The inherent value of a potential, yet unborn, human being is not the same as that of a present living human being. There, that is what I, through the evidence available, have gradually come to fully believe. Since I was first confronted with the idea of aborting a potential human life, I began to ask and to consider what the moral implications of such a decision are. I offer my perspective acknowledging that this is not an easy , sweet or sentimental view. But every religion makes it clear there are hard and necessary truths that for justice and love=s sake need to be consciously and apologetically accepted.
We should be ever aware of the long history in Western culture, going back to the paternity laws of the Old Testament, of the determined male control over female reproduction. Many have not noticed the reason it was wrong for a man 'to have another's' wife or daughter was because it was a sin against another 'man's property rights.' In Mosaic paternalism it was essential that a man 'know for sure' his children were his and not another's. These laws were never really about sexual love and morality as we have usually been led to think. This archetypal male-control emotional force shows itself in all anti-abortion movements. This unethical need to keep women's bodily reproduction rights under male control is still alive in America and in all the patriarchal societies.
To decide to abort is to undoubtedly carry the responsibility of facing feelings of sadness, remorse and loss that are as strong and real as the loss of a new born child. But, that being accepted, the assumption that many people have that an unborn potential human is to be considered as having the same inherent value as a living human is not spiritually or psychologically supportable.
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Some are going to push this human consciousness back to the womb and even to conception. That is the flaw in perception and logic that I am seeking to challenge in my statement. The most poignant way to describe the difference between the value of a fetus and one born into beginning >consciousness= is the realization that also at birth begins the reality of conscious human >suffering.= (This explains why it=s said that only God=s suffering(a cross) rather than His existence is able to affirm the high value of each person). With the glory of human consciousness(religiously that which makes us all carriers of the image of God) comes also the experience of emotional and physical suffering. From the Judeo-Christian perspective this suffering is an indication of the >fall from God=. Jesus was focused on recognizing and relieving the >conscious= suffering of human beings. His followers should be as well. Being more conscious makes us at once more fully human, more divine and the identified highest value of all reality. The joyous glory and suffering of human consciousness begins when a person is hurled by birth, no doubt with significant but necessary suffering, into the world to be an actual >separated= human being. (This >birth to consciousness= is a spiritual meaning of Adam and Eve being cast from the garden of paradise.)It is only the born human child with its developing consciousness who stands in essential need of humanity=s direct concern, love and interaction. This need is to assist the child on its path of becoming as fully conscious human being as possible. It is upon the born child there is such a need in our world of the highest value being placed. We most value the human fetus by valuing the conscious and sometimes suffering mother who carries it.
Whatever value we attach to an unborn fetus, it is not the value of human consciousness. Only when we look into the eyes of a human being, whether soon after birth or even near the time of death, are we glimpsing into a developing suffering consciousness. That alone is the reality that has a claim on each of us to value as an equal life form. This deserves from us the religious value expressed as that which >God so loved that God gave God=s very self (God=s consciousness) that such a value might not perish but live forever@. This is the reality implied in our near sacred U.S. constitution that seeks to provide all humans with the Ainalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness@
What many are so certain shows an embryo having the same value as an arrived human being is actually not the potential human person, but the >expecting= dreams and wishes of= >having(even demanding)= that a new person come into life and fulfill someone=s personal meaning for it. I do not make light of that for surely every child needs to arrive with a strong welcome. But for us to take our own >desire and need= for a child as the equivalent to valuing an actual born child is somewhat selfish. I think the flaw of such valuing is seen in that there is seldom such emotional interest among people to help meet the needs of actual born children who are experiencing their developing consciousness. Here is where there is often much suffering that is often quite ignored and certainly not as strongly felt by some who claim a value of >right to life=.
I began to learn this view when looking into the concerned suffering face of a pregnant woman who intuitively knew that the potential human she carried did not have the >fullness of time= (religiously the >kairos=) to have what it deserved and needed to begin a life of consciousness. To not listen to that woman=s intuitive truth is, to me, to not listen to the voice of God who is speaking through her, the carrier of the fetus. I=ve been aware of several incidents of the motherly suffering decision to abort . Later the same women, in the >fullness of time=, gave birth to a child. Had she not used her best judgment before, this child would not have likely ever been received to its grand and waiting world, to begin its glorious path to joyful consciousness. The mystery and profundity of life causes me to wonder if this child were not perhaps the same unconscious potential child she previously aborted? Jim Hibbett