An Essay On Abortion
Not trying to preach, just my thoughts on the matter.
As with most things, I write because the topic has been on my mind after a heated1) discussion with a friend (fellow PCV) on the topic.
For ages, my view has been simple : I considered abortion immoral, but it should be legal because it's not the governments job to police morality. However, during said discussion, I realized this is a logical fallacy. Follow, if you will. Why is abortion immoral? It is the early termination of human life. Now, from what I understand, the biggest argument FOR the morality (or a-morality, like choosing a cheese) is that the fetus is not human. Which may or may not be true, but it's not a relevant statement. It draws a completely arbitrary line in the sand. “At this time, human, before, not.” You might as well say “Well, babies can't communicate or reason, and are entirely dependent on their parents, they're not human yet.” Or, “That old guy can't function on his own and his mind is gone - he's no longer human.” Same for those in comas. At least the criteria of reason is a bit more rational (and humane) than a mere deadline.
Regardless of whether you consider the fetus to be human or not, I argue that abortion is still a horrific act. Consider : you're ending the potential for human life. If you don't interfere (via, you know, death) what will happen to the fetus/baby? Odds are, it will grow into a baby, just as a baby will grow into a child. You're deciding, entirely on your own authority, that continuing this life (who very inconveniently decided to take up residence inside you) is simply not right for you, at this time in your life. A more terrible selfishness cannot be imagined. Any argument about “But I can't provide”, or “But it will be born into poverty and have a terrible life.” I think both of these are excuses to mask (even to oneself) the selfishness, but taken at face value, they're utter nonsense. You can't provide? Adoption. Terrible life? Oh, I didn't realize you could predict the future, that's fascinating.
I don't see any argument for abortion that doesn't apply to killing babies. After all, it's easy to not consider babies to be fully human, as I mentioned before.
Now, I've said nothing of involuntary sex victims2), or circumstances where the mothers life is in danger. The former is easier to the impartial observer : the life inside you is entirely innocent. The latter…I don't know. It's trickier. In any case, both of these situations are much much rarer than the typical abortion case, and and so cannot be used as arguments for abortion in general.
Life3) is a continuum, from conception to death. The first 9 months just happen to be hidden.
Oh I almost forgot, my logical fallacy which started this whole thing. If murder and abortion are equivalent (they both end the potential for further human life), then their legality should also be equal. It doesn't to have murder be illegal and abortion be legal if they both end lives prematurely. Abortion ends it even sooner, in fact.
I've remembered some other arguments and written my counterarguments.
Some of you might be saying something along the lines of “Legalizing abortion brings down crime rates and reduces unwanted children.” Well…yeah. What a terrible way to bring down crime rates. Killing possible future criminals? You might as well just execute anyone already arrested, at least that's a more direct cause and result. Of course it can bring down crime rates, you killed a bunch of possible future criminals. You also killed future husbands, wives, teachers, policemen and firefighters, engineers and lawyers, burger flippers and gas station attendants. If you killed off the entire human population, crime rate would drop to zero.
It's very easy to measure negative impact, but very difficult to measure positive impact, and even harder to measure the lack of positive impact. Who knows what any of these individuals could have done, who's lives they could have impacted. Even if they did nothing worthwhile, surely the mere possibility of future crime does not condone execution. Innocent until proven guilty. And yet this is used as justification for a governmental policy. It just seems strange is all.
“If abortion is illegal, women will conduct seek about abortions any way they can, and these will likely be dangerous and harmful.” Sadly, yes, probably; though I would imagine in reduced numbers as compared to those who seek it out when legal. However, just because it is difficult and dangerous to do something wrong, does not mean we should make wrongdoing easier. I don't see the government passing out sterilized needles to heroin addicts. And yet, at least they are (mostly) only hurting themselves.