Monday, September 28, 2015

On the Abortion, Pro-life, and Pro-choice Debate: Some Questions





So you think abortion is murder do you? 


If so, then this post is for you! 



And I have some serious questions that I need to ask you regarding abortion.

You say abortion is the deliberate taking of a helpless life, and that it equates to murder.

This suggests to me that you take "life" to be sacred, correct? (Sanctity of life and all that jazz.)

If so, let me ask you some questions that we must resolve before I take your claim serious.

1. Do you eat meat? Or isn't animal life sacred? If not, why not? Aren't animals part of God's creation just as humans are?



2. For that matter, how does one go about determining what is and isn't sacred?

3. You say abortion equates to murder. This is a legal term. I am curious, at what point do you consider a collection of living cells to become a "life" unto itself? 

4. Do you think it's at conception? 

5. If so, would it still be murder to abort if the egg and the sperm haven't even fused together yet? Is this still a "life" or still just an collection of independent living cells, an egg and a sperm?



6. If it's still murder to kill an independent egg or sperm, does that make masturbation a criminal offense as well? 

7. More importantly, since you are making abortion a political issue, at what point do you give legal rights to an unborn fetus?

8. Do you feel these legal rights should be limited by the courts as is the law with most children for the same reasons? Or do you feel the rights of the unborn fetus supersede the mother's rights and ought to be uninfringible? 

9. If you think all abortions are evil, I'm assuming you do since you call it murder, then do you think forcing a woman to have a birth is any less evil? If not, why not?

10. Isn't treating women like property, or mere incubators, let alone telling them they are public property and that they cannot deny a forced birth, just as evil? 

I think so. I don't see how a person can square forcing women to give birth, which is a kind of slavery (ownership over a woman) and being anti-abortion (which you say you find to be a form of murder).

Both slavery and murder are outlawed and universally acknowledged to be a couple of the worst kinds of evils. Replacing one with the other doesn't do women justice.

11. Are you seriously going to stand there and say to doctors and medical professionals that there are no medical reasons or situations that would ever necessitate the need for abortion? 

What about a severe birth defect like anencephaly -- being born without a brain, can you honestly claim this is not reason to show mercy and prevent the uneeded suffering of the mother and the child? 



12. If you answered in the affirmative to the above, do you think increasing the suffering of the mother and her child is less evil than abortion?

Would the God you believe in, since you say life is sacred, see your selfish reasons to compound their suffering as just, merciful, or even kind? If not, do you still think there are no reasons to allow abortion?

13. If denying a merciful abortion and forcing unimaginable suffering onto others is not just as evil in your eyes as genuine murder (which you claim abortion to be), why not?  

14. Do you think individualism complicates legal concerns any? How about the autonomy over self? Doesn't a woman have the right to govern her own body? 

15. Are you saying an unborn fetus owns real estate within an autonomous woman? How do we not have a conflict of interests in where you are granting individuality to two biological entities and then finding a legal way to grant one set of legal protections (as an individual) to one but not the other?

16. If we are talking about the mother's womb as property, and saying the unborn fetus has legal rights of ownership to that womb, are you claiming the fetus is co-owner of a woman's body and body space?

17. How does making it about property benefit the mother? Don't you have to strip her of her individuality and autonomy and limit her legal status and protections before you can claim the baby has rights that supersede hers?

18. How does being anti-abortion seek to help women? 

19. Do you support the death penalty? If so, then how can you claim life is sacred?

20. Do you support enlistment into the military / armed services / terrorism, etc. If so, then how can you say life is sacred?


***

If you still think abortion is evil and pro-life stance is the morally correct one, I have another question for you. Have you (personally) ever had a miscarriage or an abortion due to medical complications? 

If so, how can you say abortion is evil? 

If not, how can you say those who have are evil?

It seems to me that people who answer in the affirmative, and make the statement that abortion is evil, period, are forgetting that absolutist statements leave no room for ethics and moral concerns completely evaporate in the face of an imagined ultimate moral source -- and this is dangerous for obvious reasons. Divine command theory, i.e. obeying something because it's divine (e.g. Supreme), doesn't always mean that source is truly morally good -- even if you are convinced it is. The truth is, you could still be mistaken and simply not know it. That's a real danger to consider. What I see, time and time again, is that this danger plays itself out in real life when it comes to those who vilify abortion and pro-choice in lieu of their own stance.

In these situations, I think it's safe to say that your view on what abortion is, maybe, has been skewed.  Which is what my above questions were designed to address.

***

Okay, now that I've asked my questions, if you still have time, I'd like to share my own personal views on why I think pro-choice is not a strong position, morally or philosophically, and why anti-abortion is demonstrably irrational.


Although I understand the moral concerns driving the pro-life position, I don't find it very realistic. Hopeful, sure. Realistic though? Hardly. 

You see, it very rarely ever attempts to adequately address any of these above questions, which it would have to do in order to be meaningful or at all pragmatically beneficial to women, let alone the unborn fetuses it is so concerned about. 



In my opinion, the anti-abortion stance suffers even worse from being unrealistic. Whereas I see valid philosophical justifications for being pro-life (after all, we could say you are a deeply compassionate person who just doesn't want to see death and suffering of innocent life), I see no such justification for being anti-abortion. 

They are not one in the same, mind you.



The ethical consequences of being pro-life or pro-choice can be talked about on a philosophical level apart from the politics. I would even go as far as to say it is a discussion worth having, at least as far as it is a good introduction to bioethics and having to formulate arguments to try and rebut and defend.

Actually separating the politics from pro-life and the ethical concerns contained therein is another matter entirely, however. 

But the thing to note here is that taking an anti-abortion stance is strictly a political move, and completely fails to address any and all of the ethical concerns. Therefore, I hold it as an uncritical emotional reaction, and one that is commonly based on fallacious information.



Anti-abortion is also anti-woman, and that's probably the most damning thing, since if we wanted less abortions we'd have to actively prevent policies and viewpoints that take the anti-woman stance. Only when we make things better for women, such as better access to affordable healthcare (especially in economically downtrodden areas) can we begin to deter the rise of abortions and limit them to what is manageable and necessary.

As such, the very fact that anti-abortion is anti-woman necessitates reason to be against the anti-abortion position.



I'm sorry, but it's my strong opinion that claiming abortion is murder is a demonstrably wrong claim, and also a bit callous toward all the women who have had to have abortions for VALID medical reasons. 

"At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and at 2008 abortion rates, one in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in 10 by age 45.[4,5]"


http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html


Half of American women!!!

Three out of ten women (in America alone) will have already had abortions by their forties!!!

Are all these women murders? Are their doctors murderers? The nurses? The hospital staff? 


I hope we can all agree that being anti-abortion and equating it with murder simply is not a rational point of view. Nor is it very reasonable. My hope is to find reasonable answers to all these questions that can satisfy the conditions to make pro-life a valid position worthy of promoting. But the way I see it, it simply isn't because it fails to address so many of the questions and concerns it would need to in order to be a realistic answer to abortion.

We do not live in a perfect world. Humans are not the epitome of prefect biological organisms. We have faulty bodies with an even faultier make up which requires us to be more realistic. If there are pragmatic answers to be had, banning abortion is simply not one of them.


Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist