Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Legal Basis for an End to Abortion

Abortion is a process in which a woman chooses to end the life of the fetus within her womb. Until 1973, abortion was illegal in almost all cases in the United States. Today, abortion is currently legal in approximately 204 countries around the world ranging from on-demand and partial birth abortion to abortion legal only in the event to save the life of the mother in the first trimester or in restricted cases (“Summary of Abortion Laws Around the World”). As of 2007, only five countries held abortion to be completely illegal and prohibited in every trimester with fifty countries declaring abortion legal only in the case of saving the mother’s life (“Summary of Abortion Laws Around the World”). According to the Guttmacher Institute, approximately 1 in 5 pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. In 2003, there were more abortions in Eastern Europe than there were births with 105 abortions for every 100 births (“Guttmacher Institute: Abortion”). While abortion has been legal in the United States of America for forty years, as of January 2013, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the ‘civil liberty’ of abortion has been detrimental to the culture of the United States.

On January 22nd, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision on the judicial case of Roe v Wade. ‘Jane Roe’, the pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, a single pregnant woman, brought suit against Wade, the District Attorney of Dallas County. She was challenging the constitutionality of Texas abortion laws, which made it a crime to procure an abortion except in cases in which the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life or in the event of rape (Harrison & Gilbert 90). Justice Harry Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court with Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justices Douglas and Stewart issuing concurring opinions. Justices Rehnquist and White issued dissenting opinions in turn (Harrison & Gilbert 90). The majority decision declared that abortion should not be made illegal and that the Texas law—and thus others like it—was unconstitutional (Harrison & Gilbert 121).

The Court stated in its decision that abortion was practiced in ancient Greek and Roman societies saying it was resorted to without scruple (Harrison & Gilbert 96) though another disputed this claim. While the Court claims that Greek and Roman law offered little protection to the unborn, Arturo Castiglioni, a historian of medicine, stated that Roman law actually did punish abortion, at least from the time of Augustus – 31 B.C. to 13 A.D. – onward. He said “The law against abortion was…strict. Thus the Lex Cornelia prescribed that whoever…caused an abortion should be punished with deportation and the loss of his goods. If the patient should die as a result…the guilty party was condemned to death” (Butler and Walbert 201). The Court also concerned itself in its ruling with the Hippocratic Oath. The passage that pertained to the case read “I will give no a deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy” (Harrison and Gilbert 96). The Court drew primarily from the late Dr. Edelstein to reach the conclusion that the Oath was contested and reflected only the feeling of the Pythagorean school of philosophers. They concluded that this feeling was only a small segment of Greek opinion and was not accepted by all ancient physicians (Harrison & Gilbert 96). Harold O. J. Brown criticized the Court’s interpretation of Edelstein and suggested that Edelstein did not seek to question the validity of the Oath as the ethic of a minority but to demonstrate how an ethic that has come to universal acceptance was created (Butler & Walbert 202).

The law contradicts itself on the status of an unborn child. The Supreme Court declared in its decision that “the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense” (Harrison & Gilbert 117) yet in American courts, an unborn child may benefit under a will or from proceeds of a trust from the date of his father’s death rather than the date of the child’s birth (Butler & Walbert 212). The decision that is most frequently cited to provide a summary of the state of American property law with regard to the unborn child is “In re Holthausen’s Will” which was decided by the New York courts in 1941 (Butler & Walbert 212). As well, child support laws uphold the personhood of an unborn child with Metzger v People (Grisez 374) where the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed an order requiring a man to contribute 30% of his salary to the support of his unborn child. In Kyne v Kyne (Butler & Walbert 212), a California appeals court ruled that an unborn child has the right to bring suit and to receive support from his father. In 1987, an Illinois court allowed an infant to sue its mother for injuries sustained in an automobile accident when it was a five-month-old fetus (Cannold 60). Therefore, it would be correct to conclude that the Court’s view of the status of the unborn child in other areas of the law is inaccurate.

The largest detrimental aspect of abortion becomes clear when one recalls the words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." (Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University Library). Alice Paul, the woman who originally drafted the Equal Rights Amendment reportedly referred to abortion as “the ultimate exploitation of women” (“Voices of our Feminist Foremothers”). This becomes clear when one looks at abortion in the case of rape and incest. According to the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault (WPSA) (“Rape and Incest Victims Don’t Want Abortion, Say It Doesn’t Help Women”), abortion creates more problems for rape and incest victims and is in fact detrimental to their recovery. The only two published studies that have tracked the decisions made by women made pregnant by rape and incest found that roughly 70% of women chose to keep their child. In the Elliot Institute’s survey of 192 women who became pregnant after sexual assault, it was revealed that 80% of women who had abortions strongly regretted it. Dr. David Reardon, author of Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault, said that abortion “gives molesters the means to cover up their crime and the opportunity to repeat it, subjecting the victims to repeated ongoing abuse as well as the additional trauma of an unwanted abortion.” (“Rape and Incest Victims Don’t Want Abortion, Say It Doesn’t Help Women”). He also found that coerced abortion is a growing problem as 64% of women who have had abortions report feeling pressured by others.

While the exact percentage of rapes ending in pregnancy is not known, the percentage of abortions as a result of rape is approximately 1%. Rape victims typically suffer from self-blame, severe guilt, PTSD, OCD, eating disorders, self-harm, flashbacks, sleep problems, nightmares, panic attacks, and Rape Trauma Syndrome which consists of shock, disbelief, shame, anxiety, and an inability to trust (“Effects of Rape and Aftermath”). Similarly, those who partake in abortions often suffer from guilt, anger, shame, loneliness, suicidal thoughts or feelings, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares. These side effects of abortion are more common among women who have previous emotional or psychological issues—like those present after rape (“Possible Emotional Side Effects”). Abortion in the case of rape does not make psychological sense as it conceivably increases the emotional turmoil in the mind of the mother to a dangerous degree, leading to severe depression or possibly suicide.

In addition to the psychological problems of abortion, the American Pregnancy Association lists anticipated side effects following abortion. The more common ones, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding, may occur up to 4 weeks following the abortion. It goes on to say that serious side-affects occur in approximately 1 out of 100 first-trimester abortions and 1 in 50 late-term abortions. These include infection, damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus, damage to other organs, and death. Studies have alternately linked an increased risk for breast cancer to abortion while others say there is no correlation.

Following the legalization of abortion, the rate of child abuse in the nation increased at a substantial rate. In the first ten years after the legalization of abortion in America, child abuse jumped by more than 500% (Alcorn 143). A study of 674 abused children conducted by USC professor Dr. Edward Lenoski discovered that 91% of the abused children were a result of a planned pregnancy (Alcorn 142). When abortion was made legal, it appears that value parents placed on their child’s well-being went down. There is no question the with 500% more children being abused that our nation is not moving in a favorable direction.

Gendercide, or sex-selective abortion, has become the most effective mean of sexism with people now able to abort their unwanted female fetuses. In 1975, Medical World News reported a study in which ninety-nine American mothers were informed of their child’s sex. Fifty-three of these were boys while forty-six were girls. Of these, only one mother elected to abort her son while twenty-nine elected to abort their daughters. As so many more girls than boys are being killed by the amniocentesis-abortion, outraged feminists have labeled this practice ‘femicide’. Ironically, the very rights women like Margaret Sanger fought for are being used to suppress their gender further. An obstetrician gynecologist was quoted in USAToday as saying “Probably 99% of nonmedical requests for prenatal diagnosis are made by people who want a boy.” (“The Debate Over the Uses of Prenatal Testing”) Sex selective abortion demonstrates the state of society as brought up in the pro-choice, “Abortion Under Attack”: “We need to have a social debate about…a world that not only privileges but ‘chooses’ male babies…research suggests that there is indeed a cross-cultural preference for boys. It is irresponsible to promote sex selection without acknowledging the misogyny still rampant throughout our world and with no thought for what that could mean to future generations.”(“I’m  Not Sorry”).

Should abortion be made illegal, the availability for children to adopt would increase. More than 1.5 million American families want to adopt, some so badly that the scarcity of babies available for adoption is a source of major depression. There is even a black market for babies in which a child might be bought for $35,000. People often request babies with Down’s Syndrome, who are aborted 90% of the time. There have been lists of more than 100 people wanting to adopt babies with spina bifida (Alcorn 139). The National Committee for Adoption maintains that if abortion were made illegal, most women would choose to keep their babies while 11% would be put up for adoption (Alcorn 139). Given the abortion rate in America, this is a substantial number.

With Roe v. Wade overturned, the unborn would be given their rights per the 5th Amendment; namely: “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”.  In conclusion, abortion can kill the woman procuring the abortion at terrifying rates. In cases of rape and incest, it often does more harm than good. The reasons the Supreme Court cited in their decision are fundamentally wrong and show a lack of research, inaccuracy of information, and a surprising lack of foresight as to the ill effects this decision had on American culture.

Works Cited
"Effects of Rape and Aftermath." Rape Crisis Online Encyclopedia / FrontPage. PBWorks, 2008. Web. 06 June 2011. <>.
"Guttmacher Institute: Abortion." Guttmacher Institute: Abortion. Guttmacher Institute. Web. 06 June 2011. <>.
"Rape and Incest Victims Don’t Want Abortion, Say It Doesn’t Help Women." 07 Sept. 2006. Web. 06 June 2011. <>.
"Summary of Abortion Laws Around the World." Pregnant Pause. 15 Apr. 2002. Web. 06 June 2011. <>.
Alcorn, Randy C. Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments. [Portland, Or.]: Multnomah, 1994. Print.
American Pregnancy Association. "Possible Emotional Side Effects." Promoting Pregnancy Wellness: American Pregnancy Association. American Pregnancy Association. Web. 06 June 2011. <>.
Butler, J. Douglas, and David F. Walbert. Abortion, Medicine, and the Law. New York: Facts on File, 1992. Print.
Cannold, Leslie. The Abortion Myth: Feminism, Morality, and the Hard Choices Women Make. Hanover: University of New England, 2000. Print.
Christopher Farley “The Debate Over Uses of Prenatal Testing” USA Today Feb 2, 1989 1D
Grisez, Germain Gabriel. Abortion; the Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments. New York: Corpus, 1970. Print.
Harrison, Maureen, and Steve Gilbert. Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court I. San Diego, CA: Excellent, 1991. Print.
Pandora L. Leong “I’m Not Sorry” Krista Jacob. Abortion under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2006)Gina Kolata “Fetal Sex Test Used as Step to Abortion” the New York Times Dec 25, 1988.

Reardon, David C., Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie. Victims and Victors: Speaking out about Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault. Springfield, IL: Acorn, 2000. Print.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Dating Fast

"You should go on a dating fast. For a year."

My initial reaction when my very lovely friend Ms. Haley brought it up was "Ew. No. That sounds hard. Haley, are you trying to ruin my life?"

Ignore for a moment that I've never knowingly dated anyone (I've accidentally, without my knowledge, dated people, but never knowingly.)

I was on an unintentional dating fast for the first 15ish years of my life. Then I bought into it. 

I bought into society's view of what love is. I bought into the stories society tells me - that love is holding hands, having someone who belongs to you, someone to prove that you're not alone.

I felt alone for a long time. I daydreamed about not being alone for a long time. Sometimes  I still do. FOCUS covered it excellently in this blog post, but basically, for people who are dating, a dating relationship can become something they just have to have. But for those of us who are not dating, this fact can turn into something that we just obsess about. It's not freedom.

I want to be free. I'm tired of feeling inadequate. So I'm going to stop.

Hence: Dating Fast.

What is a dating fast? 
It sounds sort of like speed dating, but reversed, right? What it is exactly is this:

A dating fast is to give up dating for an extended period of time. In my case, that is 120 days. I am going to fast for three months from romantic relationships. That means no dating, no flirting, no mentally stalking or daydreaming about the current man who has caught my attention. No more pinning wedding stuff onto my Wedding Board on Pinterest. 

Right now, I actually don't like anyone. I'm not romantically interested in anyone - not even my Bridegroom and I think that that's a problem. I also see it as an opportunity.

For me, this isn't so much a fast from actually dating as a fast from mentally dating.

From July 19th 2013 to October 16th 2013, 120 days, I will fast.

I researched this thoroughly before deciding to do this. I prayed about it, too. This is what is right.

I'm not rushing into this. 

I want to learn that true love comes from God and God alone.

I want to practice patience. Patience isn't my strong suit, but trusting that everything occurs according to God's plan is something I need to learn.

I want to find strength within myself and through God and stop leaning on other people. I want to learn how to be alone. I want to practice sacrifice and fasting. I want to live in the moment. I want to learn more about myself. I want to learn how to use my head alongside my heart. I want to learn how to serve others before myself. I want to learn how to forgive - others as well as myself. I want to learn how to accept God's forgiveness. I want to learn, through friendship, more about myself and more about God. I want to learn how to surrender to God's will. I want to remember my childhood joy and use that as a reflection of my desires for the future. I want to learn commitment now so that I will be able to commit later on down the road. I want to learn how to take pleasure from life. I want to learn how to heal and how to grow from my past. 

I want to learn how to be pure. 

I want to learn about the plan God has for me.

and above all,

I want to learn how to follow my dreams and how to follow God's will.
I want to be a better person. Right now, I'm not someone that I particularly like. I used to enjoy my own company, but I don't anymore.

I want to be able to find my trust, my comfort, my love in Him, not anyone else.

I am committing fully to this. This is a commitment that I will actually stick to.

If you could pray for me, that would be really, really, really awesome.

I'm using the book "The Dating Fast" by Katherine Becker. It's a book designed for a 40 day fast, but I'm going to cycle through the book three times. Hence, 120 days. There also was a FOCUS article but the link is temporarily broken.