This past week, I finished reading the 20th anniversary edition of R.C. Sproul's book, Abortion: A Rational Look at An Emotional Issue. I highly recommend it, especially for young adults who were born after abortion was legalized. The book is divided into three parts: the ethical dilemma of abortion, the analysis of arguments presented on both sides and a compassionate response and strategy.
If you are weary of this topic, then I highly recommend you read this book because Dr. Sproul goes deeper into the issues surrounding abortion than are normally discussed in the media. For example, many could assume abortion began as a 20th-century issue. But Dr. Sproul quotes from the famous Oath of Hippocrates that specifically mentions abortion: "Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion."
He is also reasonable in presenting the views of those who are not pro-life, outlining the differences between being pro-choice and pro-abortion and allowing that both sides could have a high view of the sanctity of life. As he writes, "For the most part, the pro-abortion and pro-choice activists are not denying that life is sacred; they are only saying that a developing fetus is not a human life."
This book also shows how the arguments for abortion have been challenged through the years. One of the key arguments in favor of abortion has been in the woman's right to control her own body -- which assumes the fetus is part of that body. But scientific developments since the 1970s have underscored the biological differences between the fetus and the mother. Genetic fingerprinting has been an important discovery. As Dr. Sproul writes:
If any single cell of a woman's body is analyzed to find its essential biological structure, each and every cell will have the same genetic fingerprint. Likewise, an analysis of the cells of the fetus will determine that each cell has the same genetic fingerprint--which is different from that of the mother. This indicates that, at the physical biological level, there is a clear line of demarcation between the body of the fetus and the body of the mother. Two distinct sets of human tissue reside in the pregnant woman's body.
Another argument is that if abortion is made illegal, women will have dangerous back-alley abortions and more lives will be lost. But the events of this past week have refuted that claim. Dangerous back-alley abortions exist today because there is no more oversight of the legal abortion industry than there is an illegal one. As has been reported, one abortion doctor in Philadelphia has been charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of seven infants and a Bhutanese refugee who died after a late-term abortion in 2009. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. According to the grand jury report, Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic had not been inspected for 17 years because in the mid-1990s, the governor ended regular inspections of abortion clinics. He was only busted because the police raided him for prescription drug abuse--for running a "pill mill." The report from the grand jury was beyond revolting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In his squalid West Philadelphia abortion clinic, Kermit Gosnell had a surefire way of dealing with the unwelcome complication of a live birth: He'd allegedly plunge scissors into the squirming newborn's neck, killing it by severing the spinal cord.
Sometimes, the elderly physician didn't do this right away. Often, he allegedly gave the chore to his unlicensed office staff. One premature infant wiggled around on a counter for 20 minutes before an untrained worker slit his neck - after first playing with him.
Those allegations were among countless bombshells in a 261-page grand-jury report that District Attorney Seth Williams released yesterday.
Gosnell killed "hundreds" of babies and at least two women during abortions from 1979 to last year at his Women's Medical Society at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue, according to the grand jury. Further, he and his unlicensed, unskilled staff overdosed patients with drugs, perforated their wombs and bowels, and spread venereal disease by using unsterilized equipment, the report said.
And although red flags mounted about wrongdoing at the clinic, those with the capacity to stop the carnage, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of State, looked the other way, Williams charged.
Gosnell, 69, and nine of his staffers were arrested yesterday morning on charges including murder, infanticide and abuse of a corpse.
Williams said he might seek the death penalty for Gosnell in the murders of seven babies born alive and then killed....
Police last February raided Gosnell's offices after reports that he ran a "pill mill" there, giving out prescription medications to anyone who would pay.
Once inside the three-story brick building, they discovered horrors that would haunt them forever.
Semiconscious, moaning women sat in dirty recliners and on bloodstained blankets. The air reeked of urine from the flea-infested cats permitted to roam the clinic. There was blood on the floor and cat feces on the stairs. One investigator likened the scene to "a bad gas-station restroom."
In the patient areas, equipment was rusty, dirty and broken. Paramedics who were called to remove the patients during the police raid had trouble getting them out because clutter blocked the hallways and the emergency exit was padlocked shut.
But even worse horrors were hidden in the basement and staff-only areas.
Detectives found a row of jars containing just the severed feet of fetuses. Fetal remains filled bags, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons and even cat-food containers; some were stored in a refrigerator where staffers chilled their lunches. In all, authorities found the remains of 45 fetuses in this "baby charnel house" and gave them to the medical examiner, who determined that at least two of them had been born alive, according to the grand-jury report.
It is horrifying to contemplate that the lives of these women and children weren't protected because of the political bombshell that abortion has become. I am praying that justice is served here, and that these stories of abuse and murder will serve as the turning point in our nation for the rights of the unborn.