Quantum Physics and Abortion

Posted: December 4, 2007 in Abortion

An interesting comment thread over at Protein Wisdom.  The subject? The always popular…abortion!  In this instance, the case of a boyfriend who slipped his pregnant girlfriend of rufie of RU-486 and caused her to miscarry.  He now potentially faces up to 100 years in prison for “attempted homicide of an unborn child.”

What caught my eye in the comments was the “kill your dog” analogy, such that you can kill or euthanize your own dog, but not your neighbors, so that’s why it was illegal for the boyfriend to kill the baby, but not the mother if she opted for an abortion.

Here’s the key, though: “boyfriend” not “father.” This line of reasoning assumes that the fetus/baby is the property of the mother, and thus the male in the equation took undo liberties with HER property.  In effect, stating that the father has no rights to the child at all;  pre-birth, that is.  Once it’s born, suddenly he has all this responsibility, child support, etc.

I just don’t get it.  Making a child takes two people.  Even if the gestation takes place within the mother, it’s quite a bit of grammatical gymnastics to suggest that it is not, in fact, THEIR child from the get go.

Unless of course you treat it merely as another organ or mass of tissue within the female’s body, sort of like another pancreas or liver.

One commenter in particular, taking the pro-choice side, had some particularly mind-blowing patterns of thought in defending the much-cherished “woman’s right to choose.”

Comment by MayBee on 12/1 @ 4:43 pm #
MayBee – Looking at this from the “pro-choice” mentality, don’t they say that there is no “baby”, it’s just a “fetus”?   The pro-choice activist’s rhetoric doesn’t determine or create the law. I’m pro-choice, and I say any wanted fetus is a baby.

So, apparently if you want to have the baby, then it’s a baby.  But if you don’t, then it’s only a fetus.  Okay. Got it.  Thanks for clearing that up.  Kind of a quantum physics thing, I guess.  It may, or may not be a baby, depending on how you chose to perceive it, on whether or not it’s wanted.  Which in turn, determines the situational morality of terminating it. 

Where I come from, we call that moral relativism.  A handy mechanism for rationalizing away sticky moral dilemmas, what?

This viewpoint ultimately comes down to a LEGAL definition versus a MORAL definition.  Some chose, for whatever reasons, to insist that the strictly legal definition of a child does not get invoked until that magical (if a bit ephemeral) moment when the last few millimeters of its cranium breaks free from the birth canal.  TADA! Thus legally, until that moment, it doesn’t enjoy the rights or protections of the law accorded to an actual child.

You know, unless it does, because someone kills it, and now they are being prosecuted for death of an unborn child.  Right.

The other view is the moral definition of child, based on the potential, based on a historical view that the life growing within the mothers womb is a precious life, growing to its full potential, and by ending that process, you terminate a LIFE, not merely the development of a tissue mass which will only become a child upon actual birth.  These are two essentially irreconcilable views.

If you consider the gestation of a fetus to be a solely biological process unique to the woman’s body, and thus solely within the realm of her personal health similar to getting an immunization, a pap smear, or having an appendix removed, then yes, the legalistic pro-choice viewpoint that its is solely the woman’s decision as to when, how, or IF the child will be born is valid.

If, however, you hold the view that the child is actually that, a child, a unique new person being formed through the willful choice of two people, to create a third in their image, then the mother holds a very special and burdensome responsibility, yes, but it is not SOLELY her responsibility anymore.  In the context of a family, in the context of a relationship, in the context of a verbal contract between two consenting parties, then that child growing within her is the responsibility of BOTH of the contributing parties!  And as such, a unilateral decision on the part of one or the other bears the same legal and moral weight of violation.

It seems to primarily be a feminist view that it is solely the woman’s right to choose.  Maybe because this is so “empowering” for the woman.  However.  Having had two children myself (no, that was not a grammatical slip or a typo), and having been the sole income provider in the household, responsible for feeding, clothing and providing medical care and “well-baby” visits for my wife and unborn child, I don’t really get how being pregnant is “just” the wife’s responsibility.  Yes, for nine months she carries this thing around inside her.  For nine months her life takes a crazy turn that puts just about everything else on the skids.

So does mine!  I simply don’t agree that this period, though unique to the woman, somehow gives her the inalienable power/right to determine life and death for her child.  A legal right that somehow ceases to exist the very moment the child is born.

So, say for example I rape my wife or girlfriend to force her to get pregnant against her wishes because I want a child, even if she doesn’t.  I am going to force her to have my child.  She says no way, and gets an abortion.  Can she be prosecuted for killing MY child, because I wanted it but she didn’t?  No.  Under the current school of thought, it was her body, her choice.  No harm, no foul.   So what if she lies to me about being on birth control, and gets pregnant because she wants a baby even though I don’t?  I can’t force her to have an abortion, can I?  What if I slip her a little RU-486 and induce an abortion?  Now I’ve killed “her” child and can be prosecuted for murder? 

Why is it different?  How is it different?

Another MayBee quote from the thread reads:

“I think, just as a living will can give a daughter the authority to take her mother off the respirator that is supporting mom’s life, a pregnant mother has the authority to decide she does not want her body to be the support for a zygote/embryo/fetus/baby.”

EXCEPT, a living will is decided upon by the mother, NOT the daughter.  The daughter executes the living will if it becomes necessary.  For her analogy to hold any water whatsoever, the fetus would have to initiation the decision for the abortion, which the mother would then execute on its behalf.  No pun intended.

That’s what gets me about these discussions.  The pro-abortion crowd couches their position in this lofty rhetoric about the rights of the woman, but it’s not logical.  It arbitrary and legalistical.  It defines and justifies and rationalizes away the uncomfortable truth that what happens in that clinic, in that doctor’s office, is ending a human life.   You can hem, and haw, and sputter all you want, but that’s the crux of the issue.

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Comments
  1. carin says:

    While I disagree, I at least understood Maybee’s position. I didn’t understand JHoward’s. At all.

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