Abortion has been a hot topic in recent days and it seems that the arguments and response in favor of abortion need to be collected. The conversation about abortion needs to be reframed. The first question to an abortionist should be whether they maintain any belief in moral realism. That determines how the conversation will go.
1. Moral Realism:
If they reject moral realism, then nothing can convince them abortion is objectively wrong. That’s because nothing in their worldview is objectively wrong. So, on this scheme, it isn’t wrong whether the government kills adults, children, babies, etc. If ethical judgments are just preference, then we are fine to push the preference that babies shouldn’t be murdered over their preference.
2. Human Rights and Dignity:
The next question in the debate should be shifted to whether the abortionist believes that persons have intrinsic human rights(life, religion, etc). If they believe human persons don’t have intrinsic rights, then it is the same issue from before. If rights are extrinsic then they originate from something other than the human. On their worldview, it most likely will be the government or society that they will appeal to for rights. If the government or society arbitrarily grants human rights to people then it arbitrarily can grant rights to babies and babies in the womb. If the mother grants the child human rights, then a mother can kill their children at any time or place. They merely can revoke their rights. Some may think that it is some biological development that grants personhood to a child, but personhood is a moral quality and not a physical one. That is like looking at digestion for moral obligations. Furthermore, even if granted, it becomes arbitrary to choose one stage of life over another.
It is difficult for an abortionist to answer questions about this because they usually are materialists. Materialists have had difficulty with whether on materialism it is possible to have a person at all:
Some might think that murder is acceptable in certain circumstances. That the government or the mother may be able to take the life of a baby in or outside the womb. The issue with this perspective is that it doesn’t single out abortion or infanticide. You could kill anyone for such arbitrary thoughts. In order to have intrinsic rights, you must have the right to life. The idea up to this point is that there are objectively praiseworthy and blameworthy actions, humans have intrinsic rights and dignity, but it is morally acceptable to kill babies and babies in the womb.
Common responses from abortionists are very strange. They deal often with finances, women’s emotions, and slogans.
1. Only women are allowed to speak to this topic:
This response is problematic. In leftist circles, it is very debatable whether anyone can just merely claim to be a woman for the sake of the conversation. If gender is fluid that is definitely a consequence. Or if gender is illusory then these things become not so easy. That’s just the tension between feminism and transgenderism.
Suppose that the feminist win out and we return to the Male/Female distinction again. That leaves us with the idea that women can only speak about this subject because they have a 1st person perspective. That is rather a silly notion. Why do I need a 1st person perspective in order to comment on an issue? Do I need to be murdered in order to talk about murders? Abortionist often attacks the 1 percent of income earners in America for greed. But they usually aren’t apart of the 1 percent. So, doesn’t that mean they should stop talking about them?
2. Hypocrisy in Pro-life philosophy:
Some abortionist thinks that pro-lifers are hypocrites because they don’t adopt children or that they support capital punishment. It is hard to see why thinking certain criminals that are guilty of crimes should receive the death penalty is equivalent to thinking that innocent babies in the womb or newborns shouldn’t be murdered. What makes holding both inconsistent?
3. Spontaneous abortion:
4. Finances and life difficulties:
Some abortionist thinks it is okay to abort or kill an infant outside the womb because financial struggles or the child will have a difficult life. But that just means we should be able to kill human beings on the grounds that they will live in poverty. But why shouldn’t the government start mass executing those that fall under the poverty line? How could poverty invalidate personhood?
5. Ben Shapiro’s exception:
6. Peter Singer’s argument for infanticide:
He basically maintains that babies are lesser intelligent beings and therefore are rational beings. Why suppose that we are allowed to murder those we deem less intelligent?
7. Five embryos or one five-year-old?
8. Elizabeth Harman’s criteria:
Here’s an article about the odd position she takes:
9. Exodus 21:22-23
Here is how Jory Micah quoted on the issue “Everyone’s a biblical literalist until they realize that the Bible recognizes abortion and doesn’t condemn it (Ex. 21:22-25) and doesn’t consider a fetus as having a right to life (Num. 5:11-31).”
10. Numbers 5:11-31
11. Ectopic pregnancy:
12: Against abortion? Don’t have one
13. Rape and Abortion:
14. Back-alley abortions:
One rationale for abortions is that people will just get unsafe ones if the government makes them illegal. This notion misses the point of the problem. If abortions are murder, then it doesn’t matter whether people violate a crime. Nobody argues that murdering adults should be legal because of violations of some laws. Further, what obligation does the government have to make crime safer?
15. Judith Jarvis Thomson’s thought experiment:
To quote the thought experiment:
‘You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, “Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you — we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.”’
The idea is that it is a good analogy to abortion. You have a case where an individual doesn’t seem obligated to keep another person alive.
16. A fetus is a part of the mother:
This leads to further internal tensions in the feminist worldview. Are Babies parasites to the mother or are they a part of the mother? If the former, then how is someone their own parasite? This undermind all the abortionists that argue abortion is something sad that nobody enjoys and is to be avoided at all costs. So, is abortion sad or just the removal of a parasite? Liberals eat their own. This position is highly contestable because humans tend to have only one heart. one head, two legs, etc. But given the logic of this position, a human can have double their body parts. Furthermore, humans can have completely different DNA from the rest of their body given this view. A mother could have a different blood type and even different biological sex(male).
17. Forced Births:
Here are articles about it:
I never understood why this is categorized with rape. Incest doesn’t imply rape. In fact, how can liberals condemn voluntary incest? Isn’t it the standard position that consent is the criterion that demarcates appropriate sexual relationships from inappropriate relationships? So, why does incest imply that murdering an unborn child is fine? Should you be able to kill your two-year-old because they were produced by incest?
This is a common meme that abortion proponents present as a defeater to the pro-life position. But here is a response to that type of thinking:
Here is an article on that:
21. Bodily Autonomy:
Abortionists argue that women have “bodily autonomy” and therefore should be able to kill the babies inside them. There is some ambiguity to this notion of “Bodily Autonomy”. What precisely does it mean? Bodily Autonomy usually refers to the right to self-governance over one’s own body without external influence or coercion. The issue is that one must assume that the infant is a part of the mother in order for certain ways of forming the argument to work. As Dr. James Anderson said:
While all people have certain rights over their own bodies, the false assumption is that a baby is merely a body part of its mother, like one of her limbs or organs. That’s biologically confused. The baby is an individual human with a genetic identity distinct from his or her mother and all her body parts. The unborn child is attached to the mother and dependent on her for life, but the fetus isn’t a part of his or her mother. A mother’s rights do not include the freedom to kill her own child.
The other way it is phrased is that it doesn’t matter whether the baby inside their mother is a human with moral value because the mother isn’t obligated to keep it alive regardless. That is tied to the violinist argument above and it is talked about by others here:
The second, more sophisticated version, which Horn calls the “Right to Refuse” argument, was first introduced by moral philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson in 1971. It contends that a woman has a right to refuse to let the unborn child use her body to survive. Just as a person is not obligated to donate an organ to save the life of someone else, the pregnant woman is not obligated to provide her uterus (and the sustenance and protection it affords) to her child.
This argument has enormous problems. Abortion, in the vast majority of cases, is not merely the withholding or withdrawing of “life support” from the unborn child—it is the intentional and active killing of that child, often by dismemberment. This killing violates the child’s right to life (the right not to be intentionally killed) and right to bodily integrity. Indeed, “if people have a right to bodily integrity and so do not have a duty to donate a kidney,” writes philosopher Christopher Kaczor, “then people in utero have a right not to have their bodily integrity fatally violated through abortion.”
Moreover, even if abortion were not intentional killing (i.e., if it were simply a refusal to aid the child by removing her from the womb), abortion would still be wrong because a pregnant woman does have an obligation to allow her baby to live and grow in the womb. Here’s why.
First, the father and mother, except in cases of rape, willingly engaged in an activity that caused (and is biologically ordered to) the creation of a new, dependent human being. So they bear responsibility for the resulting child.
Second, parents have special obligations to their dependent offspring that they do not have to others. Fathers, for example, must pay child support even if they did not intend or desire to become fathers. Parents may not abandon their children or refuse to provide for their needs (though they may relinquish those obligations through adoption).
Indeed, more generally, “we are by nature members of communities,” explains ethicist Patrick Lee. “[O]ur flourishing involves being in communion with others. And communion with others of itself—even if we find ourselves united with others because of a physical or social relationship which precedes our consent—entails duties or responsibilities.”
Parental obligation may not require extraordinary acts (like donating a kidney), but it does require basic, ordinary care, such as the nourishment and shelter provided during pregnancy. If unborn children are valuable members of the human family, like born children, then the same parental duties that apply after birth are present beforehand as well.
Third, the purpose of the uterus is to gestate the unborn child—it is where that child belongs. All human beings, during their prenatal stages of development, rely on it for care and protection. “The uterus exists for the unborn child rather than for the mother,” notes Stephanie Gray. It is reasonable to think that a child has a right to live in her natural environment.
Finally, even apart from the other reasons, a moral obligation seems to arise when we alone are in a position to provide ordinary care (food and shelter) to someone who needs it to survive. “Suppose you live in a cabin far out in the wilderness, cut off from civilization by extreme distance and weather for much of the year, say, nine months,” writes Mathew Lu, a philosophy professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. “One day you return to the cabin to discover that an infant has been left at the door without explanation. … Do you have an obligation to care for the infant, who will surely die if you do not take it in?”
The Fetal Position Podcast:
Dr. James Anderson: