Neutrality (let’s agree to disagree, you have your opinion, I have mine, etc.) still lives the pro-death to the unborn child in place. The following is an essay I adapted from a 1991 set of notes by Francis Beckwith on the subject of the philosophical, illogic of abortion rights. Posting it seem appropriate since the abortion components to ObamaCare have been law since Wednesday, August 1, 2012.
Agnostic Approach: “No One Knows When Life Begins” - Adapted from an essay, “Is The Unborn Human Less Than Human?” (1991) by Francis J. Beckwith
If it is true that we don’t know when full humanness begins, this is an excellent reason not to kill the unborn, since we may be killing a human entity who has a full right to life. If game hunters shot at rustling bushes with this same philosophical mind-set, the National Rifle Association’s membership would become severely depleted. Ignorance of a being’s status is certainly not justification for killing it.
But maybe this “pro-choice” assertion is simply claiming that biology can tell us nothing about values. If this is what is meant, it is right in one sense and wrong in another. It is right if it means that the physical facts of science, without any moral reflection on our part, cannot tell us what is right and wrong. But it is wrong if it means that the physical facts of science cannot tell us to whom we should apply the values of which we are already aware. For example, if I don’t know whether the object I am driving toward in my car is a living woman, a female corpse, or a mannequin, biology is extremely important in helping me to avoid committing an act of homicide. Running over mannequins and corpses is not homicide, but running over a living woman is.
Maybe the “pro-choice” assertion is saying that when human life should be valued is a philosophical belief that cannot be proven scientifically. Maybe so, but this cuts both ways. For isn’t the belief that a woman has abortion rights a philosophical belief that cannot be proven scientifically and over which people obviously disagree? But if the pro-life position cannot be enacted into law because it is philosophical (or religious), then neither can the abortion-rights position. Now the abortion-rights advocate may respond to this by saying that this fact alone is a good reason to leave it up to each individual woman to choose whether she should have an abortion. But this response begs the question, for this is precisely the abortion-rights position. Furthermore, the pro-lifer could reply to this abortion-rights response by employing the pro-choicer’s own logic. The pro-lifer could argue that since the abortion-rights position is a philosophical position over which many people disagree, we should permit each individual unborn human being to be born and make up his or her own mind as to whether he or she should or should not die. In sum, it seems that the appeal to ignorance is seriously flawed. [Francis J. Beckwith.]