Thursday, January 14, 2010

Abortion, Interconnectedness, Freedom, and Egalitarianism

The full, true pro-life argument rests on the interconnectedness of humanity (Basil’s communion theology); in the process, it rejects the radical freedom and complete egalitarianism that the modern world holds in such high esteem.

The pro-lifer usually stands by the (good) argument “no one has a right to kill,” while the pro-choicer’s go-to statement is “no one has a right to tell me what to do with my body.” Attempting to be as empathetic as possible, I truly entered the argument of the pro-choicer. From that perspective, the woman is not choosing to kill the child, even if we accept that it is a child. The woman is instead choosing to treat her body in such a way that may lead to the death of the embryo/child. In ethics, we can make these sorts of distinctions. Now, I know that there is a difference between an action that directly leads to a person’s death and one that indirectly does so, and that there is a moral difference between the two. However, it could be argued that the pregnant woman is NOT choosing to kill the child, but to treat her body in such a way that she has a right to – and that the death of the embryo/child is secondary. If you immerse yourself in this side of the argument, it doesn’t matter whether or not the embryo is a child or not, for there is no direct killing involved.

Stay with this mindset for a moment more: If abortion is illegal, then you are requiring a woman to give up 9 months of her life for the sake of someone else, someone she doesn’t have any duty toward. Accepting this reality would be preposterous.

I have come to this conclusion of late, and I’m not a 100% sure I believe it yet: What is behind the pro-life debate is not as much whether or not the embryo is alive – although I think this would help the legal side of the battle, as well as many or most peoples’ reaction to the act of abortion – but instead the fact that human life is interconnected. I can have a duty to a human being without choosing it. I do not have the supreme, extreme freedom that the modern world so desperately assigns to the human individual.

Coupled with this ideal of freedom is the ideal of egalitarianism. For if we accept the pro-life argument, we are (according to one way of thinking) saying “men are more free than women.” And in one sense, we are.

Until the interconnectedness of human life can be established, and the myths of hyper-freedom and hyper-egalitarianism dispelled, the pro-life argument can’t reach the ears of the pro-choicer.