (accessed June 3, 2010).
LifeSiteNews. n.d. Abortion Methods – How Different Types of Surgical Abortions are Performed. http://www.lifesitenews.com/abortiontypes/ (accessed June 2, 2010).
LifeSiteNews. n.d. Abortion Methods – How Different Types of Chemical Abortions are Performed. http://www.lifesitenews.com/abortiontypes/ (accessed June 2, 2010).
Knights of the Southern Cross Australia. n.d. Late Term Abortion in Australia. http://www.ksca.org.au/Action%20on%20Abortion.htm (accessed May 31, 2010).
Queensland Health. 2010. Abortion. http://access.health.qld.gov.au/hid/WomensHealth/PregnancyandChildbirth/abortion_fs.asp (accessed May 31, 2010).
Willke, J. C. and B. A. Willke. 1997. Why Can’t We Love Them Both? Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing Company, inc.