A full ninety percent of all abortions occur during the first trimester, the first 13 weeks of development, yet significant brain development does not occur until week 20. The embryos are not conscious beings and don’t have the ability to react to their environment. One might argue, “but it has the potential become a human” true, but that remains the case for the embryos of all living organisms.
Since all organisms start off as a near identical cluster of cells they have the potential to develop into any animal. What decides the final outcome are the blueprints, the DNA, inside the cells which determine how the cells form. Despite anti-choice propaganda, the embryo of humans does not have all of its genes at conception. The DNA blueprint is generated progressively, by interactions with the environment and by complex internal negotiations within an increasing complex embryo.
In the early stages of development the embryo of a human is not on a direct path towards a fully developed human baby. Since our DNA still contains all of the instructions from our evolutionary ancestors the embryo goes through many of the early development stages of other animals before starting to develop as a human. Before the embryo develops anything that resembles a human face, it first develops a tail, only to later disappear when a newer gene kicks in to guide the development toward human physiology.
To recap, the embryos that are aborted are not conscious beings and cannot be considered any more human than the embryos of any other organism. Even with most of the blueprints written out, and some of the parts in place, an embryo is no more a human life than a door is a mansion or a pigment is a painting.
Aside from unwanted births, there are a variety of health conditions in which abortion may become necessary to save life. There is, for example, a form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure that can be life threatening. The medical term for it is preeclampsia. It occurs in seven percent of pregnant women. If it is untreated or doesn’t respond to treatment, it can lead to convulsions, failure of various organ systems, coma, or death. Abortion may be the only way to save the woman’s life. Certain other conditions, such as severe diabetes, heart disease, or trauma from car accidents, may also require abortion. Termination of pregnancy is also essential to save the life of a woman with an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
Some anti-choice propagandists make the ridiculous claim that having an abortion increases a woman’s risk of cancer. Not only is this a completely false scare-tactic, it is actually the opposite which is true. Pregnancy is what increases a woman’s risk of having cancer and there is no link between abortion and cancer. Newer studies have shown that abortions are sometimes necessary to avoid being at risk of contracting cancer.
Fundamentalists are convinced that a “soul” is inserted somewhere during conception, and that that soul must reside in a human body long enough for the human body to develop a brain that is capable of learning about and accepting Jesus or else that soul won’t make it to Heaven. It is the Bible’s false claims of the existence of souls, Heaven, and Hell that are the real root of controversy.
If God created our bodies then he is the biggest abortionist of all times. A spontaneous abortion or miscarriage is where the life of an embryo or fetus of a human baby is terminated. 15% of all pregnancies end in a spontaneous abortion and many of these women do not even know they are pregnant. Sometimes the pregnancy will only last a few weeks and the women may think the spontaneous abortions is just her menses. 25% percent of all women will have a natural spontaneous abortion in their life.
In conclusion the Right Wing rhetoric continues, and the Christian Crazies’ biblical interpretations continue to serve their petty needs. The very idea of a deity is in and of itself ludicrous, but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime embryos are not little humans, just a collection of cells without heart, brain or soul.
Parts of this story were heavily edited from the contributions of Truth Saves.