I love the arguments of “Life begins at conception” so we can’t allow abortion. It’s a really great argument, except for the fact that it is completely false. A good friend of mine reminded me of a statement that Carl Sagan had regarding abortion:
“Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.
In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?”
The conversation came up in response to a discussion regarding someone who has used in-vitro fertilization to conceive, but is anti-abortion. For those that are unaware, the process of in-vitro fertilization includes the death of many embryos in an attempt to allow fertilization. In essence “abortion” according to the definition of many Pro-Live advocates. The response to this being pointed out was a statement “I believe life starts when an embryo is implanted in a uterine wall”.
As Carl Sagan pointed out so eloquently, Sperm and Egg cells are alive (as are most socks). They are living, so is a fertilized egg. It makes no sense to condemn a person for having an abortion based on the assumption that life begins at “fertilization” or “implantation” or even when a heartbeat can be determined. Perhaps a more logical assertion is at viability. Either way, what do you do if a fetus is found to be so horribly malformed that there is zero chance for it to be viable? Do you force a woman to have a stillborn child? Why does your Judeo-Christian definition trump common sense (It’s practically unheard of), free will, and science? Do we accuse someone who kills a spider to be a murderer (or a hero)? Perhaps that particular spider would sire a line of spiders that would go on to evolve into sentient life (or at least become a reality TV star). Perhaps this is a decision between the parents, or a decision that a woman must make on her own. To accuse someone of committing murder for aborting a non-viable fetus is the equivalent of accusing a man of committing genocide for masturbating; or accusing a woman of committing murder every time she goes through her menstrual cycle.
What should be the punishment for these acts? Have you thought this through? How do you prosecute a woman who has been raped and decides to have an illegal abortion?
Remember, every sperm is sacred.