“A fetus’s right to live is dependent solely on the mother. What happens to the mother, happens to the fetus. The right to life does not guarantee the right to be allowed the continuous use of another person’s body. It would be nice if the women did allow it but, she has no obligation to allow it.”
I’m not sure how to deal with this, as this is the first “pro-choice” person I’ve met to actually acknowledge that an unborn child has a right to life.
This is a contradiction. As there’s no justification for the second part of the argument – that the right to life doesn’t mean the right to life in the mother during early stages of the development – there’s not much that I can say specifically. But it’s impossible for a being to have the right to life and to not have the right to the mother, as the right to life exists only because of the fetus’ presence within her mother.
… if the fetus is only a part of the mother, a hilariously absurd consequence follows. The relation of part to whole is what logicians call a transitive relation: If A is part of B and B is part of C, then A must be part of C. If a wall is part of a room and the room is part of a building, then the wall must be part of that building. If a toe is part of a foot and a foot is part of a body, then the toe is part of the body. Now if the fetus is a part of the mother, then the parts of the fetus must be parts of the mother. But in that case, every pregnant woman has four eyes and four feet, and half of all pregnant women have penises! Clearly, the absurd conclusion came from the false premise that the fetus is only part of the mother. (Source)
My take? A right can never be dependent on the concerns or whims of others because then it would cease to be a right. Therefore, it is a contradiction to say that the fetus’ right to life is solely dependent on the mother.
In addition, the fetus is not a rational being who deliberately chose to implant itself in the womb - the mother is. Having taken steps that resulted in implantation, it would then be irrational and unreasonable of the woman to view the fetus as an invader whose continued existence depended on her preferences.
Choice is a good thing. All women have it. They can choose to have sex, with the attendant possibility of becoming pregnant (a natural consequence in those having a uterus and ovaries) or they can choose not to have sex and avoid pregnancy. Any woman who objects to the link between sex and pregnancy or to her reproductive abilities, should take it up with her Creator - not with the fetus that she freely chose to have implanted inside her.
Rape is a separate and painfully difficult matter, but even then, the fetus is simply a secondary victim of an atrocious act - never the aggressor. Much as I would not expel my child from the home because a thief broke in and shot me while I shielded her, it would be unreasonable for me to expel a child from the womb because someone forcibly implanted her there. The analogy is not meant to be a perfect one, but the point is that suffering something associated with parenthood does not put the child at fault.
In life-threatening pregnancy complications the rights of a fetus to life have to be balanced against the rights of a mother to life. Even then our Church teaches that the fetus cannot be simply expelled because it is a problem, but that treating the disease must be the focus of our efforts and any measure resulting in pre-viable delivery of the fetus can only be acceptable if this delivery is an unintended consequence (forseeable or not).
I believe that, in a nutshell, addresses the question of a fetus’ right to life. I also believe personally, that while the fetus is definitely a distinct individual, it would be an error to go too far in stressing the distinction between life of the mother and that of the child. This is because they do function as a unique unit and events in one have profound impacts on the other.
This is the “parasite” argument phrased in a disguised way - that babies are a parasite in the mother’s body and the mother has no obligation to allow the parasitism to continue.
Creating a baby is not allowing “continuous use” of one’s body. The baby actually helps the mother by improving blood flow throughout her body. An entirely new organ is grown, the placenta, which helps to nourish the baby as it grows. The people who spout this lame argument know little of science and nothing at all of physiology. They have watched one too may viewings of “Alien.” It is as if they imagine the baby to have appeared in the mother’s womb without her consent, which of course is contrary to reality.
I find it very indicative of how far our society has degraded, that the natural outcome of having sexual intercourse can be seen as a parasite. If I think too much about it, I get very depressed.
We should not be so quick to use scientific evidence to prove or support our supernatural faith and our supernatural rights (We can argue more about this if you would like).
We have a God given right to life from the point of conception. To kill that life is to break one of God’s commandments. The mother’s body is not her body. It is God’s. The fetus is not the mother’s body. It is God’s. To me this is as clear as it can be and all other arguments simply avoid these fundamentals.
Your assuming that people have a right to have sex without the “threat” of pregnancy. In my opinion that is an absurd notion. The woman made her choice when she decided to have sex. Your argument would only apply in cases of rape, where the woman had no choice in whether she wanted to have sex or not. Even then though, you end up comparing a woman’s right to the pursuit of happiness to the right of the child to life. Life wins out.
The underlying problem to this whole discussion though is that you are operating under a false notion of “fairness”. Is it “fair” that women are the ones who have to give birth to children every time? Why don’t men and women trade off? I would bet you would be very tempted to say that isn’t fair at all. That of course is the position of someone who has left reality though in my opinion.
Funny, the legal system seems to think otherwise. One can not kill a newborn child [which by nature is wholey dependant on the mother’s body for food]. One can be thrown in jail for not feeding/taking care of said child. There is, in fact, a whole arm of the government whose sole function is to look after the rights (including the right to life) and welfare of children.
The problem with this argument is that we are arguing Pro-life to people that may not share our fundamental Church views. We cannot devolve into “Because God says so” or “because it’s in the bible”. As great as that may be for us of the learned faith, that does not hold any argument to people outside of our faith, which are the people who offer the “pro-choice” arguments to begin with.
Therefore a logical/rational and scientific approach is needed. Even the Magisterium consistently offers logical and rational and even scientific backing to much of its teachings, and rarely simply states “Because God says so”, although ultimately that’s the biggest reason we follow our teachings. Point being, they don’t ONLY say this. Taking a look at the sanctity of marriage, and the vow of chastity prior to marriage, and how the Church argues for this vow, is a good indication of the Church’s ability to even bring secular arguments to the debate, let alone religious ones.
I think that logical and scientific approaches to the basic tenets of our faith is actually what differentiates Catholics from other religions that blindly believes whatever people tell them to believe. And that’s actually one of the strongest supports for the Magisterium’s teachings.
Here is my one and only problem with the scientific approach. To be fair, one must create an experiment or observe the world and be open to the conclusions that come about, whether or not they fit with your view or not. It is not fair to claim to be scientific, but to disregard all the evidence that does not fit your view. It also makes you less credible in future attempts to be scientific.
In this abortion example, it is only fair to use science to prove that abortion is bad if we are willing to accept some evidence that says it is good, if that is what the data or observations show.
Science shows that human life begins at conception. From that point on, its not if the child is human, but at what stage in its development it is at. The “right” to kill an unborn child is an artificial legal construct. It is the only case under our legal system in which one can freely kill another human for no other reason then said human is an inconvenience. And even then said “right” only exists for a limited time period (another artificial legal construct). The legal system is basically declaring that it is legal to kill a human if said human is killed within the first few months of its development. Go past that time limit, and its suddenly murder.
Very good point, and here’s my counterpoint (although it’s not really a counterpoint, more like an expansion of our shared view).
We must come to understand that scientific approaches by the Magisterium are always inclusive of secular counterarguments. We do not simply say “since Experiment A supports our point, Experiments B through F can be disregarded since it does not fit our view”. In fact, the Catholic Church constantly employs secular scientists and professionals to offer their insight as well. This is easily seen through the validation of miracles (like the miracles at the Lourdes spring, which they asked scientists and medical professionals from all walks of life and faith, even atheist ones, to determine whether these were actual medical miracles or not).
With that said, the scientific argument behind abortion is a serious one, for both sides. My point is that if someone throws a scientific argument at us, we cannot and must not simply counter the point with a faith-based conclusion, since that serves no purpose in trying to get people outside our faith to see our point of view. I could honestly link at least 10 different medical journal articles from physicians that all have concluded that life begins at conception, helping to support the Pro-life movement. This is an extremely strong argument to offer to those who do not share our faith.
Likewise, the logical approach, like that of seekerz above, and the philosophical approach, are also key to helping support our point of view in this debate.
I COMPLETELY agree with everything you said. In fact, that’s one of my personal strongest arguments against abortion. I hope you know that my first post that this is in reply to, by no means, is trying to go against Pro-life. In fact, I was merely stating that we must use scientific approaches to argue for pro-life, but I should’ve mentioned in that same post that there are a MULTITUDE of support from various doctrines of thought that already does support Pro-life (as do I!)
I understood that, I was just throwing in my 2 cents in regards to the complete disconnect between murdering a newborn [illegal] and murdering a child that has only been biologically developing for a week [legal].
This is just nonsense. You should ask that person what, exactly, they think a “right” is, where “rights” come from, and what endows them with the character of moral obligation. I guarantee your friend has never given that any thought and will respond with sputtering stupidity.
Our rights arise from our natures. They are the inverse of our duties. Our duties include the duty not to murder. Therefore there is a right not be murdered. That right arises simply from being a human, therefore anything which is human (as a fetus is) has that right. QED.
That’s not true. A newborn child can be breast fed by any other lactating woman, or can be fed artificial food – virtually by anyone. A newborn can be separated from mother, provided someone else cares for him.
A pre-viability fetus on the other hand, is dependent on mother’s body not only for food, but also for oxygen – because it has no (functioning) lungs. It cannot be separated from mother without dying.