If there were one politically conservative thing about me (which I hope there isn’t because I scrub extra hard in the shower to try to get it all off me), it would be my views on abortion. At least, what my views used to be. Now I would classify them as moderately liberal, which is probably still the most conservative I get.
Abortion is a tricky matter because the argument has always been formatted into pro-life versus pro-choice, where if you’re against the legalization of abortion, you’re for life, which is obviously a good thing that everyone should agree with. If you’re for the legalization of abortion, you’re for the right for people with uteruses to have a choice in what they do with their bodies, which is also an obviously good thing that everyone should agree with.
I used to be completely against abortion on the grounds that it was murder. You have a little person growing inside you. You kill that person. You are a murderer. Sure, it’s the mother’s body, so she has a right to choice, but shouldn’t the baby also have the choice to live?
This would be true if the growing bundle of joy inside a uterus were actually a person, but, for the most part, it isn’t. Sure, it has it’s own life after conception, but that doesn’t really mean much. A few hours after the egg becomes fertilized, it begins dividing rapidly, forming an embryo. After about three weeks, the embryo is nothing more than a ball of cells without identity, called a blastula. These are the cells used as stem cells because they have the potential to be any kind of cell. Really, all the embryo is at this point is a pile of life mush, and it doesn’t even have a distinct shape until after a month of development. The embryo (which isn’t called a fetus until after eight weeks) is not a person, as it has no identity and no self-awareness. Being against killing this is like being against killing bacteria or the flakes of skin that fall off your arm when you scratch it.
In the next few months, the fetus starts to develop organs and body parts resembling a human. Still, it is not self-aware, nor does it have consciousness. It can perceive things and react to stimuli, but it’s similar to the way plants react to stimuli. They don’t think about what they are doing; it’s more of a reflex. Aborting a fetus at this point has a huge impact because it is more developed and it puts more of an emotional toll on the mother, but it is no more murder than chopping down a tree.
It isn’t until twenty-fourth to twenty-eighth week (third trimester) that the thalamo-cortical complex develops, containing the necessary content for consciousness. Two months after that, global neuronal integration is signaled by synchronization of the EEG rhythm across the cortical hemispheres. Neurologists aren’t sure when consciousness begins, but it is agreed that these things are necessary for consciousness, and so this is the earliest that it is possible. Therefore, in my opinion, this is the point at which we can safely assume the fetus is a person entitled to its own life. Before this point, the only one who can make the decision is the mother because it is her body.
This is my own opinion of where a fetus becomes a person, but of course, this is more of a philosophical argument that a logical or scientific one. However, regardless of your opinion, the argument against abortion should never be for the sake of controlling people’s bodies. Furthermore, if you are against it for religious reasons, please make sure your opinions really are in line with those of your religion’s doctrine. It’s okay to disagree with your spiritual leaders on some issues. Religious doctrines are greatly open to each reader’s interpretation, and your personal interpretation is just as important as someone else’s.
When arguing for or against abortion, let’s try to keep in mind what the argument is really about. Also, as long as it is legal, try not to give people who choose abortion too hard of a time for it. It’s already an extremely emotional and personal decision, and it is a decision that will stay with them for their entire lives. We don’t need to make this any harder on them than it has to be.
Also, to those of you who partake in protesting abortion outside of abortion clinics, the majority of you that I have seen are old, white men yelling about how Jesus hates baby-killers. No one is taking you seriously, so please, just stop. I know you think you’re doing the right thing, but please. Stop.