Beginning of Life
In the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that women, in consultation with their physician, have a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. Since that time, an estimated 46 million abortions occur each year worldwise.
We oppose the practice of abortion and urge the active development and employment of alternatives. The moral worth of human beings is absolute. Human beings are not "potential" human beings; rather, they are human beings with potential.
Abortion complications are underreported, especially given that there is no requirement to report complications and most women do not return to their abortion clinic for the complications they have. Health complications that can arise from abortion include perforated uterus, pelvis inflammatory disease, future miscarriages, breast cancer risk increase, ectopic pregnancy increase and even death.
Married couples may choose to seek assisted reproductive technology, especially when they are unable to have children naturally. We encourage couples to seek counsel and guidance when considering these technologies. However, certain assisted reproductive technologies present direct and indirect dangers to the sanctity of human life and family. As technology permits further divergence from normal physiologic reproduction, it can lead to perplexing moral dilemmas. Not every technological procedure is morally justified and some technologies may be justified only in certain circumstances. The moral and medical complexities of assisted reproductive technologies require full disclosure both of the medical options available and their ethical implications.
Procedures such as discaring or destroying embryos, selective abortion, destructive experimentation with embryos, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, true surrogacy, etc. raise moral concerns and questions. Organizations like the National Embryo Donation Center seek to uphold the santity of human life in all stages by offering a high quality, scientifically and ethically sound way to ensure no human embryos are discarded or sacrificed for research.
The following resources focus on abortion and reproductive technology:
- Why Did Gosnell Keep Severed Fetal Feet? - D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.
- What Is a SHEEF, and Why Should We Care? - D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.
- Crossing a Bright Red Line: Human Embryo Editing - D. Joy Riley, MD, MA
- Abortion in America - Marist Poll
- The Stones Cry Out - Sharon Quick, MD
- Human Life Begins with the One-celled Embryo - Sharon Quick, MD
- Men and Abortion: An Overview - Life Issues Institute, Inc.
- Fetal Pain Legislation: Is It Viable? - Teresa Stanton Collett
- The Woman and the Physician Facing Abortion - Dianne N. Irving, PhD
- New Drug Application 21-045, Levonorgestrel and Their Possible Abortifacient Effects - Dianne N. Irving, PhD
- The Ends Don't Justify the Genes - John F. Kilner, PhD
- The Growing Debate About the Abortifacient Effect of the Birth Control Pill and the Principle of the Double Effect - Walt Larimore, MD
- Ethical Issues Regarding Post-fertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives - Walt Larimore, MD
- Condoms and STDs - Gene Rudd, MD
- Emergency Contraception, Abortion and Informed Consent - Gene Rudd, MD
- Should the Condom Come with a Health Warning? - Graham White
- Personhood: An Essential Characteristic of the Human Species - Dr. Frederick J. White, MD, FACC, FCCP
Position Statements on the Beginning of Life
The following court cases are active:
Court Case - June Medical Services v. Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Court: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Represented by: American Center for Law & Justice Question presented: Given the centrality of maternal health arguments in this case, should this Court keep in mind that the assumption that abortion is generally safe, even safer than childbirth, is unsupported and almost certainly incorrect?
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
This case addresses the constitutionality of abortion facility safety regulations. It is essential, therefore, that this Court understand that abortion, as currently practiced in the United States (and other developed nations), is often the occasion of medical mishaps, even serious injuries and deaths. In particular, the assertion that abortion is somehow safer than childbirth – an assertion echoed in this Court’s Whole Woman’s Health opinion – is an unsupported myth, contrary to sound, published medical evidence. That last statement merits repetition: The claim that abortion is safer than childbirth is a myth, resting on demonstrably flawed premises and refuted by study after study.
"Those who advocate abortion on demand realize that moving the definition of pregnancy from fertilization to a point later in development facilitates the acceptance of methods the end what others contend is early human life. As a result, the beginning of life becomes a moving target, semantically adjusted to suit the intent of the lobbyist, politician or political activist."
—Gene Rudd, MD
The American Academy of Medical Ethics promotes the interests of medical educators, medical practitioners and scientists, the care and well-being of patients, the protection of public health, and the betterment of the medical profession, as well as protects and promotes the historical values that have provided the longstanding foundation for Western healthcare. We foresee the standard of healthcare in North American once again defined by the Hippocratic tradition.
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