Monday, April 9, 2012

Kaczor on the Intimacy Argument

Dennis O'Brien writes:

“The pregnant woman’s womb is not just a geographic location for an independent entity that would be the same if it were located someplace else.” To deny this reality is to reduce the pregnant woman to a “container.”
Christopher Kaczor replies:
The intimacy argument, as articulated by O’Brien, begs an important question: Why should independent moral status require independent physical status? We don’t think that one conjoined twin may licitly or legally authorize a third party to kill her conjoined sister in order to terminate their intimate relationship.

Indeed, the intimate relationship that always exists in pregnancy is a powerful argument against abortion. Every human fetus is a mammal, and every mammal has a mother. Sound ethical reasoning and just laws hold that human mothers and fathers have serious duties to care for and, above all, not harm their own dependent progeny. So, the intimate relationship that exists in every pregnancy gives rise to the duty of the mother not to harm her own child prior to or after birth, including by prematurely ending the child’s life. Precisely because an expectant woman is a mother rather than a mere container, she has duties to her dependent unborn child.

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