Religious beliefs have no place in discussions about abortion. Stick to the science.
I have some concerns about the recent guest column, “The Abortion Debate: An Unborn Baby is a Person, No Matter Their Size,” by Daniel Darling. If you are of a particular denomination, you will always be, no matter what the constitution says.
Since the late 1880s, the Supreme Court (SC) has recognized that certain areas have the right to privacy and equal protection under the law via the 14th Amendment. Since 1973, the SC has protected a woman’s right to legal abortion in Roe vs. Wade. This decision also protected privacy in marriage, contraception and child rearing. This Roe decision was reaffirmed in 1992 with their Planned Parenthood vs Casey decision and limited abortions to the point of viability of 23 weeks.
This current Mississippi case under review by SC, challenging their 1973 Roe decision, seeks to lower the fetal viability point to 15 weeks gestation. According to the Guinness Book of World Records 2021, the earliest a fetus has survived is 21 weeks. Even at 24 weeks, the fetus has only about a 50% chance of survival. At 15 weeks, the fetus is about 2 ounces and cannot survive. So why should 15 weeks become the point of viability? Why is the government even involved in this decision? Isn’t that a “confidentiality decision” defined by Roe and the 14th Amendment?
The question is, when should a fetus have “personality” and equal protection under the 14th Amendment? According to my research: The brain, spine and nervous system are the first to develop. During the fifth week of pregnancy, brain cells begin to form. Electrical activity (like the pulses that control the heartbeat) begins in the eighth week. At week 10, the brain becomes recognizable. In order for the fetal brain to feel pain or have rudimentary self-identity or awareness, there must be intact thalamus cortical complex brain function. This function does not occur until 24-28 weeks … therefore, the Roe vs. Wade 1973 decision determined fetal viability and a limit to abortion at 23 weeks.
Pregnancy, said Rikelman, “places unique physical demands and risks on women and impacts their entire lives, their ability to care for other children, other family members, and their ability to care for other children. to work”. If the government, state or federal, even has the right to restrict abortion and force a woman to give birth, then shouldn’t the woman have government support for antenatal care, childbirth and support? post-pregnancy for their child until adulthood?
Miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) can account for up to 50% of all fertilizations, as most occur without the woman knowing she is pregnant. Up to 25% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriages. I don’t envy anyone having to decide to have an abortion; however, as many would say, “My body, my choice!
When does life begin? I could stroke my ego and talk about my uniqueness, strength, determination and work ethic, since I beat millions of other sperm to even reach the stage of conception. Or, I could accept the historic decisions and presidencies of the SC, dating back to the late 1800s, and accept Roe’s decision and leave her alone. The only argument I see is the viability point and it’s definitely not at six weeks or even 15 weeks. Medically, if Guinness is correct, one could argue that personality or viability occurs at 21 weeks and not at the 23 weeks determined in 1973. Before viability, there is no brain function, personality, pain or realistic chance of survival.
Again, why is this a government decision? Is a fetus really a baby with human rights, viability, protection guaranteed by our Constitution? I do not think so!
Bill Calfee is President of BCProperties LLC. He lives in Milton.
This article originally appeared in the Pensacola News Journal: Religious beliefs have no place in abortion discussions | Guest view