I got this through my mailbox today. This was my response:
Today I received your note on abortion through my mailbox, and I would like to respond to several points you raised. I hope you won’t mind me doing so, as you provided an e-mail address (and so presumably desire feedback).
In the first place, I would argue that abortion is not ‘the ultimate’ form of child abuse. This argument is logically invalid given that ‘child’ implies a conscious, sentient human baby able to feel pain and process emotions such as fear, anxiety and concern (emotions and feelings consistent with the abuse you claim ‘victims’ of abortion would feel - emotions and feelings that would constitute abuse). Most abortions are performed within the first trimester. In Western Australia, it is illegal for a woman to abort her fetus after the 20th week of pregnancy (eight weeks before the beginning of the third trimester) unless the baby is likely to be born with a severe medical condition. Given that fetus does not develop even the beginnings of a brain stem until 7 weeks, and is not capable of consciousness until the third trimester (some scientists believe consciousness does not even occur until birth) it is logically invalid to call the abortion of an embryo or fetus ‘child abuse’. The fetus is not conscious. The neocortex (which is responsible for pain reception) does not develop until early on in the third trimester (well after the cut-off date for elective abortions). Therefore, to say the abortion of a first - or even a second trimester fetus - is abusive is ludicrous. I point you to this article on fetal brain and cognitive development by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D: http://brainmind.com/FetalBrainDevelopment.html
To resume - you go on to express you shock and disappointment that 95 state politicians refuse to ‘do anything’ to end abortion, and that none of them would help introduce a private member’s bill on the subject into parliament. Mr. Conder, we in Australia are fortunate enough to live in a democracy. Whilst I have the greatest respect for people who stand up for what they find to be injust within our society and government, I can’t help but feel that if (as you put it) the “…population seems to accept it,” that might indicate that the majority is in favour of abortion, rather than against it.
Your statistics regarding the number of babies to die every 14 minutes confused me. Is that one baby every 14 minutes in Western Australia? In Australia? In the southern hemisphere? In the world? You imply (given the context of your note) that these babies are all aborted fetuses. This seems highly unlikely given that the number of reported legal abortions in W.A. in 2008 was 5738. That means that in 2008, in W.A., 0.01 fetuses were aborted every minute (0.14 every 14 minutes). Even allowing for a massive swell in the number of legal abortions in W.A. since 2008, and a small margin of growth for unreported abortions (legal or otherwise), I find it highly unlikely that that tiny figure could have swelled from 0.14 per 14 minutes to 1. I found those 2008 statistics here - http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/index.html - if it interests you. Admittedly the number of abortions in the USA (for example) is much higher, but given their much larger population, that is to be expected. Also, your note seems to be targeted primarily at W.A. as a state, therefore statistics from other states (and certainly other countries) don’t seem to be particularly relevent to the discussion.
Admittedly, another site I found cited the number of abortions in Australia as likely much higher (80,000 - 90,000 per year) and whilst to me this seems like a more accurate figure than a meagre 5738, the source is a pro-life website (who seem to have more to gain by skewing statistics in their favor). They say their source is ‘‘Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia 2002’ Department of Human Services, Government of South Australia’, which leaves me baffled as to whether this is an Australiawide or statewide figure (though the numbers would suggest it to be nationwide). These statistics support your claim, if your initial claim was one death every 14 minutes Australiawide - but since you didn’t clarify, this becomes confusing. You may view these statistics on this site: http://www.lifenetwork.org.au/_blog/Abortion_in_Australia/tag/Statistics/
I question your argument that ‘abortionists’ like Marie Stopes are “laughing all the way to bank” as the ‘abortionist’ you mention in this statement (Marie Stopes) is an international not-for-profit organisation. I’m not sure which bank they are supposedly luaghing all the way to. Furthermore, to suggest that any medical practitioner provides a service to the community in some misguided attempt at a get rich scheme is to severely undermine the work that they (meaning any medical practitioner) do. That the medical practitioners who assist women in terminating pregnancies are carrying out an act you disagree with does not mean that they are any more or less motivated by financial gain than any other medical practitioner (be they pediatrician, surgeon, gynecologist, or anything else).
You are also incorrect that nobody ‘says or does’ anything to protest abortion in Western Australia. A quick google search points me here: http://www.righttolife.asn.au/wa/default.htm and here: http://www.prolife.org.au/ . I am sure there are many local events these groups organise to which you could devote your time, where your voice would be heard and you could better aid your cause.
In closing, I would like to remind you that the Bible does not anywhere articulate a clear viewpoint on the issue of abortion. Whilst every life is undeniably sacred (both Biblically and, one should hope, morally) the Bible also fails to confirm when exactly ‘life’ is said to begin. In Genesis 2:7 we are told that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being” but this refers specifically to the creation of Adam and Eve, which does not involve human sexual reproduction, conception or birth. In Exodus 21:22-23 it is in fact implied that a fetus does not have the same legal status as a person, since if a man were to a push a woman who then miscarried, he would be required only to pay a fine, whereas if the fetus were considered a full person he would be punished more severely (as if he had taken a life).
In my personal opinion, we should nurture and love the children that are born to us. We should do our best never to hurt them, emotionally or otherwise. We should never, ever, degrade, abuse or harm them. Unfortunately many unplanned (or more accurately unwanted) pregnancies have the potential to end in situations where children are neglected, or worse.
Ultimately, the choice to carry a fetus to term should lie with the individual who is pregnant: the individual woman (with the help and support of those whose views and opinions she values). It is her body. It is her choice. No other man, woman or government should be able to dictate for her an event which is so completely life changing. For anyone else to decide for her is to completely devalue the experience of pregnancy and the decision to (or to not) become a mother.
I hope you’ll consider the opinions I’ve expressed here, as I took the time to consider yours.
There are a few forms of child abuse that are a bit more “ultimate” than abortion, especially considering that a fetus cannot feel pain. Here are a few off the top of my head, in no particular order (obvious trigger warning):