Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Abortion Post

I usually make a point of avoiding debate about abortion because most people are so rigid in their view on the subject that I don't expect to be able to convince anyone to change their opinion. However, recently I have become tired of reading and listening to people, with whom I otherwise agree, trying to shove their anti-abortion views down my throat. It seems that no matter the topic under discussion - economic liberty, terrorism, climate change, Brexit or whatever - these people aren't happy until they introduce abortion into the conversation. They arrogantly assume that because you agree with them on other issues, you must support their views on abortion as well. They often call themselves libertarians, but it seems that their support for individual liberty stops at the point that the individual has a fetus in her womb.

I believe that all human beings have inherent rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as a clever chap once wrote), and that all these rights include being able to make decisions in your own interests about your own body. Therefore I support the right of individuals to ingest whatever recreational drugs they like, to take whatever medical treatments they consider to be appropriate, and even to end their lives when they so choose. The only limitation I would place on individuals exercising these rights is that they must be capable of making an informed decision on their own behalf.

A woman who is pregnant and who is competent to make decisions is the only moral judge about what is in her own best interests about her body. Anyone else who thinks they have the right to overrule her decisions in this regard is the moral equivalent of a slave-owner, because to force someone to use their body against their will, and for a purpose she considers contrary to her best interests, is slavery. If you prohibit a woman from making the decision to terminate her pregnancy, you are in effect shackling her and forcing her to sacrifice her interests for yours (or your interpretation of your god's interests).

What about the argument that the fetus is also a human being with the right to life? I think the debate about whether the fetus is a human being or not is a red herring. The fetus is a stage in the development of a human being and so is the embryo and the zygote. The decision on when the product of human fertilisation and gestation becomes a human being is entirely an arbitrary one, on which even the major religions have found it difficult to agree (for example, the official Roman Catholic Church doctrine, on which even many Catholics disagree, is that the gametes are sacred human life and that 'spilling the seed' is, in effect, murder - which is why it opposes the use of condoms). 

I have written before on how real, objectively-determined rights are never in conflict and that holds true for the abortion question. The fully-formed, fully-functioning, pregnant woman has all the inherent rights of a human being, and it is logically and morally nonsensical to claim that something within her body has separate rights that trump hers.

1 comment:

paul scott said...

I have been reading lately about this business of not attempting to advance an argument about anything. That is that there is evidence that the more we state a position, and the better logic, the greater the refusal from the other side.
Some one has a newspaper reading theory, which runs like this. You read in the paper a journalist promoting the immigration theory of house prices. Now because you know this stuff, you laugh and turn the page, but you are annoyed..
If you are moved enough you later write a lot of stuff in your blog column or engage your neighbours in conversation.
Anyway, for now, you turn the page of the newspaper, and there is some stuff there about agriculture pesticides and it says you are going to die. Now because you don't previously know much about pesticides, you believe it, and go on an anti DDT campaign. Stuff like that. Because its written down for you.

Also, as in something like politics say, or say the global warming thing, people take a position for whatever reason and re-enforce the position as opposition comes.
Some Conservatives are now saying, just don't engage, you can only get in a scrum.

Argh now my Thai girl is complaining I am a nerd on the computer, I have to go back to being a slave for her, more later.