This past weekend I found myself listening in on the abortion debate. Oddly, I feel like it has been quite some time since I've heard any argument on the issue at all. I realized last night while reading Praying With My Feet why it was that I was hearing the debate now -- yesterday was Sanctity of Life Sunday (and the 38th anniversary Roe v. Wade). It all makes sense now.
I have always agreed with the Catholic (and Orthodox) Church's stance that abortion is a sin. As a mom who named both of her daughters at 5 months in utero, I find it quite obvious that what is growing in the womb is nothing less than a baby. Thanks to modern science we know when the heart starts beating (it can be detected as early as 5 weeks with ultrasound), when the unborn baby begins to feel pain (between 20 and 26 weeks), how big tiny hands and feet are at various stages, and by about 5 months we even know the sex of the baby. With 3D ultrasounds we can even see just how human these innocent babies really are. So, I will never understand how we can say it's a woman's right to choose whether any baby lives or dies. A woman has the right to choose to have sex or not. She even has the right to choose to use birth control. She should not have the right to choose to end her baby's life.
Below is a video of a speech by Congressman James Lankford made during the recent House vote on the Healthcare Reform Act. While I think the Reform Act is a necessary first step to fixing many of today's problems, I do agree with this Republican Congressman's stand on abortion. I think it's important to note, though, that every year a ban is renewed on federal funding for abortions, and apparently President Obama just recently signed an executive order making that permanent (at least while he's in office).
Here is a link to an article about the doctor who was charged with murdering infants (aka late term abortion).
On the other side of the coin, my alarm clock woke me up Sunday morning to a discussion with Frances Kissling, a pro-choice Catholic. You can find the podcast (Listening Beyond Life and Choice) and more information on the Being website. Needless to say, I don't agree with Ms. Kissling's stand, but she did advocate civil discussions and listening, which is something I do think our society needs in general. She also illustrates one hypocrisy I've always hated -- people who call themselves Catholic and receive communion, but unrepentantly disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church (same for any Orthodox Christian). If you don't believe the beliefs of your church, you are not in communion...
While I may not change anyone's mind, I do think we all need to take a close look at this issue. How can we really say it's alright to end a life in the womb, but charge someone with murder for ending a life seconds later outside of the womb? The doctor who allegedly did just that took those babies' lives at the request of their pregnant mothers. He was performing abortions for them. And whether you vacuum a baby's brains out or crush his skull in utero, or stab him in the neck after you've delivered him, the baby will feel the same pain and IS still a baby.