I redrafted this column last Mother’s Day, amidst the US Supreme Court revisit of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. I am eternally grateful to my mother, Maxima, who passed away in November 2019 at the age of 101, for respecting my rights and for protecting me when I was a fetus in her womb. My admiration also goes to all mothers around the world who value and cherish their unborn.
When I first came across the question “Does the fetus have rights?”, I wondered how anyone could even think otherwise.
If the fetus, which is actively growing with a life of its own, is allowed to develop normally, it would mature and eventually become one of us, so why wouldn’t it have rights, just like us? I grant you that a fetus is not a fully developed person and is not independent, exactly like us when we were in our mother’s womb.
Even the fetuses of our animal pets, who do not even have the potential to become humans, are accorded their rights and have legal protection against cruelty and abuse under our laws. Why not for the unborn human fetus?
I am surprised why there is even a debate at all whether fetuses should be considered human beings, and whether we, fellow humans, should have the right to kill them or not.
To me, the issue is lucidly clear and has been “naturally pre-determined.” These are not fruits or vegetables or any inanimate objects. They are living organisms, with a life of their own. Killing them, even under a legalized system, is still murder, no matter the legal semantics.
A fetus does count! If a pregnant mother is a victim of any violence or crime, which results in the death of both the mother and the fetus, the courts count the “value” of the fetus, and if the perpetrator is found guilty, he/she could be sentenced to, and meted out, “double” the punishment because of the two dead victims. So, why should the value of the fetus be “zero” in the case of intentional termination of pregnancy?
Another argument I find ludicrous is the one that says a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body, and therefore she has the right to terminate the life of her child inside her womb. The fetus inside the womb is not a natural and integral part of the female body. All the women I know or have read about were not born with a fetus inside their womb as a part of their anatomy. Her entire body and appendages are natural parts of her, but not a fetus. So, how can the pro-abortion group claim that a fetus is a part of the woman’s body, and, therefore, could be “cut out” at her whim, like her hair, or her nails? The woman has the right to mutilate her own body, cut off her limbs or even her head if she so chooses because that’s her own body and her life is her own. But the fetus is not a natural part of a woman’s anatomy. It is another life.
If a woman does not want to be pregnant, she could, and should, with modern medical advances, prevent conception. Why even carelessly allow life to start at all and then decide to annihilate it for expediency and personal comfort?
If mercy killing of a terminally ill person in constant pain as an act of compassion is illegal, why should killing a healthy unborn at any stage be legalized? The wanton killing of fetuses our society has allowed for the past half a century is an immoral and shameful period in the history of man(“kind”?).
As a physician, I fully agree that termination of pregnancy is medically and morally warranted in cases of incest, rape, and when the life of the mother is jeopardized by the pregnancy.
I do realize the situation is not that simple and straightforward. But guided by our religious sensibilities and compassion, our education, and our culture where the family is the basic structure of our foundation in society, I am puzzled why there is, as I stated earlier, even a debate on the matter at all.
The abuse of freedom
The everlasting controversy in the abortion debate really hinges on the denial that a fetus is a human being, and on the misinterpretation of the word freedom.
The pro-choice group (who, accurately, should call themselves pro-abortion – a distinction they evidently are not proud of themselves) believes that the freedom under the constitution means the right to do whatever one chooses, and in this case, obviously including the mother’s right to have her unborn killed. That is, of course, blatantly immoral, criminal, ludicrous, and actually should not be constitutional.
The freedom and right to choose, as guaranteed by our constitution, gives us the liberty to do ONLY what is right, proper, ethical, moral, and legal. Freedom does not mean the liberty to do anything one wants to do, even abridging the rights of others, like killing the weak, the sick, or even the hopeless and terminally ill, and extinguishing the life of the innocent, fragile and powerless fetus. Promulgating a law to declare premeditated murder legal does not make it right or deservingly constitutional.
Terminating early pregnancy or mutilating a living fetus, cutting them into pieces, and crashing their skull should never be a part of our freedom in a civilized society. Even the blind can clearly see this very vividly!
The unborn did not force its mother to have and enjoy a carefree, careless, unprotected sex. IF the “death penalty” were at all warranted to be meted out to one of them, it should be to the guilty perpetrators and certainly not to the innocent victim, the faultless and defenseless unborn.
WHO reported between 40-50 million abortions are performed worldwide annually, about 125,000 each day.
Since January 22, 1973, when abortion was legalized in the United States, more than 63 million have been carried out, 13 million more than the number of people killed during World War II. Today, over 3,000 abortions are performed daily (around 1 million 95 thousand a year) in the USA, where 22 percent of pregnancies are aborted.
The US Supreme Court will soon decide whether to strike down the almost 50-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade decision which made abortion legal in this country. Will the millions of on-demand killings of the unborn be finally stopped?
I honestly do not understand how some obviously intelligent and educated people, who value their own personal rights and are vigilantly fighting for those rights, can unconscionably deprive the rights of their own helpless fetuses, their own flesh-and-blood, to live? I wonder how the members of the pro-abortion movement would feel if they learned their mothers actually had wanted them terminated as fetuses.
This is my opinion, and I’ll respect yours.
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com Email: [email protected]