Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

One of the most vexing questions people ask me is “What is your argument against abortion?” This is vexing not because I don’t have an argument, but because I have several arguments against abortion. I don’t think we’re limited to just one here.

But one argument I’ve thought about is based on Kant’s categorical imperative, namely the formulation of it that states we should only act in a way that we could universally will to become a standard for all other people. That is, if we can’t will that others act in the same way we do in every single case, we should not act this way.

So consider this argument:
1. If we will for one woman to get an abortion, we should will for all women to get abortions.
2. If all women get abortions, we will go extinct.
3. We should not will for our own extinction.
4. Thus, we should not will for all women to get abortions.
5. Thus, we should not will for any woman to get an abortion.

This is really just an extended edition of modus tollens, and we could break the argument into two arguments:
1. If we will all women to get abortions, we will our own extinction.
2. We should not will for our own extinction.
3. Therefore, we should not will for all women to get abortions.

And argument two:
1. No person should be exempted from universal moral laws.
2. It is a universal moral law that abortion is wrong (see the argument above).
3. Therefore, no individual woman should be permitted to get an abortion.

Now some people might object and say “Perhaps abortion is only permissible under Circumstance X, Y, or Z; and we could universally will that any individual under those circumstances get an abortion.” Kant had little room for this type of reasoning, he did not tend to allow exceptions to moral laws based on circumstance.

I am not quite as intense as Kant in that regard. But that’s not the point. Suppose there are circumstances under which abortion should be permitted, there is a vast difference between permitting something and willing it. I may permit my football team to kick a field goal, but I will for them to score touchdowns. It is only in non-ideal circumstances that abortion should even be considered permissible (and I would argue these are relatively few in number). But I still don’t will it, and given any other choice I would likely opt for that.

In the United States, most abortions are not out performed out of medical necessity, and so the arguments presented here would at least eliminate vast numbers of abortions. Additionally, I’m not aware of too many people that want to argue for the extinction of the human race. Hence, they’ll have to attack Kant’s categorical imperative, and it’s a surprisingly defensible rule of thumb.

God bless,

Joey

Human rights are foundational to a free society.  In America our government derives authority from the consent of the governed.  Such consent presupposes that the governed themselves have rights upon which they can act as autonomous people.

The way this plays out in many modern day political issues is really interesting.  To say humans have “rights” is to affirm we are a certain type of thing.  As a theist, this is not problematic at all.  I believe all people are God’s image bearers, and that as a consequence they have certain inherent worth.  But for a secularist, who tries to live without reference to God, humans are not any type of person in particular.  That is, we’re just physical beings.  The conjunction of random mutation and natural selection is not a good foundation for “rights.”

But the “rights” many people talk about today are not “rights” at all, but preferences and wants.  Some women WANT to be able to get abortion on demand.  But the abortion debate gets framed as a women’s “right” to choose.  Of course, this want comes from the sexual revolution and the view that we should be able to have as much sex as we want without any consequence.  Unfortunately the sexual revolution is a war against biology, and one we can’t win.

In any case, it should be clear this isn’t about “rights.”  In a secular society, there are no rights.  Just wants and desires.  Women WANT to have unfettered sex, and that requires a biological war to deal with the consequences of sex.  Personal whim is the only basis for “rights” in a secular world, so what can our society do other than capitulate?

What we can, and must, do is start addressing the demonstrably false presuppositions in play.  Regardless of personal whim, there are moral duties we have to follow.  And quite frankly, those moral duties don’t change when you throw off personal responsibility for your sexual decisions.  The neglect of moral duty does not a right create.

As we said before, to have a right is to affirm humans are a certain type of thing.  But when we obfuscate rights with personal whims, we say the type of things humans are is exactly the type of thing that does NOT have rights.  We’re affirming contradictory positions and conflicting premises.

Of course, this doesn’t merely apply to abortion, we could talk about “gay rights” as well.  This is a whole new class of personal whims now being labeled as “rights.”  A person chooses to enter a relationship that can’t possibly produce children naturally (again, we’re quite fond of our war with biology), but demands to have the “right” to raise a child.

Actually, homosexuals do have the right to raise children.  But they have to enter a heterosexual relationship to do so, just like everybody else (even with artificial insemination the sperm has to come from SOMEWHERE, or with adoption the child did not come from a same-sex union).  What is going on is a demand for society to accommodate what biology has flatly refused to accommodate, and these insane demands are labeled as “rights.”

But we’re here calling the secularist’s bluff.  And they don’t like it (see the Doug Wilson video below).  So we end up with temper-tantrums, emotionally-driven appeals, and an idiotic cultural conversation that can’t move past sound bites and talking points from our ridiculous media.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Joey

As you may have gathered from my blog yesterday, I have fairly strong opinions regarding the issue of abortion.  Today I want to lay down the TKO toward the pro-choice position.  I’m going to do this by first considering a world in which God exists (the actual world), and then a world in which God does not exist (a hypothetical world).

If God exists, Herb Silverman has noted that He must be omnirational.  That is, a God who knows everything (is omniscient) will also be all-reasonable.  This is a matter of God’s nature.  This fact works in favor of Divine Command Theory both ontologically and epistemically.

From an epistemic perspective, whatever else we want our moral choices to be, we want them to be rational.  An omnirational God would certainly know how to make such rational choices far better than we humans who are prone to fallacy.  In such a situation, we might not know what the grounding of morality is, but we would know whatever that grounding God ultimately knows the most moral choice to make.  Thus, His commands would be based on the best possible reasons for acting a certain way, and we would be justified in following such commands.

As a matter of ontology, I believe this solves the Euthyphro Dilemma that has long plagued Divine Command Theory.  God is, by His nature, omnirational.  To be omnirational prohibits being arbitrary.  That is, God could not command one set of rules for one region of the country, and another set of rules for another region.  He cannot contradict Himself, because to do so would be to cease being omnirational and therefore to cease being God.  God commands what is good, and it is good precisely in virtue of according perfectly with His all-rational nature.  Thus, God’s nature is the ontological grounding of morality, and God’s commands the perfect expression of that morality.

In this world, if God prohibits something like abortion, we can rest assured that abortion is immoral.  Anyone who believes in a theistic God who has so revealed His will is morally justified in also holding that abortion is wrong.

But many people deny precisely this point, namely, that the theistic God exists.  What should we do about such people?  What argument may be offered?

Well if God does not exist, our world is essentially physical.  Everything reduces to matter.  Humans are material beings, without a spiritual component.  This is true of humans in any place, and of any age group.

As it turns out, the baby in the fetus is a material being.  It is matter just like other humans, and it does not take a significant period of time for the fetus to develop material characteristics of a human, such as brain matter and organs.

In virtue of this, a strong argument can be made that an unborn fetus, being a material thing just like other humans, also has the same rights as other humans.  Among these rights is the right to life.  Therefore, abortion would be wrong on materialist grounds.

This does not solve every hypothetical scenario, such as “what if the mother’s life is in danger?” or something like that.  But it is a starting point for talking about abortion.  There are good reasons to believe abortion is immoral, the squeals of radical feminists notwithstanding.