Tender truth: An argument against abortion

Isaac Martin, Political Contributor

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Last week, our nation paused to commemorate a great American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This past Sunday, we remembered the beginning of a new battle for human rights that began only five years after Dr. King’s death.  

In 1963, he led the now-famous March on Washington, where he presented the nation with his great dream. This Friday, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, D.C. at the annual March for Life to help finish the work Dr. King began — ensuring liberty and justice for all. The debate on life has raged for over 40 years and centers around three primary questions.

What about rape and incest?

A common question often raised in this debate is, “What about abortions in the case of traumatic scenarios like rape?”

There are two answers to this legitimate question.

First, according to researcher Wm. Robert Johnston, citing state statistics, if you were to add up all the abortions done because of rape, incest, risk to maternal health, risk to the mother’s life and health issues to the baby, this would comprise less than 2 percent of all abortions in the U.S. Over 98 percent of all abortions are done out of convenience, rather than concern over health or trauma. We can’t justify abortion in general by saying the primary purpose is to help the victims of rape.

Second, even if coping with rape or incest was the primary purpose of abortion, this still wouldn’t mean abortion is the best decision for either the mother or the child. In rape, a woman’s consent is pillaged. In abortion, her maternity is stolen. Abortion doesn’t end the hurt, it perpetuates it.

Whose health comes first, the woman’s or the baby’s?

Many attempt to justify abortion by saying that it is to a woman’s medical benefit to have an abortion. But just what are the health effects if you do opt for an abortion?

A growing body of clinical research indicates there are several substantial side effects of abortion. For example, according to Americans United for Life, if a woman carries her first pregnancy to full term, her body receives a protective effect from breast cancer and her risk of developing the cancer decreases.

However, if a woman chooses to abort her first pregnancy, she loses that protective effect and can’t get it back — you only have one first pregnancy.

I’m not trying to use scare tactics, I just want to warn you that it isn’t just the baby’s health that’s risked by abortion.

The bottom line: Is it a baby?

Some would argue that abortion doesn’t jeopardize a baby at all. “It’s just a fetus,” they say. However, while their term “fetus” is not bad in and of itself, it obscures the intention of those in the medical profession who use it.

Doctors often use very technical language to describe medical procedures and conditions. They use the word “fetus,” not to say that it isn’t a baby, but rather to refer to the stage of development that the baby is in, similarly to the way we use the word “teenager.”

Would you argue that a 2-year-old is not a human because she is a toddler? No, that would be ludicrous. Yet, unfortunately, a perfectly good word (“fetus”) has led many of us to think of the child not as a precious life, but rather as a glob of tissue. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tender truth

There is more to this issue than simply data and statistics— it affects real people with real stories. Though I don’t have firsthand experience with abortion, I do know loss.

You see, when I was 11, my mom miscarried a pregnancy at 20 weeks. One day, I was expectantly looking forward to a new baby brother or sister, and the next day I felt hollow inside, dazed and wondering if this could really be happening.

After the baby, Mercy, was delivered, I refused to see her. I was expecting to see a tangled mass of tissue. But one day, as I was scrolling through pictures, I was riveted by a picture of a miniature, fully-formed hand. It was her’s. She wasn’t bloody; she was beautiful.

Abortion is a sensitive subject. It is wrong to kill an innocent child. Yet, there must be a tenderness toward all involved. As Dr. King said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

How about you? Will you speak for the speechless? Will you love?

Isaac Martin can be contacted at [email protected]