On abortion as ‘murder’: debate should rest on scientific fact, not emotion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 9:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 9:32pm

In her letter to the editor, “Abortion vote in Ireland is over, but rhetoric cannot blur the line between right and wrong” (June 19), Lydia Hayes asks: “Is it right to kill an unborn child?”

This is a loaded question, and it promotes the extremely rhetorical assertion that doctors are murdering fully formed children. As is so often the case with such emotionally charged issues, uninformed opinion rules over facts.

During the first trimester, there are no fully developed features. The lungs and central nervous system have not yet completely developed.

I would like to ask Ms Hayes, how does this rise to the level of killing a child? How about some compassion for the well-being of the mother, especially one impregnated through rape? It is not our place to dictate what these unfortunate women must do to placate moral objections, founded, as they often are, on religious beliefs.

US official says abortion, like rape, is a form of violence

Most abortions take place during the first 12 weeks, and it is this term which the new mandate in Ireland has directed the pending legislation to cover – with a 24-week exception for extreme cases where there is a serious risk to the health of the mother or fetus.

It is also during the first 10 weeks that the rate of spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is highest. Further, though it is impossible to know exactly, scientists estimate that anywhere from 10 to 60 per cent of fertilised embryos fail to successfully implant in the uterus and get expelled during the next menstrual cycle, without the woman ever knowing conception had taken place.

Ex scientia vera – from knowledge, truth.

Jason Sylvester, president, Hong Kong Atheist Society