Left Said, Right Said >> Opinion

(Left Said) Abortion: When Does Life Begin And Who Decides That? Why This Debate Matters



I’ll start by saying that I personally feel that abortion, when resorted to for the wrong reasons, is an immoral and selfish practice. In my own case, as is true for many people, the popular rational for abortion is invalid.

As an individual, I am a person of above-average means. If I were to get a woman pregnant, given that I come from a middle-class background, will soon have a degree from a top public university and look pretty good on a job application, I could afford to offer that child a pretty high quality of life. As a person who is capable of caring for a child, any decision to avoid my responsibility for that child’s life must be grounded in selfishness.

Departing from my personal example, when quarrelling over the status of the mother’s health or that of the fetus, or over the nature of the sexual act that led to conception (whether rape occurred or not), fine lines are difficult to draw. As evidence of this, I’ll refer the reader to Todd Akin’s distinction between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” rape. In fact, making such concessions, as more liberal conservatives tend to do when defining their position on reproductive rights, does away with the entirety of the conservative argument because it admits the inherent subjectivity of the decision and the existence of gray areas.

Above all, the question of abortion is entirely subjective in nature. That is, the process of deciding to remove a fetus before it has come to term is one to be made solely by the person whose body is at issue: the mother. As a potential father and owner of 50 percent of the fetus’ genetic material, I have a right to take part in deciding the fate of the child. But, I’ll defer ultimate decision making to the person who stands to endure vaginal tearing.

America is a society that places great importance on individual liberties. Last week’s column, for instance, outlined a specific liberty that the state is prohibited from revoking: The right to bear arms. Likewise, a person’s decision to have an abortion, no matter what logic that decision is based upon, boils down to a similar notion of individual liberty.

In a society preoccupied with such liberty, subjective points of view, including those regarding when life begins, abound. The belief that the beginning a fetus’ life occurs immediately after it has been conceived, at the very moment that the sperm penetrates the egg and is a life and a gift from God, is one opinion. However, the view that women should be able to decide what is to become of their own bodies and cannot be imposed upon by another person carries equal weight where individual liberties are concerned. If the opinions of certain subjects are impressed upon others, that society can no longer claim to be liberal and instead becomes coercive.

Such is the true nature of the debate surrounding abortion. Advocates on each side remain stubborn and steadfast, while panels of white men, many of whom probably enjoy Viagra prescriptions covered by Medicare, are left to decide the fate of roughly 330,000 women who seek abortion services each year. Upon evaluating both arguments, one imposes a subjective moral argument based in religion and patriarchy played out on the bodies of women, while the other achieves the opposite: Reproductive agency.

Yes, ladies, Michael Dean is very much single and fabulous.

 

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7 Responses to (Left Said) Abortion: When Does Life Begin And Who Decides That? Why This Debate Matters

  1. AbortionIsAwful Reply

    January 19, 2013 at 1:20 am

    To evaluate abortion, it is essential we look at its original advocates for the procedure.

    In the 1960s, abortion supporters spend most of their time demonizing opponents of abortion as religious fanatics. Abortion was sold as progressive and tolerant, and exercise of “individual liberty” and birth control.

    Christopher Hitchens, a highly-respected atheist philosopher, summed up abortion quite simply. Sanger said the fetus was just a glob of cells, a vegetative appendage at best. With new science analyzing the genetic makeup of a fetus, as well as physical structure seen in an ultra sound, has eliminated the claim that the fetus is not human.

    The fetus was presented as something forced on women, their property, and being their property that had every right to destroy it. The science of embryology was viciously condemned and removed from the public discussion. The main opponents of abortion were painted as Christian right-wingers who are inspired by the bible, and not reality.

    A fertilized human egg has the same EXACT DNA as an able-bodied human. The zygote is multiplied numerous times to lead to the eventual development of a fully grown fetus. It is living. THE MOMENT the egg is fertilized, leading to the creation of a zygot, it is HUMAN. If left unchallenged and untouched that fetus will eventually become a baby.

    The concept of a woman’s *right* needs to be temporarily set aside to give a healthy look at what constitutes life, and what the fetus is actually made of. Now that it is established that a fetus is indeed, a live, it is human, and not a clump of cells, the concept that any human – whether or woman man – has a right to deny a fetus’ human rights is made invalid. IT is invalid because the fetus is independent of the mother and father. The only real dependence is the fetus’ reliance on the host’s recognition of the fetus’ legitimacy and nutrient support.

    The fetus’ dependence on the mother is analogous to a small child’s dependence on adult humans….

  2. AbortionIsAwful Reply

    January 19, 2013 at 1:17 am

    To evaluate abortion, it is essential we look at its original advocates for the procedure.

    In the 1960s, abortion supporters spend most of their time demonizing opponents of abortion as religious fanatics. Abortion was sold as progressive and tolerant, and exercise of “individual liberty” and birth control.

    Christopher Hitchens, a highly-respected atheist philosopher, summed up abortion quite simply. Sanger said the fetus was just a glob of cells, a vegetative appendage at best. With new science analyzing the genetic makeup of a fetus, as well as physical structure seen in an ultra sound, has eliminated the claim that the fetus is not human.

    The fetus was presented as something forced on women, their property, and being their property that had every right to destroy it. The science of embryology was viciously condemned and removed from the public discussion. The main opponents of abortion were painted as Christian right-wingers who are inspired by the bible, and not reality.

    A fertilized human egg has the same EXACT DNA as an able-bodied human. The zygote is multiplied numerous times to lead to the eventual development of a fully grown fetus. It is living. THE MOMENT the egg is fertilized, leading to the creation of a zygot, it is HUMAN. If left unchallenged and untouched that fetus will eventually become a baby.

    The concept of a woman’s *right* needs to be temporarily set aside to give a healthy look at what constitutes life, and what the fetus is actually made of. Now that it is established that a fetus is indeed, a live, it is human, and not a clump of cells, the concept that any human – whether or woman man – has a right to deny a fetus’ human rights is made invalid. IT is invalid because the fetus is independent of the mother and father. The only real dependence is the fetus’ reliance on the host’s recognition of the fetus’ legitimacy and nutrient support.

    The fetus’ dependence on the mother is analogous to a small child’s dependence on adult humans.

  3. AbortionIsAwful Reply

    January 19, 2013 at 1:14 am

    To evaluate abortion, it is essential we look at its original advocates for the procedure.

    In the 1960s, abortion supporters spend most of their time demonizing opponents of abortion as religious fanatics. Abortion was sold as progressive and tolerant, and exercise of “individual liberty” and birth control.

    Christopher Hitchens, a highly-respected atheist philosopher, summed up abortion quite simply. Sanger said the fetus was just a glob of cells, a vegetative appendage at best. With new science analyzing the genetic makeup of a fetus, as well as physical structure seen in an ultra sound, has eliminated the claim that the fetus is not human.

    The fetus was presented as something forced on women, their property, and being their property that had every right to destroy it. The science of embryology was viciously condemned and removed from the public discussion. The main opponents of abortion were painted as Christian right-wingers who are inspired by the bible, and not reality.

    A fertilized human egg has the same EXACT DNA as an able-bodied human. The zygote is multiplied numerous times to lead to the eventual development of a fully grown fetus. It is living.

  4. Anisha Ahuja Reply

    January 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    “I’ll start by saying that I personally feel that abortion, when resorted to for the wrong reasons, is an immoral and selfish practice. In my own case, as is true for many people, the popular rational for abortion is invalid.”

    This article is incredibly classist and sexist and just proves a misunderstanding for the entire concept and need for abortion. Saying that women are going to “resort to abortion for the wrong reasons” is saying that women have no understanding of their own lives, and you have no understanding of how having a baby or having an abortion can change a person’s life forever. “Popular rational for abortion is invalid”? What? You comment on the end about how men are making these decisions and yet, you are a man, effectively shaming women, projecting your own ideas about abortion (that are popular and actually invalid), and presenting yourself as a terrible representation of liberals and what they stand for.

    • Michael Dean Reply

      January 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      In no way to I claim or wish to represent liberals. The existence of the American liberal is a sorry existence, In my opinion. I represent only my “self.”

  5. ... Reply

    January 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Abortion should be a viable option to get rid of anything too young to have a driver’s license.

  6. Sarah Reply

    January 15, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I agree with this article. I believe abortion should not be regulated by the government. It is a personal matter and the government has no place in making such life-altering decisions for any person.

    I ultimately believe it’s a woman’s choice to abort or not. She is the one who will have to live with the consequences of either choice she makes. Yet, I also believe a woman has a choice to engage in sexual activity. Every woman knows there is a chance of getting pregnant, birth control or not. If you take that chance, you should be willing to accept responsibility.

    I found out I was pregnant last May in my 3rd year at UCSB. I too come from an upper-middle class family. I am of sound mind & body and am capable of raising a child. The only reason I had to abort my child was that it would be an inconvenience for my life. That wasn’t reason enough for me to walk away from my responsibility. I had my daughter on New Years Eve and she’s already brought me so much joy in the 2 weeks she’s been here. Although my life & priorities have quickly changed and I can no longer be a carefree college kid, it was the right decision for me. & every woman will have to make the choice for herself.

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