29 October 2013

Abortion and the Argument of Pain

So I preached a sermon about abortion last Sunday (which you can listen to here)It's far from perfect, and I feel I left out some important things (such as the effects of abortion on fathers), but the aim was not to attack women; rather, the aim was to attack the arguments used by pro-abortionists, which usually center around the woman and her rights.  Here, and in a few forthcoming entries, I want to state why I do not think any of the most common pro-abortion arguments are valid.  

Let's start with this one, one I recently saw in the comments section of a very edgy Matt Walsh blog article which goes roughly like this: I hear what you pro-lifers are saying, but before a certain point in its development, the fetus cannot even feel pain.  So abortion doesn't even hurt the so-called "baby."  This argument is ridiculous because, as ethicist Scott Rae points out, it confuses the experience of harm with the reality of harm.  If I were paralyzed from the waist down, and you cut off my legs, I would not feel pain, but could we say that there was therefore no harm done?  If I am anesthetized for surgery, and the doctor slips and pokes a hole in my heart, I didn't feel it - did he hurt me or not?  Harm is done when YOU hurt someone; it doesn't matter if they feel it or not.  Hurting someone does not depend on them feeling the pain of the harm done. 

This argument does not answer the question, "Is abortion wrong?"  It answers only the question, "How much pain will the baby feel when she is killed?"  

To which I ask, "Does it matter?"  We need to shift the focus of the discussion away from questions of convenience to questions of essence.  Convenience questions are questions such as is this child wanted?, is the woman/girl ready to be a mother?, will the fetus feel pain?, is the fetus viable?, etc.  Essence questions are is the embryo/fetus a human person or not?, what is the difference between a baby who has completely exited the birth canal and one that has only exited up to its head?, why is the killing of a healthy, 8-month-old fetus justified on the basis of concerns for the mother's health (which is defined arbitrarily by her physician)?

It's all about what the embryo/fetus is.  If it is not a person, then no justification for abortion is necessary.  If it is a person, then no justification is adequate.

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