Sunday, November 4, 2007

Abortion: Acceptable or Reprehensible?

Whilst concealing my own position on the matter, I here assert that the question of the moral acceptability or reprehensibility of abortion at a given stage of pregnancy comes down to exactly what this LA Times writer says:
The question is... whether the fetus... is a human person, and when it becomes one.

- Garry Wills
It seems to me that if a fetus at a given time is a human person, then at such time it is morally reprehensible to end its life. Doing so is literally the same thing as murdering an infant.

However, if a fetus at a given time is not a human person, then it is morally acceptable to remove it, thereby ending its growth. This would be just like clipping fingernails or getting a haircut - or rather, like removing a cyst inside a woman's abdomen.

If you truly believe that a fetus becomes a human person at conception, then you have to be willing to recognize that your view entails that women who get abortions are having their babies killed, and that doctors who perform abortions are murdering infants. As one who has made up his mind in this way, Don Johnson says,
...if it is proper to punish people for hiring someone to commit murder, than it is proper to punish mothers for hiring someone to kill their babies. To do any less is demeaning to women.

- Don Johnson
On the other hand, if you truly believe that fetuses do not become human persons until a particular point, you should then talk accordingly. To articulate this point, a man who concurs with Don Johnson, comments on a recent episode of "The View":
...Goldberg's assertion that few women want to have an abortion flies in the face of the reality that nearly 50 million children have been aborted since the Roe decision in 1973.

But Goldberg's self-serving declaration that women who choose to have an abortion deserve our reverence takes the cake. Abortion champions have never been able to explain why they believe abortions should be rare if the unborn is not a human life, or even a "potential" life. If we're dealing merely with an unviable tissue mass, why is the decision to remove it "the hardest decision that a woman ever has to make"?

Either it isn't a life or potential life, which renders the decision no more difficult than that to remove a suspicious mole, or it is, which makes abortion absolutely unpraiseworthy and worse. But in our upside culture, we are not only forbidden to condemn such actions in willful blindness to their moral content but exhorted to celebrate those who engage in them. The unreasonableness of the liberal position is further exposed by reference to singer Barry Manilow's recent cancellation of an appearance on "The View" when the producers wouldn't accede to his demand to remove Hasselbeck from the set because he found her views "dangerous" and "offensive." What possible danger do Hasselbeck's views -- as opposed to Goldberg's and Manilow's -- represent to anyone? Once again, we see liberal "tolerance" on display.

- David Limbaugh
If you are committed to the proposition that a fetus at a given time is not a human person, then you ought not refer to its carrier as a "mother", or assert that the decision whether to abort it is difficult. You cannot treat crimes that end such a fetus' growth as "murder".

Listen to this:
FOURTH-year medical student Megan Lederer recently helped deliver a premature baby at barely six months gestation. The newborn was tiny, unimaginably fragile, but she survived.

Caught up in the moment, Lederer didn't think about the implication for her chosen career. Later, though, she wondered: Could I have aborted that pregnancy?

- Stephanie Simon
Given the belief in persons, morality, and the evil of murder, the moral acceptability or reprehensibility of abortion hinges on whether and when a fetus is a person.

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