Thursday, July 10, 2014

The case against abortion as a "right": Emerging views

I have been reluctant to give my views on this debate, fully aware of the controversies and the passion on both sides. However, I find the views that I am about to share are missing from what I have heard or read. Had someone spoken or written these views, then I could keep silent. But the fact that they are absent means that perhaps I am the person that needs to provide this perspective.

In summary, the flow of my argument is this:

  • rights are things that we are born with, and not give due to our privileged access to technology and applied science
  • If a man or a woman wants to prevent conception, there are alternatives outside of abortion, including sterilization or making oneself an eunuch for career or other purposes
  • If a man or woman wants to delay conception, then there are also alternatives made possible by technology and applied science.
One of the things that bothers me the most is that organizations and individuals are calling for women to have a "right" to "safe" abortions. To me personally, while I fully agree with the argument that women should have a right to control their own bodies, to insist on abortion being a right is a stretch. For me, rights are things that we are born with and do not exist just because we have access to certain technology or applied scientific procedures. Rights are independent of our manipulation of natural laws and processes.

Secondly, to speak of abortion as a "right" is to imply that abortion is the only option or means for women to control their bodies and health. This to me is misleading, as there are other options made possible by technology and applied science that are open and available to women. If a man or woman is serious about preventing conception, there is the option of sterilization or according to the Biblical tradition "making oneself an eunuch". This procedure is totally endorsed by Biblical tradition and is respected by at least one Old Testament and one New Testament writer. Consider Jesus in Matthew 19:12:

For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others--and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
Then consider Isaiah (Isaiah 56:4-5):
For thus says the LORD, "To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
And finally, consider Paul (1 Corinthians 7:1):

Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
As such, being a eunuch is the Biblically endorsed option to those who want to prevent conception. In fact, it is totally and morally okay to make yourself a eunuch for your career or some other purpose. 

Finally, if a man or woman wants to delay conception rather than make themselves a eunuch permanently, there is another option that makes possible delayed reproduction. This option involves freezing eggs or sperms until the desired time, and then having a surrogate mother or invitro fertilization. This process seems both expensive and unnatural to me as well. But it is definitely an option that should be made available for those who want the freedom of delayed pregnancies.

However, some might argue that not everyone can afford this option and that the poor will use traditional medicines and procedures that put women's lives at risk to circumvent these expenses. This is perhaps the biggest case for providing medical procedures. To prevent women from making bad choices in delaying conception that put their life at risk. However, even in this case, it seems to me that such women are making a choice. So even if we make available medically approved abortion, it does not change the fact that a choice is being made among various alternatives. The alternatives include: 
  • sterilization, 
  • saving eggs for later, 
  • having nature/God decide or 
  • just having the child. 
Considering this, it is clear to me that abortion is not a right, but a choice pursued among varied alternatives. [Unless abortion was the only alternative, then I would give it status as a "right"]. Even "safe" abortion procedures are selected among the varied options hat I have mentioned here (above). And until I get new information on the matter that changes my mind, I shall be critical of the discourse that promotes abortion procedures as a woman's "right".

No comments: