U.S. states and territories should be allowed to outlaw abortion

Even though U.S. states and territories are not currently allowed to enact outright bans on abortion because of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, U.S. states and territories should be allowed to outlaw abortion because unborn children have a right to life that is universal, fundamental, and unalienable under natural law and because abortion by its very nature involves an attempt to bring about the death of an unborn child. In addition to depriving unborn children of the right to life, the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions have led to the deaths of over 57 million unborn children, the legalization of abortion for any reason during all nine months of pregnancy in the United States, taxpayer funding of abortion in the United States, an increased willingness to end unplanned, unwanted, or unintended pregnancies through a legal abortion, an increase in the overall abortion rate in the United States following the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, and a decreased respect for human life in the United States. Outlawing abortion in the United States will protect the right to life of unborn children and will lead to an increased respect for human life in the United States.

South Dakota has recently petitioned the United States Supreme Court to revisit the Roe v. Wade decision and to have the Roe v. Wade decision overturned. Other states should follow South Dakota’s lead and support efforts to either have Roe v. Wade reversed through a United States Supreme Court decision or to enact an amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow states and territories to outlaw abortion. If enough states are willing to outlaw abortion, then it would certainly be possible to outlaw abortion in a constitutionally permissible manner in the United States because the United States Supreme Court would face pressure from states to uphold laws that prohibit abortion and also because enough states would probably be willing to ratify an amendment the United States Constitution if such is needed to allow abortion to be outlawed in the United States.

While U.S. Congress and some of the state legislatures have recently undertaken efforts to reduce the abortion rate, to defund Planned Parenthood, and to prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization on the grounds of fetal pain, there are a few things that are standing in the way of allowing the prohibition of abortion in U.S. states and territories. First, there are some Americans who still believe that abortion should remain legal. Second, some of the state legislatures in the United States are currently unwilling to outlaw abortion. Third, there are currently politicians in United States Congress who are opposed to prohibiting abortion. Fourth, the United States Supreme Court currently has at least four justices that are opposed to reversing the Roe v. Wade decision and a fifth justice that might uphold the Roe v. Wade decision. Fifth, there is strong opposition to laws that prohibit abortion by abortion providers. Furthermore, while most Americans do know that Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, many Americans do not fully understand what the ramifications of Roe v. Wade are. Finally, most of the Americans who still support legalized abortion have been misguided as a result of the legalization of abortion in the United States, the Roe v. Wade decision, and pro-abortion politics.

In addition to making it constitutionally possible for states and territories to outlaw abortion, pro-life politicians should also support efforts to improve access to pro-life prenatal medical care for women who are in crisis pregnancies, to ensure that children who are born as a result of crisis pregnancies are properly taken care of, to ensure that taxpayer funding is spent on providing women in crisis pregnancies with pro-life medical care instead of paying for abortions, and that former abortion industry workers can obtain good paying jobs outside of the abortion industry. These additional measures will reduce the demand for abortion in the United States and sends the positive message that pro-life politicians actually do care about the women who are in crisis pregnancies and the children who are born as a result of crisis pregnancies. There is still hope for making it constitutionally possible for states and territories to outlaw abortion if more pro-life politicians who are willing to do much more than simply outlaw abortion are elected in the United States.

Why abortion should become illegal in the United States and why babies with severe fetal abnormalities should not be aborted

Some of the women who have had abortions after 20 weeks oppose the 20-week bans being proposed in Congress and in some of the state legislatures because these women felt that they needed to have an abortion after 20 weeks. However, not all of the women who choose to have abortions after 20 weeks choose to do so out of mere convenience to the mother, and the major reasons why women choose to have abortions after 20 weeks include severe fetal abnormalities, severe complications of pregnancy, changes in economic situations in the middle of a pregnancy, and pregnancies discovered after the first trimester. In addition, some of the abortions that are performed after 20 weeks involve pregnancies and aborted babies that were previously wanted by their mothers, and many of these abortions involve babies that were diagnosed with severe fetal abnormalities that could not be detected until after the 17th week of pregnancy.

Although it is understandable why some of the women who have had abortions after 20 weeks chose to have an abortion after 20 weeks and why some of these women would be opposed to a 20-week-ban on abortion, there are good reasons why abortion should become illegal in the United States. First and foremost, abortion by its very nature involves the killing of an unborn human being and always violates a right to life that should not have been taken away from unborn human beings. Second, a pregnant woman who decides to undergo an abortion is usually aware that an abortion will result in the death of an unborn human being. Third, the fact that a pregnancy will normally result in the birth of a child if it is not aborted is usually essential to a woman’s decision to undergo an abortion. Fourth, the majority of women who undergo abortions choose to do so with the intention of causing the death of their unborn child. Finally, the government has legitimate governmental interests that justify the prohibition of abortion.

While it is understandable that some of the women who are pregnant with an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality do not want their children to suffer from these defects and even though it is understandable why some of these women would want to abort an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality, the abortion of an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality cannot be morally justified because such an abortion is normally done with the intention of causing the death of the unborn child, because such an abortion is always inherently ordered by its very nature towards causing the death of the unborn child, and because such an abortion is always an intrinsically evil act that is always contrary to natural law and the law of God.

In addition to being morally wrong and morally unjustifiable, there are other major issues with the decision to abort an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality. First, there is the possibility that an healthy unborn child will be killed as a result of such an abortion. Second, such an abortion might involve the risk of serious complications to the mother. Third, the decision to abort an unborn child that is diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality can still be emotionally painful for the mother. Fourth, an abortion might be very painful for an unborn child who is being aborted, but the natural death of an child who is born with a severe fetal abnormality is not always painful to the child. Fifth, any physical pain that might be felt in children who are born with a severe fetal abnormality might be able to be effectively managed through the use of painkillers. Furthermore, the choice to abort an unborn child who is diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality sends the message that the child is not unconditionally loved by his or her mother, even though the mother of such a child might believe that it is a compassionate or loving choice. Finally, the choice to have a baby who is diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality born alive sends the positive message that the child is unconditionally loved by his or her parents, despite a severe fetal abnormality.

While that there are some individuals who believe that abortion-on-demand should remain legal and that women should continue to have a right to an abortion, there are legitimate governmental interests that justify prohibiting abortion, and abortion should become illegal again in the United States. First and foremost, the government has “legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child,” and these legitimate interests have already been acknowledged by the United States Supreme Court in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. Second, the government has a legitimate interest in protecting an unborn child who might be born alive as a result of a failed abortion against any irreversible harm that might result from such an attempt. Third, the government has a legitimate interest in protecting unborn children against any pain that might be experienced during an abortion procedure. Fourth, the legitimate governmental interests that justify prohibiting abortions that are not “necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother” are compelling enough to justify banning abortions that are “necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” Furthermore, an unborn child already has a right to be protected against being killed illegally against the will of his or her mother under fetal homicide laws that exist in 38 states. Finally, unborn children should have a legally protected right to life that should never have been taken away from unborn children in the first place.

The Catholic Church is correct in its teaching against contraception

Even though there are people who believe that the Catholic Church should change its teaching against contraception, the Catholic Church is correct in teaching that contracepted sexual intercourse is always intrinsically evil. The Catholic Church cannot change its teaching against contraception because this teaching has already been taught infallibly, because contracepted sexual intercourse always violates natural law, and because contracepted sexual intercourse is always evil in the eyes of God.

Even though all of the major Protestant denominations currently consider the use of contraception to be morally acceptable within marriage, there was a time when all of the Protestant denominations considered the use of contraception to be morally wrong. In fact, every major Protestant denomination had considered the use of contraception to be morally wrong until the Seventh Lambeth Conference in 1930 when the Church of England decided that the use of contraception by married couples could be justified if there was a sufficiently serious reason to limit or avoid parenthood. This decision had led to the acceptance of contraception by all of the other major Protestant denominations.

In order to understand why the choice to engage in contracepted sexual intercourse is always morally wrong and always gravely offensive to God, one needs to understand that God is the creator of all human beings and is the author of life and death. Here are some verses from Sacred Scripture that show that God is the creator of human life and the author of life and death:

  • “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
  • “See now that I, I alone, am he, and there is no god besides me. It is I who bring both death and life, I who inflict wounds and heal them, and from my hand no one can deliver.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)
  • “Please, please, God of my father, God of the heritage of Israel, Master of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of all you have created, hear my prayer!” (Judith 9:12)
  • “Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)

Here is a story from the Old Testament of the Bible that shows that contraceptive behavior is gravely offensive in the eyes of God: “Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother. What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too” (Genesis 38:9-10). Onan was punished with death by God because Onan had deliberately prevented conception from occurring whenever he engaged in sexual intercourse with Tamar through the withdrawal method. It was not the mere refusal to satisfy the levirate that warranted punishing Onan with the death penalty, since the penalty for merely refusing to satisfy the levirate is to have one’s shoe taken off and to be spat in one’s face according to Deuteronomy 25:8-10. Likewise, those who engage in sexual intercourse while using an artificial contraceptive such as a condom, a diaphragm, an IUD, or the birth control pill also seriously offend God because these acts, like Onan’s sin of withdrawal, involve engaging in acts of sexual intercourse while simultaneously preventing these acts from resulting in the conception of a new human being.

When couples engage in contracepted sexual intercourse, they are choosing to deprive sexual acts of their procreative potential and deciding that an unborn child should not come into being as a result of their contracepted sexual acts. Thus, the decision to prevent bringing about a new child through the use of contraception is at odds with the will of God because the decision on whether or not a child should come into being as a result of sexual intercourse rightfully belongs to God alone and also because God is the creator of all human life. Furthermore, many of the contracepting couples are choosing to avoid contraception through abortifacient forms of birth control, such as the birth control pill, and the choice to engage in sexual intercourse while using abortifacient forms of birth control also offends God because abortifacent forms of birth control have the additional mechanism of preventing implantation of a newly conceived embryo from occurring.

Here is what the Catholic Church has taught regarding the use of contraception:

  • In response to the Seventh Lambeth Conference in 1930, Pope Pius XI taught that “any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin” (Casti Connubii, n. 56).
  • Pope Pius XI had taught that “each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life” in Humanae Vitae (n. 11).
  • Pope John Paul had taught in Donum Vitae that “contraception deliberately deprives the conjugal act of its openness to procreation and in this way brings about a voluntary dissociation of the ends of marriage.”
  • In his Address on Responsible Procreation, Pope John Paul II had taught that “Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly illicit that it can never, for any reason, be justified. To think, or to say, anything to the contrary is tantamount to saying that in human life there can be situations where it is legitimate not to recognize God as God. Users of contraception attribute to themselves a power that belongs only to God, the power to decide in the final instance the coming into existence of a human being.”
  • Pope John Paul II had also taught in Evangelium Vitae that “The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being” (n. 13).

In order to show that Protestants also previously believed that contraception is morally wrong, here are some quotes from the major Protestant reformers that show that these reformers considered the use of contraception to be morally wrong:

  • Martin Luther once proclaimed that “the purpose of marriage is not pleasure and ease but the procreation and education of children and the support of a family … People who do not like children are swine, dunces, and blockheads, not worthy to be called men and women, because they despise the blessing of God, the Creator and Author of marriage” (Christian History, Issue 39, p. 24).
  • Martin Luther also said that “Onan must have been a most malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin … Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed.”
  • John Calvin said the following in his Commentaries on Genesis 38:8-10: “The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall to the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born — the hoped for offspring.”
  • The Synod of Dordt said that the act of Onan “was even as much as if he had, in a manner, pulled forth the fruit out of the mother’s womb and destroyed it.”

The Catholic Church is correct in teaching that contracepted sexual intercourse is always morally wrong, despite widespread acceptance of contraception by all of the major Protestant denominations and despite widespread disobedience of the Catholic Church’s teaching against contraception by Catholics. First and foremost, the Catholic Church’s teaching against contraception has already been taught infallibly by the Catholic Church, and therefore free from error, free from the possibility of error, and unchangeable. Second, contracepted sexual intercourse is always contrary to the law of God, always contrary to natural law, always seriously offensive to God, and always evil in the eyes of God, regardless of the intention or the circumstances, and as such is always morally wrong. Third, contracepted sexual intercourse had been considered to be morally wrong by every Protestant denomination between the time of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500’s until the Seventh Lambeth Conference in 1930. Fourth, the choice to engage in contracepted sexual intercourse is at odds with the will of God on the matter of whether a child should be conceived as a result of sexual intercourse. Finally, the widespread acceptance of contraception by Christians has led to many seriously bad consequences, including the danger to the souls of those who have used contraception, the breakdown of the family, an increase in the divorce rate, abortions of unborn children conceived as a result of contraceptive failure, an increased willingness to engage in sexual activity when the conception of a new child is not desired, an increased willingness to pursue extramarital affairs, and an increased willingness to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage.

Contracepted sexual acts and direct abortion both violate natural law and the law of God

Contracepted sexual acts and direct abortion always constitute a serious violation of God’s law by the very nature of the act, regardless of the intention or the specific circumstances of the act. Before the Lambeth Conference of 1930, contracepted sexual acts were considered to be morally wrong in every Christian church. At the Lambeth Conference of 1930, the Church of England taught that the use of contraception can be morally justified within marriage where there is a sufficiently serious reason to postpone pregnancy. The slippery slope that started with the Lambeth Conference of 1930 led to contraception becoming acceptable in all of the Protestant denominations and contraception becoming socially acceptable in Western societies. Despite what has happened in Western society and in Protestant churches since the Lambeth Conference of 1930, the Roman Catholic Church continues to teach that contracepted sexual acts and direct abortion always violate God’s law.

One of the most common errors regarding the Catholic Church’s teaching against contraception is that the use of contraception merely violates this Catholic Church teaching and that this teaching is only binding on Catholics. However, the Catholic Church infallibly teaches that any act of sexual intercourse that “is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin” (Casti Connubii, n. 56). Since the use of artificial contraceptives during an act of sexual intercourse “frustrates” the sexual act “in its natural power to generate life,” and since these sexual acts always violate both the law of God and natural law, the Catholic Church’s teaching forbidding the use of contraception during sexual intercourse must be binding on all persons and must also constitute more than a mere violation of Catholic Church teaching. Natural law is always binding on all persons, including all non-Catholic Christians and all non-Christians, and acts which violate the natural law by the very nature of the act are always intrinsically evil, even when committed by a non-Catholic. If the use of contraception during natural intercourse violates the natural law when committed by a Catholic, the use of contraception during natural intercourse must also violate the natural law when committed by a non-Catholic because natural law is binding on all persons.

In addition to condemning the use of artificial contraception during sexual intercourse, the Catholic Church also teaches that direct abortion, or an abortion that is willed either as an end or a means to another end, is intrinsically evil and always gravely contrary to divine law. In addition, direct abortion always offends against the sanctity of human life and always offends against natural law. In fact, Pope Pius XI taught in 1930 that direct abortion constitutes “direct murder of the innocent” and “is against the precept of God and the law of nature: ‘Thou shalt not kill'” (Casti Connubii, n. 64). The Catholic Church is not the only Christian denomination to teach that abortion is morally wrong, and some of the non-Christian religions also consider abortion to be morally wrong. Even though there are abortion rights advocates who support keeping abortion on demand legal and legalizing abortion on demand where it is currently illegal, there are many non-Catholics throughout the world who still consider abortion to be the killing of an innocent human being and consider abortion to be morally wrong. Since there is opposition to direct abortion by Catholics, non-Catholics, and non-Christians throughout the world, and also because direct abortion violates natural law and offends against the right to life of unborn children, the right to life of unborn human beings should be protected at the international level and a movement to outlaw abortion worldwide should occur.

Our founding fathers did believe in the existence of the natural law, even though some of them were not Catholic. The existence of the natural law is even acknowledged in the United States Declaration of Independence. Our founding fathers believed that all human beings are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and that the “unalienable Rights” granted to all persons are derived from natural law. Our founding fathers even intended for the “unalienable Right to Life” to extend to unborn children and never intended to restrict this right to persons who have been born. However, the United States Supreme Court went against the intentions of our founding fathers in the Roe v. Wade case and decided that unborn children do not have a constitutionally guaranteed right to life prior to birth in that case. Unborn children should have never been deprived of the right to life, which is unalienable, and this right should have never been taken away from unborn children by the United States Supreme Court. A prohibition on abortion should be constitutionally possible since abortion infringes upon the right to life of unborn children, which should be unalienable, and also because abortion violates the natural law.

There are some people who advocate for changing the Catholic Church’s teaching against contraception and direct abortion. However, the Catholic Church will always continue to uphold that contracepted sexual acts and direct abortion are always contrary to the law of God and natural law. First, the Catholic Church already knows that contracepted sexual acts and direct abortion are both intrinsically evil acts that also constitute serious violations of the law of God and natural law. Second, the Catholic Church has continuously and infallibly taught that these acts violate the law of God as well as natural law. Third, the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church cannot be changed since infallible teachings are free from error and also free from the possibility of error. Finally, teaching the position that is contrary to what the Catholic Church has taught on abortion and contraception would be contrary to the truth regarding the law of God.

The widespread acceptance of artificial contraception in the Western world has led to many bad consequences. First, the acceptance of artificial contraception has led to an increased willingness to engage in sexual activity at a time where pregnancy is not desired. Second, the increased willingness to engage in sexual activity that results from the widespread acceptance of contraception has led to more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions since no form of artificial contraception provides foolproof protection against unplanned pregnancies. Third, the widespread acceptance of contraception has led to more sexual activity outside of marriage, and this has led to an increase in the divorce rate and more children being born outside of wedlock. Fourth, more people fail to acknowledge the proper meaning of sexual intercourse due to the widespread acceptance of contraception as well as increased acceptance of sexual activity outside of marriage. Fifth, some of the forms of artificial contraception that are widely accepted are also abortifacent because they can cause the death of an human embryo that is actually conceived. Last, other consequences arising from the widespread acceptance of contraception include the breakdown of the family and an increased acceptance of homosexuality, both of which flow from other consequences of the contraceptive mentality.

To bring the Western world back to a culture of life, the use of artificial contraception during sexual acts needs to become unacceptable in Western societies and direct abortion needs to be outlawed in places where it is currently legal. The United States and other Western societies need to acknowledge that the use of artificial contraception during sexual intercourse and direct abortion always violate natural law, regardless of the intention or the specific circumstances. Western societies also need to acknowledge that the proper purpose of human sexual intercourse is to enable married couples to cooperate with the Creator in bringing forth new human life while simultaneously expressing the love between the husband and wife. The use of artificial contraception during sexual intercourse, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts all go against the proper purpose of human sexual intercourse, and as such should become socially unacceptable in the United States and also in the rest of the world.

An abortion case at a Phoenix hospital back in 2009

Back on November 5, 2009, an abortion was performed on a 27-year-old pregnant woman who was suffering from pulmonary hypertension in the 11th week of pregnancy at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The doctors advised this pregnant woman that she would likely die from pulmonary hypertension unless she had an abortion. The termination of this woman’s pregnancy in this abortion case constituted a direct abortion because this pregnancy was directly terminated at a stage where the unborn child is clearly incapable of survival outside of the womb.

Even though the doctors in the Phoenix abortion case advised the pregnant woman to undergo an abortion, there have been cases where pregnant women with pulmonary hypertension successfully carried their pregnancies to term with appropriate medical treatment. Instead of advising her to have an abortion, the doctors should have given her the option of taking anti-hypertensive drugs to lessen the danger to her life and that of her unborn child. Unlike an abortion, which would directly terminate the pregnancy and indirectly target her pulmonary hypertension, the administration of anti-hypertensive drugs would directly target her pulmonary hypertension. If this woman had undergone the alternative option of anti-hypertensive drugs instead of having an abortion, she might have been able to safely carry her pregnancy to term and her unborn child might have been able to survive.

Here is M. Therese Lysaught’s account of the medical condition of the pregnant woman who had an abortion in the Phoenix abortion case: “Due to the age of the fetus, there was no possibility that it could survive outside the womb. Nor, due to the mother’s heart failure and cardiogenic shock, was there any possibility that the fetus could survive inside the womb. In short, in spite of the best efforts of the mother and of her medical staff, the fetus had become terminal, not because of a pathology of its own but because of a pathology in its maternal environment. There was no longer any chance that the life of this child could be saved. This is crucial to note insofar as it establishes that at the point of decision, it was not a case of saving the mother or the child. It was not a matter of choosing one life or the other. The child’s life, because of natural causes, was in the process of ending.”

Even if M. Therese Lysaught’s account of the medical condition of the pregnant woman in the Phoenix abortion case were correct, there were measures other than direct abortion that the doctors could have taken to save the life of the pregnant woman. The doctors could have chosen to allow the baby to die inside of the womb and administer anti-hypertensive drugs to the mother instead of choosing to directly terminate the pregnancy, and this choice might have been morally licit under the circumstances given in Lysaught’s account. There is a moral distinction between a direct abortion and merely permitting the natural death of an unborn child inside of the womb. A direct abortion is always intrinsically evil and never morally justifiable, but merely permitting the natural death of an unborn child who is naturally dying is not always morally illicit and can be morally justified in some circumstances.

Even if Lysaught’s account of the circumstances were correct, the circumstances would not have justified a direct abortion. Instead of advising St. Joseph’s Hospital of Phoenix that the abortion is indirect, she should have upheld that directly terminating the pregnancy in this case still constitutes a direct abortion until the pregnancy reaches the point of viability. Additionally, she should have advised the doctors to take other reasonable measures to preserve the life of the pregnant woman, such as the administration of anti-hypertensive drugs.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix was correct in stating that the abortion in the Phoenix abortion case constitutes a direct abortion. His analysis is correct, even if he did not have full knowledge of all of the medical facts of the Phoenix abortion case, since his analysis is based on Catholic Church teachings and laws of God which are always applicable in every circumstance. Bishop Thomas Olmsted did not need full knowledge of the medical facts to declare that the abortion in the Phoenix abortion case constitutes a direct abortion since a direct abortion always has the evil moral object of causing the death of an unborn child and is always intrinsically evil, regardless of the intention behind the abortion or the specific circumstances of the abortion.

Here are some links to articles regarding the Phoenix abortion case:

Responses to arguments commonly made by abortion rights advocates

Here is a pro-life response to some of the most common arguments that are made by abortion rights advocates, along with an explanation on why these arguments are not necessarily true.

Argument #1: A woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body

There are limits on what a woman can do with her body and no woman has an absolute right to do whatever she wants with her body. As an example, woman does not have the right to illegally abuse an illegal drug. In most of the countries where abortion is legal, there are restrictions on abortion procedures. Late-term abortion is illegal in some of the countries where 1st trimester and 2nd trimester abortions are legal.

Additionally, an abortion involves more than the mother’s own body since an abortion kills an unborn child. An unborn child is not a part of his or her mother’s body since he or she is a separate human organism. What makes an unborn child a separate human organism, even though he or she is within his or her mother’s body, is the unique genetic identity of the unborn child and the fact that the unborn child will develop into a fully formed human being if he or she does not die prior to birth.

Argument #2: Women in crisis pregnancies will resort to illegal abortions after abortion becomes illegal

Even though it is often argued that women in crisis pregnancies will resort to illegal abortions if abortion becomes illegal, this argument is not necessarily true for several reasons. First, most women who are in a crisis pregnancy are not willing to undergo an illegal abortion. Second, appropriate help for women who are in crisis pregnancies would likely be available if abortion were to become illegal again. Third, pregnant women who do not want to take care of their unborn children after birth will be encouraged to give up their baby for adoption. Fourth, fewer pregnant teenage girls and pregnant women would be forced to undergo abortions after abortion is outlawed. Fifth, abortions were being performed by doctors as early as the late 1950’s, and Mary Calderone of Planned Parenthood even admitted back in 1959 that abortions were “being done well by physicians.” Finally, abortion will not be widely available if abortion is outlawed, and this factor will reduce both the demand for abortion and the number of abortions being performed.

Argument #3: Pregnant women will die if abortion becomes illegal again

If abortion becomes illegal again, maternal mortality would very likely be lower than it was prior to Roe v. Wade for several reasons. First, there have been advances in medicine that have enabled pregnant women whose lives were in danger during the pregnancy to safely carry the pregnancy to term. Second, there have been advances in medicine that have allowed premature babies who are born as early as 20 weeks post-fertilization to survive outside of the womb. Third, more advances in medicine would be made that would make it possible for babies to survive outside of the womb at earlier than 20 weeks post-fertilization and that would allow pregnant women who are suffering from life-threatening complications to safely carry their pregnancies to term. Fourth, the unlawfulness of abortion after abortion becomes illegal will create an incentive to find alternative means to preserve the lives of pregnant women and their unborn children in cases where the life or health of the mother or her unborn child is in danger. Finally, there would be fewer women dying from the complications of abortion procedures because of less demand for abortions, the unwillingness of women to undergo illegal abortions, and the availability of help for women who are in crisis pregnancies.

Argument #4: Women will lose access to healthcare if abortion is made illegal

Even though the widespread availability of abortion will not exist after abortion is outlawed, women certainly will have access to healthcare after abortion is illegal. Low-income women in the United States who are covered under Medicaid already do have access to healthcare at providers who are not in the business of performing abortions. Other healthcare providers who do not perform abortions will continue to provide healthcare services after abortion is outlawed. Furthermore, licensed physicians will still be able to perform medical procedures other than abortion on pregnant women and prescribe medications to pregnant women after abortion becomes illegal.

Argument #5: More contraception is needed to prevent unplanned pregnancies

Even though it is not always possible to prevent unplanned pregnancies that are the result of rape, unplanned pregnancies can be prevented by completely abstaining from sexual activity. Most unplanned pregnancies are the result of voluntary, consensual sexual intercourse, and these pregnancies could have been prevented prior to conception by choosing to completely abstain from sexual activity. In the United States, at least half of the women who obtain abortions after becoming pregnant were already using contraception around the time that they became pregnant. No form of contraception provides foolproof protection against unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted protection. The risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is still there with the use of contraceptives.

Argument #6: Abortion is a safe and legal way to end pregnancy

Some post-abortive women have already suffered complications from legal abortion procedures. There have even been women who have died from the complications of legal abortions performed at American abortion clinics. Furthermore, there have been incidents where women undergoing abortions have had to be rushed to the hospital from the abortion clinic as a result of complications of an abortion. Abortion is often more dangerous to the life and health of the woman undergoing the abortion than abortion rights advocates claim. Some of the post-abortive women would not have suffered from the serious complications of their past abortions if they hadn’t had an abortion and had carried their pregnancies to term instead.

Argument #7: In the United States, pregnant women will always have a constitutional right to an abortion

Even though the United States Supreme Court has ruled that women have a constitutionally guaranteed right to an abortion as a result of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases, this can be changed by either amending the United States Constitution or having the United States Supreme Court rule that a pregnant woman does not have a constitutionally guaranteed right to an abortion. A woman did not have a constitutionally guaranteed right to an abortion within the United States until the final decision of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases were made by the United States Supreme Court on January 22, 1973.

Argument #8: Legalized abortion will prevent poverty

Legalized abortion has led to the death of unborn babies, but poverty still does exist in the United States today. The availability of contraception and legalized abortion has made it easier for unmarried couples to engage in sexual activity, and the resulting increase in sexual activity outside of marriage has led to more children being born out of wedlock and more children being raised in single-parent households. More single-parent households with children is one of the factors that has enabled poverty to continue to exist within the United States.

Argument #9: Morality cannot be legislated against

Even though there are some people who argue that morality cannot be legislated against, there are laws which prohibit immoral behaviors within the United States, including but not limited to laws prohibiting murder, assault, child abuse, rape, incest, child pornography, prostitution, theft, fraud, perjury, and robbery. There are actions that are always morally wrong, regardless of the intention or the specific circumstances of the act, and abortion is one of the acts that is always morally wrong. Abortion can be legislated against because abortion is always morally wrong, regardless of the intention or the specific circumstances, and also because abortion involves the intentional killing of an unborn child.

Argument #10: Abortion is necessary for women to be able to complete their education and have a career

Women are able to avoid unplanned pregnancies by choosing to completely abstain from sexual activity. The option of giving up their children for adoption is also available for those women who do not wish to take care of their children. Some women who have had their first child prior to completing their education have been able to complete their education and have successful careers. There are even teen mothers who have gone on to earn their college degree, even though some of these teen mothers had their first child prior to completing high school.

The basic principles of morality and the immorality of direct abortion

There are fundamental principles of morality which apply to every act in every circumstance. Here is a list of some of the fundamental principles of morality:

  • Every act has at least one moral object, and every moral object is either good or evil
  • The moral object of an act is defined as the “proximate end of a deliberate decision which determines the act of willing on the part of the acting person” rather than “a process or an event of the merely physical order, to be assessed on the basis of its ability to bring about a given state of affairs in the outside world” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 78)
  • The moral object of an act exists independent of the intention and the specific circumstances of the act
  • Every action that has at least one evil moral object is intrinsically evil, and every action that does not have an evil moral object is not intrinsically evil
  • Every intrinsically evil act has at least one evil moral object and is always morally wrong, regardless of the intention or the specific circumstances of an act
  • The moral object of an intrinsically evil act cannot be changed by a good intention or the ability to bring about a good consequence
  • The intention is the purpose for which an act is committed, and exists within the acting subject
  • A bad intention always makes an act morally wrong, even if the act in question would be morally good when committed without any bad intentions
  • For an act to be morally good, the act cannot be intrinsically evil, the act must be committed with only good intentions, and the good consequences must be reasonably anticipated to outweigh the bad consequences

The fundamental moral principles listed above are based on the Catholic Church’s view on morality. There are non-Catholics who believe in moral principles similar to those listed above. The above moral principles are principles of divine law and natural law which apply to all persons, regardless of one’s religious affiliation or religious beliefs.

Direct abortion, which is defined as the deliberate, direct killing of an unborn child in a manner that is inherently ordered towards causing his or her death, is always intrinsically evil, is always a grave violation of divine law, is always a grave violation of natural law, and always offends against an unborn child’s inviolable right to life. An otherwise direct abortion that is performed for the purposes of saving the life of the mother or preserving the health of the mother is still a direct abortion since the act in question is still inherently ordered towards causing the death of an unborn child. On the other hand, an indirect abortion is an act other than direct abortion that indirectly causes the death of an unborn child. An indirect abortion is not inherently ordered towards causing the death of an unborn child, but rather is inherently ordered towards a different end.

The directly intended termination of pregnancy prior to the point of viability, including the direct removal of the body of an unborn child and the directly induced explusion of the body of an unborn child, constitute a direct abortion because these actions are inherently ordered towards causing the death of an unborn child who is incapable of survival outside of the womb. Any abortion procedure that involves the active killing of an unborn child prior to its removal from his or her mother’s body or the direct physical destruction of the body of an unborn child in a manner that is fatal to the unborn child also constitute a direct abortion. On the other hand, the removal of a diseased part of a mother’s body to which the body of the unborn baby is attached and that also indirectly terminates a pregnancy, such as the removal of a cancerous womb during a pregnancy or the removal of a portion of the mother’s fallopian tube that is diseased in an ectopic pregnancy, would be a case of indirect abortion.

An unintentional miscarriage that is caused from non-reproductive surgery that is performed on the mother or the administration of medication whose primary effect is not causing the termination of pregnancy would not constitute a direct abortion. First, the unintentional miscarriage in these cases arise from an act whose moral object is different from that of direct abortion. Second, the death of the unborn child is an unintended bad consequence that was not willed. Third, the means used to saving the life of the mother or preserving the health of the mother in these cases is not the termination of pregnancy, but rather a non-reproductive surgical procedure or the administration of medication.

In addition to being intrinsically evil, a direct abortion would also be a violation of medical ethics, especially in cases where the pregnancy itself does not pose a danger to the life of the mother and does not pose a significant danger to the health of the mother. There are doctors who advise pregnant women to undergo a direct abortion for the purposes of preserving the health of the mother, saving the life of the mother, or getting rid of a defective baby, and giving this advise is intrinsically evil, formal cooperation in the sin of direct abortion, and unethical under the principles of medical ethics. Furthermore, the advise given by these doctors can often be wrong, especially in cases where the pregnant woman can safely carry the pregnancy to term.