In November, the Atlantic published an article by Caitlin Flanagan entitled ‘The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate: Why we need to face the best arguments from the other side’. We think that this has led to a discussion that it is worth drawing attention to.
To pro-choice people who have read or heard about the Ohio measure: we (and by we I mean ‘most pro-lifers’) hate this stuff too.
Some pro-choice people may not think that the unborn baby is a human being with equal rights. But others may completely accept that the unborn baby is a living human but still think abortion is an acceptable choice, because they believe the right to bodily autonomy of the woman is more important than the right to life of the baby. It’s really important to clarify which type of pro-choice person you’re talking to.
Our friends at Students for Life Ireland have been running a this series of blog posts for awhile now. In each post a different young person explains why they oppose abortion. Several authors talked about the lives of siblings with life limiting conditions who died shortly after they were born. We are posting links to these stories here.
This is a particularly frustrating debate because it really is sort of a pointless disagreement. We are talking about scientific and medical terms, and there should be no disagreement. However, there often is, usually because neither pro-life nor pro-choice people actually understand the terms to describe human beings in the earliest stages of development.
It’s unfortunately the case that just because a person opposes abortion does not mean that opposition to abortion is a political priority for them. Hard as it may be to believe for many of us convinced pro-lifers, a person may oppose abortion but care far more about other political issues, and not be particularly inclined to vote on the the issue in politics. That’s why we’re not seeing the NI parties pay a political cost.
As a death penalty opponent, when I make arguments like this to supporters I’m trying to do two things: first I’m hoping that they’ll agree that that killing an innocent person is so terrible that even a small risk of it gives us reason to abolish capital punishment. I’m hoping to convince them that even if it was good to kill the worst criminals, it’s not worth killing the innocent to achieve it. But I’m also trying to do something a bit less straightforward. By inviting the person I’m talking to to think about the irreversibility, the terrible finality of death in the case of an innocent person, I’m hoping to make them less comfortable about imposing the death penalty even on the guilty.