Zoo Station

Just another WordPress.com weblog

A conversation on abortion

Posted by Chance on February 12, 2007

With the diversity of political beliefs on this blog, I am always hesitant to post on abortion. It is an issue I am passionate about, but I know it is a very heated subject, and I don’t want to make the atmosphere of this blog too serious. However, as with any topic, it is helpful that both sides understand each other.

I was visited Neil Simpson’s blog, and he had a post regarding Barack Obama’s position on abortion. A pro-choice commenter posted a comment here . (Note, no offense against the commenter, but I know many pro-choicers can be more considerate and diplomatic in their comments, this is not the typical commenter, but just one slightly overcome by emotions, as I can be).

Here is Neil’s response, along with mine.

The gist is this. Pro-lifers such as myself believe that the fetus is a person. Therefore, any talk of personal freedom or “my body, my choice” in reference to abortion falls on deaf ears. Because we believe the fetus is a person, we do not believe other people, whether it be a person shooting a pregnant woman, or the mother herself, has the right to harm the fetus. We do not believe there are any significant scientific factors that separate a fetus from a born person. If pro-choicers want to convince me that abortion should be legal, they need to quit the “libertarian” arguments, especially since I have libertarian viewpoints on many things. The crux of the argument is whether or not the fetus is a person. If the fetus is not, then the libertarian argument would follow that abortion should be legal. If the fetus is a person, then the libertarian argument would demand that abortion be outlawed.

Again, the purpose of this point is not pro-life proselytizing, but to simply point out the central issue of the debate. And no, I don’t think there are two classes of humans, as people who opposed women’s right to vote and abolition of slavery often argued.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “A conversation on abortion”

  1. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    What often gets left out of such discussions is any definition of “personhood.” Many conservatives accept the legal of fiction of “personhood” for corporations, but I don’t and think this idea is one of the worst things to happen to our society.

    But “human person” and “human life” cannot be simply equated. After all, my thumb is alive, but if it gets diseased and must be amputated, I don’t cry out that it must be protected as human life–it is neither a person, nor a potential person. But VERY few pro-lifers bother to define why fetuses should be considered persons from the moment of conception onward. There is no biblical justification for this belief since born life is always valued above unborn life in Scripture.
    Science? Well, let’s see: A large % of fertilized ovae are spontaneously aborted (miscarried) without ever attaching to the uterine wall without the woman ever knowing she had conceived. Were all those conceptuses “persons?” If so, did the woman’s body murder them? There is much waste in nature.

    It seems more probably to treat fertilized ovae as potential human persons and to see that potential actualized sometime prior to birth. Then the moral severity of abortion would increase the closer to term of pregnancy–which is how Scripture and tradition treat this prior to the post-Roe abortion debate.

    The extremes–pro-lifers who consider all abortions to be murder and pro-choicers who consider all abortions to be a mere matter of civil liberties–have all been rejected by the vast majority of the public. Repeatedly.

    Unless some new arguments are made, this is where we are likely to stay. The question will be how to reduce the number of abortions–while recognizing moral tragedies and moral complexities.

  2. Chance said

    “But “human person” and “human life” cannot be simply equated. After all, my thumb is alive, but if it gets diseased and must be amputated, I don’t cry out that it must be protected as human life–it is neither a person, nor a potential person.”

    Quite a difference in my opinion. Fetuses have a distinct genetic pattern different from the mother, whereas the thumb is part of the original body. Moreoever, people are usually quite sad when they lose their thumb and typically will not amputate their thumb on purpose. Many don’t have the same attitudes towards a fetus.

    “But VERY few pro-lifers bother to define why fetuses should be considered persons from the moment of conception onward.”

    I have several reasons. I won’t go into them here, but go to l4l.org or str.org or 4simpsons.wordpress.com for a collection of reasons. A common acronym is SLED ( location, environment, dependency, I forget the ‘s’) that separate the fetus from a ‘born’ person. Pro-lifers such as myself will argue that none of these are morally significant in separating fetus from born person.

    “There is no biblical justification for this belief since born life is always valued above unborn life in Scripture. ”

    How so?

    “The extremes–pro-lifers who consider all abortions to be murder and pro-choicers who consider all abortions to be a mere matter of civil liberties–have all been rejected by the vast majority of the public. Repeatedly.”

    Maybe in the court of public opinion, but according to the law, the latter have their say. People can get abortions for any and every reason, even as the baby is being born. Many, like Jimmy Carter, will pretend that abortion is only allowable in certain cases and during a certain trimester, but it simply isn’t true.

  3. Neil said

    Good points, Chance. The libertarian arguments get overplayed and it all starts with denying the humanity of the unborn.

    Thumbs do not have unique DNA relative to the rest of the body. The unborn do have unique DNA, 46 chromosomes, etc.

    Good point about SLED – the “S” is for size. Toddlers don’t have less rights than adults (we give them more protection, if anything).

    The polls have been twisted different ways, but the majority of people are against abortion on demand.

    The Bible is quite pro-life. One of the passages misquoted by pro-choicers is in Exodus. Click that link for a good article on it.

    I don’t follow the “potential” person argument and how the value grows. If your thumb was cut off in the womb at 6 weeks, or 12 or 36 you would still be born without a thumb. If you had been aborted at any of those stages you would be dead.

  4. Josh said

    Chance, I think you know my stance on this, so I’m not even going to go there. An incredible inconsistency was shown last week in the Texas Legislature.

    If you have time, read this article.

    How come when it comes to this new vaccine, the conservative parents think that they have the right to say whether or not their daughter gets vaccinated? Isn’t this a stem of “my body, my choice”? The opposite is also true of liberals who are completely for the government stepping in and mandating the vaccine. Shouldn’t they also be for the government ban on abortion?

    I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m taking sides in the above paragraphs, but I think that the inconsistencies should be pointed out.

    I’m curious as to Jefferson’s definition of the word “created” in his opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Considering his spiritual stance and the culture of that time I have my guesses, but I’m really not sure.

    I hope you don’t mind me taking the podium on your blog, but I have a question:

    Where does it stop with the government saying what we should or shouldn’t do as parents or possible parents? Abortion… Vaccination… should these be viewed as separate matters or lumped into the same category.

    I’m sure many are going to say that I’m comparing apples to oranges, and to be honest, it does somewhat sound like I am. What I’m arguing is the principle of the matter.

    Any post that gets me opening my fat yap is a good one. This may be one of your best.

    I can’t wait for your response.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: