Abortion: A Response to Amnesty International

I came across an article recently by Amnesty International titled ‘Key Facts on Abortion.’ Naturally, I clicked. What followed was a rather bizarre post in defending their position on Extreme Abortion “Rights” Advocacy. On a separate page on their website they outline their campaign titled ‘My Body My Rights which aims to, “stop the control and criminalization of sexuality and reproduction.” They believe providing abortions is a “human rights” issue. Amnesty International boasts that they fight for “human rights,” however as is quite clearly seen they have taken it upon themselves to redefine “human rights” to mean something other than its natural meaning. Before I engage with the article I think it is important to outline the worldview hypocrisy at play here. The concept of “Human Rights” is a Christian concept. It is the Biblical worldview that states that every human being from conception is made in the image of God and is therefore worthy of life and dignity. It is the Biblical worldview that provides the meaningful basis for concerning ourselves with the plight of the poor, the marginalized, and the needy among us. These are all concepts that Amnesty International takes for granted, but they have fallen into the incoherent trap of believing in these Biblical values, while rejecting the Biblical basis for the values themselves. As a result, they find themselves rather confused.

In the article shared above, Amnesty International outlines eight “facts” in defense of their Extreme Abortion Activist position. In this post I will interact with a few of these “facts” for the purpose of education. The reason for this post is education. Some of these arguments that Amnesty International writes about are common arguments made throughout our culture in defense of abortion. Wise Christians will take the time to consider the fallacy of these claims from the Biblical Worldview, and allow reality to reshape the way we think about these issues.

Please Note: For additional resources please consider this previous blog post demonstrating the Biblical position on life in the womb as well as this sermon walking through a Biblical Response to Abortion.

Incoherent Statement #1: People Have Abortions All the Time, Regardless of What the Law Says

This section seems to attempt to make the case that abortion is so regular, safe, and non controversial that truly to think in any other way is to be irrational at best. They say, “Ending a pregnancy is a common decision that millions of people make… When undertaken by a trained health-care provider in sanitary conditions, abortions are one of the safest medical procedures available, safer even than child birth.

Let’s begin with the obvious, abortion always ends with a dead baby. Abortion is never safe. Abortion has a 100% track record of death.

There is an additional lie in this statement from Amnesty International though. It is one that abortion rights activists often promote, and that is that abortion is basically incredibly safe for the mother as well. Human Life International has a powerful page reviewing the data on this topic, but I’ll provide a few highlights below.

In November 2020 the CDC’s Abortion Surveillance report reviewed 45 years of data and showed that of the 519 women who had died from abortions since 1973 in America, 86.1% of those deaths were from legal abortions. In a 2019 amicus curiae brief we read of the many different dangers of abortion including:

The record reflects that abortion places women at increased risk of physical injury including the risk of: infection, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, bleeding, hemorrhage, blood transfusion with its subsequent risks, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary or amniotic fluid embolism, injury to the cervix, vagina, uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries, bowel, bladder, and other internal organs, anesthesia complications (which are higher with general anesthesia), failure to remove all the contents of the uterus (leaving behind parts of the fetus/baby or placenta), need to repeat the surgery, possible hospitalization, risk of more surgery such as laparoscopy or exploratory laparotomy, possible hysterectomy (loss of the uterus and subsequent infertility), allergic reactions to medicines, mis-diagnosis of an intrauterine pregnancy with a tubal or abdominal pregnancy being present (which necessitates different treatment with medicines or more extensive surgery), possible molar pregnancy with the need for further treatment, emotional reactions (including but not limited to depression, guilt, relief, anxiety, 5 Id. at 5. 6 etc.) death of the woman, and risk of a living, injured baby.

Cited from https://www.hli.org/resources/risks-of-abortion/

The amicus brief goes on to highlight the numerous psychological and physical long term health risks associated with abortion. Other journals have demonstrated a potential 40% higher risk of getting breast cancer at a later date if one undergoes an abortion.

Amnesty International is very intentionally not engaging with these risks. In their major point of the article they have revealed that their “fact” is indeed a “lie.” Again, a wise reader would at this point assume that anything else stated in the article is circumspect.

Incoherent Statement #2: Criminalizing Abortions Does Not Stop Abortions, It just Makes Abortions Less Safe

Again we are confronted with one of the most common arguments in defense of the pro-choice movement. The basic premise is that making abortion illegal does nothing to stop abortion, but rather just forces women to have abortions in more unsafe illegal ways.

There are a few responses to this that should be thought through. First, the debate about whether to legalize or criminalize abortion has absolutely nothing to do with how many people would seek an abortion on either side of that decision. We do not develop moral codes as individuals or societies based on whether or not a crime will be committed if it is made illegal. As an example, in my own city of Chicago in the year 2021 there have been 705 people shot and killed, and 3,343 people shot and wounded. These are all crimes. The fact that people still commit the crime even when it is illegal, has absolutely no bearing on whether shooting and killing people should be a crime or not. As a society we determine what is and isn’t a crime based on the morality of the issue.

The same is true for abortion. The question is whether or not getting an abortion is taking the life of another human being. The answer to that, both from the Word of God and from all scientific literature, is an overwhelming yes. We are dealing with a living being who has their own DNA, their own brain, lungs, heart, their own thoughts and memories, their own emotions, instincts, and their own pain sensors. Thousands upon thousands of peer reviewed scientific literature support the overwhelming reality that we are talking about a human life.

But let’s deal with the larger claim above. Is it true that the same amount of abortions would be had if abortion were made illegal as they are when abortion is legal? The answer is a resounding, no! Multiple studies have been done in Poland, South Korea, Austria, and our very own USA where some places have lowered access to abortion, that indeed making abortion illegal does lower the amount of abortions being sought. In this study, by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the author found that were the USA to make abortion illegal again, the result would be an additional 320,000 additional births per year. See this article for a helpful overview of these studies.

Incoherent Statement #3 Criminalizing or Restricting Abortion Prevents Doctors From Providing Basic Care

The first sentence in this section reads, “Criminalisation and restrictive laws on abortion prevent health-care providers from doing their job properly and from providing the best care options for their patients, in line with good medical practice and their professional ethical responsibilities.” What needs to be noticed in this sentence is the loose way in which their terminology is being used. Words and phrases like: “care”, “good medical practice”, and “professional ethical responsibilities” have taken on entirely new and radical definitions that are completely contradictory to their historic agreed upon definitions.

Let’s begin with the phrase “Professional Ethical Responsibilities.” Without oversimplifying this concept, it is safe to say the Hippocratic Oath which has been repeated by nearly every medical student throughout history is a decent place to begin analyzing the actual definition of “Professional Ethical Responsibilities.” Below are a few key insights from that Oath (Note that the original Hippocratic Oath had direct language prohibiting doctors from carrying out abortions).

“I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

“I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

Modern Hippocratic Oath

The heartbeat of the Hippocratic Oath is to preserver and care for life. If these are indeed part of the generally agreed upon ethical responsibilities of doctors, then certainly providing abortions breaks both paragraphs. Abortion providers break the first statement above because the overwhelming peer-reviewed scientific literature demonstrates the life of the child in the womb. Science is overwhelmingly and increasingly on the side of Pro-Life advocates. In regards to the second statement, abortion providers run roughshod over the call to “tread with care in matters of life and death.” By taking life, they indeed seek to play God.

The second term used by Amnesty International to critique is “Good Medical Practice.” When a medical procedure is being used to take the life of another person unwillingly, there is nothing in line with “good medical practice.” Good medical practice seeks to save life, not take life. Further, we have seen in America an increasing tendency towards lowering the medical standards required in order to increase the amount of abortions performed. In Maine for example a piece of legislation titled, ‘An Act to Authorize Certain Health Care Professionals to Perform Abortions,’ “was designed to expand who could perform abortions in the state. It defined “health care professionals” to include not only physicians but also nurse practitioners and physician assistants,” according to the Charlotte Laziere. This expansion to allow ‘non physicans’ to perform dangerous operations on pregnant women is a radical shift from “good medical practice.” Similar adjustments were made in Vermont, Illinois, Rhode Island, etc.

Incoherent Statement #4: It’s Not Just Cisgender Women and Girls Who Need Abortions

Amnesty International states, “It is not only cisgender women and girls (women and girls who were assigned female at birth) who may need access to abortion services, but also intersex people, transgender men and boys, and people with other gender identities who have the reproductive capacity to become pregnant.

We are in the midst of a cultural moral revolution where our so-called “identity” is determined by our personal sense of self. From a Biblical perspective, this concept that a person is able to shift between genders (or species, race, or height depending on who you talk to) rather fluidly is untrue. But more importantly for this particular article, is the incoherence of attempting to say that anybody other than a naturally born woman (someone who has a uterus) is capable of birthing a child. This incongruence of reality with “personal identity” has actual deep medical concerns. Consider the following introductory paragraph from an article in the Associated Press titled: Blurred lines: A pregnant man’s tragedy tests gender notions.

When the man arrived at the hospital with severe abdominal pains, a nurse didn’t consider it an emergency, noting that he was obese and had stopped taking blood pressure medicines. In reality, he was pregnant — a transgender man in labor that was about to end in a stillbirth.

Associated Press. Blurred lines: A pregnant man’s tragedy tests gender notions. https://apnews.com/article/health-north-america-ap-top-news-b5e7bb73c6134d58a0df9e1cee2fb8ad

The article goes on to say, “The point is not what’s happened to this particular individual but this is an example of what happens to transgender people interacting with the health care system… He was rightly classified as a man” in the medical records and appears masculine… But that classification threw us off from considering his actual medical needs.” This person was not “rightly classified as a man” as the AP reports. In fact this person was wrongly classified as a man which is what led to the death of the child. Stories like this run in the thousands in our brave new world. The point here is not anything other than to correct the statement made by Amnesty International. In reality, in terms of what doctors do and how they need to treat people in order to save lives and do their job, only women can give birth to babies. But here again is where the worldview of operating outside of the belief in actual science begins to fall apart.

Closing

I want to close this post today with a strong pastoral plea. As followers of Christ, we love God and cherish His Word and His plan. We were commanded by Jesus to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” Those words indicate that our longing is to see this world transformed into a Kingdom that fully reflects the Kingdom of Heaven, where God’s law is perfectly applied. Our aim as Christians is not to sit back in our holy huddles and watch the world burn. But rather our aim is to love God with such passion and vigor and love our neighbor with Christ like sacrificial love. As Jesus so clearly taught us, our neighbors must include the most vulnerable among us. And in our society, the most vulnerable among us, are very often the unborn. There is a wonderful and powerful movement taking place in our country right now that is blowing fresh wind into the Abortion conversation. I am hopeful, and prayerful of what’s to come. The modern Pro-Choice movement is built upon a series lies and inaccurate storytelling, much like the Amnesty International article quoted from above. Christians must be a bold voice and heart of compassion standing up for the unborn.

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