Four Possibilities About Abortion:

This thought is taken from Peter Kreeft.

Ether a fetus is a person or it isn’t.

  1. The fetus is a person and we know it = homicide.

  2. The fetus is a person and we don’t know it = manslaughter; similar to shooting into a bush that moves because we think it might be a deer and it turns out it was a fellow hunter.

  3. The fetus isn’t a person and we don’t know it = criminal negligence; abortion is just as irresponsible as it is in the previous case. You shot into the bush without knowing that there were no persons there. You were lucky; there weren’t. But you didn’t care; you didn’t take care; you were just as irresponsible. You cannot legally be charged with manslaughter, since no man was slaughtered, but you can and should be charged with criminal negligence.

  4. The fetus isn’t a person and we know it = abortion a reasonable, permissible, and responsible choice. But note: What makes Case 4 permissible is not merely the fact that the fetus is not a person but also your knowledge that it is not, your overcoming of skepticism. So skepticism counts not for abortion but against it. Only if you are not a skeptic, only if you are a dogmatist, only if you are certain that there is no person in the fetus, no hunter in the bush, may you shoot.

Or: The fetus is a new and distinct human being, and we know that, since it is biologically inescapable, but we choose not to call these particular human beings persons because then we couldn’t kill them.

(Answering OP)

“Simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is (alive). And, thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” - Ronald Reagan 1982

The price of abortion is too great to risk one’s own “knowledge” against the assertions of so many others and the evidence of ones own eyes.

Are you familiar with Thomson’s violinist argument? The fetus being a person does not necessarily grant it the right to use its mother’s body, any more than me being a person grants me the right to squat in someone else’s home.

Absurd. In 99.99% of all pregnancies the mother invited the baby by voluntarily having sex.
It’s nothing close to “squatting”.

A better analogy would be inviting someone over for dinner and then shooting them and claiming they broke in.

God Bless

The difference would be that the child hasn’t chosen to trespass (if that’s what you would call being conceived and created) and has an absolute right to it’s own life.

I don’t understand why, if a 3rd party kills a woman & her unborn child it is a double murder, but a woman can voluntarily kill her unborn child & it is her choice. (&not considered murder). It can’t be both…it is either murder in both cases or not in either.

You’re right – I used a bad analogy since Thomson’s argument talks about a person’s right to bodily sovereignty.

The violinist in the thought experiment doesn’t have a choice either.

For the same reason, Thomson says, abortion does not violate the fetus’s right to life but merely deprives the fetus of something—the use of the pregnant woman’s body—to which it has no right. Thus, it is not that by terminating her pregnancy a woman violates her moral obligations, but rather that a woman who carries the fetus to term is a ‘Good Samaritan’ who goes beyond her obligations.[6]

There are plenty of objections to be raised here – I’m just saying that “The fetus is a person = homicide” is not self-evident, any more than “The enemy soldier is a person = homicide” is self-evident. Pro-abortion-rights people can grant you that a fetus is a person and still not believe that it has a right to use the mother’s body.

If you admit that the fetus is a person than it is perfectly clear that it is homicide. Soldiers generally make decisions that at some point put them on the battlefield. A child doesn’t get to pick it’s mother.

And a child’s right to it’s own life precludes the mother’s right to make a choice about what happens with her body. In almost all situations woman choose to put themselves in situations in which they could potentially become pregnant. Choices have consequences. A mother who has a child isn’t a good samaritan. She’s doing the moral thing.

More then that she’s received a sacred gift from God. A new life.

Good original post. Kreeft’s logic makes sense.

Familiar with that flawed logic. People still have rights, even when they are living where someone else doesn’t want them to live. Squatters do have some rights–called appropriately enough “sqqatter’s right”. Police rarely, if ever, shoot to kill when dealing with “trespassers”. Some land owners can be prosecuted for harming an unarmed trespasser on their property. Landlords need to give proper eviction notice before throwing out tenants who haven’t paid their rent. If a fetus is a person, give that person fair warning and adequate time to vacate the premises–say about nine months. If the fetus refuses to leave after nine months, go ahead–induce labor and re-locate the live child elsewhere.

In almost all situations car-accident victims choose to put themselves into situations in which they could potentially be in a car accident. I’m not sure that should keep them from being able to e.g. sue the driver of the other vehicle.

A lawsuit over fault in a car accident doesn’t involve the literal destruction of an innocent human life.

The destruction of life, regardless of whose choice causes the loss, is always tragic.

Then why bring up the mother’s choice as an objection at all? And why is a soldier being killed not just as much a homicide as someone getting an abortion?

And there is a happy note for this sad subject. The new Gallup pole shows that 51% of Americans now identify themselves as pro-life, up 7% from last year.

Here’s the whole survey.

I bring up choice because choice is a key part of the pro-choice, culture of death argument.

And the difference which often occurs in war is that it’s usually two sides trying to kill each other. While the loss of life is tragic I certainly recognize that self defense exists as a legitimate option. When someone is trying to kill someone else and is killed in the process, it isn’t murder.

But it doesn’t seem to be relevant to anyone involved. It’s not relevant to pro-abortion-rights people because they either a.) don’t think the fetus is a person or b.) don’t think the fetus’s right to life outweighs the mother’s right to bodily sovereignty. And it’s not relevant to you because the loss of life is tragic regardless of choice.

This could be categorized as fetus=person, abortion=self defense.

The problem with this view is the implication that the mother-child bond is not intrinsically good, but is seen as something flowing from the mother’s will. For example, the mother can look on the child as a blessing, if she wants to, then it’s a blessing. Or she can look on the child as a parasite, if she wants to, then it’s a threat. In this view, there is no intrinsic nature to the mother-child bond; it can be a blessing or threat; a joy or a sorrow. The determining thing is the will of the mother. The nature of the mother-child bond flows from the mother’s brain.

A more Catholic view is that the mother-child bond is good and sacred because it is a part of the plan to continue the human race. The mother may recognize this or she may not, but her will is not what determines its nature. The mother-child bond has a nature of its own which is intrinsically good and which is independent of the mother’s will.

There is a book, The Architects of the Culture of Death, by Benjamin Wiker and Donald DeMarco, which contains a chapter on Thomson’s essay.

I just read the violinist argument. What a load of garbage. I was hoping for a better argument from the pro-choicers than that.

Please tell me, as an intelligent atheist, that you have arguments from the pro-choice side that you like to use more? This argument does you no justice at all.:thumbsup:

I actually don’t like to argue this topic at all. I was merely pointing out that “fetus is a person implies that abortion is murder” is not self-evident. By the way, “what a load of garbage” does not constitute an effective rebuttal.

From a practical standpoint, I don’t think it is a good idea to ban abortion in civil law, since there are only a few possible implementations:

*]A criminal penalty similar to that for murder, filling prisons with women who attempt or succeed at getting an abortion.
*]A criminal penalty similar to that for murder – but one that is rarely used – leading to a legal system where statute doesn’t match the application
*]A minor criminal penalty, such as for a lesser felony or misdemeanor – thus making the penalty not fit the purported crime.
*]No criminal penalty – what would be the point?

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