Friday, November 10, 2006

Abortion = Murder, Double Effect, Catholic Teachings, and Research on Aborted Fetuses

This will be a longer paper on abortion that combines and fleshes out my previous posts on it...

Humanity is not a measure of development. A one-week old embryo is as human as an eight-month old fetus, for they both have human DNA and an immaterial soul, made in the image of God, and a spirit. In other words, human nature is present from conception.

1. Murder is prohibited in the Fifth Commandment.
2. The Fifth Commandment is from God.
3. Abortion is murder.
4. Therefore, abortion is prohibited by God.

Premise 3 is demonstrably true. Abortion truly is murder because it is the direct and intentional slaughter of an innocent person. Doctors need to do everything in their power to save the lives of the mother and the unborn child if, for example, surgery is clearly and immintently necessary to save the mother's life. The superbly just principle of Double Effect demands that the action is intrinsically good or morally neutral, that the evil effect of must not cause the good effect and the evil effect must be merely permitted and not desired in itself, and permission of the evil must only be granted for sufficiently grave reasons. If and only if all these conditions are met is the death of the baby morally acceptable, since it would be an unintended side effect of a legitimate medical procedure and not murder.

Research on aborted fetuses is also wrong. Not only is aborted tissue not very useful, but the results of abortions are linked to the objectively evil means by which they were obtained, and thus the use of aborted tissue makes one complicit in the murder of unborn children.

The Didache, from the first century A.D., records apostolic teachings which include an explicit ban on abortion and infanticide.

The baby must not be treated simply as disposable property, which is how slaves were treated in the New World. Because the unborn child is a person, it has that same right of every innocent being: the inalienable right to life.

The fact that abortion is legal does not make it moral. Humans in the age of exploration were treated as cattle; slavery was legal, but not moral.
Coming in Part 2: Discussion of abortion in the cases of incest and rape.

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