Over the last week the abortion debate has been reawakened in the UK, after a viral video of a pro-choice/abortion women criticising prolife campaigners went viral and has been seen nearly 5 million times. The abortion debate has been on the front of newspapers, on the TV, Radio and all over the internet, the first time to such an extent for quite some time. Borrowing the words of Francis Schaeffer, the roof has come off and people have been made aware of the point of tension. Simply that abortion is a violent, dehumanising act that kills a whole, living distinct human being and abortion imagery makes that fact impossible to hide from. This has made a lot of people very angry and the UK press are not happy about it!
The viral video has been extremely popular but I have written a response to it which you can read here, and there is also a link in the first paragraph to the viral video.
"we don’t know why they are having an abortion."ReplyDelete
Let's unravel this a little bit more. What if the woman is having an abortion because of medical necessity? An acquaintance of mine was protesting at an abortion mill and a woman came up to him and said, "The woman you just saw entering had to have an abortion because she had an ectopic pregnancy. She was devastated by having to do so. Do you think she should not have been allowed to have the abortion? How do you think your pictures of dead children made her feel?" How would you answer a pro-abortion argument like this?
I have sadly had a couple of friends with ectopic pregnancies, and each had to go to the hospital. I have never heard of an abortion clinic being equipped to deal with an unborn child growing in a fallopian tube. The instruments used in an abortion clinic are inserted into the uterus only. In fact, women with ectopic pregnancies have died thinking they were having abortions, only to have the child continue to grow until the tube finally ruptured. The surgery to remove an embryo from a tube (or, sometimes, to remove the tube itself) is a somewhat delicate one from what I understand.ReplyDelete
So abortion is okay under some circumstances? Abortion then isn't a black and white issue, but rather nuanced, and we must consider each case before passing judgement. Sounds a little like our opponents, no? Allow me to make this a little more clear. The woman in this video said "we don’t know why they are having an abortion." To which I say, I know exactly why she is having an abortion. It's the same reason any woman has an abortion: to benefit herself. The benefit may be physically, socially, or economic. To save herself, she kills a baby.ReplyDelete
I don't think condoning the termination of an ectopic pregnancy undermines my position at all. The main thesis of the pro-life position is that abortion is prima facie morally impermissible, and that in the vast majority of cases (ie socioeconomic abortions) it should not be allowed. There may be some cases where abortion should be allowed, but that doesn't disprove the general rule.Delete
To draw an analogy, virtually everyone agrees that killing a person is prima facie morally impermissible and should be illegal in the vast majority of cases. At the same time however, we can identify cases where it is not wrong to kill a person. For example, it would be acceptable (if not obligatory) for a police officer to shoot a gunman if necessary to stop him from opening fire on a crowd of people. You're correct that there are nuances and that we ought to consider cases carefully before passing judgement, but it doesn't follow that the general rule (killing people should be illegal) is false. Rather, there are morally relevant features that distinguish a police officer killing the gunman from a police officer killing her husband to collect the inheritance. People often disagree on what is and isn't acceptable, hence we get into controversial debates over issues like war, abortion, euthanasia, police brutality, and capital punishment. I don't think it follows from this disagreement that these issues can't be resolved rationally (or that they aren't "black and white").
I can identify at least three morally relevant features that would distinguish removing a tubal pregnancy from an elective abortion:
1. Action is taken to prevent a death.
2. There is not a serious conflict of interests. No matter what is done, the outcome will be fatal for the unborn child.
3. Some methods of removing an ectopic pregnancy (ie salpingectomy) do not directly or intentionally destroy the unborn child, rather it's an unintended but foreseeable side effect (thus the action can be justified by the double effect doctrine).
I wouldn't personally endorse the third criterion (as I would accept direct abortion or infanticide if the first two held), but Catholics that oppose direct abortion in all cases almost universally accept salpingectomy. But it seems clear that abortion for socioeconomic reasons and removing an ectopic pregnancy have critical differences. So there's no contradiction between opposing abortion (vehemently enough to display photographs of abortion victims outside a clinic that performs elective abortions) and refusing to let a woman die of a tubal pregnancy.