While many people may believe that abortion should be legal — albeit under limited circumstances — it doesn’t change how they feel about the morality of abortion. The majority of Americans feel that abortion is morally wrong. And as we continue to have incredible advances in medicine and science, the humanity of preborn babies becomes more and more indisputable. It’s only to be expected that it will become harder and harder to accept abortion.
It’s for these very reasons that a self-described pro-abortion liberal in Ireland is struggling. As Ireland’s pro-life laws have come under attack from pro-abortion extremists, liberals like Donal Lynch have to grapple with the realities of abortion. In an op-ed for the Independent, Lynch asks, I’m liberal, so why does abortion make me uneasy?
Lynch explained, “I’m as socially liberal as they come. I cheered gay marriage past the post. I believe Amnesty International when they say that our laws, as they stand, are inhumane.” He continued, “On a personal level, not supporting the widening of abortion laws would feel hypocritical: If men could get pregnant I am quite sure I would have already had an abortion.” The pro-life side, with their “sugary Christian condescension” felt wrong to him. Yet he still struggles with the idea of legalizing abortion:
So why, even for me, do changes to the abortion laws still seem so difficult for which to cheerlead? Like a lot of people, I have struggled with the biological reality of it. The bald slogan that is seen on placards at abortion rallies – abortion stops a heartbeat – is undeniably true. The gruesome images, and hideous methods (“suction”) definitely give pause, and you never hear anyone from the pro-choice side seriously talk about these.
Lynch pointed out that he isn’t alone; polls show that while people may want abortion legalized for hypothetical situations like saving the mother’s life, or for fetal abnormality, only a very small number of people want abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason. Why? It’s simple: science.
Advances in medical care mean that premature infants can be kept alive even at around 20 weeks; we all know of a baby who was saved in such dire straits. We spend billions on IVF every year. Our timelines are clogged with images of sonograms. We know in our guts that they can’t be “foetal tissue” or “uterine material” one minute and an unborn child the next. We listen to the stories of mentally or physically challenged people, who are often presented to us in the media as the embodiments of all of the emotional arguments against abortion. And we look at the statistics in the UK and realise that if repealing the eighth is the thin end of the wedge and abortion is eventually made on demand, it will most likely be used here, as there, as a contraceptive.
Abortion takes a life. There is no getting around that. “The imagery of the pro-life lobby might seem like revolting propaganda, but it depicts a biological reality,” Lynch said. And yet despite knowing that the pro-life team depicts reality, despite his own conscience telling him that abortion is wrong, Lynch still wants abortion to be legalized. “It feels increasingly more vicious to force any woman – or any man – into bearing the responsibility of unwanted child-rearing,” he said. “The chosen guilt of abortion is for each woman who undergoes one to deal with herself.”
What’s vicious is not protecting life. What’s vicious is exactly what has Lynch so uncomfortable with the thought of legalizing abortion: the act of abortion itself. During abortion, a baby — a human being — is brutally killed. And the further along in pregnancy that the abortion takes place, the more brutal and barbaric the procedure becomes.
Lynch is right when he points out that these aren’t clumps of tissue or products of conception. They are human beings. We know that, for a scientific fact. We know that preborn babies are human beings, due to incredible scientific developments — we have discovered that at a mere 21 days from conception, the baby has a heartbeat, and that just a few weeks later, there are measurable brain waves. By 10 weeks, the baby has his or her own unique fingerprints, and by the time the first trimester is over, all major organs have been developed. We know that babies are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks.
What’s vicious is not protecting the lives of these human beings; what’s vicious is ending them. And that’s the reason that Lynch, and so many people like him, struggle to support abortion, even though they feel like they have to. It’s because abortion is killing a human being. Only the most cruel and heartless of people could advocate for such a thing without feeling even a little bit uncomfortable.