Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Last month in May, the state of Alabama passed a law making abortion illegal at all stages of pregnancy except in case of severe live threatening cases. The criminal liability for abortion could be to a maximum 99 years in prison for the woman and 10 years for the doctor who aborts?
Fierce debates have broken out in the USA where more states are expected to pass similar laws. While the debates are raging, the world watches on …
According to the State’s Constitution declaring that the “public policy of this state is to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.”
And so , medical experts, civil society, theologians and people at large differ on the fact that when can a fetus be recognized as having ‘life” Some legislative bodies in the States go with the “heartbeat bills” according to which life begins with the beating of the heart and there is no clear consensus on that .
According to the BBC article titled “When does the fetus get the right to life ?” Those in favour of abortion often suggest the debate centres upon when the foetus becomes sufficiently human to have the right to life. Opponents believe the foetus is never anything other than human from conception and therefore has a right to life from this time. It's a key point in the debate, especially for those involved in drafting laws regulating abortion. Everyone agrees that adult human beings have the right to life. Some people would say that the fertilised cell resulting from conception does not have the right to life. Therefore the right to life is acquired sometime in between those two points, and the big question is 'when?'
It's sometimes put in another way as the question "when does life begin?" referring to the sort of life that we regard as precious.
This debate is intriguing as there are multiple viewpoints. According to religion, life at any stage is sacred and a gift of God. In the Christian view, abortion is akin to murder. The US government grants protection to all its citizens and considers that the unborn child has the right to live and the State ought to protect that. Women nurture the baby in their wombs and along with the father have the responsibility for the upbringing of the child of course with the help of the State. But women have reproductive rights and the right to decide what’s good for them and their children.
So Whose Life is it Anyway? Church, State or Individual?
What makes this debate even more intriguing is technology. We now have CRISPER and other advanced gene editing techniques that will enable people to have designer babies!!!
What’s going to happen then?
Many in India, could be thinking this issue does not really concern us ….. Do think again.