The inalienable right to life possessed by every human being is present from the moment of initial formation, and all human beings shall be entitled to the equal protection of persons under the law.
The Personhood Debates
Debate 3: The Life of the Mother
Hey, Steve. I'd like to hear what you think of the Q&A section of the Personhood Booklet.
Hi Bill, I agree with all points, save for #5, as there was a woman at my church who, although she would have preferred not to, had to abort her child due to it forming in the tube. Do not get me wrong, I abhor abortions, but, in the case of medical emergencies, if there is no other way, I don't see an option. Please educate me on any option(s) that you may know of.
Thanks, Steve. There are three different ways to answer that one. There is the legal answer, the logical answer and the medical answer.
The legal answer is the one that I've already given in the Personhood Booklet. If the unborn child is a person under the protection of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, then the law cannot contain a life of the mother exception. To do so would be to place the value of one set of people (born human beings) higher than that of another group of people (unborn human beings). This violates the equal protection clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The easiest way to illustrate the legal answer is to apply it to a set of conjoined twins. Nearly all conjoined twins have a shared blood supply, and many of them share at least one major organ. There are many life threatening, medical conditions that can occur in which the sacrifice of one twin would allow the other to survive. Should we then write an exception to our law against murder to say that murder is wrong except in cases of conjoined twins facing a life threatening medical emergency in which cases it would not be a crime to kill whichever twin is the least developed in order to save the other?
No! That exception would be a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments because it would place greater value on one set of people (more developed conjoined twins) than on another group of people (less developed conjoined twins). In order to provide equal protection under the law, the law must prohibit all murder regardless of medical circumstances, and the doctor must submit to that law by treating the life of each patient as equally valuable. In the case of the conjoined twins, He must work to save both twins, and in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, He must work to save both the mother and the baby. He cannot be permitted to kill one of his patients in order to save the life of another.
From a strict legal standpoint, the Personhood Amendment would neither permit nor prohibit abortion in cases of ectopic pregnancies. It would simply recognize that the decision to abort is the decision to kill a person, and it would be up to the courts to decide in each individual case if that decision was justifiable.
The logical answer reveals itself when it is recognized that the question of abortion for ectopic pregnancies is really just a variation of the trolley problem. In the trolley problem, you are placed in the control room of a trolley track. When you look out at the track you notice that there are some people tied to it. On one track there are five people tied to the track, and on the other, there is one person tied to the track. The trolley is just about to reach a junction where it will either go left and hit the five or go right and hit the one. You have a switch in front of you which controls that junction. Do you send the trolley down the left track to hit the five people, or do you send it down the right track to hit the one person?
Most people will choose to send the trolley down the right hand track and allow one person to die for the sake of saving five. My answer is that the question assumes the non-existence of God who promised in His Word to always provide a way of escape so that His children would never be forced into doing evil, but let's look at this problem as it relates to abortions and ectopic pregnancies. In those cases, the choice is not kill one person or kill five people but rather a choice between two individuals.
If we had just two individuals on the track one on the right and the other on the left, then there is no way to justify written instructions placed below the switch which state that you are to always choose to kill the smaller of the two individuals. That is, in essence, what the "life of the mother" exception is. It is a set of instructions for doctors which tells them that they are always to choose to kill the smaller individual instead of the larger.
Even if we do not include God's promise of a way of escape in the picture, it is still clear that such instructions are patently immoral. They represent a departure from the theory of the original trolley problem that you should always do the most good and replace it with a prejudiced predetermination that one class of people is more worthy of life than another.
Medically speaking, ectopic pregnancies are nowhere near as much of an issue as they are made out to be. There have been many reports of successful ectopic pregnancies, and a Personhood Amendment would incentivize doctors to find ways to make such outcomes more likely. Here is a link to one report of a successful ectopic pregnancy, and I can provide you with more when I return home this evening. I can also provide material on successful pregnancies in which the dead mother's body was kept functioning in order to allow the unborn child to develop enough for a c-section delivery. Ectopic pregnancies are certainly very dangerous, but it is just as certain that abortion is not the only possible solution.
Interesting information Bill. While I do abhor abortion, I'm just thinking that absolutes cannot be a good thing. We can try to cover every contingency, but, there's always something that seems to pop up that we "never thought of". That said, you mentioned that it could and/or would be up to a court of law, or jury about a medical situation. Keep me updated.
Here are several links to reports of successful pregnancies in which the unborn child implanted outside of the mother's womb:
And here are a few links to cases in which the mother's body was kept on life support in order to allow the unborn child to develop prior to a c-section delivery: