Here is the difficult issue that truly has divided the Democrats and Republicans, and any candidate for Congress should try to address the matter. Barack is the first Democrat I ever voted for, since becoming a “Republican,” because I believe our nation has made a grave error on this matter. Abortion, though, is different from murder, and the whole question takes us into a grey and difficult ethical area. The Bible, of course, has no teaching against abortion, and Hebrew law, I believe, distinguishes between the killing of a fetus and the killing of child. And it is of course said that the Lord knew the prophet Jeremiah in the womb, and the prophetic psalmist as well, as Ben Carson pointed out. But abortion is almost always wrong. It is the Hippocratic Oath that forbids doctors from doing abortions as a “service,” basically because medicine is to be used to heal, and pregnancy is not a disease or illness. To consider abortion a part of medical services- and compel Catholic hospitals to provide abortions- is a violation of our liberty. Children come along, and the adults must just make way for them, sacrificing their own interests for the future. Our current law and popular opinion have led to the killing of millions of human “fetuses” for mere convenience, and is a national sin.
For the Democrats, then, we note that all the arguments used to favor “choice” also allow for infanticide. Why should the killing of a child not also be the matter of a “woman’s right to choose,” as it surely is within the third trimester? “Do with her own body?” Why not also the day before giving birth, not to mention prostitution. My mother used to tell us, when she was angry, that abortion should be legal until the child is 18! They do not wish to take account of the rights of the “fetus” at all. But these rights are quite obvious after the time of viability, when it might live if born prematurely, though these rights still overlap logically with the rights of the woman carrying the child in her body. Ancient opinions once determined how to hold these rights in priorities, for example, doctors would usually abort a fetus to save the mother. But what if the mother almost surely has only a short time to live? Women and children first in lifeboats at sea is how we used to consider the difficult choices in priority. But there is clearly a gradual development of the human and its rights, and hence we are horrified by partial birth and late term abortion, even more so than early abortion. Liberal opinion cares for animal rights and forbids animal cruelty, and, well, a fetus is surly at least endowed with as many rights that it is the purpose of government to protect, even from the sacred self interest behind a “woman’s right to choose.” What if she does it to hide an adultery, or as a means of birth control, repeatedly, or on a whim? Our teacher used to joke about how one is forbidden to kill the snail darter, a small endangered cave shrimp, but not forbidden to kill a human fetus for mere convenience. This is the contradiction of liberal opinion waving the banner of a “woman’s right to choose.”
In biology, there is a principle that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” an amazing thing that accounts for why small fetuses look more similar to chicken fetuses than do older fetuses, which pass in appearance through a mammalian to a primate and then a human phase. Perhaps at some stage, the form or ontogeny is recapitulating the phylum or “phylogeny” of the snail darter, and might then be protected as the member of an endangered species. Our Bible does not teach against “evolution,” you see, but does not tell us just how God went about forming man of the dust of the earth, nor does it say just how long he took in doing this, nor just what “Adam” means. Perhaps their Bible does, but we have not read that one. It surely does not say that we must be limited by how readers first imagine Genesis.
Nor does liberal opinion take account of the rights of the father, who has no say at all in the matter. A child conceived in love or marriage, wanted by the father, may be aborted by the mother because of the supposed sanctity of a “woman’s right to choose.” I may myself have lost a child in this way, one that I wanted, if it was indeed my own. But this circumstance may be unavoidable for practical reasons, and the alternatives may be even worse: we must consider, and it is very difficult. Can the law compel a woman to carry a child in the first trimester? Even as the law compels a mother to care for her child, and does not here admit the absurdity of some “woman’s right to choose?” As with the difficulty of the rights of the father, the rights are overlapping and must be sorted in the particular according to priority. A woman voluntarily pregnant might just have to go through the nine months of difficulty for the sake of the 80 year potential future that she bares in her womb. She can then give the child up for adoption, though the women know that nature too takes over here, and while women will abort a fetus at whim, they will not bear the pain of violating the maternal attachment once the child is born. On this question, we must often return to the distinction between what is right ethically and what is right politically, since it is not the purpose of U. S. law to legislate what is right ethically, but to secure the rights that make it possible for us to neither be compelled to do what is wrong, nor be prevented from doing what is right ethically. I think that even to abort the child of rape is wrong, in part because the child did not do it, and would raise in my own family the child of one who raped my wife, should such a thing occur. But there may be such a natural repulsion to bearing the child of one’s rapist, not to mention the legal rights it would give him, that the law cannot compel such a thing in the first trimester. The rights of the woman, indeed to “choose'” may then take precedence over the purpose of government to secure the proto-rights of the proto-citizen.
A human is a fetile conception with 26 human chromosomes, and if one waits but nine months, it will be a citizen endowed with rights. So the fetus is a proto-human, and abortion at whim like a proto-murder. Its rights seem to grow with its development inside the woumb, from almost none the morning after to the rights of an infant at viability.