Roe v. Wade was a legal case that made it all the way up to the Supreme Court on Jan. 22, 1973. The 7-2 ruling on this case, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, ruled that “unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional.” This ruling opened the floodgates to abortion being legalized across the country regardless of how old the fetus was when the abortion took place. Many Americans thought this was a huge mistake. To this day, being pro-life has been a fundamental belief of the Republican party. Outlined below are three surprising facts and arguments against abortion that underpin many people’s beliefs on this divisive issue.
There exists very questionable and inconsistent legislation in some states in America when it comes to abortion. According to the World Health Organization, there around 517,400 preterm births every year in the United States. The Mayo Clinic defines extremely preterm babies as babies that are born alive “at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy.” 25 weeks is also around the time a fetus is considered viable, which means it can survive outside the womb. The WHO also claims that “more than three quarters of premature babies can be saved with feasible, cost-effective care.” According to an article written in the New York Times in 2016, there are 10 states and the District of Columbia that either ban abortion only after 26-27 weeks or do not have any “specific laws prohibiting abortion after a certain point in pregnancy.” This means that there are states in the U.S. that have no problem letting their citizens abort viable, and would otherwise be categorized as preterm, babies. This gap in legislation is appalling and unacceptable, even for abortion advocates. At the very least, more consistent legislation needs to be put in place in order to better regulate abortion across America. The article points out that these 10 states and the District of Columbia only make up 16% percent of the entire U.S. population. While this may be true, the population of these areas does not include women who specifically travel temporarily to one of these states from one of the neighboring states just to get an abortion.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2014, 91.4 percent of abortions in the U.S. took place at or before 13 weeks. At a mere 12 weeks, according to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, the baby has developed 100 percent of its organs and all four limbs. If a picture was shown to every woman who wanted to get an abortion at week 12 of what her baby actually looks like, I bet she too would hopefully realize that a human life is growing inside of her and would rethink her decision to abort the baby. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the states of Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, and Kentucky all require an ultrasound of their fetus to be shown and described to the woman before being allowed to get an abortion. By doing this legislators are trying to dispel the age-old notion that the baby is just a bundle of cells before approaching viability at around 25 weeks and need not be considered a human life. This statement is not reflective of the actual stages of development inside the womb. At 24 weeks, which is right before viability in some states, the baby is responding to sounds, hiccupping, and opening its eyes. To any rational human being, at either 12 or 24 weeks, one could easily say that the fetus is a growing human being and not a bundle of parasitic cells that have yet to turn into life.
The Catholic Church, as well as many other Protestant denominations of Christianity, believe that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death, meaning that any attempt at prematurely ending a human life at any time goes against the values of Christianity. This includes every unborn baby, even those conceived out of incest, rape, and more recently ones that have been identified as having a disability before they are born. The Catechism of the Catholic Church article 2258 specifically outlines the sacredness of human life, stating, “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”
At the end of the day, if someone in my family or a close friend of mine had an abortion, I would still love them regardless. They are a sinner, just like me. It is not my place but God’s to eternally judge other people based on their actions. God is a just God and will judge all justly. But it is my place and duty to voice my values, be an advocate for what I believe in, and act accordingly.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives examples of individuals both helping and passing by those in need. After giving these examples he makes two very powerful statements. In Matthew 25: 40, 45-46, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me … Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” If we as Christians fail to be an advocate for the most vulnerable and innocent of those on earth; lives that are thrown away everyday and rationalized to be the woman’s right to decide what to do with the baby because it’s “her body,” we fail the very thing God calls His people to do in the above passage, which is to help those in need.
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