[Today’s guest post by Todd Pettigrew is part of our paid blogging program.]
debates, one common middle position is the stance that says “I’m
not in favor of abortion, but I think people should have the right to choose.”
At first, this sounds like admirably enlightened and judicious. It sounds like it finds a
reasonable middle ground.
advocates are, in general, in favor of abortion as a positive good. But with the possible exception of countries
like China where abortion may be encouraged for the sake of population control, few would be positively in favor of abortion
for its own sake. Indeed, China’s policies have frequently been denounced
pregnant to experience the joy of abortion.
and moral status of abortion. And here is where the tough ethical calls have to
be made. If you believe that abortion is an immoral killing of a human being then
you must, as a moral person (perhaps with a few exceptions) conclude that abortions should be illegal.
others should have the choice is as ludicrous as saying that you personally
oppose rape, but think that men should be able to rape women if they choose to
do it. That’s obviously wrong. If you think people should have the right to
choose to do something then you are, in effect, in favor of it. That you
yourself might not choose it, is not
the same as being against it.
legalization of marijuana. I don’t smoke pot. I never have, and I have no
intention of doing so. But I do think people should have the choice. So, yes, I
am pro-pot as far as the legal and ethical debate is concerned. We should all
be equally forthright on the question of abortion.
is tempting, but it must be resisted because it allows people to avoid the essential
questions. It allows for a pro-choice position that doesn’t have to answer the
hardest questions: Why isn’t a fetus a distinct human life? And if it is a
distinct human life, why doesn’t it deserve legal protections? If you can
answer these questions, we can have a debate. If not, you’ll have to change
your position. Either way, the issue is too important for people to hide behind
an easy rhetorical trick.