Should we change abortion laws?

As many of you may know by now, the world’s youngest premature baby has survived and is doing well. According to ABC News:

Amillia Sonja Taylor, born Oct. 24 after just less than 22 weeks in the womb, will spend a few extra days in the hospital as a precaution.

Amillia, now a relatively robust 4½ pounds, was about to be released from Baptist Children’s Hospital in Florida, but today doctors unexpectedly decided to postpone her release.

A hospital spokeswoman told The Associated Press that she did not have details on why doctors had changed their minds about sending Amillia home.

On Monday, Amillia was between 25 and 26 inches long, doctors said. She was 9½ inches long and weighed 10 ounces at birth.

Amillia is the youngest surviving premature baby, born after just 21 weeks and six days in the womb.

The only known premature babies that have survived so young prior to her were all born at 23 weeks. The average pregnancy is between 37 weeks and 40 weeks long.

So what does this mean for abortion laws, the pro-choice, and pro-life crowds? The life of this child proves in my opinion without a shadow of a doubt that babies can survive being born WITHIN the first trimester.

Most abortion laws will not allow abortions after the first and some as late as the second trimester. Some will say that is because babies are nothing more than fetuses at this point. Pro-lifers have been saying all along that is not true. So who is right?

Personally, I have battled and walked the fence on this issue. I fundamentally believe that everybody has the God-given right of choice and free will. I believe that its next to sin to interfere with one’s choice. So for the most part I tend to be pro most things that people want to legally do that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. I know, most Muslims will say I’m in error, but heh, Allah (swt) alone knows best.

I normally can retort to most things fast and firm, but this single issue has been a pain for me. When exactly does life start? Is a developing fetus an individual worthy of protection from others, or part of it’s mother to be developed or aborted at the whim of the mother? I’m of the understanding and belief that according to my religion (Islam duh) life begins when a child takes their first breath and the soul enters the body. Any Islamic scholar feel free to correct me. However, there is a catch 22 in Islam if that is true. According to my Janazah (Islamic funeral) book, one can conduct the Janazah prayer for children that die as young as 4 months within the womb, i.e. stillborn. To me, that means that life must begin earlier than birth and more importantly, according to Islamic law, a child is only a child after the first trimester, hence no Janazah within the first trimester. Now any Islamic scholar feel free to correct me.

Now if all this is true according to my understanding, it becomes quite clear why Im torn on the abortion issue. Up until I heard about this child I was content to not worry about the issue unless it was a “late term” abortion within the second trimester, prior to that, I was non-affected, because I believed that since there is no Janazah anyway, there really wasn’t a child to be concerned about.

So here we come full circle: We have this child born at a little over 21 weeks and is doing well. So what are we to think? What am I supposed to believe? Now don’t get me wrong, no matter how you slice it, I believe abortion is a horrible, irresponsible, and borderline sinful act, however I believe people have the right to sin, if they want. In other words, I believe that its not my job to concern myself with another’s sin, outside of council of course and those I personally know.

Back and forth, back and forth I know, but I believe this has to be addressed. Should we revisit our abortion laws, or abolish it all together? If a fetus is an individual life to what extent are we to protect it? Are we to protect the fetus to the extent of denying the rights of the mother or parents? What about women who are raped, have terminal illness, may die during childbirth, etc.?

If I had to choose a position, I would probably be between the pro-life and pro-choice crowds, but that shouldn’t surprise my readers by now, should it? Did I mention I was a Libra. 🙂 (I know, Islamically, that’s a no no…)

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6 Comments

  1. I actually think that our adoption and foster parent laws and organizations should be revisited. I’ve heard of countless cases (or “alleged” cases) of foster child abuse, children who wait to be adopted for years and other horror stories. Until the sad truth of the bureaucratic, inept adoption agencies and social services orgs. is addressed and fixed 100%, I’ll never support the outright banning of abortions.

    If you ban them, you won’t stop abortions at all. You’ll have the married, 30-something woman who feels comfortable enough to carry the child full term even thought it was a “mistake” but you’ll have more 10-year-old incest victims whose fathers make them drink poison to kill the fetus, women who poke around in their insides with metal hooks, beat their abdomens with hammers or commit suicide rather than go through with it.

    Just because we can keep a preemie alive with tubes and machines doesn’t mean it’s natural. We can keep people who are 99.4% dead “alive” through machines, too.

    Besides, there are enough people in the world already, a few women who don’t have babies are a good thing!

    Reply

  2. This is a second trimester baby, not a first trimester baby.

    Though it’s perfectly legal to get an abortion on an elective basis up to a month older than little Amillia. And, if you are “depressed,” James Pendergraft in Florida and George Tiller in Kansas have never been known to turn a patient away for being too healthy or too far advanced in her pregnancy. Tiller had a patient die who was 32 weeks along. Her autopsy showed no health problems other than the fact that she had Down Syndrome, which doesn’t make pregnancy a problem.

    Reply

  3. Salaam ‘Alaikum

    Just for informational purposes, the majority of ‘ulema say that after 120 days (4 mos), abortion is haram. The 120 days comes from exegesis of an ayat in the Qur’an and a sahih hadith.

    I personally think the abortion debate in the US is something Muslims need to stay out of (and we pretty much do). It’s important for us to know for ourselves, but I don’t think making abortion illegal (or illegal after a certain time, or placing more restrictions on it, etc) would solve the major problem in our society, which is rampant promiscuity and a lack of respect for children.

    Reply

  4. Salaam brother UmmZaid,

    I believe your absolutely right. I kinda hinted on the hadith, based off of my understanding of Jannazah rules, nevertheless, your right about the larger issues, which is promiscuity, lack of respect for children, and the breakdown of families and morals.

    Reply

  5. Dear UmmZaid,

    I strongly beleive in your point that we should emphasise the problems like the raging promiscuity and lack of respect for children.

    For our civilization as of now, we still have bigger issues whch is affecting the human beings. To name a few regionalism, castism, intimidation and the like are affecting not only the future genre but the very important and productive of the present lot(And this is actually affecting ONLY to the developing countries and not the already flourishing ones). Hence by being humane we can solve a very fragile and argumentative issues like the ones mentioned above which includes the child care.

    But at the same time issues like abortion laws and discussions on such topics could very well help people, solve one out of the various issues or atleast insist them to think based on some ground which is eventually a part of the problem area for the atrocious lot.

    Reply

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