Abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo, resulting in its death. About 42 million abortions are performed worldwide each year, and an astounding 20 million of them occurring unsafely. These unsafe abortions result in 70,000 deaths and 5 million disabilities a year. Most abortions are performed in the first twelve weeks using the ‘vacuum’ method. The majority of women that choose abortion do so because they are not ready for motherhood, are concerned with their careers or education, or have an issue with maintaining financial or relationship stability.
Abortion is legal in the United States and most of Europe. Yet in most African and South American countries, it is illegal, with the exception for maternal life, physical and mental health and in Africa, rape. All of these factors make abortion one of the most controversial social justice issues. On one hand, it prevents unfit women from becoming mothers and possibly sparing pain for themselves and their babies. Yet the act of abortion itself is what most people struggle to accept. The removal of a fetus from a mother’s womb and the ending of a human life is seen as murder by many.
There is no easy solution to the issue of abortion because it is excruciatingly difficult to weigh the importance of an unborn child’s life and success against your own, and millions of women struggle with this every day. The Church remains adamant on their position on abortion. The Didache, written to Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, states “The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions.
You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child” (Didache 2:1–2). They see abortion as grave evil and murder, and does not stand for peoples’ ‘sugar-coating’ of the concept. For example, simply referring to it as a fetus rather than an actual human life helps deem abortion more acceptable to some people rather than helping them to realize what it truly entails. This viewpoint emphasizes how a life is sacred from the moment of its conception. One of the most important values is the respect and importance of human life, and abortion directly violates this notion.
The Catholic Church has been persistent in its drafting of letters clearly stating its pro-life position and is very involved in the opposition of legalization of abortion whenever the issue is raised. Many dioceses have established programs to reach out to women debating their options and provide assistance to allow them to make the best choice possible for themselves and the baby. The “culture of life” is a philosophy that consists of all the stages of human life, beginning with conception and ending with natural death.
All experiences are inherently precious and include the special care to vulnerable members of society. According to the Catholic teachings, abortion is a crime against God’s creation and divine rights. The “culture of life” reflects on how human life is not only sacred but deserves respect and dignity. Not only does the culture of life provide opportunities for sacred human life, but also looks towards recognizing the innocent and vulnerable, and Catholics are called to advocate for and protect the rights of these people or unborn babies.
This relates to abortion because it is our responsibility to protect human life, especially for those who cannot speak up for themselves. A “culture of life” perspective, for example, would view abortion as a selfish act when an unwanted pregnancy could also be seen as a window of opportunity, rather than a burden that needs to be dealt with immediately. One might encourage adoption for the frightened and unsure mother, to avoid abortion and the taking of an innocent life and the giving of the beautiful gift of life to a deserving family.
While some women are not ready to be mothers, many are and cannot bear children. Options like adoption provide an opportunity to give up your baby to someone who will treat them with the proper love and care the baby deserves. The “culture of death” philosophy deals with the issue of having rather than needing. Many young women choose abortion because they see it as ‘the easy way out’. After not taking precaution in their actions, they do not face the consequences and put their own life before their unborn child’s.
According to statistics, a large percentage of women seek abortion because they are unwilling to sacrifice their careers, education, financial status or relationship to care for a child and simply do not feel they are ready to do so. The Catholic Church believes that human life is be sacred and for someone to take a creation of God and essentially destroy it is selfish and wrong. It emphasizes its duty to ‘defend the right to life of persons from conception to natural death’, and abortion directly contradicts that prospect.
A culture of death perspective would view abortion as ‘having’ to terminate a pregnancy because women are not ready to be mothers and it is an “quick-fix” solution instead of ‘needing’ to step up and do what is best for an innocent life. Part V. Through writing this essay, I definitely questioned my original position on abortion, but after deep thought, I remain true to my pro-choice stance. While I recognize the dangers and reality of what abortion is, I am firm in my opinion that women should have the right to choose for themselves.
I definitely do not advocate the act itself, but I respect the choice women make if they feel truly confident about it, and think it is unfair for them to have no choice at all. After reading statistics, I see how many unsafe abortions take place. If it was to be outlawed in places like the United States, I am very sure it would continue illegally regardless, doing even more damage then if it was legalized. The option for women to have it performed in a safe and sterile environment by professional, licensed doctors puts me at ease more than the prospect of unsafe, risky abortions occurring nationwide.
By working with a partner, we were able to see the many views on abortion and make a more informed decision about our own opinions on the subject. For the essay, Lauren and I distributed the writing evenly. I wrote paragraphs I and II, she wrote paragraphs III and IV. We then exchanged our documents via e-mail, read over each others’ paragraphs and made changes before combining it and finishing. Overall it went very smoothly and we are pleased with the way it turned out.