Topical Controversy Abortion Issues Part 2

About the major controversy surrounding abortion, a look at the issues of legalized abortion devaluing human life.




Issue: Does legalized abortion lead to a general devaluing of human life?

Anti Abortion: Every person--handicapped, senile, eccentric, or unborn--has the right to his or her own life. By allowing abortion we open the door to infanticide, euthanasia, and other types of murder. If abortion is allowed, we will begin to think like Nazis.

Pro Abortion: The right to choose abortion does not lead to the devaluation of human life. A study of 23 preindustrial cultures proves it. In 11 of those cultures abortion was punished, and in the other 12 it was allowed. Yet in the 11 societies that considered abortion to be a crime, slavery, murder, and torture were rampant. Fifteen of the societies practiced infanticide; of those, 8 punished abortion and 7 did not. Abortion does not equal genocide.

Anti-abortion Witness Adolf Hitler, Genocidal Dictator: Anti-abortionists have often accused the other side of having a Hitlerian philosophy. Hitler was against abortion, not in support of it. As he wrote in Mein Kampf, "I'll put an end to the idea that a woman's body belongs to her. . . . Nazi ideals demand that the practice of abortion shall be exterminated with a strong hand." (Hitler sentenced Aryan women who had abortions to hard labor after the first offense, to death after the second.)

Anti Abortion: Though hardly ever stated openly by pro-abortion groups, one of the reasons for liberalized abortion is population control, particularly of poor and minority groups. In some states an abortion costs only about 1/17 as much as the cost of paying welfare for a child for one year. As for worldwide overpopulation, more humane solutions exist--contraception and voluntary sterilization, for example.

Anti-abortion Witness Evelyn Eaton, San Francisco's Catholic Council for Life: "What they're saying is that a dead baby is cheaper than a live one."

Pro Abortion: We are asking only that poor women be allowed equal access to abortion, not that they be forced into abortion. In 1970, about 94% of the women whose deaths were caused by criminal abortions in New York County were black and Puerto Rican. White women, statistically of higher income, went to higher-priced and safer criminal abortionists, obtained "legal" abortions under another label (dilation and curettage), or traveled to a country with more liberal abortion laws. Women who want abortions will get them, even if they have to risk their lives to get them.

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