Constructive Dialogues w Legal Abortion Advocates

Constructive Dialogues w Legal Abortion Advocates January 19, 2020

These far “better than average” exchanges originally took place on my blog and Facebook page: on 8-2-17 and 7-21-18. Words of my dialogue opponents will be in blue and green.

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I take issue with you calling us “pro-aborts”. I am pro-choice because I believe that only one person has the right to make that decision: the pregnant woman. Not you, nor I, nor the father, nor the government has the right to decide for her. It really is that simple. Neither I, nor any other pro-choice person I know has ever advocated for someone to have an abortion. Please, don’t strawman us.

Choice to do what? What are the choices entailed?

The choice in question is whether to complete the pregnancy or terminate it early. I thought that this was already understood.

Of course I understand it. Now I’m playing Socrates and trying to determine whether you do. What is entailed in terminating a pregnancy?

The most common method is by pill, which basically causes the body to flush the embryo out of the body. I humored your Socratic undertaking, but would like to point out that this question is a red herring, and does not relate to who should make the decision. That still lies with the pregnant woman.

Not when there is another human being involved, who is being slaughtered. That human being has a right to be allowed to continue living and developing. No one buys the arguments that it is not yet human or a person. He or she clearly is that, by virtue of DNA (and a heartbeat and brain waves by the time most abortions occur).

Thanks for verifying that the Pill is indeed an abortifacient. We pro-lifers have been pointing that out for many years.

You’re attaching a lot of baggage to that embryo that not all of us attach. You’re absolutely incorrect at saying there are not people who are not convinced that a three week old embryo is a person. The cells have human DNA, yes, but humans are the sum of their parts, which haven’t developed at that stage. I’m not going to argue this point with you, as I don’t believe you’ll debate it in good faith.

I’m not saying I know when personhood begins. I know you believe it begins at conception. But that’s what it is: a belief. We don’t have a scientific measure for personhood. There are also different philosophical arguments involved. Even if the embryo does have rights, does it trump the right of the mother’s to bodily autonomy?

And yes, the pill is an abortifacient, when used as such. The rest of the time, it’s just contraception. The designation is a function of what it’s used for at the time.

I still stand by my belief that women have a right to do what ever they wish to their bodies and that no one else has the right to stop them. The only way to stop them is by force, and no one has the right to use force to coerce a woman into completing an unwanted pregnancy.

The woman’s child is not her body in the first place.

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Everything is in place for the child at conception to grow and become you or I. All that is needed is time and a mother who doesn’t believe she owns her child and can kill him or her if she wishes. Any point other than conception for the beginning of personhood is completely arbitrary.

What non-arbitrary point do we determine that a person begins, if not at conception? You tell me.

I am flattered that you think I might know. To me, the transition from non-person to person is not a clear line (and pretending there is one seems like folly). If you wished to put a gun (crucifix?) to my head, and demand an answer, I would say brain activity, but I’m not sure I would actually believe that strongly. A blastocyst, however, remains clearly in the set of things that are not a person.

Your position of not knowing when human personhood begins, combined with support for legal abortion is akin to the absurd scenario of a hunter randomly shooting into the woods, not knowing if people are there, but having reason to believe that sometimes they are, or at least may be (during the time of the shooting).

Rather, allow me to turn the question around. Why are you convinced that there is an absolute point of differentiation between life and non-life? Why is there (or must there be) a clear and absolute line?

Because if personhood is present and we kill such a person, it’s murder. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to 1) define personhood, and 2) determine when personhood begins. Otherwise, we have the shooting into the woods scenario: not knowing when persons are present but going ahead and blasting away anyway. That’ a rather strange notion of ethics and morality: “what the hell? Just shoot [or abort], whether we know people are there or not.”

I guess among all the other moral outrages and ludicrosities of abortion, we can add this one.

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See many more articles on the issue of pro-life on my Life Issues web page.

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Photo credit: Shrine of the Unborn Child in Quezon CitySikatuna Village, Philippines [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
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