Thursday, September 4, 2008

Icky, icky symantics

Abortion is one of the dividing issues of our generation. It is spoken of so often that the very essence of the debate is often overlooked; when does a human become a human? I won't go into it here, although I'll gladly admit to being pro-choice.

What I am going to discuss is the caveat, the compromise, the middle ground that moderate pro-life and moderate pro-choice people seem to agree on. That is, abortion in cases of rape, incest or risk of a mother's life. Since this is my blog, I will acknowledge the last condition as a case of common sense: if an abortion is the termination of a life, when the choice has to be made between two lives, it seems that the mother should win out. In that case, the pregnancy can already be assumed to be terminated and the moral dilemma is far smaller.

But what of the other two, the oft-cited rape and incest? Well, obviously I am okay with this, but why are moderate pro-life people okay with it? If the central issue is the sanctity of life, then follow this logic: abortion is murder. A woman is raped and is thus a victim. If she has an abortion, then the child is a second victim. If any fetus is a life, then it should never be okay to kill it out of what essentially comes out to an inconvenience.

And incest. Why is this included? If a father, uncle, grandfather or older brother impregnates a girl and she was an unwilling partner, then this is rape. The same rules apply as above - no abortion - unless the girl is too young, in which case her health or life could be in serious danger. But the central problem here is that this is a rape: even if the logic could bear it out, there is no need to segregate the two terms. If the girl was of age and made the conscious decision to have sex with a male relative then, although it is incest, there should be no reason to terminate the pregnancy. What makes this situation different from a 16-year-old girl having sex with her boyfriend and becoming pregnant? Well, there is the risk of birth defects, but by this logic abortions should also be granted to drug addicts and smokers.

Why am I pursuing this? I dislike bad logic. I do recognize this as a compromise between two camps, most likely engineered by the pro-choice side. Nevertheless, it bothers me because of the double-standard and hypocrisy of the pro-life side. If a mother's rights can be considered some of the time, then why not all of the time?

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