Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Abortion Again?

Last time I mentioned abortion, I said it wasn't something I put too much effort into studying. But it seems to be a big deal and I have been thinking about it more and more.

I still don't see why I need to.
Abortion is the act of killing unborn babies. Does it need to get more complicated than that?

Apparently. The pro-choice apologetics I've heard though are really really terrible.
Maybe I'm coming in from a hard angle, I mean, I am looking to be convinced that murdering babies is OK. That's a tough sell, but for some reason a lot of people feel that way.
I even offer an alternative: show me why a foetus is somehow not human and therefore all right to dispose of.

The short of it: my position is that abortion is the murder of unborn babies. You either have to convince me that it's not murder, or it's not a baby.
So far, I'm unmoved. And if it's wrong to hold the view that murdering babies is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

I don't want to suggest that all women who have had abortions are evil. I imagine many have felt that it was the right thing to do in a certain situation. Of course there are also the numerous medical reasons for abortions to be necessary. The particular attitude I'm very much opposed to is "A baby/pregnancy would be an inconvenience to me, so I'll just abort it".
I'm aware pregnancy is no walk in the park, and childbirth even less so, but once the baby is born, if it's still unwanted, there are plenty of couples who aren't able to conceive their own who would love to adopt.

So what have I been offered in defence of baby killing?

It's the woman's body, so it's her choice what she does with it.

This seems extremely short sighted. The woman has a right to choose what she does with her body, but somehow the unborn child has no right to their own body?
I'm aware that legally, this is the case, but since when has legal been the same as morally correct? Slavery was legal once, child labour was legal once, need I go on?

Maybe this objection would have some weight if the challenge to show that a foetus isn't a baby was met, but that hasn't happened yet.

You're not a woman, so it doesn't affect you. If you were a woman you might understand. No uterus, no opinion.

I've genuinely heard this kind of thing. Not just once either. As though my gender has any bearing on the subject of what is or isn't moral.
Or as though not actually being at risk of being personally affected by an issue, means I can't look at it ethically. I'm not in third world Africa, I'm not a persecuted Jew, I'm not and will never be many things, but if something is wrong, then it's wrong and it needs to be stopped.
I think this type of response is pure sexism, and is just a poor attempt to handwave away real issues. Besides, millions of women agree with me, so all I'd have to do to meet this challenge, if it really was the case that I couldn't be a part of the conversation, is have one of them speak on my behalf.

No one can dictate what another person does with their body.

That's what laws are about right? We all have laws that we have to obey that are meant to be based on ethics and social welfare.
It also again cuts both ways, as the woman who refuses to be dictated to, is dictating the fate of the unborn child.

It's not a baby until it's born.

There are a few reasons people suggest to make out that there's a difference between a foetus and a baby. They're all pretty bad.

1. Babies only have human rights once born.
> So it has rights when it's outside the womb, but not inside. Even though the only difference is it's location. That is absolute nonsense.

2. Foetus' aren't able to survive independently until at least 21 weeks.
> So that's near enough a concession that any abortion after 21 weeks is murder for a start. But what does it even mean? A newborn can hardly survive left to its own devices. It might no longer be physically attached and relying on its mother's digestive system to work for it, but it still needs to be actually cared for.
Does this mean that abortions should be ok for as long as the child depends on a parent for care? Up to three years old? Or more even?
It also opens up more issues relating to people in comas or dependent on life support machines for whatever reason. They are no longer self sufficient, so are they expendable?
I think as long as the individual has the potential to get through all right, then they should be cared for, not discarded. A coma patient might wake up in a few weeks, just like a foetus will definitely be born in a few weeks.

3. A foetus isn't a human until it's at (insert stage of development)
> I don't get it. What stage of development does this bundle of cells become human? To me I think it's obvious that human life begins at conception. The sperm and the ovum have all the ingredients that make a person. This particularly confuses me on an atheistic world-view. At least on theism, we have a spirit that is separate from the physical body. Maybe at 21 weeks the soul enters the body and that's when the foetus becomes human. On a purely naturalistic process, I can't see any point of development that marks where a fertilised egg becomes a human. And the strange thing is, it seems more common for atheists to be pro-choice than pro-life.