The Placenta and the Abortion Question

A recent article in the New York Times underscores the very small amount of information doctors and researchers have about the mysterious placenta—the organ that grows out of a new embryo and immediately starts siphoning nutrients out of a new mother’s blood. The article is quite fascinating, but it brings up some very important questions concerning abortion.

The human placenta is apparently very aggressive—one researcher likened it to cancer. “Parasite” was also thrown out to describe it. It is not created by the woman’s body to nourish the new life. It grows from the embryonic tissue and actively seeks out nutrients. This has great interest in the abortion question, as a new embryo immediately starts to act. From the beginning, it exercises a will to live. Though this looks very much like an involuntary biological process, it is important to note that the woman’s body is a host for another organism. This is not a clump of the woman’s cells. Even the mechanism for the new organism’s survival is not created from the woman’s cells. The woman’s flesh isn’t active about taking care of the new organism—it is passive. The new organism takes immediate action to sustain its own new life.

The use of the words “cancer” and “parasite” indicate something else very interesting. Abortion is not the voluntary excision of an inconvenient outgrowth of one’s own body. The placenta makes it clear—abortion is the willful excision (and execution) of a foreign body. A full-term pregnancy certainly happens with a woman’s permission. If you view a new life as a blessing (and not a cancer), you will willingly share your nutrients and even take in more and better nutrients to benefit the new life. You will be a gracious host.

But let’s not kid ourselves anymore. Abortionists have been telling people for years that a woman can do what she wants with her body. But we’re not just talking about her body. If she drank contaminated water and got a tapeworm, I don’t think anyone would fault her for killing the tapeworm. But no one is going to say she can kill the tapeworm “because it’s just an extension of her own body.”

And that exposes the hidden logic of abortion. They have to say it’s about the woman’s own body, but in fact they know the embryo is another body. They just don’t care about that other body. They actually think it’s a cancer and a parasite. And they want it out.

But if they didn’t want it, they could have chosen not to invite it in—in the majority of cases. Just because someone is in your house, that doesn’t give you the right to kill him if he’s inconveniencing you—especially when you were the one who invited him there in the first place.