You are on page 1of 1

1

THE MORAL ISSUE OF ABORTION 4.0. Abortion a method of birth control in which conception is terminated rather than prevented; recommended by Plato and Aristotle (frowned upon by Hippocrates in 4th Cent. BC) Art II, Sec 12 of 1986 Consti: the state recognizes the sanctity of life and shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception; 150,000-750,000 abortions per year by NEDA in clandestine practice 4.1. Meaning and Types: Abortion expulsion of a living fetus from the mothers womb before it is viable; Dr. Andre E. Hellegers: termination of pregnancy spontaneously or by induction prior to viability; viable at 28th week with 10% survival 4.1.1. Natural Abortion expulsion by natural or accidental causes; miscarriage 4.1.2. Direct or Intentional deliberately induced expulsion of a living fetus before it has become viable 4.1.3. Therapeutic -- deliberately induced expulsion of a living fetus in order to save the mother from the danger of death brought by pregnancy 4.1.4. Eugenic (or Selective abortion or Abortion on fetal indications) recommended in cases where certain defects are discovered in the developing fetus; argument: better for a child not to be born than for it to live a miserable life, burdened with crippling genetic disorders 4.1.5. Indirect Abortion removal of the fetus occurs as a secondary effect of a legitimate action (e.g., cancerous uterus or a case of ectopic pregnancy); save the life of the mother if both lives cannot be saved 4.2. The Moral Issue: Beginning of Life, Fusion of soul and body, viability? 4.3. Immediate Hominization person exists upon conception (by Plato, 427-347, and St. Gregory of Nyssa, 335-394AD); young innocent person is present at conception 4.4. Delayed Animation ensoulment occurs at a later time but not from the moment of conception (by Aristotle, 384-322): ensoulment occurs about the 40th day for males and the 80th day for females (sexist obviously), 5.7-11.4 weeks, from Fletcher:90); St. Anselm & St. Augustine about fetus animatus versus fetus inanimatus; Aquinas (Summa Theologica I:76): the effect cannot be greater than the cause; it is therefore impossible for the seminal power to produce the intellectual principle or soulbut only through creation by God (ST I: 118) CC: rational soul is immediately created by God; the soul is in the embryo, i.e., the nutritive soul, from the beginning, then the sensitive soul, and lastly, the intellectual soul (ST 1, q.118, q.2, ad.2); Intellectual principle is received only into the body that is capable of receiving it (Curran: 69-71), hence delayed animation; ensoulment the fusion of the spiritual soul into the embryo 4.4.1. Implantation implantation or nidation, according to geneticists, takes place six to seven days after conception (Varga: 41; Bok: 24); embryo goes down to the fallopian tube towards the uterus and burrows itself in the endometrium or uterine wall 4.4.2. Unity and Uniqueness when uniqueness of the fetus is definitely established (2-4 weeks; Bok:24) or 28-30 days after conception 4.4.3. Looks Human when the fetus already looks human (Varga: 41), 5th-6th week; when the nostrils of the fetus are complete (6th-7th week; Gen. 2:7) 4.4.4. Electrical Activity when electrical impulses or activities are first detectable from the brain (8th week); when brain starts functioning (death cessation of electrical activity of the brain) 4.4.5. Quickening when mother feels the spontaneous movements of the fetus during the 10th to 12th week of pregnancy 4.4.6. Viability 28th week or 7th month of pregnancy; can survive outside the womb 4.4.7. Birth child has become biologically independent of his mother (Fletcher 1954:90) Fertilization: 6-8 hours following coition; female egg and male sperm unite in the oviduct or fallopian tube 4.5. Pre-Implantation period: 300-500M sperms (72 hours survival time) + ovum (24 hours); capacitation certain substance of mucus in the females uterus changes the sperm and makes it potent (6-8 hours after ejaculation); zygote contains hereditary characteristics of both mother and father 4.6. Cell Division Process one division per day (according to Embryologists); sphere of cells enters the uterus and implants; one sphere to become placenta, the other fetus; burrows itself into the endometrium through a stalk which eventually becomes the umbilical cord connecting the embryo to the uterine wall and the blood stream through which the fetus receives its nourishment; end of pregnancy is delivery of the baby called parturition (baby is parturate) 4.7. Curettage technique of scraping a body cavity, as the uterus, by a curette (resembling a spoon or scoop) to prevent implantation (e.g., 6-9 days from rape/ incest) 4.8. Three General Viewpoints of Abortion 4.8.1. Conservative abortion is never permissible; the fetus has full ontological status with same rights 4.8.2. Liberal stresses womans right to control her body own body; fetus has no ontological status but only a tissue in the uterus 4.8.3. Moderate position abortion is permissible up to a certain stage of fetal development; fetus attains ontological status only at quickening or viability 4.9. Pro-Life Movement: supports Vatican II Teachings; there is life at conception; life is sacred from its beginning because it involves the creative action of God; we need to protect the weak 4.10. Effects of Abortion: physical and psychological 4.11. Pro-Choice Movement: justifications for the expulsion of fetus (Personal: freedom of choice; Church doesnt carry the burden of child rearing; from ectopic, from a having a child with a rapist; women should be the ones to decide; Social: alleviates demographic problem; Fetal: prevents terribly malformed fetus; deformity causes staggering financial and psychological costs; method of eliminating undesirable sex)