Is abortion murder???


It’s the fundamental question about abortion, and it should not be avoided.  Is abortion murder?  If the answer is ’yes’, we are condoning the murder of the most innocent and helpless of human beings.  If the answer is ‘yes’, we support killing babies.  If it sounds harsh to be put so bluntly, so what?  We call it ‘terminating a pregnancy’ to allow people to hide from the real question.  On the other hand, if the answer is ‘no’, then there’s no problem and abortion could be fully embraced.  It’s nothing, so it’s no big deal. 

But the question needs to be asked and, in discussing the matter, we should not deviate into meaningless arguments.

At lunch, an office-mate expressed hatred and derision toward a pro-life politician.  The conversation went like this:

He wants to take away a woman’s right to choose.

Me: To choose what?

What we can do with our own bodies.

Me: Most  laws do that.  You can’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.

We’re not talking about affecting others, it’s my body and I have the right to decide whether I want to be pregnant or not.

Me: Doesn’t  a fetus qualify as ‘someone else’?

 No way.

 Me: How do you know? 

Jane: You’re just a typical male who wants to take away the rights of women.

Me: Like the right to randomly decide that the unborn child growing inside you doesn’t count as a person?

 Another co-worker heard part of the conversation and he chose to swoop in to rescue her.  (Note that I have never claimed to have the answer to the question.)  Both assumed I was approaching the conversation from a pro-life stance since that is generally the way the debate goes.  I simply asked questions in order to lead them to the fundamental issue.

The second talking point of the ‘pro-choice’ camp: 

 So you’re one o’ them pro-life right wingers?

Me:  I’m just asking questions….

 Right…  And a coward too.

Me:I wouldn’t recommend calling ME the coward since you haven’t had the courage to honestly think about this whole issue.

 Whatever, you’re such a hypocrite.  If you got some girl you pregnant, would you want her to keep the baby?

Me:Yes, I suppose I would.  But the question should be asked to her, not me.

Well, what if a girl gets raped and becomes pregnant?  Or what about incest? Are you saying she should be forced to keep the baby? 

Me:  You tell me…should she?

 Of course not.

Me: Why not?

 Because she was raped!

Me:  Horrible, I agree. Really terrible.

 Yet you said she should be forced to keep the baby.

Me: What baby?

The baby she is pregnant with!

Me: She is pregnant with a baby?!

 What are you talking about?

Me: Well if it’s a baby, should she be allowed to end it’s life?

It’s not a baby.

Me: What is it then.

 A fetus.

Me: That’s not a baby though?

 No.

Me: How do you know?  Are you sure?

(Curses but has no answer…)

Me: I’m just asking questions, here. Even in the case of incest or rape, that’s has no bearing on whether or not having an abortion is still murder?

Things were getting really nasty and heated.  For them, anyway.  I was just asking questions.  Others had overheard some of the conversation and decided to join in. 

It’s not murder, and even if it was it is justifiable.

Me: So it might be murder?

 Justifiable homicide.

Me: Homicide is murder, isn’t it?

 For the sake of argument, let’s say it is.

Me: Well is it or isn’t it?

 It’s not, but even if it is…

Me: Well if it’s not, then no problem right?

Right!

Me: So you all know for sure that it’s not?

 Yes.

Me: How?

Silence

Me: Is the baby or fetus or whatever a living human?

 No.

Me: How do you know?

Ok, It might be.  But it’s justifiable to have an abortion.

Me: Why?

 Because she never wanted to get pregnant or even have sex.

Me: What’s that got to do with whether killing the resulting baby is ok or not?

A  rape victim shouldn’t have to carry a baby that results from rape.

Me: Is the baby somehow complicit in its arrival?

No.

Me: So, a completely innocent baby should be killed?

 You’re being a jerk…

Me: By asking you tough questions?

The mother shouldn’t have to carry it.  End of story.  It’s for the health of the mother.

Me: Health?

Yes. The mental health.

Me: How?

 Because the baby reminds her of the rape or incest.

Me: So the value of a baby’s life is equivalent to the mental health of the mother?

 You’re a man, you can’t imagine what that would be like.

Me: I agree.  I said it’s horrible. But is the life of a baby expendable if it is extinguished in order to protect a woman from serious emotional distress.

 Yes.

Me: What about if she found out 2 years after the child was born that it was fathered by the rapist? Is the baby expendable then?

 You’re being an idiot.

Me: That baby would also cause emotional distress.  Is it expendable?

 That’s a  different scenario. 

Me: What about where sex was consensual and pregnancy accidental?  Is there justification for abortion there?

It’s a woman’s right to choose.

Me: To choose what? 

 @#*! you.

 At this point things are boiling over, but I was just asking relevant questions.  They are tough questions that people don’t usually ask themselves…but they are fair and legitimate.  It was really disturbing that such powerful beliefs were held on such a critical issue, without any internal analysis.  

Why are you so anti-abortion?

Me: Since when am I an anti-abortionist, I’m just asking questions.  Do you think killing convicted criminals is ok?

Certainly not.  Murder is wrong.

Me: Murder is wrong?

 Obviously murder is wrong.

Me: Define murder.

The intentional killing of another human being.

Me: Is abortion murder?

 No.

Me: How do you know?  What makes you so sure?

 It’s not murder because it’s not a human being.

Me: What’s not?

A fetus. 

Me: What is it, then?

 It’s an embryo, then a fetus.

Me: Then what?

 What?

Me: What is it after it’s a fetus?

 …a baby.

Me: A human baby? So at conception, it’s just an embryo?

Yes.

Me: Then it grows and at some point it’s named changes to fetus?

Yes.

DM: Then at some point it becomes a baby?  A human baby?

 I just said that.

Me: Ok, so when does it become a human baby?

When it’s born alive.

Me: So upon birth a fetus goes from a non-human state…a fetus…to human?

 Yes.

ME: What is it about birth that makes something non-human suddenly become human?

The ability to survive outside the womb.

Me: So premature or sick babies that would die without care aren’t human?

Me: What makes a human human?

 That’s a question for philosophers.

Me: Well if you are saying murder is the intentional killing of another human, you should probably have a definition of human, no?

 The ability to reason.

Me: So a newborn has the ability to reason?

 Yes.

Me: And this alleged ability is gained instantly upon live birth?  It  didn’t exist 15 minutes prior to joining the world.

Me: Seriously, what makes a human human?

 A soul.

Me: When does that get there?

That’s pretty much the way things ended.  Making people think.  And when they do…

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2 thoughts on “Is abortion murder???

  1. This is a very interesting transposition here. You say so little, and yet so much. Unfortunately, the conversation didn’t seem to go very far. Mostly, you’d make a point that your coworker could not respond to, and then he would change the subject.

    It is unfortunate that people so rarely question their own beliefs. Lapses of rationality are so common in daily life. It’s good to see that you are thinking about things. At the same time, though, I can’t really tell what you’re thinking. I have no idea what your opinion on abortion is. I myself could answer every question that you asked, but I supposed that’s not really the point, is it?

    Let’s turn the tables for a minute here. At what point does it cease to be morally acceptable to kill another living being?

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Michael. Read other posts of this blog, you’ll know that I’m anti-abortion. It is never morally acceptable to kill another human being for no reason. There are grounds for killing (protecting yourself, protecting your society) but they’re all defensive. It is never morally acceptable to murder.

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