Friday, 23 May 2014

Abortion : Facts and Fallacies

Abortion – Facts and Fallacies

In most cases abortion is...” This must be the first question.

Until we answer this we cannot sensibly have any moral discussion.

How can we go to the Bible – or any other source of moral wisdom for answers until we know the question. Until we know what current social conditions, motives and supposed outcomes are involved in abortion we don't know the question. We must identify the most common situation. This is the one we need to take for our general rule. We must exclude at this stage the rare, the sensational and the extreme cases. Once we have a general rule for the general case these come into perspective as special cases which may warrant special treatment or even be exceptions to the rule

I hope this seems obvious, because it was thoroughly overlooked in the campaigns to legitimise “abortion on demand” in the 1960's. Perhaps “overlooked” is too kind, this question was more of an inconvenient truth as far as the pro-abortion campaigners were concerned. Fallacies suited their campaign the facts did not. So fallacies was what they peddled.

As I said in my previous blog-post, I once put a motion regarding “abortion on demand” to our church synod (Gippsland diocese, Anglican Church of Australia) that caused so much commotion that discussion was gagged. This was done as a motion that the matter being referred to the “Social Responsibilities Committee” of the diocese for the production of a report to synod in due course. I was at the same time invited to take a place on this committee.

At the first meeting of this committee it seemed obvious to me that the chairman was an accomplished manipulator of committees who had every intention of ensuring that the eventual report was strictly pro-abortion.

By about the third meeting I had also read some of the material from other dioceses in Australia and the U.K. That the chairman had circularised to members. They were an absolute disgrace! Even had I agreed with their jaundiced views I would have expected a better standard of thinking in a high school essay. So I started to spend my days off at the nearest university library reading up on what more intelligent people on either side of the debate had written.

Sure enough, there were secular moralists putting serious arguments for both sides of the debate. They were interesting, and made it all the more embarrassing that the churches – who should have had some ideas on moral issues sprouted such ill-informed ill thought-out nonsense that then betrayed their traditional beliefs!

There were also secular researchers interested purely in discovering sociological or epidemiological facts pertinent to the issue. Mostly they were not concerned with making moral observations let alone judgements. They were just interested in real scientific facts Their findings were fascinating, and I will introduce one set of results in this post.

Thirdly there were pro-abortion campaigners. Interestingly, did not bother with the moral arguments developed by the philosophers who agreed with their views. They just went for the emotive propaganda.

So here I am going to set against their main emotive issues the facts from genuine unbiased research. Once we clear away their propaganda lies we will be able to define what the morally relevant attributes of current abortion practice are.

PS the statistics I will quote are from reports of the health department of South Australia covering periods from 1970 to 1984. This was a time when abortion was legal in that state, but certain statistics had to be given by doctors to the health department. As the researchers pointed out, even though abortion was by this time legal, the natural tendency was for doctors to provide a stronger reason for the request for an abortion, so these figures will tend to be conservative.

What were some of the emotive issues raised by the pro-abortion lobby?

1. The pregnant schoolgirl. Images of 13 year old girls in late pregnancy tugged at the heart strings, but was this a typical issue? No! Less that 7 abortions in a thousand were for girls under 15 years of age.

2. The harassed mother of multitudes. At the other end of the spectrum were the images of women ground down by poverty and seriously large numbers of children. As an argument for social services maybe it had merit. As a pro-abortion pitch it was misleading: less that 4 abortions in a thousand were for with women with seven or more children.

3. Saving the mother's life: Here was an argument pushed relentlessly in movies: The young mother tragically dying because she was refused an abortion. Now this is a situation we will examine later because it really is a special case and one where abortion can be clearly justified. However it is precisely that: a special case. It is also a rare case: less than 8 abortions in a thousand made any claim to be in response to a serious medical condition affecting the mother.

4. Foetal euthanasia. Yes this was pushed as an argument. But ask someone whose mother was advised to abort them because they had at foetal stage evidence of some disability how they feel about that one! In any case it was a factor only in a small number – 14 in a thousand – of actual abortions (and included in this number will be foetuses diagnosed with a medical condition which indicated they actually had zero chance of survival, which is a morally different situation).

5. The woman who had been raped. True this is a really heart rending situation and one most of us would quail at advising on. But don't you think it is odd that the same social progressive doctrines that support killing the innocent life brought into being by a rape at the same time vociferously condemn killing the rapist!
But however one deals with this extreme situation it is mercifully so rare – only accounting for one abortion in a thousand – that it has no bearing on considering the morality of current abortion practice.

So all those emotive arguments which were used so effectively to engineer public opinion and make abortion seem like an attractive option for a whole generation were fallacies.

Over 96% of abortions are because for some reason it is inconvenient for the mother to carry her child to birth. That is current practice and that is the situation we will turn to the Bible for guidance on.

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