A sympathetic and tolerant society will always have a natural pro-choice attitude towards abortion. In effect, these societies say “If you want/need an abortion, it is available; if you don’t want one, you needn’t have one.” Thus, you are clearly on the side of tolerance but you may have been confused by the biased, sensationalised, and wrong-headed arguments put up by the anti-abortion lobby; aborted foetuses are not babies: they are foetuses, no more than potential humans.
It comes down to a matter of balance. How do you prioritise conflicting rights? A woman, with the prospect of motherhood ahead of her, is a living, feeling being, with a ready-programmed set of experiences and relationships. Her foetus, on the other hand, is a ‘blank slate’; it has no experience, it has formed no personal relationships – how could it? – and it has no soul because there’s no such thing. On balance, then, the woman’s rights trump those of a foetus in every case, not just early in the pregnancy, the result of rape, or where the foetus shows severe abnormality. And for this reason, I support unequivocally a woman’s right to choose.
Civilised societies learn to deal with difficult woman-infant choices; if a mother kills her baby during its early life (usually the first twelve months) the legal offence is infanticide which carries a very much lighter penalty than murder. Several countries found independently that juries failed to convict women tried for murder if they killed their babies. The lesser offence of infanticide was therefore introduced.
Perhaps this will help with your dilemma: I don’t think anyone has the right to condemn a woman to go through with a pregnancy if she doesn’t want to.
Posted: June 25th 2013
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