Saturday, June 07, 2003

Patton replies

Patton of Postmodern Potlatch has responded thoughtfully to my earlier post on abortion. He states,
    As it were, I am rather aware – at least I would say so – of the rational arguments against abortion. I find them to be many-fold, and – again we will disagree – I have yet to ever really see anyone try to refute with them. No one is “pro-abortion.” What I have yet to encounter are the rational arguments for criminalizing abortion. By rational, I don’t mean “sensical” or “good,” I mean, rational, as in not drivne by a morality claim. Drugs ruin lives, alcohol ruins lives, gambling ruins lives, cults ruin lives, and I am sure that abortion has ruined lives, but nonetheless when the state dictates to its citizens whether or not they can make choices about their own bodies and lives I can only construe that as a forceful grafting of a moral and religious template onto a populous whom it does not fit.
If understand where Patton is coming from, I continue to disagree with him on abortion. Let me explain why:

The pro-life position (which, again, can be argued rationally and without reference to religious dogma) is that from the moment of conception, a personal human being is present. Abortion, then, involves the deliberate killing of an innocent human being, and as such, it should be illegal, like every other instance of deliberately killing an innocent human being.

Abortion is hence unlike drugs, alcohol, gambling or cults, in that none of these per se involve the killing of a human being. I can gamble, and not kill. I can take drugs, and not kill. I can drink, and not kill. I can join a cult, and not kill. But I cannot procure or perform an abortion without killing.

That's the difference. Abortion isn't about a private, moral choice which concerns only me and my body: it is very much public, in that it involves another human being and their body beside the woman and hers... that is, her child. If our legal system is going to be consistent in its recognition of the unique value and rights which each human being has, then abortion should be illegal.

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