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Abortion is Murder
Eric M Brown
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Abortion
Abortion is always morally impermissible. This proposition is proven from the
following argument. Every murder is intrinsically evil. Every elective abortion is murder.
Therefore, every elective abortion is intrinsically evil. Consequently, abortion, as is
commonly and politically understood, is always morally impermissible.
To prove that every murder is intrinsically evil requires some definitions of the
terms involved. Let murder be defined as the intentional killing of an innocent human
person. “Intentional killing” means the human act of killing willed as an end or a means
to another end. The word “innocent” must be understood, as objectively innocent, for it is
not murder to kill a maniac in self-defense. Therefore, innocent human life is to be
defined objectively as human life that is consistent with the common good of political
society. Next let an intrinsically evil act be defined as a human action, which due to its
object is morally evil. An intrinsically evil act is a human action that is morally evil
irrespective of any circumstances or intention involved. The promoters of situation ethics,
moral relativists, and most if not all utilitarians deny the reality of intrinsically evil acts.
However, by proving that every murder is intrinsically evil; situation ethics, moral
relativism, and utilitarian theories that deny the reality of any intrinsically evil act are
proven to be false in this respect.
Human life is a natural good which every human being, in so far as they are an
animate being, is naturally inclined to preserve. Therefore, by reason of this natural
inclination, innocent human life, i.e. human life consistent with the common good of
political society, is therefore an inviolable natural good and thus an inviolable natural
right. Therefore to intentionally kill innocent human life is a human action, which due to
its very object, intentionally killing innocent human life, is morally evil. Therefore, every
intentional killing of an innocent human person is intrinsically evil. Every murder is an
intentional killing of an innocent human person by definition. Consequently, premise one
of this paper has been proven, which is that every murder is intrinsically evil.
To prove that every elective abortion is murder requires the definition of an
elective abortion. Also opposition to this second premise that every elective abortion is
murder will be examined. An elective abortion, as distinguished from either a
spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or an indirect abortion, is an induced termination of
pregnancy intended as an end to itself or as a means to another end. In order to prove that
every elective abortion is murder, it is necessary to prove that every life of each human
person begins at conception. This subconclusion will be proven using the biology of
genetics, embryology, and the nature of the human person. Many, of course, deny the
theory that every life of each human person begins at conception. First of all, this position
is denied by those who claim that the being killed at abortion is not even a human being,
let alone a human person. This position is also denied by those who grant that the being
killed by abortion is a human being or member of the human species, but who contend
that such a human being is not a human person and therefore not subject to rights. Still
others adopt one or another variant of the gradualist view, which holds that at some point
during gestation the entity that was conceived becomes human and personal in nature.
The first objection to the proposition that every life of each human person begins
at conception is that the being killed at abortion is not even a human being. This is
evidently refuted from genetics and embryology. Robert H. Bork summarizes the
question at hand and its answer.
“In thinking about abortion, it is necessary to address two questions. Is
abortion always the killing of a human being? If it is, is that killing done simply for
convenience? I think there can be no doubt that the answer to the first question is yes; and
the answer to the second is almost always. … The question of whether abortion is the
termination of a human life is a relatively simple one. It has been described as a question
requiring no more than a knowledge of high school biology. … The male sperm and the
female egg each contains twenty-three chromosomes. Upon fertilization, a single cell
results containing forty-six chromosomes, which is what all humans have, including, of
course, the mother and the father. But the new organism’s forty-six chromosomes are in a
different combination from those of either parent; the new organism is unique. It is not an
organ of the mother’s body but a different individual. … The cell will multiply and
develop, in accordance with its individual chromosomes, … . From single cell fertilized
egg to baby to teenager to adult to old age to death is a single process of one individual,
not a series of different individuals replacing each other. It is impossible to draw a line
anywhere after the moment of fertilization and say that before this point the creature is
not human but after this point it is. It has all the attributes of a human from the beginning,
and those attributes were in the forty-six chromosomes with which it began. … Such a
creature is not a blob of tissue or, as the Roe opinion so infelicitously put it, a ‘potential
life’. … It is impossible to say that the killing of the organism at any moment after it
originated is not the killing of a human being.”
1
The only essential change that occurs in human gestation is that which occurs at the
instant of conception. At the instant of conception the male and female gametes fuse to
create a zygote. Both the male and female gametes are haploid human cells. Haploid
human cells are cells with a single set of twenty-three unpaired chromosomes. These are
strictly reproductive cells and thus are not members of the human species. However at the
instant of conception, the zygote is created and is a diploid cell. Diploid human cells are
cells with twice the haploid number of twenty-three chromosomes, totaling forty-six
chromosomes, characteristic of the human species. Consequently, necessarily at the
instant of conception, there is the first moment of existence for each member of the
human species and there is no essential change afterwards. Therefore, the idea that the
pregnancy of the mother is a blob of tissue conceals rather than reveals the specifically
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1
&Robert H. Bork. Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline. New York,
NY: ReganBooks, 1996, pgs.174-175.&
human nature of the result of human procreation. Further, the idea that a woman’s
pregnancy is a part of the mother’s body is a complete fiction invented early in the
twentieth century, not by a biologist, but by the sexologist Havelock Ellis in his Studies
in the Psychology of Sex (New York: 1924) 6.607. This myth has become an ideological
tenet of most modern feminists. This is evidently false in view of the biological fact that
every zygote cell that comes in existence at fertilization is genetically different, while
remaining human, from every cell of the mother. Another argument along this line of
objection is that the result of human procreation does not look human. Robert Bork
correctly analyzes the problem with this argument, which extends to life at every stage of
human gestation. “ I suspect that appearance is made an issue because the more
recognizably a baby the fetus becomes the more our emotions reject the idea of
destroying it. But those are uninstructed emotions, not emotions based on a recognition of
what the fetus is from the beginning.”
2
In fact this argument is based on the false theory
of knowledge that is empiricism, which limits intellectual judgment to sense appearances
as distinguished from the nature of things. The life of each human person is a substantial
reality that is not determined by sense appearances. The appearances of an entity are
irrelevant to whether or not such entity has the substantial reality of human life.
Therefore it has been proven that the first instant of existence of each member of the
human species is at conception. Thus zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, etc. are simply stages
in the development of each one’s individual human life.
The second objection to the proposition that every life of each human person
begins at conception is that the being killed by abortion is a human being or member of
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2
&Robert H. Bork. Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, pgs.175-176.&
the human species, but who contend that such a human being is not a human person. Bork
answers this objection.
“Other common arguments are that the embryo or fetus is not fully sentient, or
that it can not live outside the mother’s womb, or that the fetus is not fully a person
unless it is valued by its mother. These seem utterly insubstantial arguments. A newborn
is not fully sentient, nor is a person in an advance stage of Alzheimer’s disease. …
Equally irrelevant to the discussion is the fact that the fetus cannot survive outside the
womb. Neither can a baby survive without the nurture of others, usually the parents. Why
dependency, which lasts for years after birth, should justify terminating life is
unexplainable.”
3
The basis of the objection that affirms human life begins at conception but denies
person hood to the preborn result of procreation is that of seriously erroneous theories of
the human person. These theories affirm one of three positions. The first position affirms
that personhood requires exercisable cognitive abilities. The second position affirms that
personhood is dependent on sense organs and a brain. The third position asserts that the
personhood of the preborn begins when the mother decides to accept and want the
pregnancy. This position asserts that if the mother does not accept the pregnancy and
decides to abort, then that human life must be regarded as not a human person, for
personhood has not been bestowed on the pregnancy by the mother. All of these positions
are erroneous because they violate the nature of each human person that is the individual
substantial reality of a rational nature. Thus, the reality of the human person is
independent of the possession or privation of accidental perfections such as
consciousness, the use of reason, or any sense organs including the brain. Therefore, in
order to be a human person, all that is necessary and sufficient is to be a member of the
human species. The third position is extremely egregious because it is completely
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3
&Robert H. Bork. Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, pg.176.&
subjective and absurd in as much as such a theory would entail that the pregnancy could
change from being a human person to a nonperson if the mother ceases to want the
pregnancy after having previously wanted it. Bioethics must be based on biological facts
and not subjective theories.
Having refuted all objections to the proposition that every life of each human
person begins at conception, a summary of the argument proving this proposition can be
presented. Every human life begins at conception. Every member of the human species is
a human person. Every human life is a member of the human species. Therefore every
human life is a human person, and thus every life of each human person begins at
conception. Now this paper is in a position to prove that every elective abortion is
murder. Since every life of each human person begins at conception and every human
person prior to birth is objectively innocent
4
, every induced intentional termination of
pregnancy is the intentional killing of an innocent human person. By definition of
elective abortion, every elective abortion is the induced intentional termination of
pregnancy. Therefore every elective abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent
human person. Next by definition of murder, every intentional killing of an innocent
human person is murder. Consequently, restating the argument, every intentional killing
of an innocent human person is murder and every elective abortion is the intentional
killing of an innocent human person. Therefore, every elective abortion is murder.
Consequently, the second premise of the main argument intended to prove that every
elective abortion is intrinsically evil, has been proven. Thus, every murder is intrinsically
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4
&Remembering&that&by&objectively&innocent&is&meant&that&their&life&is&consistent&with&the&common&
good&of&political&society.&It&is&preposterous&to&claim,&as&some&feminists&do,&that&the&preborn&child&is&an&
aggressor&against&the&mother&and&is&thus&not&innocent.&Diseases&that&affect&the&mother&are&not&caused&
by&the&child,&but&are&only&complications&due&to&pregnancy.&The&preborn&child&is&completely&
defenseless&and&innocent.&
evil, is proven premise one, and every elective abortion is murder, is proven premise two.
Consequently, that every elective abortion is intrinsically evil is the proven conclusion.
As a result, that abortion is always morally impermissible must be necessarily concluded.
In conclusion, Robert H. Bork describes the reality behind the pro-abortion
movement.
“ Many who favor the abortion right understand that humans are being killed.
Certainly the doctors who perform and nurses who assist at abortions know that. So do
non-professionals. Otherwise abortion would not be smothered in euphemisms. Thus, we
hear the language of ‘choice’, ‘reproductive rights’, and ‘medical procedures’. Those are
oddly inadequate terms to describe the right to end the life of a human being. It has been
remarked that ‘pro-choice’ is an odd term since the individual whose life is at stake has
no choice in the matter. These are ways of talking around the point that hide the truth
from others and, perhaps, from oneself.
5
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5
&Robert H. Bork. Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, pgs.178-179.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Robert H. Bork. Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline. New York,
NY: ReganBooks, 1996.