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Abortion is a Woman's Choice. Just Like Rape is a Man's Choice.

28 comments | 12:26 am | top |
When someone tells me that they are pro-choice, I always think - well heck, I'm pro-choice too. Proponents of "abortion as a woman's choice" will tell you that they think that women should have the right to choose. Choice is placed on a pedestal; it is high up, and we must not question it. Discourse over the nature of the choice is discouraged, instead emotive and often frenzied campaigns are run calling for the right for women to choose to be upheld.

I am a strong proponent of freedom of choice, freedom of association, freedom of expression; of freedom in general. However one person's freedom ends where another's freedom begins. I do not have the freedom to take your life against your will; that is contrary to the meaning of freedom. Pre-born babies are not asked for their opinion before the suction tube is inserted into their mother. As saline-abortion survivor Gianna Jessen has said, "if abortion is about women's rights, then where were mine?"

It is clear that every non-coerced action we make is a choice. That a given action was a choice has no bearing on its morality. Rape is a choice. Men have a choice whether they rape a woman or not, however it would be outrageous for me to suggest that somehow, because this is a choice, that it makes rape an acceptable activity. The fact that it's a choice has nothing to do with its morality, therefore I would be stupid to bring up "choice" as an argument in favour of decriminalising rape. There is only one correct choice, and that is the choice not to commit rape.

The two questions we must ask, - and answer before we make a decision about abortion are: 1) Whose choice are we taking into consideration, and 2) Which choice is the correct one?

1) The decision whether to abort a foetus or not affects two people: the mother and her pre-born child. Therefore, as with all contracts, both parties must have their choice respected. If one of the parties' choice is ignored, then the decision will be unjust. We cannot know what the baby's choice will be, as we are currently unable to communicate with pre-born children to ask them whether they wish for their life to be terminated or not. If a foetus gave consent to its destruction, I would support abortion in this instance. Realistically speaking however, a foetus not only lacks the rational capacity to make such a decision, but we would be unable to ascertain its decision even if it were able to make one. Therefore, as with all contracts, we have an obligation to err on the side of caution, and postpone killing the pre-born child until such time as it is able to consent to its death. This may all sound fairly cold and heartless, but consider: how many people do you know who would agree to your proposition of killing them? None.

If a mother, or a relative, friend or doctor of the mother wishes to kill the pre-born child, this wish is superceded by the natural rights held by the foetus - to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

2) Which choice is the correct one? I absolutely support a woman's right to choose - given that she makes a moral choice. Nobody has the right to choose to harm another person without their consent. The correct choice is life for the baby.

The pro-life group that I work with in New Zealand has a popular t-shirt that reads "Unborn babies are pro-choice too". This statement is not only untrue, but it is also unverifiable. As far as I can tell, pre-born babies are not yet of a rational capacity to even contemplate whether they wish to die or live. Their natural bodily functions are all crying out "live", however they have not yet grasped the concept of the desirability of living within their own minds. Therefore they do not have the ability to choose one way or the other. In saying this, pre-born babies do have other thoughts, such as recognising the sound of their mother's voice... The statement is unverifiable because we cannot be 100% sure that all babies would advocate for choice - were they able. It is possible that there may be some pre-born babies - who, if asked, (were the technology available) - if they supported upholding choice on the issue of abortion, who would respond that they do not. All that aside, with our t-shirts we've made a well-educated guess that were pre-born babies able to respond, that they would support choice. It follows that the vast majority of babies would support the non-abortion choice, as very few humans - when asked, will volunteer to have their lives ended.

In summary: Choice has nothing to do with morality, therefore choice does not impact on the acceptability of abortion. A choice is only permissible if it does not take away the choice of another person.

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Blogger J. O'Toole said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:12 am, March 10, 2010 
Blogger charpcookie said...


Question tho... "If a foetus gave consent to its destruction, I would support abortion in this instance."
What's your opinion about euathanasia? I would have thought this was a moral question separate from a person's right to choose also... but then where does that put suicide, I suppose...
Would appreciate your thoughts :)

8:39 am, March 10, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Thanks Charlotte. I believe that euthanasia is really tragic, and also often an immoral choice, however I disagree that the Government has the jurisdiction to restrict people from doing what they want with their own property - whether it's their house, car, or person. I would say the same for suicide, although at the same time, it cuts me up awfully when I hear of someone who has killed themselves; again, it's an absolutely abysmal outcome to someone's problems, and I want to do more - and I wish more was done to support people who feel so desperate that they think that's their only option.
What do you reckon?

10:00 am, March 10, 2010 
Anonymous Alex said...

Would a person we allowed to commit suicide if they are currently in a contract or have responsibilities of any form that their being dead would make unfulfillable? Because that would mean suicide involved breaking a contract, and as such had a negative impact on someone else. This, under a libertarian government, should be legislated against.

5:45 pm, March 10, 2010 
Anonymous Lydie said...

Andy, you don't think that the Government should protect life. That is, they ought not have the mandate to protect the individual from himself, although they should protect the individual from other people. If the latter is to be protected, then why not the former? What's the difference between an individual making a stupid decision and someone else making a stupid decision? Why not just abolish the Government?

7:49 pm, March 10, 2010 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if I agree with you to kill me, then that is ok too?

9:59 pm, March 10, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Good point Alex. In such cases, clearly suicide is immoral on those grounds alone.

Comes down to consent Lydie. Suicide is by definition, a consensual action. Whereas murder is the taking of a life without consent being given. I'm definitely opposed to abolishing the Government.

Anon, there are situations where it is moral for one person to kill another... I can't give you a blanket answer to your question, because I don't know the circumstances. I think it is extremely unlikely that me killing you with your consent would be a moral thing for me to do, however I wouldn't rule it out.

12:00 am, March 11, 2010 
Blogger Simeon said...

Why on earth should it be ok for someone to take the life of another or to take there own life if consent is given?

I think when it comes to human life - it operates at a much higher level than that of other moral choices. It is intrinsically of far greater value and of far greater importance, that to apply ones thinking around consent to the taking of ones life is a very unwise path to take. Sometimes you cannot apply a theory to different scenarios.

I think what anon is saying is if I sit down with you and we rationally agree that it you are to kill me, then is that ok?

8:57 am, March 11, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

I think the ball is in your court. Does the government have the mandate to restrict its citizens from doing whatever they like with their own property?

I'm not saying that euthanasia or suicide are necessarily ok, what I am asking is, what gives the Government the right to restrict them.

12:05 pm, March 11, 2010 
Blogger Simeon said...

I think the point of difference here is this. We are dealing with human life, not property.

Surely you cannot apply the same moral arguments from one to the other due to the fact that one is in a different league to say property.

I haven't said anything about the government or its rights to restrict things. I am simply challenging your thinking of applying one set of principles from one act to another.

12:09 pm, March 11, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

I think one's life is one's property; just as much as one's car is one's property.

It is occasionally morally acceptable to destroy your own car. And I would hold that it is also occasionally morally acceptable to destroy your own life.

Who or what gives the State the jurisdiction to interfere in our decisions in this?

12:49 pm, March 11, 2010 
Anonymous Lydie said...

I guess Andy, the truth is that we don't own our own lives, God does. That's what makes killing ourselves or anyone else wrong.

8:14 pm, March 11, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Yes, God has given us everything we have, including our lives and our bodies. I think there are rare occasions where it is just to damage or completely destroy ourselves... Consider the case of the grandad who held his two grandchildren above the water, saving their lives but dying in the process. This was a case of him making a conscious decision to (potentially) lose his life or sustain damage to his body, for a cause he deemed worthy.

And as a quite separate issue, the fact that something is wrong is not sufficient to determine that the Government should legislate against it.

12:01 am, March 12, 2010 
Anonymous Alex said...

Suicide and sacrificing ones life are not the same. That is a *bad* comparison. I agree on your last statement, although I think that the government is probably allowed to legislate against things that are significantly detrimental to society.

12:29 am, March 12, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Suicide is the intentional killing of yourself. It is possible to sacrifice your life through suicide. For instance you could step in front of a bullet, or volunteer to be killed on behalf of someone else.

1:07 am, March 12, 2010 
Anonymous Lydie said...

I reckon I agree with Alex, there's a difference between comitting suicide for a *selfish* reason (ie, because you believe life's not worth living) and deliberately giving up the life you want to keep living, in order to save someone you love. Jesus did it, so it must be okay.

1:02 pm, March 12, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Absolutely, so my question comes in, does the Government have the mandate to determine for us under which circumstances we may voluntarily end our lives?

3:32 pm, March 12, 2010 
Blogger charpcookie said...

I think so when it involves someone else, namely euthanasia. There can be huge ramifications for the person who does the killing in that case - it's not just a friend helping you paint your fence!

As for suicide... well, it's kind of pointless legislating about that because once a person's gone there's not much the government can do to hold them accountable to any law :S

3:51 pm, March 12, 2010 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, some flaws.

1. the harm principle implicitly involves screening out some choices. By not choosing to provide your organs to people to save their lives, you are causing harm but no one morally serious would suggest you should do so.

2. abortion deals with keeping something alive that is plugged into a biological life support process. Where the thing does not have the capacity to choose, we put the right to decide whether to keep that thing alive in the hands of the individual with the biological life support process, which seems intuitively appropriate. This is what the pro choice movement is defending, the choice of individuals to remove the life support of one's own body to another being. I think that stays within the boundary of the harm principle, although you are harming something through your action, it is analagous to refusing to give your body up as a life support mechanism. I'm sure you are familiar with the violinist plugged in, etc, or opening the window and carpet people growing. If we wish to counter this, one starts having to talk about "natural processes" and the like, which seem out of place in the objective consideration of morality from the basis of the harm principle.

3. in contrast, all individuals engaged in any form of sexual act must consent to that act and a person's choice to ignore that choice which defines rape. we assume appropriately that the choice is "no", where incapacity is established. a poor analogy with pro-choice, and frankly a quite detestable one.

2:49 pm, March 15, 2010 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, why do you continue to use any cause to further your own agenda. drawing comparisons to rape and abortion is as appalling and perhaps a new low for even you. So tell me Andy lets talk choices, do you think it is a good choice for people to draw benefits and/or student loans fradulantly? That's a choice people make isn't Andy! How do you feel about that?

7:45 pm, March 15, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

how could fraud ever be a good choice Anon?

2:06 pm, March 17, 2010 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless your very well thought out article. It was an eye-opener. Women's rights crowd never gives the woman in the womb rights.

1:18 pm, March 20, 2010 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think G.K. Chesterton said it best:
"Having the right to do something is not at all the same as being right in doing it."

4:46 pm, March 20, 2010 
Blogger 1 of 8 said...

Is there a way for me to delete or edit my previous post?

12:23 am, March 28, 2010 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Hi, I think if you posted your comment logged into your Google account, you should be able to press the trash-can icon (delete) if you're currently logged into Google. If that doesn't work, let me know and I can delete it if you want...

Sorry I haven't responded to your comment yet, aiming to get round to this!

2:13 pm, March 28, 2010 
Anonymous Jo-Ann said...

This all makes for some very interesting reading...
I've been thinking about what you said about abortion affecting the mother and foetus. Sadly, I don't think they are the only ones affected by the decision to abort. For the purpose of your point, I see where you’re coming from and I’m not arguing with you. They are the two people who are directly affected. But there are effects that linger from one person’s decision that impact on others too. I’m not going to get into scenarios here because no one’s situation is the same. If the mother chose never to speak of this to anyone, then likely she and the baby would be the only ones affected. But in cases where others are involved or aware, I believe it is hard not to be affected, even if not on the same scale.
Thanks for the article, it's been thought-provoking:)

1:04 am, April 12, 2010 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so if there is a serious risk to the mental or physical health of the mother. If the baby is born. Does this change the idea of choice? is abortion then ok......or do you still consider this murder?

3:26 pm, September 20, 2010 
Blogger Andy said...

Killing a pre-born child is never acceptable. However there are some very rare circumstances where the mother's life is in very real danger from the pregnancy, and either the pregnancy must be ended, or the mother will die. In this case, it is best to attempt to remove the baby from the mother without killing it - this is not always possible though.

5:34 pm, September 20, 2010 

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