Argument against Abortion

The abortion debate brings up many of the different realities of life. The two sides of this debate rally behind two slogans: Pro – Life and Pro-Choice. Upon close examination, these two titles represent what each side truly values. Both titles reflect back to our founding fathers significant ideals: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While both sides of this debate bring up different sides of this issue, they are nonetheless in conflict on a very fundamental level. While both sides cite the founding fathers in their choice of titles, I am convinced only one side is fundamentally closer.
Being pro-choice in today’s society means that we support a “woman’s right to choose.” However, what does this truly mean? This half-statement leaves out two important realities: first, the reason for needing a choice, and the list of choices. The choice list of our current society features prominently the choice of abortion in addition to other alternatives that are available. However, we must ask ourselves what is abortion and why is it radically different from the other choices. It is from my experience that abortion is generally treated as a last option when nothing else can help. Abortion is defined differently by different groups. The reason for this is that definition influences legislation. If we say simply that abortion is killing a child before it is allowed to be born, then legislation to support this can never be passed—the reason is that no one supports killing children, or killing in general. However if we can claim that abortion is not the death of a child, but rather a choice for the life of the mother then we shift emphasis from liberty to choice. After all, killing is against our right to life, however, that same right to life is cited in the choice for abortion.
The question to ask then is whether or not the choice for life is substantiated by either side. The pro-choice camp prominently cite abortion as necessary for the life of the mother when she is in danger or when it can cause substantial harm to their financial stability. The point of this argument is to show that the sacrifice is in the name of something more important. Therefore we must compare whether the life of another human or the matter of their ease of living is more important than the life of another child. For most people to compare someone’s life’s worth to ease of living is not a good enough reason for abortion [or slavery, or many other things for that matter] because that places temporal needs and wants above the needs of a person. Society cannot support that mentality because it treats people as a means, rather than an end. It also implies that the inherent value of a person due to their rights and liberty is worth less than temporal needs and gain. The implication for a society that embodies this concept is utterly against everything our founding fathers would support. After all, if that were the case then we would not have had grounds for ending slavery because people under this concept aren’t worth more than the gain brought about by using them. So the final examination is whether or not the life of the child should be sacrificed for the life of its mother. This is a touchy subject because now we are comparing lives to lives. If we decide one way or the other we are in danger of saying that certain people’s lives are worth more than another. Can you truly look to those around you and honestly say that some people are intrinsically worth more than you or that you are worth more than them? It is a trifling and pointless thing to do in a society that affirms that everyone has equal worth and equal rights. Therefore for these reasons the abortion debates settles to whether the unborn child is a human or not. If the unborn baby can be shown to not be a human, then it would not have our rights and the rights would all belong to the mother. In other words, is the pregnant woman truly a single person or does the child within her have rights as well?

~Matthew Blackmon (part 1 of 2)

This question if a pregnant woman a single person has big consequences for abortion-related legislation because if proven to be true, then abortion then doesn’t violate any person’s liberty, and therefore is truly a viable “choice” for a woman to consider. If however, a pregnant woman is truly a mother and a child (two individuals) then the child will have all the rights that belong to any other person under the US constitution. This then is not a question for lobbyists, but a question for biologists and philosophers. From a biomedical standpoint, it is clear that a baby develops from a fetus within the mother. The first question to ask then is the fetus a person with rights? If so then we cannot allow legislation to abort fetuses. What constitutes a person? This is the definition that most people disagree upon because of the varying circumstances that people can meet all the criteria to be people. I want to argue that a person meets the following criteria: A person is any organism that at any point in its complete life-cycle can be classified taxonomically as Homo sapiens. Therefore, under standard taxonomy any organism that a biologist can properly identify as a homo sapiens (as human) is a person. Therefore people are then protected legally during all the parts of their life-cycle from conception to natural death. I am willing to say that most people can agree with my definition of a person. However, some people may object to a biologist’s classification citing that science is not an exact discipline and mistakes can be made. I want to say therefore that people no longer evade the question then that “people” are the result of a sperm and an egg coming together and its development is continuous from that union until natural death. People who object to this definition of life are only people who are concerned with pushing agenda and cannot bring up a proper argument to my definition to refute it other than human error. However, I find it remarkably difficult for a biologist to classify a fetus or embryo any differently than a gynecologist when a woman is clearly pregnant.
What about the life and safety of a mother in a life-threatening situation? Do I advocate that she risk her life for her baby? I advocate that doctors do everything possible to save both lives. Research should go into how to save babies who need to be separated from their mothers instead of investments in how to dispose of them. If a baby is life-threatening then we should do everything to save two lives instead of just one. What about babies whose life is in danger when they are born? I advocate supporting them to pursue life as long as possible. Every person deserves a chance to live and no one should have their odds of life made any less. It is important that life remains central to our daily being. I say that we have an obligation to support life, not an obligation to take it away.
I want to say that the pro-life camp is really a pro-liberty camp. We advocate not only the life of a single child, but the life of all of us. Anything that can disrupt the liberty of an innocent child is the potential for the disruption of all of us. In conclusion in any debate concerning human social action we must keep in front us the principles of life and liberty—in particular on the debate of abortion. Society has effectively shifted the abortion debate from a life versus life debate to a life versus liberty debate. However, only one side truly advocates both, the side that chooses life ultimately chooses liberty. If legislation is ever passed that makes abortion illegal I also strongly urge that legislators push for legislation that strongly supports life and liberty for mothers and children, only then will people truly no longer believe they need to abort.

–Matthew Blackmon (part 2 of 2)

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