Abortion is when an unborn human is being removed from it’s mother’s womb before birth. A murder is when you kill a human being because it disturbs your own life.
If you believe that “Children in the womb are human beings and members of the human family entitled to the right to life by virtue of their inherent dignity and worth”1, you probably also conclude that abortion is a form of murder because the right to life of the unborn child is more important than their parent’s right to avoid problems or troubles.
But prenatal development is a continuum, with no clear defining feature distinguishing an embryo from a fetus. That’s why abortion laws vary considerably between jurisdictions, ranging from outright prohibition of the procedure to public funding of abortion.2
Late-term abortion is usually prohibited even in countries where early-term abortion is a simple routine remedy for “accidents”. So where is the limit between early-term and late-term? When does a human starts to be a human?
At the beginning of pregnancy (the first day of the last menstrual period, when the mother’s body starts to release an egg)? At the moment of fertilization (when the father’s spermatozoid enters into the mother’s ovum)? Or in week 4, when the the blastocyst implants in the wall of the uterus? Or in week 6, when we can detect its first heartbeat? Or in week 11, when doctors change its name from embryo to fetus? Or in week 14, when the gender of the fetus can be identified? 4 3
The doctors cannot answer my question because “human” is a fuzzy term.
Raising a child means a fundamental change in the life of a young woman. A human civilization should not give other people the right o decide about it. But who decides whether a child is “unwanted”? It can be a complex question. Even if there is no doubt that the mother does not want her child. Maybe somebody else wants that child. Maybe God wants it. Maybe the mother will change her mind later and regret her decision. A therapist or friend can help a pregnant woman to find an answer to that question. Who is going to pay the therapist?
One thing seems clear : abortion and how national laws should handle will remain a controversial topic.
A pregnant woman who does not want her child. A young man who knows that he doesn’t want to live any longer. A man in his best years whose wife remains disabled after an accident. I we permit the right to abort unborn children, shouldn’t we also permit the right to suicide, euthanize unwanted people and death penalty?
Vance Morgan6 describes the abortion topic as an example of idolatry that caused Donald Trump to become president of the United States: “I am willing to turn a blind eye to and ignore any moral failings, even the most obvious and blatant ones, as long as the person in question has the right moral position on this one issue,” the evangelical Trump supporter says. (…) [I]n his evangelical supporter’s estimation, even murder doesn’t occupy the same moral universe as being right about abortion. One issue –being pro-life on the abortion issue– has been raised in status to being the only thing that matters. The abortion issue has become the only moral issue. And that, my friends, is idolatry.”
Taken from a Petition on the right to life in international law by c-fam.org
medicinenet.com, Embryo vs. Fetus: Differences between Stages Week by Week, (undated, seen 20190912).
Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, e.g. in-vitro fertilization.
Idolatry and Abortion by Vance Morgan on Patheos, 2020-02-02).