Abortion and Morality

It seems to me…

No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”  ~ Margaret Sanger.

I began one of my posts with a quote by John William Warner: “I am pro-choice with limitations, pro-life with exceptions.”[i].  No, I do not like the idea of abortion any better than anyone else but acknowledge there are situations when it is the best of available undesirable options — some of those are obvious: rape, mother’s health…

Several people took exception to my comment.  This post is intended to slightly expand on one of the issues raised in the discussion following that posting.

Most people do not believe life begins at the moment of fertilization but there otherwise is little agreement as to when it actually occurs.  An implanted fertilized egg has a certain probability of developing but with in vitro fertilization, which has substantially less than 50 percent probability of success, unused eggs typically are discarded.  Does anyone consider an embryologist guilt of murder?  I prefer unused human eggs be donated to science for stem cell research to save many future lives.  One egg might die so countless others can live.

So the question comes down to when life begins and under what circumstances it is permissible to take a life.  What does it mean to be human?  To be a person?  Is it just a heartbeat?  The heart does not begin to beat until about the fifth week.  I tend to think consciousness/awareness/thought are more meaningful.  Though it’s hard to say when consciousness actually occurs, we know that a fetus has no measurable EEG activity in the brain until the second trimester.  In the U.S., 88 percent of abortions occur in the first trimester.

While the theory of recapitulation, a biological hypothesis that in developing from embryo to adult, animals go through stages resembling or representing successive stages in the evolution of their remote ancestors, has been generally discredited; embryos do undergo a period where their morphology is strongly shaped by their phylogenetic position rather than by selective pressures so the theory still is considered plausible and applied by some researchers in fields like Behavioral Development.  Based on these vestiges of evolutionary development, there apparently are stages every human embryo undergoes within the womb.  The human embryo of viviparous mammals is not considered a fetus until the body structures are in a recognizable form, which for humans is not until after the end of the second month of gestation.  Maybe that is when “life” begins.

Since the initial male role is comparatively minuscule in the gestation process, this is an issue best left to the decision of women – it is their bodies – and men typically express their opinions only through typical male arrogance without fully accepting the woman’s perspective.  It is only following birth that the child is able to directly interact with individuals other than its mother.

I consider those who desire a totally ban on abortions to equally share the guilt of murder and maiming of young women as those performing back-alley abortions.  Only those of us old enough to remember what it was like prior to Roe vs. Wade, who knew women, some friends, who in desperation turned to those measures appreciate a ban’s full cost.

Banning abortion will not eliminate it – that is not human nature.  Remember that even now, it is estimated that about 68,000 women die annually resulting from unsafe abortion complications; between two million and seven million women each year survive unsafe abortion but sustain long-term damage or disease (incomplete abortion, infection [sepsis], hemorrhage, and injury to the internal organs, such as puncturing or tearing of the uterus).  Simply banning legal abortions will only increase the number of deaths and injuries.

That’s what I think, what about you?


About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
This entry was posted in Abortion, Begin, Eggs, Embryologist, Fertilization, Human, In Vitro, Life, Roe vs. Wade, Theory of Recapitulation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Abortion and Morality

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