The very obvious--but apparently
unrecognized--answer to one of the major issues in the debate over
abortion and choice is found in a simple Biblical principle.
According to the thinking of the
Hebrews at the time the various books that comprise the Bible were
written, "the life is in the blood." So many of the rules about eating
and about slaughtering of animals and preparing food, as well as about
making live sacrifices to God on the main altar all have to do with the
sacredness of the blood.
Blood was NOT to be consumed.
Slaughtered animals were drained of blood (and are still today). The
blood is the life; the blood belongs to God.
An important theological question in
the debate over the morality of abortion is "when life begins." When
does a fetus become a human being, with legal rights, and personal
responsibilities and dignities? A being with a claim to life?
The answer is:
a fetus becomes
a human being when it has blood.
The heart and circulatory system of a
foetus develops during the fifth week of pregnancy. The circulatory
system is the first functioning organ system in the body.
Before the fifth week, there isn't any
blood in the foetus. The blood cells have not evolved out of the mass
of differentiating cells that started with fertilization.
After the fifth week, there is blood in
the foetus's body. There is life.
That's a much stricter time frame for
performing an abortion of the pregnancy than generally accepted in
America under Roe v Wade.
But women's right to choose the
direction and pace of
their own lives and the functions of their own bodies is a different
question from when life begins.
Well beyond this biological/theological
question, issues still remain about the mother's rights and
responsibilities -- and perhaps her duty to protect her child from
being born into an inappropriate setting (as unwanted or unaffordable
or unwelcome). Termination of a pregnancy can be an act of deep
compassion--as, for instance, when a foetus is found to suffer
debilitating deformities or when the mother is an inappropriate mother,
say a drug-user who is psychologically and toxicologically incapable of
motherhood (and, symbolically, whose "blood is tainted"): her decision
to have an abortion may well be founded in her horror at bringing a
child into her own environment. (Isn't this why caged birds refuse to
sit on their eggs? They are aborting their offspring to prevent them
from being born caged. This is nature's way.)
Many of the available
contraceptives--including famously the "day after pill"--are objected
to on religious grounds. Some theologians say "life begins at
But that would not be the way the
Biblical authors would have seen it. They would have believed "the life
is in the blood." And so a fetus becomes a human being when it has
blood in its body.
The day after pill seems like a very
natural way to avoid an inappropriate pregnancy. Having women,
especially teenagers, take contraceptive p[ills everyday all the time
just reminds them they might behave sexually. Better to deal with
contraceptive needs only when you need them, not just because you might!
Condoms, of course, not only prevent
pregnancy, they prevent exchange of microorganisms in the fluids of the
Fundamentalist and Catholic Christians
agitate to outlaw abortion, believing perhaps rightly that human life
is precious and should not be terminated carelessly. They also agitate
against acceptance of homosexuals.
Homosexual sex results in absolutely no
abortions. Indeed, homosexuality is a deterrent to abortion.
Perhaps God has evolved homosexuality
in human life with clearly intelligent design as an alternative to
unintentional breeding. Overpopulation is THE major problem on earth
today. "God" would naturally want to control the birth rate to keep it
within ecological limits. "God" might intelligently design same sex
attraction as a psychologically fulfilling and socially contributing
and personally loving way to live without breeding more offspring than
the world can hold.
Homosexuality is God's