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13 months ago
pro choice 1
It has been universally recognized by all societies and throughout history, including religious ones, that a person’s rights wax and wane during their lifetime based upon their age and capacity.
Rights are acquired in a continuous process that begins at conception, reaches it’s peak at the age of majority, and ultimately declines with old age and senility. Children have never had rights equal with adults because of their lack of capacity. Which is generally a function of age.
No one questions it when a parent restricts a young child’s right to liberty by turning off the TV and sending them to bed at 9pm then requiring them to spend 6+ hours per day in school, often times against their will. Lack of capacity is one of the few legitimate and socially acceptable reasons to discriminate against someone’s rights. The younger a person is, the fewer rights they have. And unborn children have the fewest and weakest rights of all.
Pro-life advocates publicly claim that abortion is murder because it intentionally kills a person without justification. But the fact that few if any pro life advocates think that abortion should be treated like criminal first degree murder, including conspiracy to commit murder for the mother, the father and any other participants, suggests that they don’t actually believe their claim.
"Jesus makes it clear throughout the gospel accounts that the things we do are more revealing than the things we claim."
Pro life attitudes and the absence of laws that treat and punish abortion participants equal to criminal murders and co-conspirators are society’s acknowledgement that unborn children have fewer and weaker rights than adults.
Greater society does not, never has, and never will treat abortion as criminal murder because it recognizes that the rights of an unborn child, including the right to life, are inferior. Abortions is justified for this reason.
Abortion is a moral dilemma regarding the balance of rights between a mother and her unborn child. Yes an unborn child has value. And yes an unborn child has rights. But so does the mother have rights. An unborn child does in fact has the right to life which begins at the moment of conception and progresses to perfection with age. While the right to life is the most fundamental right and the easiest to perfect, for a period of time the unborn child’s right to life is inferior and subject to the mother’s superior rights because of it’s diminished capacity and the burdens it places on the mother.
Because of their relative rights and the magnitude and nature of the burdens that carrying a child places on the mother’s life, her body, her health, her liberty, etc., the mother has the right but not the duty to carry the child to term. But if a mother elects to give birth she has the duty to the child and to society to do see that it is as healthy as possible. The massive size and nature of the burdens and her inability to delegate them is why the decision to carry the child to term or to have an abortion solely rests with the mother.
4 years ago
This was a really good article Rachel, and very much the reason I think that my fellow lefties should be the most pro-life political group of all. That said, I want to play a devil's advocate here, and argue against your article (albeit, from a more left-liberal-libertarian perspective than my actual views). I'd like to pose that there is a fairly commonly held third option that a supporter of legal abortion can try to take (and indeed should try to, as I think that both argument above fail as stated) which concedes that
a) The unborn are human, and abortion is directly killing them.
b) By virtue of human equality, abortion is in and of itself a bad thing.
The way I would try to argue for the premise that
c) Abortion should remain very broadly legal.
without thinking that it contradicts premises a) and b) would be to argue for the somewhat longer premise d), which states that
d) Policies which directly restrict abortion access have a minimal effect on the abortion rate, while economically disempowering women and causing more women to end up in poverty, and that as a consequence the long-term effects of banning abortion creates conditions that increase poverty rates enough that it drives the abortion rates up more than would have been the case had it remained legal and thereby has effects that cause more abortions.
It would I think reasonably follow from premises a) and d) that
e) The relative rates at which unborn humans and born humans are killed with an abortion ban in place becomes more unequal, and thereby does not lead to the egalitarian outcome where they would be more or less be the same.
It's certainly fair to say that if a right such as the absolute right to life exists equally in law (which other than for the preborn is generally agreed upon as a good thing except around things such military intervention and sometimes the death penalty), but in practice a group was being disproportionally murdered (such as transgender or first nations people), that equality would not have been reached. Presumably, you can see why holding all of a), b) and c) would not be a contradiction if premise d) was true.
I also note that there is a hidden premise
f) It can sometimes be justified to allow the non-punishment of killing of some humans to prevent the killing of more humans.
involved as well, which seems not totally unreasonable (particularly to those willing to accede to a very slightly utilitarian mindset) and if nothing else would presumably be unpopular to argue against, as arguing against it would require some very unusual ethical views, including that war is always immoral on top (a view which I agree with, but I think there are certainly some cases where premise f does hold, such as not introducing economic sanctions on a group that goes to war out of self-defense).
Now, I happen to think that premise d) is counter-intuitively incorrect but widely held, particularly among the intersectional left, but there do exist some cases where something similar to premise d) can be shown to be true. For example, I claim that putting people in prison for using drugs rather than providing addiction treatment and funding anti-poverty programs that reduce demand has the effect of making addictions worse in the long run and has racist enforcement on top, and I will note as a justification for the first claim the drug policy in Portugal, where consumption of all drugs was legalised in response to an opioid addiction crisis but the addiction rates went drastically down in response, partly since there was widespread spending on anti-addiction programs (selling most drugs is still illegal there though). Or to take a much less controversial example, alcohol prohibition was clearly a policy that caused more problems than it solved. I might also throw out Pakistan as well as a case where abortion is illegal but the rates are much higher than in places where it is legal such as continental Europe, if I wanted to try and push the argument that bans don't work (although I think this argument is seriously flawed as correlation =/= causation and there exist lots of other things that drive the high abortion rates there).
Beyond arguing against premise d) or perhaps f), is there a way to avoid the conclusions of premise c) for someone that does agree with a) and b) and sees b) as within the remit of governement to prevent?
4 years ago
"Remember, we are not asking ourselves
whether or not dogs have any rights, but whether they deserve equal rights to everyone in the circle."
Interestingly, I think that turning this argument on its head would also be effective.
Even IF one considers embryonic human life as less important than other human life, that doesn't mean that embryonic life has NO value.
It should be pointed out that even current anti-crueulty-to-animal laws outlaw live dismemberment, but such procedures are entirely LEGAL when it comes to mid-term abortions.
"In other words, what if to be considered a member of the Equal Rights Community you have to be human and you must also be sentient. If that definition were true, then adult humans would be in the community, as would newborns, but squirrels and human embryos are out."
My response to this would be to explain the fact that there is nothing "magical" about the birth canal when it comes to "sentience". If a just-born baby is sentient, that baby was ALSO sentient before she/he was born.
Let them explain how it is "logical" that, at least on paper, a 24-week BORN preemie has as much right not to be killed as you and I do, but--in seven "progressive" US states and the District of Columbia--much older and more developed unborn babies can be killed for ANY reason, including the fact that they may be the "wrong" sex.