When exactly is a pregnancy terminated?
I realized last week that abortion proponents attempting to answer that question should run into problems. By trying to protect one flank, they’ve exposed another. Have we ever called them on it?
I noticed their paradox when reading Liberty Counsel’s amicus brief to the Supreme Court defending the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.
Liberty quoted the ban as stating partial birth abortions are “ethically different from other destructive abortion techniques because the fetus, normally 20 weeks or longer in gestation, is killed outside of the womb.” (emphasis mine)
Liberty thus noted partial birth abortion is “arguably not an abortion.”
What occurred to me was, to be consistent, the abortion industry’s definition of when a pregnancy begins should agree with its definition of when it ends. But the two don’t jibe.
For over 30 years, abortion proponents have maintained pregnancy begins when an embryo implants in the uterus and ends after a completed delivery.
Many pro-lifers have fought that first supposition, introduced in the 1970s, that “a woman is considered pregnant only when a fertilized egg has implanted in the wall of her uterus,” as states the Guttmacher Institute, research arm of Planned Parenthood.
Why does the abortion industry care? “The definition is critical to distinguishing between a contraceptive that prevents pregnancy and an abortifacient that terminates it. …” explains Guttmacher. “Drugs and devices that act before implantation prevent, rather than terminate, pregnancy.”
Before contraception and abortion were legalized, science logically concluded pregnancy began with conception. I have an 1883 medical textbook stating, “Abortion may, of course, take place any time subsequent to conception.”
That definition became problematic for two reasons:
- Because of the Hyde Amendment, a federal regulation blocking taxpayer funding of abortion, birth control pills could not be distributed with federal dollars if they were considered abortifacients. Nor could federal dollars fund birth control providers like Planned Parenthood.
- Clients asking whether abortion drugs or devices cause abortion would have to be told yes – if pregnancy begins with conception. The new definition frees drug companies and the abortion industry to lie to mothers that the pill or IUD does not cause abortion, even though they may cause her body to eject her 5- to 9-day-old embryo.
That is why Guttmacher considers the finagled definition of pregnancy “critical.”
But that logic would have to conclude a pregnancy ends when the fetus exits the uterus.
The uterus is only one part of a woman’s reproductive system. A pre-born baby may live in her mother’s uterus longer than any other place, but she doesn’t get there magically. Nor does she pop supernaturally from the uterus into the hands of the obstetrician. A pre-born human enters the uterus via the fallopian tube and exits via the vagina, or birth canal.
But according to pro-aborts, a fallopian tube carrying a newly created embryo has no bearing on pregnancy. It merely provides the portal of entry into the uterus.
How then can the abortion industry claim the portal of exit, the birth canal, has anything to do with pregnancy either? Once the baby is outside the uterus, they should consider the pregnancy over, terminated.
This is where a discussion of partial birth abortion comes in. As most know, the abortionist commits partial birth abortion by manually turning the baby inside the uterus to a breech position and delivering the entire baby outside the woman’s body except the baby’s head, which remains solely in the birth canal.
In other words, as Liberty Counsel stated in its brief, the baby is completely outside the uterus when the abortionist punctures and drains her skull.
The abortion industry’s rules about the onset of pregnancy should align with their rules about the end of pregnancy.
They lose monumentally if they give on either point, which they won’t.
Still, it is ludicrous to say a foreign body part in a woman’s vagina gives her just cause to kill that entire foreign body.
Otherwise, women could keep hammers under their pillows and, should the mood strike them at certain times, legally commit partial birth abortion on men by bashing their brains in.
What’s the difference?
Related special offer: