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Pro-Death or Anti-Choice?

I've always found it interesting that those that are Pro-Death seem to go out of their way to characterize the Pro-Life movement as "Anti-Choice". I think we can all agree that it's an obvious ploy, and really unworthy of any serious discussion. It's no more fair to use the opposition's name to describe one group than it is another. So, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice.

First off, let's get rid of the spurious argument that cases of rape, incest, and where the life of the mother is in danger are good examples of reasons why abortion on demand is needed. Almost everyone can agree that these cases can remain legal reasons to seek an abortion, though many Pro-Life people might argue that the child is innocent of any wrongdoing and doesn't deserve death. By far, the hardest case is when the life of the mother is in serious danger, because no one wants to be in the position of choosing one life over the other. In any case, these cases are, all together, still a vanishingly small fraction of all the abortions that take place in the United States today.

Pro-Choice's main argument is that it's the woman's choice to do what she wants with her body. She deserves to have "reproductive choice". The problem with this is she already made her choice when she had sex. Afterward, when she finds herself pregnant, it's no longer her choice, her choice was already made. She definitely doesn't have the right to kill another human being just because it's inconvenient for her to be pregnant or have a baby. All sort of things can be claimed. Her birth control method may have failed, but she chose to have the sex, therefore her time of choice is over, she made the choice to run the risk, she made the choice to play the odds, and she lost. Now the choice is out of her hands, because another person's life is at risk.

An interesting sidebar is that all this talk of a woman's reproductive rights completely ignores the rights of the father, who legally has no say in whether his partner murders his child.

Next a Pro-Choice person might argue that the woman's not murdering anyone because it's just a fetus the woman is having taken out of her body, a blob of flesh, if you will. Since premature babies can survive even when delivered very early, a Pro-Choice proponent might even concede that late-term abortions might be considered murder, since the baby could survive outside of the womb, but surely young fetuses, such as those in the first trimester, are only small blobs of cells. If, after all, the fetus cannot survive outside of the mother's body, it can't be considered a life, can it?

The problem is, when does one rule that a fetus (my, I am being politically correct here) is a person, when does it have the right to life? In other words, when can it be said to have a soul?

There are two extreme positions. First off, the fetus has a soul from the second of conception. Secondly, it doesn't have a soul until after it is outside of its mother's body. The number of premature babies and botched abortions that survive, however would seem to argue against the second extreme. As for the first extreme, some find it difficult to imagine anything with only 12 or 13 cells having a soul. Many would tend to think that it's somewhere in between the two extremes. Maybe the first point in time where a premature baby can survive outside the womb would be a good solution? Of course, this implies that as technology improves and as premature babies are able to survive being born earlier and earlier, that the soul arrives in the baby earlier and earlier to keep pace with technology.

In fact, there is no objective way to judge when a fetus becomes an unborn baby. Arbitrary dates can be set, but that's all they are-arbitrary. Since this is the case, wouldn't it seem that the only moral thing to do is err on the side of saving a life? Wouldn't you rather refuse to kill something that may not be human than kill a human being simply because its existence happens to be inconvenient at the time?

Of course, all of these suppositions ignore that fact that no matter when it is decided that a fetus is still non-human, and thus killable, it's still always a potential person. It will still develop into a human with a soul if allowed to mature. So even if someone believes they're only killing a non-human soulless blob of flesh, that blob of flesh may one day have become genius engineer or a great musical composer, or even just a loving parent, or someone's good friend. Thus I would argue that anyone that values human life (sometimes it seems like the existence of such people is a big supposition) would do whatever they could to avoid abortion on moral grounds.

Next a well-meaning Pro-Choice advocate might argue that it's cruel to allow an unwanted child to enter the world. It wouldn't be loved enough, it might be abused or live its life in poverty, it's cruel to allow such children to enter the world. I've always been especially angered by this argument, because it purposely avoids one of the most obvious solutions to avoiding abortion-adoption. There are so many couples that want a baby so desperately that they are willing to spend themselves into poverty on fertility treatments and adoption attempts. All we need is a well run adoption agency of some sort to connect babies with loving and capable parents. The woman with the unwanted baby will only have to carry the baby to term. After it's delivered the woman can get on with her life, and she doesn't have to kill her baby to do it. She gives it to a couple that will take care of it and love it, maybe even better than the girl could have done on her own.

Of course, this argument ignores the simple fact that it's never right to take a life simply because they might not have a life that someone else deems to be worth living. Who judges whose life will be worthy of living and whose won't? Poverty can hardly be used to determine who should live or not, unless someone seriously wants to argue that the poor should be killed for their own good as well? So, how about not being loved enough? Who determines how much a child should be loved? How should love be measured? How happy should a life be? Maybe a senior citizen's life should be ended. They may be in pain from arthritis or some other ailment, and they probably have lost many loved ones and friends to death anyway. Besides, their families don't always visit very often. They probably aren't very happy either. No one's seriously suggesting that seniors with non-fatal diseases should be killed for their own good, because they might be able to live a happier life than they're currently living, are they? Obviously this entire argument is spurious and can't be used as a strong support for abortion.

Some people also feel that abortion must be used to curb a growing world population. At least this sounds like a better reason than that the mother finds having a baby too inconvenient right now. Ignoring the draconian measures justified by this sort of reasoning in China, can anyone really believe, in light of my previous arguments, that this is the best way to go about such population control? If society is willing to kill a potential human through abortion to control the population, why should it stop there? This can easily lead to the sort of eugenics we already experienced back in the 1920's and 30's, or even a more arbitrary selection system. Some extremists might believe that the ends justify the means, but that's hardly a mainstream view.

Then there's the justification that people are going to get abortions anyway. The government should keep them legal so they can be regulated and kept safe, rather than having illegal procedures performed in back alleys that kill many women and leave others infertile. In the same vein, let's legalize illegal drugs. And hey, if we didn't make theft illegal, fewer thieves would feel they had a good reason to kill the people they robbed in order to keep the money they stole. It would save lives!

The truth is that this argument is the worst sort of relativism. Legalizing any sort of crime or evil simply in order to be able to say that society has control over it is foolish, first of all, because you're really allowing the vice to control you and your society. It's also ignoring the fact that this will be seen as justifying the behavior, whatever it is, as right and good under the laws of your society. In a few years this formerly undesirable behavior, under the sponsorship of society's laws, will become the norm.

Ignoring all religious references, most societies have a common set of rules. Whether you believe that these rules are set down by a Supreme Being or simply an effect of the fact that societies that don't hold these values aren't internally stable, it must be admitted that ignoring this common set of core human values is dangerous and foolish. Among the most basic of these values is that human life is a precious thing. Can we, as humans, ignore this?

Look, here's another way for me to put it. Pro-Choice people tend to have abortions, thus decreasing the number of children they have, whereas Pro-Life proponents conceive and bear their children, and if the child is unwanted it is adopted by parents that are probably horrified at the idea of killing their own unborn babe. Pro-Choice people are literally killing themselves off. Which seems like healthy behavior, and which seems self-destructive? Which seems like a healthy path for our society to follow, and which seems self-defeating?

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