Monday, April 30, 2018

Another charge of pro-life inconsistency

I often hear pro-choicers say that pro-lifers are inconsistent because pro-lifers "pretend" to care about people before they are born, but they don't care about them after they are born. Their reasoning is that a lot of the same people who are pro-life also oppose certain social programs that would help poor mothers and their children.

But there is no inconsistency on the part of pro-lifers in this regard. Pro-lifers think it's just as wrong to kill people outside the womb as it is to kill people inside the womb, so they are consistent. If this pro-choice argument were sound, it would follow that anybody who opposes both murder and socialism is inconsistent. That's just crazy talk.

But even if pro-lifers were inconsistent on this point, I don't see what bearing that would have on whether the arguments for the pro-life position are sound. So this pro-choice retort strikes me as being a red herring anyway. It's an ad hominem fallacy. It attacks pro-lifers and ignores their arguments.

A more promising way pro-choicers might accuse pro-lifers of inconsistency might be to say that while pro-lifers claim it's wrong to take the life of an innocent human being, regardless of the cost and consequences of keeping it alive, the same pro-lifers are okay with collateral damage in warfare in which case innocent bystanders get killed. Those who plan bombings and stuff know ahead of time that innocent bystanders will be killed, but they do a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether it's worth it or not. If pro-lifers are willing to accept the taking of innocent human life after doing a cost/benefit analysis, like in warfare, then they should not simply dismiss the costs that pro-choicers bring up when trying to justify abortion.

I agree that pro-lifers should not simply dismiss pro-choice arguments, and it's been my observation that they don't. Pro-lifers also do a cost/benefit analysis when it comes to exceptional cases. Pretty much every pro-lifer I've ever met are okay with abortion when it will save the life of the mother. Most of them are even okay with abortion in the case of rape. So they do do a cost/benefit analysis. It's just that the reasons pro-choicers typically give to justify abortion are not sufficient to justify taking innocent human life. In the case of collateral damage in war, people typically think it's worth it because defeating the enemy will save more lives, especially those on their own side.

It's never easy to come to the decision to risk the life or take the life of an innocent human being. But as far as I know, pro-choicers set the bar lower than anybody else when it comes to doing a cost/benefit analysis. For most of them, the fact that the fetus is inside the womb is, by itself, enough to justify taking its life.

See also: Is it inconsistent to be pro life and pro death penalty?

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