Wed | Oct 17, 2018

On the matter of abortions

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2015 | 11:04 PM


Let me first of all firmly state that I am not an advocate for abortions at whim and fancy that result from reckless sexual encounters, but there also needs to be reprieve for those traumatised by forceful acts against their will. I think if we follow mother nature's guide, she will provide the answer, as she does in so many of our questions.

The rights of the unborn child are recognised as if he or she were here among us already, and so for many, aborting is murder, plain and simple.

But what if it were not so? What if there is a solution to address all concerns, recognising the tenets and principles of all arguments?

When is a person declared dead, as in lifeless? When the heart stops beating.

The foetal human heart starts to beat at about six to seven weeks gestation. Prior to that, there is essentially a mass of rapidly dividing cells that, in all reality, could amount to anything, including a cancerous mass. Could we not draw a line at the biological marker that nature already has by recognising the start of the heartbeat as the beginning of life itself?

This decision not only satisfies the ethical questions of intrauterine murder, but also the question of endorsing the aborting of the products of rape and abuse, which, with appropriate mechanisms in place, could be addressed within six to seven weeks. There is also recognition for the need of legislation to be crystal clear regarding the circumstances that would qualify for legal abortions, as well as the need to professionally verify if the heart has started beating, which is very easily done by a simple ultrasound.

Life ends with the last heartbeat, we all agree and recognise that ... let's take the bold, decisive step and likewise recognise and agree that life starts with the first heartbeat.

Dr Saphire Longmore