Saturday, December 16

Abortion, a Choice Issue Judged by Conscience

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The debate on abortion is one that seems to divide people based on values expressed as rights. Some people cling on rights of the person aborting (pro-choice) while others think of the rights of the unborn child (pro-life). The pro-choice and the pro-life go at each other on an issue that to me is a moral issue. Some moral issues although universal, need to have meaning for the individual to be of any effect.

9 weeks embyro

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008, abortion is the “expulsion of the products of conception before the embryo or fetus is viable. Any interruption of human pregnancy prior to the 28th week is known as abortion. The term spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is used to signify delivery of a nonviable embryo or fetus due to fetal or maternal factors, as opposed to purposely induced abortion. Therapeutic abortion is an induced abortion performed to preserve the health or life of the mother.”

If this definition is to be accepted, then it seems there are two types of abortion. One done purposely because the mother wants to regardless of the reason and the other one is done on the recommendation of a doctor with the aim of preserving the health or life of the mother. The word “viable” in this case connotes “capable of living outside the uterus”. We all know that it takes 9 months of pregnancy for a child to be fully matured for birth.

To justify abortion many try to deny the fact that the foetus is human and therefore deserving protection. Abortion is therefore seen as an easy way out for a woman who is faced with a dilemma of being pregnant but not wanting to carry the child to term. Many those supporting abortion argue that it is just a mass of blood and not a child and therefore okay to abort. This is the greatest deception that people have fallen into because once conception occurs, a human being is created and starts developing in the mothers womb.

Many times people get an abortion for various reasons. For some it is forced on them by a boyfriend, parents or even a husband because they do not want the responsibility of rearing a child. For others they see it as the only option out of a difficult situation. These may include those who became pregnant as a result of rape. Regardless of the reason, there is need to be cognizant of the fact that there is a life in progress in the woman’s womb and how we deal with it will have future ramifications.

Having an abortion as many women have found out, “is not some magical surgery which turns back time to make a woman ‘unpregnant’; Instead, it s a real-life event which is always very stressful and often traumatic” (Dr. David Reardon). Many women who had an abortion when they were young and some out of ignorance of what abortion really entailed, have been traumatized ever since as a result of the abortion.

This writer once counseled a woman in her late forties who was haunted by an abortion she carried out in her early thirties. She had in the meanwhile attempted suicide three times because of the guilt. She said that she felt like the child would appear before her and ask her why she did it. She looked back at her life then and according to her it was out of selfishness that she did it. She felt she was not ready for a child. Unfortunately for her she lost a lot including her peace of mind as a result. Her boyfriend who was the father of the baby left her thereafter as they just could not face each other.

A friend once shared with the writer about how her grandfather was traumatized in his late years of life because of an abortion that he had his wife carry out because the pregnancy was not planned for. He just could not forgive himself as he reflected on the abortion in his late years of life. At the time it seemed alright and the only way out of an unwanted “mess” yet now at an older age instead of enjoying his retirement he was haunted by that abortion.

This is why the writer raises the issue of conscience. Even people who claim they have no religious affiliations and even those who claim to be atheist have a conscience. Our conscience is the one thing that guides us on issues of morality. If you travel around the world you will find in every society evidence of God’s moral law. For example in every society that this writer knows of, there are laws against murder, stealing, and many other activities that guide human relationships.

The conscience, it has been said, is a human beings connection to God. Paul in his epistle to the Romans discussing how those who may never have heard of the gospel will be judged, shows how even those who have not heard of God’s law of morality “show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” Romans 2:15.

We may try to cover our actions with arguments, which in the writer’s view, are only temporal. We can cover our pain and distress with work, drugs or alcohol but the problem is that we cannot run away from our conscience. There comes a time in our life when we must face matters that we have tried to avoid. Research shows that many post-aborted women use repression as a coping mechanism. These repressed feelings may cause psychosomatic illnesses and psychiatric or behavioral issues in other areas of her life.

Some Mental health therapists report that unacknowledged post-abortion distress is the causative factor in many of their female patients, even though their patients have come to them seeking therapy for seemingly unrelated problems. Basically it is the personal struggle to work through thoughts, feelings about the abortion and previous pregnancy, and the goal to come to peace with those involved in the decision making process and ultimate loss of life.

Many people argue strongly in favor of abortion for a woman who has been raped. But research shows that this does not make a difference on the woman in fact it seems to traumatize her twice. This writer once read of the case of a woman who unfortunately had to experience something that no human being should have to. The woman was forced to watch as a group of men beat her husband to death. After murdering him they raped her in turn and left her for the dead.

Later this woman after recovering from the beatings, she found out that she was pregnant as a result of the rape. The woman wanted to abort because she could not imagine nurturing a child who was a product of rape. Thank God for some good counseling which helped her deal with her emotions and show her that perhaps that baby would be the one that would help her heal. This came to be true because she was being interviewed after the child was born and she felt the child gave her reason to hope.

The point of writing this article is to remind us that we have a conscience that judges us. You men that cause women to abort on threats to them, please remember you traumatize them and you too will have to deal with the issue one day. The woman who says that abortion means nothing to her and will abort at will, this writer implores on you to remember that life begins at conception and there is a spiritual angle to this. No one can judge you but only you and your conscience. The choice is always yours either way.

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