Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Assymetrical abortion arguments

Some may be interested in a reasonably intelligent post about abortion over at the Economist.

In the wake of the murder of George Tiller, the post (which is from a blog, rather than being a published article) considers the current state of arguments in the US propogated by those who are pro-life and pro-choice, as well as the response of the state.

How is the state responding these days to the matter of abortion?
Instead, we tend to hear two types of arguments that are, in different ways, more pluralist. First, there is the idea that given deep social disagreement over the underlying metaphysical and ethical questions, the state should be reluctant to impose any one view. This may seem incoherent—the state will either permit abortion or it will not, and either way it appears to take a side on the deeper question. It is more intelligible if we start by applying a general presumption against what would be an uncontested restriction on maternal liberty, which establishes a default left undisturbed by state neutrality in the debate over the moral status of the foetus. The second approach is somewhat more pragmatic: Whatever one thinks about the morality of abortion, or about how it should be treated in a world of perfect enforcement, women will in practice have the ability to terminate unwanted pregnancies; the only question is whether it is preferable for them to be safe and legal (and performed earlier on, a result better from the perspective of those who see the foetus as approaching personhood over the course of gestation).
The post finishes on the following note:
The pro-life position too, in other words, is actually thinner than it looks because the thick-seeming claim that abortion is the wrongful killing of a person is compatible with various comprehensive views in the narrow set of cases where it is politically feasible to propose limits. In a world where abortion past, say, the 20th week of gestation was totally prohibited, people who currently consider themselves anti-abortion or hold that abortion involves wrongful killing might find themselves on the opposite side of the "choice/life" dichotomy without changing their substantive views one whit.
Read the post here.

1 comment:

Azlemed said...

I had some jehovah witnesses visit today, they gave me their latest booklet... its main title was on Abortion... The man who gave it to me argued that the story was presented from both sides of the arguement... yeah right....