2 Common Arguments For/Against Pro-ChoicePro-Life1st trimester when fetus cannot support itselfPersonhood differs from human lifeAdoption is not an alternative—remains the woman’s choiceSafe medical procedureCause further psychological harm in hard casesPersonal autonomy is a civil rightTeenage parents have grim prospectsLife begins at conceptionNo civilization allows intentional harm w/o punishment—law must protect the most basic human rightsAdoptionMedical complicationsProper support for hard casesNot a form of contraceptionProcedure risks
3 When does human life begin? Common source of debate for the abortion issueAristotle: men—40 days after conception; women—80 days after conceptionRoe v. Wade: fetus is only a potential person and is not accorded civil rites under the constitutionSelf-consciousness, rationality, autonomy are required to possess personhoodCatholics: from moment of conception until our natural death we possess a human life
4 Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person -- among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (72)
5 Church’s Stance ALWAYS a grave evil Forbidden in scripture and TraditionConsider the conservation of human dignity“…direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.” (Evangelium Vitae 62)
6 Catechism of the Catholic Church 2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
7 Definition From the Latin word aboriri = “to perish” “the loss of a fetal life”Direct and Indirect abortion
8 Indirect AbortionThe evacuation is not the intended or directly willed result, but the side effect, of some legitimate procedureAs such it is morally allowableOnly two acceptable occasions
9 Indirect Abortion and the Double Effect A rule of conduct frequently used in moral theology to determine when a person may lawfully perform an action from which two effects will follow, one bad, and the other goodTheologians commonly teach that four conditions must be verified in order that a person may legitimately perform such an act
10 Double Effect Conditions The act itself must be morally good (or indifferent)The agent may not positively will the bad effect (but may merely permit it). If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect, he should do so.In other words, the good effect must be produced directly by the action, not by the bad effect. (Otherwise, the agent would be using a bad means to a good end)The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect.
11 Indirect Abortion—Excised Uterus A pregnant uterus is removed because its condition is medically necessaryThere is a living and nonviable fetusThe death of the fetus is a secondary effect and therefore is not directly attacked
12 Excised Uterus AND Double Effect Surgeon intends to save the mother’s life (while it is clear the fetus will die, that is not the intention)Surgeon’s act consists of removing a diseased part of the body which is jeopardizing the mother’s life—presence of the fetus does not alter the nature of the actThe evil effect (death of the fetus) does not cause the good effect (saving the mother)Safeguarding the mother’s health is a proportionately grave reason for permitting the death of the fetus
13 Indirect Abortion—Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy Fertilized ovum lodges in part of the Fallopian tubeThe implanted embryo perforates the tube and hemorrhaging beginsThe growing fetus will eventually rupture the tube—this may kill the mother if surgery isn’t performed
14 Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy: Removing the Fetus vs Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy: Removing the Fetus vs. Removing the Fallopian TubeSplitting the Fallopian and removing the fetus would be gravely evil—direct attack on the fetusThe surgeon sets up to destroy the fetus as a means of curing the motherRemoving the entire tube if it is in a gravely dangerous condition or has ruptured is morally acceptable
15 Excised Tube and Double Effect Surgeon intends to save the mother’s life (while it is clear the fetus will die, that is not the intention)Surgeon’s act consists of removing a diseased part of the body which is jeopardizing the mother’s life—presence of the fetus does not alter the nature of the actThe evil effect (death of the fetus) does not cause the good effect (saving the mother)Safeguarding the mother’s health is a proportionately grave reason for permitting the death of the fetus
16 When Health Isn’t a Morally Licit Reason If the mother has a pre-existing condition where pregnancy will cause grave health concerns, abortion is not morally acceptableIf the deceased organ does not pose a grave and immediate risk
17 Direct AbortionA destruction of the product of human conception, whether before or after implantation in the womb.Intended either as an end in itself or as a means to an end.
18 Interesting Stats (USA) ~6 million women become pregnant per year~1.2 million women have an abortionIn 2005, 22% of all pregnancies ended in abortion (USA)54% of women who had an abortion in 2005, used some form of contraception (USA)9/10 abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks (1st trimester)30% of pregnant teens have an abortion60% of their parents know about it (most support it)
19 Common Justifications for Abortion Birth control failureInability to support or care for a childEnd an unwanted pregnancyFetal abnormalitiesRape/incestMother’s health***Less than 6% of abortions are a result of the final three justifications.***Commonly used as justifications because of the emotional weight they hold
20 Fetal AbnormalitiesAmniocentesis: tests a sample of amniotic fluid for abnormalities (i.e. Down’s Syndrome, spina bifida, etc.)Performed after the 1st trimesterRegardless of abnormalities, the fetus (and baby) have intrinsic human value1% of abortions are related to fetal abnormalities
21 Rape and/or IncestDoes a person’s value change based on their physical condition or the circumstances of their conception???We should not give a baby a death sentence for something it did not doThe woman is often forced to hold on to the evil of rape in order to justify the guilt of the abortion (prevents healing from occurring)1% of abortion cases are related to rape/incest
22 Mother’s Health Indirect abortion=morally accepted Any other reason is morally unacceptable3% of abortion cases related to mother’s health
23 Support and ResourcesOrganizations designed to offer support during the decision making process and afterBack Porch (Edmonton, AB) offers counselling and various educational resourcesFor men and women!!Specialized schools and day cares for teensOver 5000 abortions are performed each year in Edmonton
24 Statistics (USA) In 2005, 22% of all pregnancies ended in abortion 54% of women who had an abortion in 2005, used some form of contraceptionMore than 12,000 abortions in Alberta (2008)More than 105,000 abortions in Canada (2000)By age 45, 1 in 2.5 women have had an abortion
27 Canadian Statistics 2004 Teenagers accounted for 17% of abortions Age accounted for 53% of abortions304 abortions performed on girls 14 or youngerSince legalization in 1969, 2,790,166 fetuses have been aborted (doesn’t account for Morning After Pill)One of the contributing factors to our declining fertility rate
28 Statistics Con’t Abortion rates have dropped over the passed decade. What may account for this decline?Teenage pregnancy rates have also droppedDid you know that regardless of your position on abortion your tax dollars help pay for the procedures?!
29 Accessibility of Abortions Hospitals and private clinics across CanadaLess than half of abortions are done in clinics21 abortion clinics in Canada—ON(13), ON(4), QB(4), AB(2), NF(1), NB(1), MB(1)116/713 hospitals perform abortions (16%)
30 Abortion in Canada Timeline 1969: decriminalize abortions done by a doctor in a hospital - w/in a couple of years publically funded : Private clinic set up in Montreal; after a series of arrests, Henry Morgentaler is no longer charged for the procedure. 1974: > 1 million signatures for the protection of the unborn 1989: First father denied abortion prevention (now men cannot prevent it) 1991: no legal consequences for two women who aborted a child who was partial birthed
31 Timeline Con’t1992: after a failed abortion, mother is given a $3.5 million settlement1994: Pregnant women are recruited for medical abortion trials1999: Nurses at Markham Stouffville Hospital are allowed to decline assisting doctors1999: Morning after pill is approved by Health Canada2007: Alberta MP Ken Epp introduces a bill that would make it a separate crime to injure or kill a fetus in the course of an attack. An exemption for women who consent to abortion is included. Bill wasn’t passed.
32 Physical Health Effects Increase with gestational age past 8 weeksComplications may be immediate or may take years to show upShort term: infection of the endometrium, hemorrhage, lacerations, convulsion, saline poisoning, uterine rupture, mortalityLong term: breast cancer and infertilityRisk in future pregnancies: pre-term birth, ectopic pregnancy
33 Psychological Effects of Abortion Likelihood of depression and anxiety disordersEspecially high for those who have been coercedCommon psychological health problems: anxiety, depression, drug abuse, PTSD, sexual dysfunction, sleep problems, suicidal ideation
34 Methods of AbortionInduced abortion: active removal of the human embryo or fetus before 20 weeksSurgical abortion: using surgical instrumentsMedical abortion: using pharmaceutical drugs
35 Male RightsMen cannot prevent their partners (gf/wife) from having an abortion doneThey can prevent a baby being placed for adoptionTestimony:
36 Pro-Choice AdvocatesBelieve it is up to the women to decide what should or should not be done with her body (radical personal autonomy)Note the lack of the man’s choice and the lack of the baby’s choiceOften associated with feminist ideologyMay say “I wouldn’t get an abortion, but others should have the right to choose.”
37 Pro Life AdvocatesAnyone who ALWAYS chooses the preservation of life over the destruction of itNot just a Christian perspectiveActively promote life through discussion, actions and prayerNEVER use images of aborted fetuses to promote the cause = OBJECTIFICATION
38 Pro Life Not Just For Christians LDS: "elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God.”Hinduism: Unless a mother's health is at risk, traditional Hindu teachings condemn abortion because it is thought to violate the religion's teachings of non-violence. The general value system of Hinduism teaches that the correct course of action in any given situation is the one that causes the least harm to those involved.
39 Other Religions Con’tIslam: at 4 months a fetus has a soul—abortion is not permissible at this pointMost argue that before 4 months it should only occur if the mother’s life is at risk or in cases of rapeJudaism: safe-guard life and well-being of a motherSome denominations advocate for safe and accessible abortion
40 Other Religions con’tProtestants: official stance differs between denominations (many are pro-choice or have various “exceptions”)Buddhists: no official teaching; believe life starts at conception and that killing is morally wrongSikhism: Life starts at conception; very strict stance against abortion***Consider political and cultural impacts on abortion views
41 How you can get involved… Understand the issue and recognize where your stance comes fromSupport and/or volunteer at Back Porch or other support organizationsLife Chain and other various activitiesPrayer
42 References“Pro-Life Versus Pro-Choice: Understanding the Moral Evil of Abortion Issues” by Elizabeth Driedger Youth Update: Abortion (magazine)