I recently watched a video on YouTube which had an excellent thought experiment in responds to the violinist thought experiment which is often cited to show that abortion is morally permissable. I’ll paraphrase it.
Say we have someone, Steve, on a balcony high up on an apartment building. He has a job that he wants that is very important to him, and he just got a call that if he does not leave for the job interview right now, he will not get the job. Then out of nowhere, he sees someone, Tom, a few floors above him falling to his death. Steve’s reflexes come in and he holds onto Tom’s hand. Steve is not able to lift Tom onto his balcony, but if he lets go of Tom, Tom will fall to his death. Tom is now using Steve’s body for the sake of his own life without Steve’s permission, and Steve’s holding onto Tom has cost him a very important job of his. Now if the point behind the violinist thought experiment holds, then even though Tom is a human being, it is completely morally permissable for Steve to let go of Tom so Tom can fall from his death, because Tom is using Steve’s body without his permission. But surely this isn’t right. If you were to see this scenario play out on the news, and Steve decided to let go of Tom and run to get his job, would you have no problem with it? Of course not.
Now at the end he mentioned another scenario. What if Steve reached far down to save Tom, and he himself was about to fall out of the balcony to his death if he didn’t let go? If the Catholic teaching on abortion is right, then if I recall correctly, Steve would be morally obligated to keep holding on to Tom, even when his life is in danger.
Now I think the latter scenario would only be a powerful argument if Steve wasn’t responsible for Tom falling down in the first place, so I think it would only work if it was also in the case of rape, thus the title of the thread. But I have trouble saying it would be wrong in that last scenario for Steve to let go of Tom so he could try to get back on the balcony to save his life.
In general, I don’t see too many apologists addressing the scenario of abortion in the case of both rape and the mother’s life being in danger.