Liberalising abortion law leads to a shift in morality

An unborn life is a human life and should be treated as one

Written by Olivia Boyd

Warning: If this discussion around abortion causes you distress in any way, please visit for counselling and support services.

This week, a bill has been proposed in Maryland USA that would decriminalise infanticide up to 28 days after a child has been born. [1] When this appeared in my newsfeed I was appalled. This is clearly not about “my body, my choice” anymore. Regardless of the outcome of this proposed Bill, the fact that such legislation would even be considered, exposes the slippery slope that is set in motion when the taking of an innocent life at any stage of development is justified and normalised. We see what happens when we move away from our society’s moral foundation of valuing and protecting life, to instead towards one that justifies and allows the taking of another life at any stage of that life – even after birth.

If we as a society fail to protect and value life in the womb, and at all stages of development, we potentially open the way for more extreme abortion practices. The more extreme those abortion practices become, such as allowing late-term abortions as New Zealand law now permits, the more we lose our moral conscience and are desensitised to the reality that this is the taking of a human life.

In Philadelphia in 2011, an abortionist named Kermit Gosnell was convicted for killing three babies after birth. He did not even properly dispose of the many babies he aborted, many of them late term, storing them in household containers and keeping them in his offices, sometimes for years. He was also charged with the death of a 41-year-old woman after a botched abortion. [2] If a baby survived an abortion, Gosnell would snip their spine to kill them. [3] Ilyse Houge, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America told the New York Times, “Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell.” [4] However, although Gosnell was rightly convicted of criminal offences (he also self-reported having performed more than 40,000 abortions [5]), much of what he performed in his practice was legal—he wasn’t a “back-alley” abortionist at all. You have to wonder how a person’s conscience can get to this point from having started medical school to presumably help people, to ending innocent human lives in such an inhumane and callous way.

The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist and early leader of the abortion rights movement turned pro-life advocate, explained that as an abortionist, he “had become a collection of functions rather than an accountable human being.” [6] Dr. Nathanson had personally aborted over 5,000 babies, including his own, before the ultrasound was invented. When he saw the baby he was aborting on the screen, he realised that the baby was a person. “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age,” he sadly confessed. [7]

An article on Right to Life Michiana US explains how abortion normalises the killing of humans for convenience. “This morally devastating culture shift, which was caused or at least brought to the forefront of our society by the prevalence of abortion, is often referred to as the culture of death.” [8] These are confronting words, but they capture the gravity of what we’ve seen in our abortion laws and practices as they’ve become more and more liberalised.

This culture shift has also touched our shores. According to a recent report by Voice for Life, a baby was left gasping for breath for two hours on a hospital table in New Zealand after a failed abortion. A nurse shared the story to Voice for Life and said, “We wouldn’t do that to an animal. I was horrified.” She mentions that other healthcare staff called the death “sad”, but also tried to justify it by saying that the mother had “financial and housing issues”. “We didn’t empower this woman by leaving her child to suffer and die like that,” the nurse says. “All we did was end the life of her baby in a drawn-out and cruel way…It’s actually vile and disgusting that any human would be treated that way.” [9] 

Although I sympathise with the mother’s situation, “financial and housing issues” is not a reason for the hospital staff to sit back and leave a baby to die. There is no justifiable reason to let an unwanted baby gasp for breath for two hours and not do anything to help. A child might grow up with less opportunities and privileges, but this doesn’t mean we should stop them from being born in the first place. Just because the law doesn’t stipulate you are obliged to care for a baby if it survives an abortion doesn’t mean it should be left to die. Every life has value.

Archbishop Daniel Kucera expresses a similar sentiment. In his article for Priests for Life (US) he wrote: “We hear that if an unborn child will lack certain material advantages, it would be better to prevent that child’s birth. Besides its disregard for life as such, this opinion implies that the value of a life is to be measured in material terms. By such standards we would have to conclude that millions of our fellow citizens should never have been born. What does this say about our concept of the purpose of life and our notions of human fulfilment?” [10]

As individuals, we aren’t as outraged as we once were about the ending of a human life. When this happens to a large number of people in our society, our societal norms are shifted and we begin to see things differently. When we justify murder of the pre-born, we potentially can end up justifying murder after birth. The example of Kermit Gosnell is an extreme one but demonstrates that when someone is completely immersed in the abortion industry like he was, a person’s sense of morality can be irreparably damaged (note that Kermit Gosnell believed he was innocent). If our society accepts the ending of a preborn life, it could eventually be ok with ending a life after birth.

Ending a life at any stage of development, whether inside or out of the womb, is still ending a life. Some may be rightly outraged by what has been proposed in Maryland. Twenty or more years ago, I can imagine that many would have been outraged by the prospect of full-term abortion being legalised. Yet here we are potentially facing another moral shift as a society.

An unborn life is a human life and should be treated as one. If we continue the moral slide into aborting babies for any reason and at any stage, we will end up beyond full term, to when they are actually born, and then we have crossed even further into moral decline as a culture. We have to understand that a life is a life, no matter what the developmental stage, and stop the numbing of our social conscience to where we can disregard the intrinsic value of a human life.

[1] Smith, Wesley J. (9 March 2022). HORRIFIC: Maryland bill would decriminalize infanticide up to 28 days after birth. Retrieved from

[2] The Interim. (2011, 18 July). Abortion causes harm beyond the killing of the unborn. Retrieved from

[3] Rose, Lila. (2021). Fighting for Life. Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books

[4] Rose, Lila. (2021). Fighting for Life. Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books

[5] Bartkowiak, Dan (2021, 19 January). 10 Years After The FBI Found Abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s House Of Horrors, It Could Still Happen Again. Retrieved from

[6] The Interim. (2011, 18 July). Abortion causes harm beyond the killing of the unborn. Retrieved from

[7] Vincent, Stephen. (2011, 21 February). Bernard Nathanson Dead at 84. Retrieved from

[8] Right to Life Michiana, Inc. (2018). Abortion Hurts Society. Retrieved from

[9] Kloosterboer, Deanna. (2021, 15 June). EXCLUSIVE: Healthy NZ baby took two hours to die after late term abortion while hospital withheld medical assistance. Retrieved from

[10] The Interim. (2011, 18 July). Abortion causes harm beyond the killing of the unborn. Retrieved from

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