ONE: THE BASIC MORAL QUESTION
A. The main basis for the Pro-Life position: the reality of the child in the womb.TWO: THE MORAL-LEGAL QUESTION1. The CONTINUUM ARGUMENT. The life of each person is a single continuum, of which the time in the womb is merely the first phase. "I was once a child in my mother's womb."B. Some objections and replies:
2. THE SLED ARGUMENT. The only differences between a born child and a pre-born child are:
SIZEOr: The child in the womb is merely:
LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT
DEGREE OF DEPENDENCY
SMALLERThese are the only differences and none of them are morally relevant. Nor should they be legally relevant.
IN A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT
3. Statement by 200 doctors: By the end of the seventh week there is a well-proportioned small-scale baby.1. "Draw a line at viability."C. The beginning of a person's existence at conception-fertilization: this is a "Radical Break:"* The child is already viable before this! He is merely not viable in our environment.2. 'Draw a line at birth."
* Viability is a measure of bodily status in relation to environnient; it has nothing to do with being a person. Viability could never turn a non-person into a person.
* Viabality is constantly changing with technology and is relative to the development of Medicine where the mother and child happen to be. A child not viable in the jungle might be viable in the USA.
* Child is not viable now before 24 weeks or so because his lungs are not yet sufficiently developed. And this date is being reduced with further medical developments.* Birth is merely a change of location and of method of air and nourishment intake.3. "The being in the womb is only biologically alive; it is not a person since it cannot think rationally or communicate intentionally."
* Birth could never turn a non-person into a person.Distinguish BEING a person and FUNCTIONING as a person. A person sound asleep or in a coma cannot function as a person: he or she cannot solve complex problems, make difficult decisions or carry on a conversation. But he or she still is a person...he or she has the being of a person. Essentially the same thing applies to the pre-born child: he or she has the being of a person, although he or she cannot function as a person. The pre-born child has the basic inherent capacity to function as a person, which belongs to his nature as a person, to his essential being as a person. It is in the process of development.1. Sperm and ovum have the genetic code of the father and the mother; the child has his or her ownD. Another important basis for Pro-Life: It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent person.
2. Sperm and ovum are each at the end of their existence; the child is at the beginning of his existence.An objection: "The zygot is too small to be a person."
Reply: Size is relative. Imagine a giant who could hold planet earth in the palm of his hand like an orange. To him we would be very, very small! Dr. Suess: A person is a person no matter how small." There is no such thing as a "fertilized ovum". What results from conception-fertilization is not some kind of ovum - or sperm, but a new human person, one of us. "I was once a tiny zygot."* The horror of child abuse, especially when it is the killing of a child, is repeated in every abortion.E. An objection: "Every child should be a wanted child. No unwanted child should be brought into the world."
* We may not do wrong to further our goals, or even to bring about a good.
* We must show respect for persons, for all persons, young and old, very young and very old.
* Compare: Abortion and Kamchadal, the thrusting of a sword into the abdomen of the mother to kill the child.
* Abortions occur because we are bigger and stronger than the child and so we can impose death on him or her. Abortion is simply taking advantage of our superior strength.Replies:* The child is already in the world. A woman's womb and the child in it are part of the world.. Unwanted is not a characteristic of a child: it is we who are sometimes unwanting.Therefore, the reality: there is a child in the womb. Abortion kills that child.
* Should we kill off all "unwanted" people?
* Who are we to decide for the child whether life is worth living? Abortion means imposing the will of some on others by brute force, a terrible violation of basic human rights.
* Adoption, not abortion.
F. Why abortion must be made illegal:Twenty-seven years after Roe V. Wade: 37 million abortions; rampant teen pregnancies; women and children in poverty; an epidemic of child abuse; "partial birth abortions"; a loss of value for all human life; a coarsening and un-civilizing of our society. Is that the price we were willing to pay for "choice"? Is that the consensus of the vast majority of this "one Nation under God?".1. The child in the womb deserves the same protection of law that the rest of us have.G. Some objections and replies:
2. Not to give the child this protection is discrimination. It is in effect saying to the child: "You don't count because you're different from the rest of us. You're too small, you live in a different environment - and besides, you can't defend yourself".
3. Abortion is the most important civil rights issue of our time. And we are failing now as we failed for well over a century after the creation of this nation with regard to slavery and equal protection under the law for all human beings.
4. "Pro-Choice"? The "pro-choice" position is really a denial of any choice for the child. It is saying to the child: "You don't count because it's OK to impose death on the child if you want to.
5. Making abortion illegal can also be a protection for the many women who do not want an abortion, but who feel that they are forced into it, that they have no other choice.
6. Full legal protection for all pre-born children: no exceptions.
7. The goverrnment cannot be neutral on this issue. It either protects the alleged "right" of a woman to "choose", or it protects the real right of the child to live.1. "Don't force your religion on us". The equal protection of all persons is a civil rights issue that transcends the many religious traditions. It is not a religious issue, but a scientific and legal issue.
2. "I am personally opposed to abortion, but I don't want to impose my values on others." Try this with child abuse, discrimination on the basis of skin color, discrimination against women, etc.
3. "There is no consensus on abortion." Protecting basic human rights does not depend on, and cannot wait for a consensus. Did Dr. Martin Luther King wait for a consensus? Rather, his leadership is what helped create a consensus.
4. "Keep abortion safe and legal." Abortion is not safe for the child. It Is the brutal killing of the child. Abortion is not safe for women, either. Please see David Reardon, Aborted Women: Silent No More. (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1987) Since abortion was legalized, more women have died of abortion! (See p.292) Stephen Schwartz is the author of The Moral Question of Abortion (Chicago; Loyola Press, 1990)