Reading through the article by Antonia Mortensen and Reuters on CNN establishes that Poland’s new restrictions on abortion have delivered a significant blow to pro-choice advocates in the nation. The ruling by the country’s constitutional court confirmed that “the permissions for abortions may only happen in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.”
“The “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” begins with “life,” and “life” begins at conception.” ― A.E. Samaan.
The Law and Justice party or PiS (Polish: Prawppo i Sprawiedliwość) lawmaker Marek Suski suggests “the exclusion of most extreme fetal deformities should be from the ruling.” He indicates that abortions should be allowed for such cases. The announcement triggered off weeks of mass protests by pro-choice activists. Many protesters in Poland are daubing this ruling as idiotic, as pro-choice advocates protest lividly.
When you bring up abortion, it spawns a significant amount of tension in the United States. It is a very controversial topic in many circles—one which many people will choose to avoid. This article inclines to delve into this discussion, despite being difficult and complicated, to establish the right of those who do not have the right to speak or defend themselves from a judgment placed on them before they can decide what happens to them.
In a televised presidential campaign debate in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 21, 1980, the late President Ronald Reagan stipulated that “I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.” Those that seek abortion had the chance of life at their conception and eventual birth. The opportunity to live is a golden privilege. Those that advocate abortion and those that don’t all have an argument that backs their decisions. The article you are reading is an argument for life.
Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life
Pro-Lifers are opposed to abortion. Pro-Choicers favor the legalization of abortion. For a more robust definition, according to Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice or Pro-Reproductive Rights advocates “believe that everyone has the basic human right to decide when and whether to have children. When you say you’re pro-choice, you’re telling people that you believe it’s OK for them to have the ability to choose abortion as an option for an unplanned pregnancy—even if you wouldn’t choose abortion for yourself.”
“I believe that life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak. And I believe our nation should set a goal that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law.” — George W. Bush.
Furthermore, according to Planned Parenthood, those that are Pro-Life or Anti-Abortionists oppose abortion. Planned Parenthood establishes that the concern of those who are Pro-Life “is the life of the fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus. They are much less concerned about the life of women who have unintended pregnancies or the welfare of children after they’re born.” These are two broad descriptions by the Planned Parenthood Organization.
Kristie Piper provides a robust definition of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice in her October 20, 2020 article titled “Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: What Does It Mean?” Her definitions are verbatim as follows:
- Pro-life (adj): The belief that all human life is created equal regardless of size, level of development, education, and degree of dependency. Therefore, taking the life of a preborn baby is a violation of the fundamental right to life.
- Pro-choice (adj): The belief that every woman should be endowed with the right to her own life and body. Therefore, denying a woman an abortion is denying her the right to bodily autonomy.
When it comes to Pro-Choice or Pro-Life, Planned Parenthood had some conclusive remarks. The remarks are that “A pregnant person should make decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or continue a pregnancy with the counsel of their family, their faith, and their health care provider. Politicians should not be involved in anyone’s personal medical decisions about their reproductive health or pregnancy.”
Some of their conclusions hold some validity, and others don’t, in my opinion. My reservation hangs on the voice of the unheard, the “terminated fetus or life,” that never got a say in the matter. However, it is essential to consider womanhood’s dignity in pregnancy and how it connects to fetuses’ rights to live.
The Dignity of Womanhood and Pregnancy
Fetuses have rights, too—let’s give them a fighting chance to live. That I hold this position does not make me insensitive to women’s roles and their pregnancy. There is a dignity of womanhood, especially during pregnancy. The work of carrying a pregnancy to term is not easy, and I give kudos to every woman who chooses to bear a child. I have seen the toll pregnancy can take on the woman physically and psychologically. It is an arduous journey of pain. However, when that birth is successful, the tears of the month’s past are wiped away as the new life takes its first whiff of air and lets out a cry as she welcomes the baby into this world.
“Yet, this can never really be true that an abortion is a right. Our rights come from God, and amongst them is the inherent right to life—not the right to destroy it.” —Sam Brownback.
Pregnancy is the portal of life and must never trifle with at any cost. Pregnancy should be a choice of a woman and a man who have mutual consent to consummate their union within the legal bounds of a mutualistic relationship and understanding. If their union’s consummation results in a child’s birth, the fact remains that it was a mutual agreement. The duo should be responsible for their due diligence in ensuring that that child receives the nurture and care required for its growth and survival in the world they have come into, and not of their own making. Hence, bringing a child into a relationship equation must be a duo’s mutual choice and responsibility.
Two people who do not have the mutual choice and responsibility of bearing the burdens of bringing a child into this world and raising the child should abstain from the unprotected consummation of a union. It is reckless to do so in such an uncommitted context. It is better to relate and refrain from situations that will lead to consummation. If two people are not ready to take care of a child, why punish themselves and the child by consummation that could lead to the woman getting pregnant? People who indulge in behaviors that lead to the woman/lady/girl getting pregnant should stop and rethink. Why plunge yourself in decision-ditch and demand an abortion for being careless and reckless? Such behavior is wrong in every way. Seeking an abortion because of carelessness and youthful exuberance is unjustifiable.
Another situation the is unjustifiable is getting a woman pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Putting a woman in the family way via rape or incest is a crime against womanhood and humanity and must be taken as such. Those that put women through such physical and psychological stress of seeking an abortion as an exit should receive the highest penalty of the law for committing such heinous crime and inhumanity to womanhood. Maybe, imposing the most increased penalties will deter such crimes against womanhood. Such criminals cannot put women through such confusion, hurt, and horrors and go scot-free. The sentences must be severe enough to encourage a careful rethink by these criminals and deter such crimes. Now, this is the point where the reader will say, “Abortion is justified in the issue of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest!” Not so and not so fast. Hear me out first.
We need to protect the dignity of womanhood. I see the woman as a vase of life and the grace of it. Her worth trumps the value of even the most expensive vase in the world—think the Chinese Qianlong vase, “the most expensive porcelain item ever sold in an auction, when it sold for an astounding $53 million.” Its worth is a drop in the bucket when compared to the worth of a woman. She is a priceless vase—worth treating with dignity and honor. Hence, we must say no to all attempts to desecrate the woman vase. We must never take the worth of a woman lightly. In the advent, a woman faces an unfortunate fate of rape or incest that gets her pregnant, then what must she do?
“Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that respecting women is one of the most important things to uphold in life.” — Anonymous.
Let us address womanhood with dignity, especially in the context of pregnancy. Pregnancy is the portal of life. We should never trifle with it at any cost. Consummation that leads to pregnancy that ushers a new life into the world must be under the umbrella of mutualistic consent, preferably under the banners of a legalized nuptial union. All those that defile womanhood’s dignity through the crimes of sexual harassment, rape, and incest must bear the highest weight of the law to punish the act and deterrence to future heinous acts. So, back to the question posited in the preceding paragraphs, “Is abortion acceptable in the cases of rape or incest? Or in other circumstances of pregnancy?” To do so, let us understand what life is.
What Is Life?
What is life? In the most basic definition, life is “the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms. Life is manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.” In the context of this definition, a keyword that defines life is the word “growth.” It is not stillborn or stagnant. Life grows from stage to stage. We are conceived, given birth to, grow, achieve, live, and then die. The characteristic traits of growth in organic life are metabolism, reproduction or procreation, and the ability to adapt to the environment. Development starts at conception. If we make it past the stages of prenatal development, we grow and come into the world after thirty-eight or so weeks. We grow, we achieve, we die—that is what life is—from the womb’s cradle to the grave of dust.
“Human life is like grass; we grow like a flower in the field. After the wind blows, the flower is gone, and there is no sign of where it was.” — Rex David Jesse.
In the context of humans, life starts at conception. Life begins at the union of the woman’s egg and the man’s spermatozoon at the consummation point. The human fetus is a life, and we must treat it as such. From the moment of the “union” of life’s organic factors (i.e., the egg and the spermatozoon), life begins. Growth begins. No need to delve into all the “Stages of Prenatal Development,” Kendra Cherry does an excellent job of that on the verywellmind.com website. However, the core of her work, which Carly Snyder, MD, medically reviewed, is that growth starts immediately. Life begins at conception, and there is no debate about it medically.
We hope that bringing “life” into the world via the pregnancy portals happens under the auspices of mutual consent. We embrace optimism that it should be so. However, life throws curve balls at times, and sadly it does not always play out that way. I will crease to belabor the point on the depravity of sexual harassment, rape, and incest. I will not cease to decry these crimes. Society must insist that need to leverage the law’s total weight on the fulcrum of justice and reason to punish such acts severely to deter this indignity to womanhood. However, if life’s conception happens due to such crimes, should we right a wrong by doing another wrong? The rhetorical sage would concur that we should not pay forward a wrong with a wrong.
In the words of Stephen Wagner, the Executive Director of Justice for All, in the write-up, “Is Abortion Acceptable in Cases of Rape,” establishes that “an unborn child is a living, whole organism of the human species. Even from a purely logical viewpoint, anyone who is currently a human organism was such since the moment of fertilization. The unborn aren’t potential humans. Rather, they are humans with great potential.” The depth of reason in this statement is profound. It gives life to this portion of this Op-Ed’s position on what life is to humankind’s facts.
Some legal minds may say that if you go by constitutional adjudication, a fetus has no rights. However, if you go by moral and religious perspectives, then that argument can be complex. Legal minds can also argue that all organic hosts that live off humans have the right to life. Extending this view legalistically, when a host’s entire existence depends on what it gets from its host, it is in context an affiliate of that host. It then becomes the host’s decision to classify it and decide on what it should do. Legal minds could continue to argue that the same way organic and cancerous tumors exist in the human body is how a fetus feeds off a mother. So, insofar as its existence is dependent on the mother, she makes the final call. However, the law’s essence is not about imposing orders or conditions; it weighs options and allows that balance between equity and the law. Moral judgment becomes the obligation of the individual as well as the choice.
“The fetus has a right to become the life that it is. The fetus is human life.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.
In refuting the above legal argument from a life’s perspective, we can establish a difference between an organic body and a human fetus. The difference is that an organic and cancerous tumor is living—but it is not a human fetus. The cancerous tumor or organic form is in the host to feed off the host parasitically to terminate the host in its growth process. Cancer grows with no gestation period in view because it is not human life. It keeps growing to destroy the host in time. The purpose of a cancerous tumor is death. Its potential is death. However, the human fetus is alive and at the end of the gestation period is a fully developed human being. The purpose of the fetus is life. Its potential is life. I would not concur with the comparison of a fetus with an organic life form or tumor. It is not comparing apples to apples. The fetus expects to be out of the host to become potential when the gestational period reaches full term. The fetus has a right to become the life that it is. The fetus is human life.
Fetuses Have Rights Too
Life is life. The fetus is life, and we cannot say it’s not, irrespective of how the life conception happens. This statement does not justify indignity to womanhood, as mentioned above in the preceding paragraphs. It decries all wrongs to womanhood. I can’t say it enough that such heinous crimes should meet the law’s total weight as a severe corrective deterrent. We must deploy all measures to curb unwanted pregnancies. As we front on sexual harassment, rape, and incest, we must also frown at the lack of virtue that drowns our planet via casual sex. The art of casual sex is also to blame for unplanned pregnancies. Chastity on the part of womanhood is critical. Human virtue should be a core pursuit by all—especially our youth. Preferably, abstinence from sexual intimacy outside the bounds of the marital union should be the ideal.
“Chastity on the part of womanhood is critical. Human virtue should be a core pursuit by all—especially our youth.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.
Do the complex situation of rape and incest, and pregnancy that ensues justify abortion? My opinion is that ‘we do not right a wrong by doing a wrong.’ Fetuses have rights too, and we need to give them a chance to live also. In the write-up, Stephen Wagner, the Executive Director of Justice for All, “Is Abortion Acceptable in Cases of Rape,” paints a scenario worth sharing. He asked, “Should a two-year-old conceived by rape be killed by its mother? Few would subject an adult born into those circumstances to the death penalty either. The unborn, then, are deserving of the same moral and legal protection offered to the toddler and adult—assuming, of course, that the former is rightly accepted as being fully human from conception.” A fetus has rights, too; we must give them a chance to live.
Fetuses cannot speak as we do, but yet they speak volumes, though seemingly voiceless in the various stages of Prenatal Development (i.e., germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages). Yet, they speak volumes when we shed their innocent blood via abortions. Fetuses may not have the potential to stand behind the witness podium to debate their right to be given a chance to live and contest Roe v. Wade, yet their voice screams volumes when we snuff them out through abortions. Fetuses are alive, they speak latently through their innocent blood, and we cannot rob them of their right and a chance to become their best potential.
Rights to Airing Our Opinions—So let’s Have a Dialogue.
I am well aware that this article is bound to engender a lot of hate and admiration. However, I am not here to force the position of this Op-Ed down anyone’s throat. It is an opportunity for us to dialogue and expresses our first amendment rights to free speech (i.e., The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.) concerning unborn babies’ rights.
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
In the preceding paragraphs, we saw reasons why the fetus should have the right to live. First, the article decries flippant abuse of the act of consummation with no plans of taking care of babies that may ensue from such unions. Second, the law’s weight must be on the side of womanhood to punish all those who engage in rape and incest that lead to non-consented pregnancies. Third, the celebration of the dignity of womanhood is vital.
Human life is sacred, and we must treat it as such. We saw that the defining quality of life is “growth.” From the point of conception, the human fetus begins the journey of growth immediately. In the thirty-eighth week, a baby is born after passing through the germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages. The human fetus has a right to life. The same way we give a toddler a chance and the right to life, we should provide fetuses with the same right to live and become their best potential. Cutting short their life before and during prenatal development stages robs them of the chance of life. Let’s give them a chance to live. That is their God-given right.
Let us reason together and have a decent dialogue where opinions are shared amicably—discussing this with some people who are Pro-Choice or Pro-Reproductive rights made for a touchy discussion. Some establish that women have the right to decide whether they want to retain a pregnancy. They cite that for health and possible risk to their life should they carry the pregnancy to term could mean losing their life (e.g., ectopic pregnancy), they would not carry the baby to term. They also cite that they would not carry the child to term due to psychological or emotional reasons and get an abortion. For instance, if they got pregnant without mutual consent (i.e., the case of rape or incest). These are some Pro-Choice perspectives on having an abortion.
On the flip side of the coin, Pro-Life advocates have a voice in the matter too. For instance, meet Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine, MSN/MBA-c, RN (e-NLC). She is a Registered Nurse (RN) Practitioner and a business mind. She had a lot to say on this note. Oaekpost had a conversation with her on the subject of this Op-Ed—“Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance of Life.” We will present the initial parts of this discussion here, and shortly, we will deliver the entire Op-Ed dialogue with her on Oaekpost. Now, let’s delve into the discussion.
“Love the Woman, the Child, and Those Who Differ. Equally. Every Moment. Every Conversation.” — Justice for All (JFA).
Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze (OAE): I am working on an Op-Ed article for Oaekpost titled “Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance of Life.” I am motivated to explore and write this article in the wake of Pro-Choice protests in Poland, as Antonia Mortensen and Reuters reported on CNN. I believe that the fetus has a right to life too. I am sampling opinions from women to hear their thoughts on abortion to allow me to have some factual points as I build my article. Would you be okay with sharing your position on this note?
Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine (ONP-A): There is something to be noted about those who rally around the “pro-choice” debate on life—they have already been born. They’re able to express their opinions because they possess the gift of life. Being alive and calling for the lives of other humans to be extinguished is where the injustice lies.
Why defend the right to deny another life? We deem a bacterium discovered on a remote planet as a sign of life. Yet, the human fetus is considered an inconvenience to its mother, and society hails this female as a hero for not bringing a child into the world for whatever reason the “mother” cites. The pro-choice debate is deeply rooted in moral decay. Yes, there are cases where even the most ethically cultivated individual would stumble on what the clear option should be, but those cases are exceptions, not the norm.
“Why defend the right to deny another life? We deem a bacterium discovered on a remote planet as a sign of life. Yet, the human fetus is considered an inconvenience to its mother, and society hails this female as a hero for not bringing a child into the world for whatever reason the “mother” cites.” — Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine.
For instance, I have held a lifeless 23 weeks old fetus in my hands. The little girl was every bit a human. Her mother, weeping in her labor room, was proof that the child’s life mattered to her. The medical professionals taking care of her case attempted CPR on the child. We prayed for any sign of the will to fight in the child. It was not to be in the end—she painfully lost her child. But that was not a decision made by anyone in the room. It is a high disregard to take something one cannot give.
Life is sacred. The only capacity to which I support pro-choice is that the woman chooses not to become pregnant.
OAE: So, are you leaning towards a motion that “Fetuses have rights too…”
ONP-A: Yes, I am. Let me say this; doctors swear an oath to do good, or at the very least, not to do harm. Abortions cause harm. Some women have died attempting it. Some use it as a rag to wipe away the evidence of a decision poorly made. It is selfish. Researchers often exclude pregnant women, young children, and the mentally incapacitated during clinical trials, deeming them special populations. Should we not exclude the unborn from a potentially deadly experiment because the fetus cannot grant consent? Hence, the unborn should also be allowed the opportunity to choose whether to live or die.
“Life is sacred. The only capacity to which I support pro-choice is that the woman chooses not to become pregnant.” — Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine.
The whole Op-Ed dialogue with Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine, MSN, MBA-c, RN will come as stipulated earlier. However, the discussion has started on this topic, so let us continue this dialogue in the article’s comment section. Please, do well to be respectful of the opinion of others. Let’s shun the use of derogatory terms as the Conversation continues on the essence of this topic— “Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance of Life.”