It is often hard to have an insightful discussion on abortion for a variety of reasons. When it comes to this issue, too many people stick to their dogma and just drown out any opposing view. Liberals will often denounce any other opinion because they believe that a woman’s right to choose is supreme, and religious conservatives argue that life begins at conception, thus all abortions should be illegal. Unfortunately, the two sides do not find middle ground or compromise on their views, and to make matters worse, abortion is a widely controversial issue that too many fear talking about.
This is an unfortunate situation because it is an important debate that we should all be having. After all, this is an argument over the beginning of rights. Needless to say, the rights of any human being begin well before a human has left its mother, thus, it is important that we finally recognize the rights of the unborn.
But in order for a human being to have rights, it must be alive. The life of the unborn therefore needs to be defined by universal, scientific truths, and not our emotions. Obviously, life cannot be endowed simply by a woman’s needs. It is simply incomprehensible that liberals honestly believe that a mother’s financial situation legitimizes any kind of abortion. On the other hand, life does not start at conception. This belief mainly stems from the fact that expecting parents will automatically think of themselves as such as soon as the mother confirms her pregnancy. Since this is just a moral belief with no basis in science or common law, this idea cannot be made federal law.
Generally, life needs to be defined, and that is the crux of the abortion debate. But at the same time, liberals and other leftists continue to believe the false, strawman argument that conservatives and other pro-lifers just want to control women. Therefore, a compromise on the definition of life must be reached in order to get past this ideological gridlock. In order for this to get done, life should be defined at a certain point in time where a woman may still be able to attain an abortion. With this in mind, human life should be determined not just by a heartbeat, but with a functioning brain as well. I will concede right away that “functioning” is too broad a term, but I use it to mean a brain that can emit electrical signals. By this very definition, life begins, and so do the rights of the unborn, which is earlier than one might think.
According to neuroscience researcher Micheal Gazzaniga, a brain begins to emit electrical signals at about twelve weeks. Although Gazzaniga reveals that the brain activity at this point is comparable to that of a sea slug, it should be noted that an unconscious brain literally goes through “oscillations between states of activation and deactivation.” If an unconscious person is considered a living being despite having a deactivated brain, then surely, life can be assigned to the unborn child with primitive brain activity. Additionally, people seem to have no moral qualms about considering a person in a coma a living human being.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a baby’s heart already begins to form at about four weeks. In about the next two weeks, heartbeats can be detected and usually beats fairly quickly at about 90-110 BPM. Overall, a heart is already functioning well before the brain does.
If liberals and conservatives can come to the consensus that a baby capable of a functioning brain and heartbeat is a living being, then limits on abortion can come next. To accommodate for the time until a baby can be protected by law and a mother who wishes for an abortion can get it done, the limit should be placed at about three months. Should this plan be put in place, approximately 30,000 unborn children aborted after three months can be saved each year. Although most abortions would still occur before this time frame, America would be a step closer to protecting the rights of all Americans, including the unborn.