Why Abortion Should Be Illegal
No matter what the circumstances of conception, no matter how far along in the pregnancy, abortion always ends the life of an individual human being. Prominent defenders of abortion rights publicly admit that abortion kills human beings. They are not saying that abortion is morally defensible because it doesn’t kill a distinct human entity. They are admitting that abortion does kill a distinct human entity, but argue it is morally defensible anyway. Personhood is properly defined by membership in the human species, not by stage of development within that species.
A living being’s designation to a species is determined not by the stage of development but by the sum of its biological characteristics— actual and potential—which are genetically determined. If we say that the fetus is not human, e. g. a member of Homo sapiens, we must say it is a member of another species. But this cannot be. Dictionaries define person as a “human being,” “human individual,” or “member of the human race. ” What makes a dog a dog is that he came from dogs. His father was a dog and his mother was a dog, and therefore he is a dog. What makes a human a human is that he came from humans.
His father was a human person and his mother was a human person, so he can be nothing other than a human person. Women don’t have four arms and four legs when they’re pregnant. Those extra appendages belong to the tiny human being(s) living inside of them. The slogan, “My Body, My Choice,” betrays a tragic misunderstanding of what is taking place inside the womb. At no point in pregnancy is the developing embryo or fetus simply a part of the mother’s body. There are a number of clear biological facts that easily refute the claim that the embryo or fetus is simply part of the mother’s body.
The only way people can successfully live together in community is to give up a measure of personal freedom. Personal choices that infringe on the life or livelihood of another human being must be legislated against. Therefore, it is impossible to justify abortion by simply arguing that women should be “free to choose. ” The comparison between a baby’s rights and a mother’s rights is unequal. What is at stake in abortion is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life. Therefore, it is reasonable for society to expect an adult to live temporarily with an inconvenience if the only alternative is killing a child.
Of course a child does not have more rights than her mother. Any two people are equal, and any two people have equal rights. Hence, a mother has every bit as much right to live as any child. But in nearly all abortions, the woman’s right to live is not an issue, because her life is not in danger. The mother has not only the right to live, but also the right to the lifestyle of her choice – as long as that choice does not rob other people of even more fundamental rights, the most basic of which is the right to live. The right to a certain lifestyle is never absolute and unconditional.
It is always governed by its effects on others. There are all sorts of circumstances that people point to as justification for their support of abortion. Since none of these circumstances are sufficient to justify the killing of human beings after birth, they’re not sufficient to justify the killing of human beings before birth. When it comes to abortion, there is no shortage of “What if…? ‘s. ” Just when it seems the injustice of abortion has been firmly established, you’ll hear things like: “What if the woman was raped? “, “What if she can’t afford a child? , or “What if the baby is deformed? ” These questions don’t address the fundamental ethics of abortion, but they do introduce a host of difficult variables. Some people appeal to them earnestly. Many do not. These “hard cases” are often used as a last defense by those who actually believe abortion should be legal no matter what the circumstances. They appeal to these more emotionally-charged circumstances in an attempt to move the focus away from the heart of the issue – which is the humanity of unborn children and the violence of abortion.
The best way to expose the fallacy of such claims is to simply broaden the context and apply them to children outside the womb. No matter how you frame it, the difficulty that these circumstances present does not justify the death of an innocent human being. Not only does every abortion kill an innocent human being in the womb; but abortion is also more dangerous to the mother than if she were to give birth to the child. The evidence overwhelmingly proves that the morbidity and mortality rates of legal abortion are several times higher than that for carrying a pregnancy to term.
Some defend abortion by claiming that they have a right to privacy. Whether they have an abortion or not is between them and their doctor. Everyone else should stay out of their business. Of course, if abortion kills an innocent human being then killing done in private is no more acceptable than killing done in public; and the encouragement or assistance of a doctor does not change the nature, consequences, or morality of abortion. All these arguments support the idea that abortion should be illegal and that life, at no matter what stage, should be protected by the state.