Is abortion murder? This is a question many people all over the world ask. And the church is at the center of such debate. There are several contrasting views on whether or not feticide is murder.
With the help of medical science, there are viable arguments for both sides. We will take an objective look at the topic, leaving you to decide whether abortion is killing a baby or not.
What is Abortion?
Abortion has been defined differently by different organizations. According to the United States National Library on Medicine, abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed health care professional.”
Another definition given by the Harvard Medical School defines abortion as the removal of pregnancy tissue, products of conception or the fetus and placenta (afterbirth) from the uterus. In general, the terms fetus and placenta are used after eight weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy tissue and products of conception refer to tissue produced by the union of an egg and sperm before eight weeks. Other terms for an abortion include elective abortion, induced abortion, termination of pregnancy and therapeutic abortion.
Whatever definition it’s given to the process, the simplest meaning is ending a pregnancy.
Does Abortion Hurt the Baby?
This perhaps is the most defining question that supports or negates abortion as murder. In giving an answer to this, we must make recourse to medical science. It is commonly debated among medical practitioners at what age a fetus begins to feel stimuli or pain. It is generally accepted by the medical field that a fetus feels the pain of abortion as much as the mother. In some cases, more than the mother.
A recent study by the NIH shows that the threshold for tactile stimuli is lower at earlier stages of gestation. The pain inhibition mechanisms are not sufficiently developed during intrauterine development which leads to increased intensity of pain in the fetus. All this points to the fact that the fetus is extremely sensitive to painful stimuli. This fact should be considered when performing a medical procedures on a fetus.
However, it is important to note that it’s unclear and unlikely that a fetus below 20weeks feels pain. This means a fetus is less likely to feel pain if feticide is performed below 20 weeks.
Types of Abortion
There are several types of feticide. However 2 major types are frequently used – medical and surgical.
Medical abortion refers to killing a fetus through the use of pills known as mifepristone and misoprostol. These pills are taken at different intervals. However, the timing should be prescribed by a medical personnel.
Usually, misoprostol must be taken not more than 48 hours after mifepristone. Mifepristone, stops the pregnancy from developing while, Misoprostol ensures that the uterus empties. This occurs after about 4hours of taking the pill.
This form of abortion causes women to experience cramping and bleeding as the uterus empties. The cramping pain is different for each woman. This method ensures that the pregnancy leaves in 4-5 hours after the last pill is taken.
Surgical feticide involves the use of various surgical procedures to terminate a pregnancy. Some of the methods of surgical operation include Vacuum Aspiration, Dilation and Evacuation, and Labour Induction Medication.
3. Vacuum Aspiration
This procedure refers to the use of gentle suction to end a pregnancy. It’s used during the first trimester. In this method, the doctor begins the procedure by:
- Inserting a speculum into the vagina of a woman.
- Using an injection to numb the area of pain.
- The next thing is to use rods (dilators) to open the cervix and insert a tube into the uterus.
- The last thing to do is to use either a manual or mechanic suction device to empty the uterus.
4. Dilation and Evacuation
Dilation and evacuation is used during the second trimester. A doctor administers an anesthetic to ensure that the woman feels no pain during the process of dilation and evacuation. The doctor starts by:
- Inserting a speculum into the woman’s vagina.
- Next, he/she uses dilators to open the cervix.
- After this, the pregnancy tissue is removed with small forceps.
- Finally, they use suction to remove any remaining tissue.
5. Labour Induction
This process occurs later in pregnancy and it’s described as a dangerous procedure. Medication is taken to induce labour, and then the fetus is flushed out. The medications can be taken orally or insertion via the vagina or uterus
Other forms of Surgical abortion are Menstrual Aspiration, Dilation Curettage, and abdominal hysterectomy.
Side Effect of Abortion
There are several side effects of feticide. These includes:
- Perforation of the uterus.
These side effects are rare according to medical practitioners and can managed easily if it’s reported quickly. It is also important to note that Havard Medical School claims that women rarely become infertile after an uncomplicated abortion. However, infertility may result when surgical abortion leads to endometritis or complicated by heavy bleeding, perforation or incomplete removal of pregnancy tissue.
Having seen the effects of feticide on the baby and the side effects on the mother, it is difficult to deny that abortion is killing a fetus which has life- human life. So, what exactly does the Bible say?