Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tough circumstances that (don't) justify abortion

A blogger known as Bookworm, formerly very pro-choice but now mostly pro-life, explains how the difficult circumstances that seemed to make abortion justifiable in the past are now rarely the case.

There is no longer a real social stigma attached to out-of-wedlock pregnancy. The risks to the mother of pregnancy and childbirth have been drastically reduced. And it's easier than ever to be sexually active without getting pregnant and having a ton of kids. Plus, there are hundreds of pregnancy care centers willing to help, and many wonderful couples seeking to adopt if a mother does not want to raise her child.

"In our modern era, therefore, many of the forces that once drove abortion are gone," Bookworm writes. "Why then ... should we still have abortion?"

The fact that some pro-choice advocates, especially via Hollywood movies (as Bookworm points out), rely on these obsolete circumstance-based arguments points to the intellectual bankruptcy of the pro-choice movement.

But even if the circumstances were much more difficult, abortion would not be morally justified. People don't argue that infanticide is justified by difficult circumstances (indeed, infanticide, even in the most desperate situations, is abhorred). If the fetus killed by abortion is a valuable human being, like the infant, then abortion is equally unjustified.

Bookworm shows a commitment to such principled moral thinking -- to doing the right thing, not necessarily what comes easiest or feels best -- when she thoughtfully writes:
My problem is that, while I know that convenience abortions are morally wrong, I still get this emotional, lizard-brain feeling of a trapped rat in a cage when I imagine myself being a young woman who finds herself pregnant when she doesn't want to be. For me, although motherhood has had many rewards, it's also entailed many sacrifices. When I think of those sacrifices, and then apply them to, say, a 22 year old version of me, or when I imagine my own daughter grown, and in the same situation, I still want to cry out "But that's not fair." When that happens, though, I squish my lizard-brain, tell myself "Life isn't fair," and try to focus on the fetus and not my feelings. I only hope that, if my daughter, before she's married, ever does come to tell me she's pregnant, I remember that deeper morality, and give her the right advice.
Fortunately, the compassion of the pro-life movement, including pregnancy care centers nationwide, is making the tough (but right) choice a lot easier.