In modern times, no life-related issue has raised a greater emotional response than abortion. There has been (and is) considerable worldwide debate over a woman's right to abortion (on demand) versus the rights of an unborn child.
Associated with abortion are ethical, philosophical, medical, religious, financial and political forces, ideas and beliefs that seek to influence our hearts, our minds, the laws and the culture that we live in.
Religious, Ethical & Philosophical ViewpointsReligious, ethical or philosophical values and beliefs are at the heart of every moral decision - from a woman deciding whether or not to abort, through to people in positions of power and influence - e.g. doctors, philosophers, law-makers and those in the media.
The abortion conflict is fuelled and influenced by two opposing worldviews:
The Evolution of Terminology - Word GamesIn the abortion conflict, both opponents and proponents use particular terminology to attempt to influence others. Abortionists and proponents of abortion tend to use terms like "product of conception" or "fetal tissue" (designed to de-humanise and minimise emotions), whereas those opposed to abortion will use terms like "your unborn baby" (designed to maximise the emotional response).
This is a conflict waged to win hearts and minds. To this end information is often used to disguise and distort reality by the denial or suppression of documentation and the use of propaganda. In particular, the liberal worldview within the western media has a major influence on the way we view the issue.
Family Planning Association (NZ)Planned Parenthood (PPFA - USA & IPPF - globally), in association with the United Nations, is the world's most powerful lobby-group that influences politicians, judiciary, medical professions and the media in a highly focussed mission to bring abortion on demand to all nations.
Private grants from Foundations and bequests, as well as funding from government agencies and special interest groups, enable PP to declare multi-million dollar surpluses each year.
In New Zealand, the Family Planning Association (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation) is mainly funded by the government, Durex, Ansell (lubricant manufacturer) & other pharmaceutical companies, as well as private donations.
Voice for Life, formerly SPUCMost "pro-life" organisations are primarily funded by donations from private individuals with strong convictions regarding what they see as the immorality of abortion. Their approach to the controversy over abortion varies from the passive, which simply aims to educate people, to what they see as the "horrors of abortion", through to the activist, which can involve political lobbying, picketing outside abortion clinics, and in some cases (notin NZ thus far) more extreme actions such as violence against abortionists or abortion facilities.
In New Zealand, the primary anti-abortion organisation since the 1970s has been Voice for Life (formerly the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child), although there are several smaller "pro-life" organisations performing different roles in their "fight against abortion".
Controversy in New ZealandThe Abortion Supervisory Committee admits that 98% of first trimester abortions are performed on "pseudo legal grounds". There are areas where access to abortion is limited possibly due to a large number of doctors against abortion on conscience grounds, and local hospitals that have opted not to take up a license to perform abortions.
The Primary ControversyThere are many issues of contention in the abortion controversy - the right of a woman to determine what she does with her own body, the rights of an unborn child, the father's rights, the rule of law, when a foetus secures the right to live, and so on. The key issue however is "Who has the greater right - a pregnant woman who does not wish to carry to full term or an unborn child's right to live?"
Abortion and Breast CancerThe link between Abortion and Breast Cancer (ABC) has been hotly debated over the last 10 years or so. The majority of some thirty studies conducted over a 50 year period have strongly indicated an increased risk of breast cancer in women who have aborted their first pregnancy. The validity of these studies is hotly contested.
Abortion and ExtremismWith abortion such an emotive issue, extremism is only to be expected. Some groups opposed to abortion use large graphic images of aborted babies to shock people into the awareness of "what really happens in an abortion". On the other hand organisations wishing to ensure that abortion is a "woman's right", have even promoted the idea of a T-Shirt with the words "I HAD AN ABORTION".
Abortion and ViolenceViolence against abortionists and abortion clinics (mainly in the United States) occurs on occasion, usually by men who have been adversely affected by an abortion, or who have extreme religious or ethical beliefs. This violence may include acts of terrorism, such as bombing, anthrax threats, and murder. Violence of various sorts is also used against those protesting, praying or picketing outside abortion clinics.
Abortion and International AidAbortion is a global business, involving enormous sums of money - from the franchised abortion providers through to the many organisations promoting comprehensive sex education and abortion (on demand) nationally, and globally.
Substantial funding is generally received from individuals, organisations, governments and companies with vested interests. Large organisations, commercial, philanthropic, government support, both international and national, promote the liberalisation of abortion laws and the provision of abortion services on a global scale.
The Medical ProfessionThe medical profession also face challenges with the abortion controversy. Abortion can be a stressful medical procedure. Personal and professional stresses associated with working as an abortionist are high. There is a global shortage of abortionists and there can be conflict when abortion is made a compulsory component of medical training. There are political issues within the medical profession relating to the provision of abortion services and there is aversion by some doctors and nurses to perform or assist with abortions, for various reasons.
Illegal abortionsWhenever an effort is made to restrict access abortion or bring in legislation that requires parental consent or notification, various groups and organisations claim it will result in dangerous illegal abortions. Ex-abortionist Dr Bernard Nathanson disagrees and says that in 1972, the year before abortion was legalised in the USA, there were only 39 maternal deaths related to illegal abortion, not the thousands proclaimed by abortion activists.