Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A quick and dirty argument against abortion

I've had this on-going struggle to be succinct because if you're not succinct, then people won't listen to you. Sometimes you have to gut an argument to be succinct, so the struggle to is say the most with the fewest words. With that in mind, here's my quick and dirty defense of the unborn. There's nothing new here--it's all Scott Klusendorf-ish--but hopefully it's nice and tidy.

I think abortion should be illegal because it's a serious moral wrong, and I think it's a serious moral wrong because it takes the life of an innocent human being, usually without justification.

The whole abortion debate hinges on one question: What is the unborn? Most of the justifications pro choice people give for why abortion should be legal are question-begging because they only work under the assumption that the unborn is not an innocent human being. For example, they say it could spare the child pain or suffering later on in life. But nobody would use that to justify killing a two year old because the two year old is an innocent human being. Well, if the unborn is an innocent human being just like the two year old, then the possibility of future suffering is not a sufficient justification of killing the unborn either.

Here's another argument I heard just today: Abortions are going to happen whether they are legal or not, so they should be legal. But people do, in fact, kill their children from time to time. Remember Andrea Yates who drown her kids in the bathtub? So here's a parallel argument: Parents are going to kill their children whether it's legal or not; therefore, it should be legal for parents to kill their children. But obviously none of us would accept such a crazy argument because we all agree that children are innocent human beings. Well, if the unborn are innocent human beings, then this argument doesn't justify abortion either.

And you can run this argument through with most other pro-choice argumenst. Just ask yourself, "Is it okay to kill a two year old for the same reason?" If not, then it doesn't justify abortion unless the unborn are not innocent human beings.

But the fact that the unborn are innocent human beings is obvious. They are human because their parents are human, they have human DNA, and they are going through the stages of human development. They are alive because they are growing, they are using energy (i.e. metabolizing), and their cells are dividing. There's no question that they are living humans. They are also distinct from their mothers. What i mean is that they are not appendages of their mothers, like arms, legs, or organs, which are human parts. They are whole distinct human beings which is evident in the fact that they have unique DNA distinct from both of their parents, that some of them have penises even though the mother is still female, and the fact that if allowed to, they will go through every stage of human development. Each of us began as an embryo. That object that used to be inside the womb is the same object as the one that later was outside of the womb. It's the same entity. The only difference is its location and its level of development.

Location (inside or outside the womb) isn't what makes something a human being either. It's the same thing regardless of its location. Consider a surgeon who has to temporarily remove a fetus from a womb, then put it back again. Are we to believe it was non-human, then became human, then ceased to be a human again once placed back in? This is not a mere thought experiment. Surgeries like this do take place.

Viability isn't what makes something human either. Whether a fetus can survive outside the womb is a matter of technology. But surely advances in technology do not turn something that is not human into something that is human. So the fact that somebody is dependent on either a mother or a machine to stay alive has nothing at all to do with whether it's a human being or not. Many adults depend on machines for their survival. If there were a medical procedure in which they could be hooked up to another human instead of a machine to accomplish the same thing, they wouldn't for that reason cease to be human beings.

The only argument the pro-choice side has that makes any sense at all is bodily sovereignty arguments. Some argue that even if the unborn are innocent human beings, the mother still has the right to have an abortion because she has the right to say who can and can't use her body to stay alive. This argument has some weight, but I don't think a woman's right to bodily sovereignty outweighs the unborn's right to life for three reasons.

First, we are not talking about a stranger here. We're talking about the woman's own young. Mothers have an obligation to their own young that they don't have to strangers.

Second, the right to bodily sovereignty is not absolute. Suppose a woman's sole means of feeding her baby was breast-feeding. But she refused on the basis that the baby doesn't have the right to use her body. Would we not think she was a moral monster for intentionally starving her baby to death just because it was her boob?

Third, the right to bodily sovereignty is contingent on the right to life. The right to life is the most fundamental right because all other rights are contingent on you being alive.

So for all these reasons, i think abortion is immoral, and that it ought to be illegal.


At 6/14/2018 6:23 PM , Anonymous Watson said...

This is a Youtube video where apologist Trent Horn responds to a caller who made a similar argument mentioned in your post.

I suggest Trent Horn's book Persuasive Pro-Life for an easy and persuasive defence from the Pro-life side.

And an interesting debate with Mr. Horn vs a pro-choicer.

At 6/15/2018 3:39 PM , Blogger Sam Harper said...

Thanks for the links, Watson.


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