Some may call abortion a 'right,' but it will never be right
HOT TAKE - Ted Tuvera ( - October 24, 2020 - 12:00am

A few weeks ago, a 14-year-old girl from a barrio in the town where I live got impregnated by her father.

It's one of the most horrible things I've heard. It's unimaginable to see whatever future is ahead of her. 

It's pretty easy to spell out black-and-white answers to this had this been some test-case on a bio-ethical or moral theology course in school. It's even easier to give a piece of advice as any chismoso or chismosa would. But since this is a real-life scenario, punditry deserves a second, a third, a fourth or even a hundredth thought.

At any rate, such instance is one of the many reasons why some groups are advocating the decriminalization of abortion in the Philippines, thus making it a norm much less.

Abortion is the easy way out for girls who have gone through or are going through the same evil as it promises to ease the burden of whatever evil is done or left.

Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network's (Pinsan) spokesperson Claire Padilla, in a recent opinion piece on Rappler published last September 28, articulated a number of points that argue for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines.

She cited a couple of concepts ranging from political history and economics that all but revolve on one thing: women empowerment.

True, women have been victims of all sorts of oppression, especially rape. 

Ms. Padilla was able to articulate these especially when she pointed out that forced incestuous activities have long been an unfortunate phenomenon and that a Filipina is raped every 75 minutes. For her, one of the ways to empower girls or women out of this violent cycle is abortion which, if evaluated on the surface, does propose valid arguments for her advocacy.

The questions that linger for me, however, are these: What power can abortion give women against any evil their way? Can abortion prevent or stop rape? Is murdering a vulnerable, potential human person empowering women?

Rapists should be punished. Women should be protected and empowered by the state. Abortion cannot do both.

But then Ms. Padilla and anybody else who's into supporting abortion has not and does not consider the most vulnerable victim of whatever unwanted or criminal sexual violation which, we must never forget, is a human person: the unborn child.

Yes, economic conditions, psychological burdens and possible physical defects are huge factors to reckon with whenever an "unwanted" child grows up. This, however, is seen through a perspective which in itself is degrading: a human person is reduced as a mere object to existing economic and political systems.

If we have become prejudiced against persons having physical defects and sees aborting them as an option, what makes that different from the way how Adolf Hitler treated "unwanted" Jews? What makes that different from the way "unwanted" poor drug peddlers are killed by death squads or from how "illegal" immigrants are marginalized by countries capable of caring for them?

No human being deserves to be called unwanted or illegal. But each human being, whether healthy or not, deserves respect and compassion. Abortion leans toward the former and denies the latter.

Abortion is a "human right," they say. But what about the rights of an "unwanted" child? And perhaps, by extension, out of my freedom of thought and conscience—which is technically guaranteed by the "human rights" clause—I can punch anybody in the face without regard for the rights of the other person to be safe.

Lest we forget, any conscious human act has moral consequences that's why we do distinguish a criminal act from what isn't.

The right to be born and the right to life are fundamental human rights without which will follow the utter breakdown of whatever civilization or collective sense of morality we hold.

"My body, my choice," they'd also argue.

But then, another human person's body within a female body is a separate body that has to be nurtured because by then it is dependent by nature. It's not just any random bundle of cells—it's an actual living being. And any act that deprives a living being of the potential of a fuller life is plain murder.

Abortion is murder. Murder is wrong. Abortion is wrong.

A wrong act does not deserve a wrong response, says Immanuel Kant, because otherwise, it would ripple evil further as a consequence.

I'm not saying these out of its religious context or out of pure religious conviction but out of my human capacity to be rational and compassionate which is enough to make me determine what is good or bad.

Tell me, does the baby inside that poor 14-year-old kid's womb deserve to live?


Ted Tuvera worked as a reporter for The Daily Tribune. He is currently a seminarian at the Archdiocese of Capiz.

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