I’ve written about abortion before a few times. In fact, in my last post on the topic, I issued a challenge:
“I challenge anyone who is pro-choice to attempt to justify their position while maintaining some kind of civility. I challenge them to think about their position, and the ramifications that the arguments they make carry.”
No one accepted that challenge, despite over 200 views of that post since I wrote it.
What arguments are there for abortion that actually can logically justify it? I don’t think there are any. The key is the realization that we are indeed talking about human beings. There is no way to deny scientifically or philosophically that the unborn “fetus” (baby) is human. It is an established, empirical fact. What else could it be? A fish? No, it is a human fetus, and it is a human being, complete with a completely unique set of DNA, a 50% chance of being a different gender, and (often) a different blood type.
The question then is, according to those who are pro-choice, whether this “human being” is a person? While some may balk at such a strange question, that is indeed the question those within the pro-choice camp must put forth, for once it is acknowledged that a fetus is a human being, one must look to other means by which to justify killing this human being.
The argument is often made that while it is inside the mother, it is part of her. This is, in fact, completely false. Something that is part of the mother will have the same DNA as the mother, it will have the same blood type. An arm is not the same as a fetus.
To finally make this point as clear as possible, I cite none other than the “Pro-Choice Action Network”, which states “..even though a fetus is biologically human, it’s definitely not a person (legally and socially), and it’s questionable whether it’s a human being (physically)” (Arthur, cited below). Even the “Pro-Choice Action network freely acknowledges that the fetus is biologically human. The question they try to press is whether its a person. Further, they try to question “whether it’s a human being (physically)”. I don’t even know what this means. What is the difference between being biologically human and physically human? I see no difference whatsoever. It’s telling that these are the hairs the pro-choice network must try to split to make their case.
How is it that being transported outside the mother magically turns a baby into a “person”? Take an example of a baby premature by three months. What makes the 6-month old baby inside the mother less of a person than that baby outside of the mother?
Let’s turn again to Joyce Arthur’s article for the Pro-Choice Action network. “Another key difference is that a fetus doesn’t just depend on a woman’s body for survival, it actually resides inside her body. Persons, by definition, must be separate individuals who operate independently of others. They do not gain the status of persons by virtue of living inside the body of another person – the very thought is inherently ridiculous, even offensive” (Arthur, cited below).
I’m curious as to who made this definition of persons. Not only that, but I’m curious as to how this means that babies are persons? Babies cannot operate independently of others. They will die if left alone. Are babies no longer “persons”? Further, we see a wonderful example of the “straw man” fallacy here. The argument pro-life individuals make is not that babies gain the status of persons “by virtue of living inside the body of another person”. No, the argument is that babies gain the status of persons by being human beings. No other reason is needed. Personhood is not something to be bought and sold, defined and taken away. It’s not something to be arbitrarily defined as we see fit. That is exactly how such people as Hitler managed to murder millions of people. When we redefine personhood to fit our desires, we kill persons.
The chilling response is often that we can somehow justify killing this baby, for it is a “choice.” As Magda Denes wrote, “I do think abortion is murder–of a very special and necessary sort” (quoted in Alcorn, 99 [cited below]). How is it that murder is ever “necessary”? What other cases of murder can be “necessary” if there is such a thing as a “necessary” murder?
I’m confused as to what arguments remain. The inconsistencies in the pro-choice camp abound. They acknowledge that a baby outside the mother at 8 months is indeed a person and should not be killed, but that same baby, most would say, could be killed just hours before its birth! What kind of “logic” is this? Where will it lead? Where has it lead already?
I reissue my challenge to any pro-choice individual. Make your case. Make it without using ad hominems. Make it, acknowledging that science has shown that the fetus is human. Make your case for “necessary” murder of human beings.
Alcorn, Randy. Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments. Multnomah Books. 2000.
Arthur, Joyce. “The Fetus Focus Fallacy.” The Pro-Choice Action Network. http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/fetus-focus-fallacy.shtml. Accessed March 24, 2010.
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