16 April 2008

Abortion, Non-Satirical Edition

My previous post brought up an issue— abortion— which, as scott_ish pointed, is highly complex.

If you ask me, both sides are raising legitimate and important questions.

On the one hand, conservatives are concerned that abortion is murder. The important question here is when we call a person a person. At which developmental stage are individual rights conferred, and to what extent? Does life begin at conception, and if so, ought that alter other laws?

Say a mother is killed and a newly formed embryo she carried is destroyed as a result of a car accident. Is the person responsible for the accident also responsible for multiple counts of manslaughter?

Additionally, if an embryo has particular rights, would a woman who intends to abort be considered a negligent mother? How, then, could social services take away the child in order to protect it as they would, say, a toddler?

On the other hand, liberals generally cite the rights of a woman bearing an embryo. Traditionally, persons are allowed certain rights concerning their own bodies. If a woman's rights are violated, for instance, if she is raped, and an embryo is created, is she now responsible to bear the child?

Or, what if the embryo itself endangers the mother's health? Let us say it is a person. Any one else might be held responsible for endangering the mother's welfare. In this case, it would seem to be impossible to hold the embryo responsible in a legal sense, especially since it depends on the mother for its own life.

I don't have a good answer on this particular issue, and I doubt I've covered all the intricacies. More perspectives are available at AskPhilosophers.

1 comment:

Scottish said...

I'll have to give this (and the perspectives on AskPhilosophers) its due time when I'm not supposed to be working.