Dear Catholic Answes Forum,
I am so honored that there are so many Catholics on this website who will devote themselves to the defense of the dignity of human life. A few moments ago, I was conversing with a friend on the issue of abortion, explaining why I believe abortion is wrong. He then gave a reply to which I did not know how to answer, and I was hoping that someone can please give me guidance to being able to answer his pro-choice argument.
He said, "an unborn baby is dependent upon her mother for nutrients, oxygen, body heat and so on. This comes at the expense of the mother and without the mother the baby will not be able to sustain itself naturally.
Now imagine your uncle or niece is dying and the only person who can save him is you, via bone marrow transplant; this will cause you considerable inconvenience, pain, and increase your risk of injury or death for the following nine months. Is it considered murder or should you be punished for refusing to give him or her the transplant, allowing them to die?
Let's extend the analogy further. Keeping in mind that the mother's child won't come into existence without her, imagine that your uncle is now in a coma. The only chance he has to come out of the coma is if you hook yourself up to him and use your heart and kidneys to support his body, giving him a chance to heal. And, in addition, there's the caveat that once the process is begun, disconnecting yourself will kill him outright.
Now, same question. He has no chance to exit the coma without you, but you're not sure if you can commit to all these responsibilities. The window of opportunity is limited to just a few days, so you must make the decision immediately. If you decide to give it a shot, giving him a chance to recover, should it be illegal to change your mind later and withdraw support?
The fetus is basically the mother's tenant. Again, it is taking the mother's body heat, nutrients, oxygen, and so on. It's actually an even deeper relationship that tenant and landlord, because the mother's life is actively endangered by the presence of the fetus. The risk is not huge, but it is there.
To say that the mother must carry the baby to term regardless of what she wishes is the same as saying that a landlord must house a tenant for a set period of time. The tenant is so unstable that he will die without the landlord's help - but even so, that's not the landlord's fault, so why should he be obligated to continue to provide housing and food to the tenant, especially if it causes him significant inconvenience and at least some risk of harm? The same argument applies to the mother and the fetus. Doesn't this contradict the idea of a right to life when the mother's life is at risk and legally she is unable to have an abortion?"