Since the old [Judeo-Christian] ethic [of the sanctity of life] has not yet been fully displaced [by the new ethic which places relative rather than absolute value on human lives] it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death, Qtd by Reardon.
Between 2010 and 2014, abortion rates in the US went down 12 percent. Rates went down in states where restrictions made it harder to get an abortion. But they also went down in states where abortion remained easily available. In a couple states, rates went up, but that was largely because facilities in nearby states had shut down.
Rates were declining before David Daleiden released his undercover videos of Planned Parenthood operatives negotiating the price of unborn children’s body parts. And before Cecile Richards admitted before Congress that Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms and gets a large part of its revenues from abortion.
(Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report of 2014-2015 shows that PP’s client numbers are down by 200,000 and abortions are down 1.1 percent.)
People disagree over why abortion rates are down. Those who support abortion say it’s because Obamacare has provided greater access to contraception. But American women are paying $1.4 billion less on contraception than they were before the Affordable Care Act became law. That proves women who were already using contraception still are. It doesn’t mean significantly more women are using contraception.
Those who oppose abortion propose a different reason.
“There’s an entire generation of women who saw a sonogram as their first baby picture. . . There’s an increased awareness of the humanity of the baby before it is born,” says Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest.
There is a better understanding of life in the womb. That better understanding of who resides in the womb produced some heartening legislation out of Utah this week.
Any woman who is aborting her child of 20 or more weeks must undergo anesthesia to protect the baby from the pain involved in its killing. An exception is in place if a doctor determines the anesthesia could harm the mother.
The bill does not protect such children in the womb. It merely works to ensure that their deaths will be void of anguish.
Twenty weeks is halfway through a pregnancy. A recent study showed increased survival rates for babies born at less than 27 weeks gestation. In 2011, a 21 week child survived to go home with her parents four months later. The difference between these children and those being aborted is their degree of wantedness.
There are many questions about the capability of unborn children to feel pain. Sources seem to agree that children older than 27 weeks have the necessary brain connections to feel intense pain–just as you and I do.
Before that, some doctors argue that a reflex, not perceived pain, causes an unborn child to recoil from a stick from an amniocentesis needle. But the child does recoil. He also produces stress hormones–just as you and I do.
An article in Atlantic Monthly points out that opinion on abortion has not shifted significantly over the last four decades. But something has changed.
“Politicians may use the same recycled rhetoric in election after election, and Americans’ attitudes on abortion may stay pretty much the same. But in their lived-out lives, Americans are moving away from embracing abortion, not toward it.”
Human life in the womb is undeniable. For forty years, many Americans have been wishing that truth away. But truth is a stubborn thing.
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