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WB a present birth control today. Freedom and responsibility. This is a series of programmes about birth control and how it affects us and our society. Today we focus on the abortion controversy. Abortion is an issue that is rapidly becoming a subject of public debate in only a few years abortion has been transformed from a taboo topic to one covered daily by mass media and abortion may be defined as the removal of a fetus before it is mature enough to survive outside of the mother's body. There are two types of abortion spontaneous abortion from natural causes and abortion induced by man in 1069 there were an estimated 1.2 million abortions performed in the United States. Statistics indicate that over 95 percent or about 1 million 170000 of them were illegal abortions and approximately 30000 of them were legal abortions. It is estimated that 800000 women carry their pregnancies to term only because they could not get legal abortions and could not bring
themselves to seek an illegal abortion. Therefore there is a potential national demand for about 2 million abortions a year. Is abortion right or wrong. Should it be legal or illegal. There are no black and white answers to these questions. Dr. Frank Payton obstetrician and gynecologist at the women's clinic in Lafayette and Father Leo Haggerty from St. Thomas Aquinas center at Purdue were guests for an evening with a married student couple's class at university Presbyterian Church. Let's join Dr. Payton followed by Father he is they give their professional and personal views on abortion were discussed. Unquestionably the wanted child the one wanted pregnancy that this should be discontinued. There has to be a reason for this. Should it be just upon demand because I'm pregnant and I don't want to carry this pregnancy this pregnancy was not what I wanted. This
is what we call abortion upon demand. Abortion upon demand. I don't think I would ever ever agree to it because it wouldn't be just necessarily a backstop for contraception. I'd say that has its place which is much better to prevent you understand it to remove. But it would of course maybe even decrease our birth rate say to where we would have some. Great social and economic upset in the country. That alone and by the way I'm not wanting to preach nor be a moralist in this thing let alone what it would do let us say to the social and spiritual fiber of our country when this sort of thing. Took. Place upon demand. The. Feeling that I had had an under which I practiced Of course for all these
years and still am. Is that the interruption of a pregnancy should only be done for the life of the mother where her life is endangered her life. Mind you. This limits it considerably and to the point that. If you really want to know. We average about one abortion a year. In Lafayette. This is done for the life of the mother. Now. These states that. Began to look at this because our law in Indiana and by the way there is no national law this is within the state to control as our national law has nothing at all in the picture. These states all seemed to of course follow long past
Judean Christian history and show forth. You see a religious element to this affair. Now whether or not you like at this aspect as a beginning to leave us. And the. American Civil Liberties Union began to enter to the picture that this woman has. This is her body she has her right or this doctor has his own ethical feelings in his know how and all of that that these two people can do what they want to do. If the fetus this fertilized egg embryo or whatever you want to call it was not life. If it were nothing but a blob of protoplasm we wouldn't even be here discussing it would be. So there must be some sort of thing attached to this. I think
that most people meant that there's something there's the potential of a human it's a blueprint if it's not a how many times they say it. When does the blueprint become the house and when do you turn it over to the Jiao. There's a civil engineer question. Yes but when you turn it over to the owner and and all of that and all right another thing is that abortion is safe and easily done and it is a surgical procedure. To interrupt it it isn't a medical thing that can be done even though it may even be Chinese. In in in what 5000 years ago. And we know had a mercury compound to abort them. If. A woman let us say could. Take a product herself and abort herself really would she do
this. So there's the question there's a difference of opinion. I believe in the womanhood of my practice. Consequently I reviewed. The current file. Of women returning in four years excluding pregnant women and women under 20 years of age and over the age of 16 in this group. And surprisingly enough. I had. Out of this return a modest 70 percent return. But it was called women's attitudes towards abortion. This particular study I have been so surprised all over the world I have been asked for reprints on it because I think that when men's attitudes concerning abortion. Is a thing that other people feel strongly about.
She's the one who carries this. She's the one who has this deep feeling. It isn't the guy that she slapped with. Let's say you husband otherwise and by the way it is the married woman who has more than three children. That having a criminal or should even though the single girl or the unfortunate coed or whatever you want to call. Is becoming pregnant and they discuss there's a lot that is not the big percentage who put all the abortion deaths in the biggest Nysa survey in California showed that they were married women with three or more children that got into trouble. And you'd say well how many women die from abortions a year. Well. We do know that better than 50 percent are probably not reported as such. And we do know that it
now exceeds Of course that of having a whole group of mothers dying in the United States even though there say we don't know where the figures three or four times as many. So it is then a dangerous procedure when it is being done in these subterranean channels while the people farts that bring it up where these poor women can. Not run the risk and have it done in the hospital in a clean way under modern technique. And then these women will not die. Now that these are all things that that you have to resolve in your mind is it worthwhile and which way will it go. Well my feeling then. Would And I've said it before I started the study was that whatever they say I'm going to go along with. I found that it was rather logical thinking.
Well roughly it was Rabin. It extended from not only the life of the mother but where if her physical and mental health are impaired. They said yes that she can. She can have UC after all we're talking about women wanting this and asking for it and show. That. A socio economic reasons no. Whether it be the woman who has three children or their husbands income is low or whether some girlish experimenting are and all show rape statutory rape. For proven right. Or is definitely proven right. And there are very few cases of so-called proven rape and you can't. Have. Say that there are some becoming pregnant from proven right. But let us say if proven rape case occurs and this is what happened down in Indianapolis when I
testified down there are and I gave my up find who saw this I was cornered on this big college a girl who has been raped and immediately of course Bruce has perhaps it's proven at that particular time and this is even accepted by Cherry that you can disrupt her endometrium that is the lining of the uterus where this bounces off let's say and it doesn't mean me coming at. All right. Incest you suggest and then you say yes and you know what I mean by incest that is by a close relative. Where the hazard to the fetus I broke it down to a 10 percent or 5 percent hazard of something being wrong. You see with the fetus Now this could be in the field of eugenics. You see under chromosome studies or German measles or whatever you may be thinking of along this line.
And I also had of course the girl who was led to say mentally retarded or deficient and they said yes for her. And one way you can say then that where a mother was incapable physically or mentally really caring for our child or where that child was going to be harmed or where her own physical or mental health. Now States began to broaden this and for the most part they followed this thing. And she may or may not know. The governor of California Reagan said that he would veto this if they did not remove the fetal indications for some reason he felt it shouldn't be removed. Well they removed it and of course it passed Colorado's law in North Carolina's law. Maryland's law. All of them of course are not as broad as Great Britain and Japan of course which is practically demand it is definitely in demand. You know 60 percent of pregnancies are boarded in Japan. Maybe you didn't know that their birth rate is roughly about 1.6 million for a year
and their. Abortion rate is better than a million years a certain number of those are girls you know. The United States I suppose because. And that's the other sad part just because she has the money and so forth and can fly Amman and back and stay at the Hilton and and drop off a few hundred dollars and she's And but some other poor woman who has already three or four children and you say there isn't one I feel sorry for I that other one should have and you know what the law is made in Great Britain. Well they extend the indications for abortion particularly in the field of psychiatry the psychiatrist. In my good old state of Colorado and Dr. Stuart who is head of the department University however and I think he's right it has to be a bonafide preexisting.
Psychiatric disease it isn't. Doctor you must be me because if not I'm going to go jump on the Wabash when I've had people tell me that for 25 years and I have that first rounded jump and the better you know what I mean threatened suicide taking your life so they expand that and call it LIFE. Preservation of life you prevented her from suicide but he says that it must be a preexisting sees. So I would. Only cry shame. That. I am another writer than I was when this paper read. I don't mean this way. I mean. The concept. I believe that a girl whether she's married or not and if she's under the age of 16 and she doesn't want to conceive
in Lamb No she has no right she's in a Mischa's it's right but it meant she does not have the capacity to take care of her parents and so forth. I wouldn't quibble too much. It wouldn't disturb me. The woman passed the age of 40 because we know this is where the complications are and still. I wouldn't really quibble too much. But rather you see that I was two years ago and the other indication would be that where she is definitely used in any contraceptive I don't mean like diaphragm the pill or foam or something of this sort. But where she is where a physician has inserted let us say an intrauterine device or is injected her with a monthly dose of steroids so forth. I know he knows that she should and by all rights was intended to be and stead of let us say a sterilization procedure and she became pregnant. I would not quibble with any position. I of course
have not done any but I did the law were to be brought and I could probably live with it. I can see that the way this thing is moving with 10 15 20 years from now what I'm saying tonight would probably sound a little dumb dumb or very conservative. I don't want to label myself. I don't I don't know where I am in this field. I only say that it is an issue. I do not believe in revolution. I believe in in things being studied and taken at their own time. I remember very well one time. That he said that. An issues of this sort and I don't believe I can quote him was that at least we should have an open mind and have open discussion upon these things. With that you need to get out what you say I think about the change of the climate and
the value of our own culture is part of it and I'm not going to be able to change things by any kind of moralizing about. But the thing that concerns me and i'm how I try to be very direct to the point on this. Would be. Maybe the. Moral. The issue involved is very simply you raise very simply whenever you talk start talking about what are the rights of the fetus. And and this this is going to hinge around the question of how you assess that a fetus is part of the mother then of course the tissue of the mother then obviously anything she. Does And she wants to make it is simple enough in terms of her own convenience and on. Maybe shes going to be the one to make the decisions right or wrong anyhow. If the fetus is more than just a tissue of the mother then we have a conflict situation. Those who deny the fetus is a human person. If I were trying to summarize a kind of it is yet
there are certain a large large numbers of perceptive sensitive people who do not just simply do not see the fetus as a person with any rights and. People who see this wave as I go just this tiny infinitesimal speck I can see as a person. Medical science if you're just saying out of the one of every two or three for delays it was passed without the mother ever having even known it. And their arguments the arguments from the other side so often will be based very much on a kind of biological that what it tells us today about genetics you know how we have the whole thing the genetic baggage you have on that. From that point on. But the people who are opposed to this will will will insist that that we should just take biological considerations into account whenever we're information there is not enough to tell us what we really need to know about what constitutes a human person. You know Mr. Genesis can you tell us is there human life here you know that's not enough they say you must bring in a philosopher those scientists and all the rest are going to reach this kind of conclusion
and many would argue you might see the fetus as part of a whole process starting even before fertilization. And it didn't begin with conception it doesn't end there. Glanvill Williams who would be one of these persons that does advocate deportment on demand he argues that human life begins with. His best way of shooting the point would be viability. Not only he goes on to state quite logically too I think and honestly that he not only abortion on demand but euthanasia laws are meant to say that the embryo or the fetus and a newborn infant. In point of fact is not functionally human until socialized in human socialization process. Now of course if I did I think of people I know you know 34 years old have been exactly humanized yet you know when we say a person is human or not I'm not. That's just a sketch of the kinds of positions of those who take. One stand on ah I'm going to give you my point Les an editor acted
as if they were treating the fetus as a human being. A man named Paul Ramsey remains a Methodist Layfield lodge and taught at Princeton for many years. I like his arguments or his statement is the one that I found most convincing. For what it is worth here the way you evaluate the situation is not a simple thing to evaluate anything. All you have to come to an argument for abortion that is not an argument for infanticide. This is the premise of that which he operates. If you want to choose whatever argument you're advancing here you must be aware of this principle universal ization and assuming this is making an assumption and that is an assumption that most people do consider infanticide to be wrong. Now maybe that is but if you grant that he say any argument that you make for abortion should not by the same fact be logically leading to RB also in our government genocide then you have a
problem here because. If it's Montague for example with him we'd say that I must be human I did so chelation the socialization process obviously you know that kind of right in a newborn baby can also be killed since it obviously has to plan and develop and hasn't had this personal development all that. There's one kind of argument it was in Christianity Grice's that try to avoid this whole matter of the question of the fetus of humanity and it argued that the woman because of her act of sexual intercourse is bound to some kind of fidelity to whatever life will come about from the union and that she said she's going to be that she's found only to the normal child and therefore. But again if you apply this Randy's argument he'll say that there's no reason why mentally to farm child may not be killed then you see on that basis a child not just now. What is the Dems between a fetus and a newborn chancy that's that's the kind of question what does it mean when does it become a human being with rights. If we we do function in our legal system in this
Judeo-Christian type of assumption about one person of having rights. When you when you and. We have in some sense assigned rights to the uses but that's that's not. I'm not talking about our laws now I'm just talking about the issues the deeper issues that one when you say this would be some would say birth. But what's the difference one day before birth or one day after birth and poor little baby just depended totally dependent on the mother of the day or you get so when the child is two thirds of the way out of the womb it suddenly becomes human. If we would use that as the point of I'm talking about what you legally said. But when do you say it it becomes human. Someone say it's time a viability would be maybe in the time of I believe would be a most natural time. Twenty six twenty eight weeks or whatever it is when it can can actually live outside the womb. But here again this is a very relative thing my science is gradually changing this artificial division and all the rest and they don't know whether they sums down the 12 weeks or who only knows how far we are able to go that when you can still keep the fetus
alive and survive outside the womb of the mother. And when and you know how do you say and if this is the principle that what you determine when you have live human life how would you base it on that. Now Ramsey and so these people would then come to term the blastocyst and this is this is a little more this is where I I find this. I wish I knew more about this but it's very very it is to be that kind of a position that all these. Mollison if visions came to when they had that Harvard Divinity in a community supposing all of the number of these people depart they would say you know this is a period when a zygote begins dividing up to 10 days I mean it is a certain point the reason why this point would be picked is because of the phenomena of identical twins. Birth is not birth is not the point. Maybe by ability is not such a clear point but perhaps a blastocyst would be a point where you would answer the question because then something different. Here it
would would seem to be taking hold here because prior to that time you don't have you this unique individuality that we say constitutes a human person at this time something happens which after that gives us two human beings and before this time you didn't whatever you had you didn't have their unique individual human person yet something lacking that unique individuality characterizing a person and that would be the way they are going to run and so they would say blastocysts would maybe be that point and others would argue all way back to fertilization genotype because they say the person is programmed to be the unique person he is from that point on that. If you never had any twins then you could definitely you might go. These people push back realization but when you if you at least blastocyst what they concluded these these this group of profit category logins primarily that we consider the fetus as a human being with rights of the human person you want to be present at least for the time of lattices that was the way they sort of came up with their version. Now that doesn't mean that you're not going to have
abortions but at least it gives you a certain kind of a point you're going to still have all sorts of conflict situations as you always have and even in the conservative Catholic tradition Abortion has always been recognized in a number of conflict situations although they made the distinction between direct and indirect abortion which which is big. I find difficulty with that position myself as I'm not representing what has been the consensus among Catholic theologians when I say that. But I I don't I want to I want to develop that I can I mean I can see situations but it's not going to be a very easy thing especially when you bring in a further kind of a Christian point of view that that always I got a Christian I got the love of the other as other not just insofar as not just as far as the others between me are helpful to me but it's going to be. Kind of you know where we view the person as not just an instrument not just for our own convenience. The attitude here would be that that
man's worth. I mean it's kind of all Christian attitude that may not be so much functioning anymore you see a man's word is not to be assessed according to what he's been he's become through social intercourse or an estimate of what he may yet become be more. He said these are God's labors purposes economy which places the price on each life. So for so high that no trancing human value would normally be able to serve as a compensation for that. But if you if you there's an erosion of maybe that kind of an outlook on something at least that's there's one really excellent article by than across a field and Potter and the book illustrated the whole spectrum of the attitudes on the thing and it's beautifully developed is really very fair he says. We view our situation today says it's not unreasonable to conclude that the high demand for abortion is standing there not exclusively by the social will. Now that there are all sorts of situations and conflicts although I'm a little more conservative I never thought I'd be on the same governorate I would
build there is a difference. Whenever you bring up the it's not a complex situation where it's the life of the mother are some serious prominent damage to her but where it is it's a concern about how you view an unlovely. Child here you know whether you whether you want to you know there's a difference there is a difference. But anyhow he says it's not just a social as it is a disposition of of a certain kind of a spirit of rage the clientele or that you were just saying that are not the force and I'm there it's much is really the primary married women who bear neither shame nor poverty and who are resolved to preserve or extend whatever continent comfort they have attained and no program or policy that is going to change this quickly change at least this kind of attitude that won't have to conclude that abortion is the most convenient solution to their awkward sometimes but not necessarily tragic circumstance that they see and and the final remarks Here's the only way. If we were arguing about the Christian outlook which has always had this idea that the
man is one is characterized by sort of selflessness and sacrifice concern for the weak and loving a willingness to accept and transcend a lot of perfections through the power of redemptive suffering all this this is this is faded from a kind of a consciousness of this kind of thing is no longer the big thing he said. He concludes here he said and only the example of this kind of a sincere regard for others is never going to rekindle that kind of conviction that all life is sacred and found together in a mystery so that the death of the least diminishes each one of Peter's aboard and talking here about a space the floor. Through Asian convenience or convenience food ration too. There are other alternative solutions that sort of tragedy were open but it is a convenient version when when this cruise was aborted nor Now For Whom The Bell Tolls the bell is told that if you do not feel indifferent and and secure the number rises you and me in our
tenuous hold upon it. You are at the mercy of our fellow men when looking at the question of abortion one has to weigh the rights of a woman to control her destiny against the rights of a fetus to live. Does abortion show an increased concern and love for human life or evidence of a change of attitudes in society that erodes the quality of human life mores and customs can change in a society. The big question is will the Rights of Persons be the primary emphasis in the world of the future. This has been birth control today. Freedom and responsibility. The next programme in this series will look at abortion and the law.
Birth control today
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The Abortion Controversy
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Birth control today; 10; The Abortion Controversy,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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APA: Birth control today; 10; The Abortion Controversy. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from