Everyone knows in their heart that abortion is wrong. How? The most primitive basis for ethics – and the way we learn to tell right from wrong as children – is the recognition that other people deserve to be treated in the same way we would like to be treated by others: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
So defenders of abortion need to answer the following moral objection: if you believe that it’s a woman’s right to choose to terminate her unborn child, then you must hold that it would have been right, under different circumstances, for your mother to have had you terminated before you were born. I don’t think many people would accept that it was ethically or emotionally indifferent whether they’d been born or not, and what decision their mothers had made about whether to give birth to them or not.
If, however, as a pro-choicer, you answer the above question in the affirmative (yes, my mother did have the right to have me aborted), this means either that you’re just being politically correct but don’t really mean it at a visceral, emotional level; or that you genuinely don’t think your own life is intrinsically valuable, or sacred in religious terms. In which case, you value your own life as little as you value that of unborn babies.
(Originally posted on http://btcp.wordpress.com on 25 October 2007.)