Sunday, November 21, 2004

A Continuation
My friend Alex challenged me in some comments recently, on the point of abortion. I am opening this thread so the discussion can continue in a dedicated comments section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a slight misinterpretation which I feel strengthens my point. When arguing in favor of the autonomous mother over that of the fetus, I stress the importance not of just autonomy, but of one fully developed life over the possibility of another. It seems more reasonable to protect that which is already developed than that which may not even survive childbirth. In this situation, by choosing the life of the child over the health concerns of the mother, one is choosing the possibility of a fully developed being over a guarantee of one. If the “better safe than sorry” argument still stands, then the mother’s life it is.

On to your innocence claim: if I understand you correctly, you claim that the fetus is innocent, and thus a “fully-valued” human life. By suggesting that human life can be quantitatively judged is to throw out your entire argument. I can argue for abortion because the kid may turn out to be a shitty person, for example, and thus his or her life is not “fully-valued.” There is a host of problems for your argument if you allow that type of subjective decision making. I will be happy to expand this argument if you don’t see where I’m going.

In addition, since the Catholic (are you Catholic? I hate to assume, but for the sake of argument, I shall believe you hold the same tenets) church would argue that all can be saved in the end, each life is prospectively worth the exact same, innocent or not. The Game of Life, as it were, is a zero-sum game.

By allowing God to sort out what happens, you again fall into the same subjective trap. True, when you go to the doctor and ask him to intervene against nature, you are not in fact requiring the destruction of another human being. However, by accepting this you must redefine your claim. Instead of “letting God sort it out”, your claim becomes “let God sort it out when it does not fall into subjective categories established by society.” Going to the doctor for an abortion might be wrong, but you must accept both the good with the bad. Going to the doctor to preserve your own life against imminent but preventable death is in essence saying God does not take care of everything, and we must take certain subjects into our own hands. As soon as you accept that, the argument becomes highly subjective as to where to draw the line.

In conclusion, I ask from you consistency. One cannot take all the good points of a theory but ignore the bad. If you need to let god take care of everything, I respect that. You must, however, come up with a suitable way of defining where the line is drawn. Weighing how innocent one might be is, in my opinion, abandoning logic in favor of religion, when the two must be mixed for a strong argument.

I’m not sure where I stand. If you believe that life begins at conception, than it seems very hard to justify abortion. To me however, since we’re focusing on a few certain cases, it seems completely fair to trade a possible life for a definite life. My stance: Abortion in cases where the child presents a grave health risk for the mother can be logically argued to be morally acceptable.