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My perspective on...Abortion Pt. 1

Abortion is as messy and gray area an issue as they come. First of all, it should be stated, that I personally dislike, and almost despise, abortion. If you are having sex, even with protection, you should realize that there is a risk of pregnancy. What would be the most preferable situation, would be if the girl could have the baby, and give it up for adoption. I think there is a clear difference between a potential human life, an actual human life, and the separate sperm and egg. Once that sperm hits that egg, and that process starts, you have the “potential human life”, which, if untouched, will become a fully grown, fully functional (in most cases) human being. There is, whether avid abortion rights supporters like it or not, a responsibility in creating that potential human life. Now of course, its not an easy task to carry a baby to term, its actually one of the most difficult things a woman can do in her life, and the most painful. It also presents a problem, for example, with young people, say, in school. The social stigma of being a young pregnant teenage girl, is a terrible burden to bear, along with the physical demands, and the added stress, while trying to do well (hopefully trying to do well) in school. So even if they do give it up for adoption, it can still easily throw a big nasty wrench in the girls life. So, in the end, it is up to the individual. I would prefer, they took responsibility for the action of creating that life form, which will one day become a full human being, and have it born. But, if they choose to abort it, then I not only fully understand that decision, but there is a good chance I would probably do the same in that situation. Finally, if they do decide to get an abortion, it should be as early as possible.

To be approached in a purely non-biased way, to find the “correct” stance, we start with; Are abortions murdering babies? To answer this, we have to determine if a zygote, fetus etc, are in fact equal to that of a full grown baby. Many questions arise in this area alone. Is it conscious? Can it feel pain? Can it think? Suppose a fetus did not meet the criteria for life exactly, these other questions come into play at that point. Surly if it is even somewhat conscious, then aborting it should be illegal. But this is getting ahead of itself, lets start with the first question; When is the baby conscious?

When a single sperm enters the mother's egg cell, the resulting cell is called a zygote. The zygote contains all of the genetic information (DNA) needed to become a baby. Half of the genetic information comes from the mother’s egg and half from the father’s sperm. The zygote spends the next few days traveling down the Fallopian tube and divides to form a ball of cells.---1
So, obviously at this point, it has no ability, whatsoever, to be conscious in any form. It cannot feel pain, it cannot do anything. It is almost nothing. So aborting the baby through a medication of some kind, at this point, at the very earliest stage of pregnancy, is 100% ok with me, as far as legal issues go.

The zygote continues to divide, creating an inner group of cells with an outer shell. This stage is called a blastocyst. The inner group of cells will become the embryo, while the outer group of cells will become the membranes that nourish and protect it.
The blastocyst reaches the womb (uterus) around day 5, and implants into the uterine wall on about day 6. At this point in the mother's menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus has grown and is ready to support a baby. The blastocyst sticks tightly to the lining, where it receives nourishment via the mother's bloodstream.---1

Same as before, it has no ability to come anywhere close to consciousness, of any kind.

*Note: I am only concentrating on the brain, the other limbs and parts are developing, but without the brain there is no consciousness, which is what the main point of this is.
If something WAS NEVER conscious, then there is little shame in aborting it.

The cells of the embryo now multiply and begin to take on specific functions. This process is called differentiation. It leads to the various cell types that make up a human being (such as blood cells, kidney cells, and nerve cells).--- (Vorvick, and Storck)
At this point as well, only the basic building blocks for the body are coming together, no living human being is present, whatsoever.

---Week 5 of pregnancy (gestational age)
The brain, spinal cord, and heart begin to develop.---

---Weeks 6 - 7 of pregnancy (gestational age)
The brain develops into five areas and some cranial nerves are visible.---1

Again, there is no brain activity here, it is not conscious, and is completely unaware of its existence and its surroundings and has no ability whatsoever to feel anything at all, aka, not a live human being. Another thing should be noted, that some may say that simply because someone/something is not currently conscious, doesn’t make them NOT human. The difference though, for the Embryo, is that it was never conscious at any point of its existence. Something has to be conscious a first time first, before it can be considered, as a whole, a conscious being.

Through weeks 8-10 the brain and the rest of the Embryo continues to develop, but no major brain developments occur that would suggest in any manner, a sentient life form.

The end of the 10th week is the end of the embryonic period and the start of the fetal period. At this point, in my mind at least, there should be no debate about whether a Zygote, Blastocyst, or an Embryo are “OK” for abortion or not. There is literally nothing that suggests any bit of consciousness, awareness, or ability to feel pain. If I kill something that was never, ever, even once conscious, is not aware of anything, and has no ability to feel anything, then at that moment of ending its small existence, I am technically not committing murder. It is of course argued that it could be a viable baby, within the span of another 3-6 months, that killing it, would be killing that future baby. This is a hard argument to really defeat. Its just truth. In those few months, that 11 week old fetus will become a viable human being. Its the hardest thing to get around. But as a fact of the legality of it, if it is not murder, then...its not murder. It could be compared though, to preventing a sperm and egg from meeting using birth control. When you are aborting that embryo, or early fetus, you are stopping it before it has the chance to become a human being. Thats essentially what you are doing with a condom or birth control pills, you are preventing the natural process of sex from creating the thing it was meant to create, only for birth control and condoms, its preventing it from developing further back. This is why some (the Pope and Rick Santorum for example) are against having sex, but not having a baby, I think. Makes some sense from their stand point I guess. But since the anti abortion groups have labeled it “murder”, and I have just proved that it is not “murder”, then as far as a 10 week old Embryo/early Fetus goes, that part is a clear and cut case. Abortion with no exceptions for anything 10 weeks and younger (thus far).

After looking at the rabid development of the fetus from 11 weeks on, I find it difficult to imagine killing that life form. From weeks 11 to 22 for example, the fetus/baby (from now on, I will just refer to it as “baby”, its easier that way) can make a fist with its fingers, it can make active movements, it makes sucking motions with its mouth, it can hear, it can make more movements closer to 22 weeks, and the mother can actually feel it moving, and the heartbeat can be heard. At this point it seems like, its coming alive, in a manner of speaking. And while we are getting into the 22 week area of development, it should be mentioned that premature births can occur anywhere from about 22 weeks on (although premature births that early at 22 or 23 weeks rarely survive, and if they do, there are all sorts of medical issues the child will face as they go through life). 1, 2

---Around 5,000 are born before 31 weeks; fewer than 300 are born between 22 and 23 weeks. "If you take the case of all very premature babies," says Wyatt, "the majority do well and go to normal schools, and do the normal things. However, the studies confirm that there is a high incidence of educational and behavioral problems. Of babies less than 28 weeks that figure is about 50% - but that doesn't mean to say it would be better not to have given them a chance."---2
So, how early should a baby be prematurely birthed, before the problems it will likely have come into the decision making process, of whether to do it or not? This is one of those gray areas I mentioned at the beginning.

1 Vorvick, Linda, and Susan Storck. United States. National Library of Medicine. Fetal Development. Washington D.C.: National Library of Medicine, 2011. Web. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm>.

2 Edemariam, Alda. "Against all odds." Guardian. 20 2 2007: n. page. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/feb/21/health.lifeandhealth>.
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