July 27, 2004

Iron Blog Subjects: Abortion

Going through the Iron Blog topic list:

Border conditions are among the most difficult (and interesting) to analyze. Sure, everybody agrees that they should have a right to life but going further out from the self, respect and reverence for human life starts to lose adherents. The mentally ill, the aged, the very young have all been subject to death in various societies and the further away from the average member of the polity's health and independence, the fewer still defend their right to life.

The absolutist position is the hardest to establish, but also is hardest to dislodge. People have a right to life is a powerful statement. Once you start making exceptions, you weaken it to the point where more and more exceptions can be carved out and down we slide along the slippery slope.

Abortion is not justified unless we believe in some very ugly concepts. If a life is created abusively, via rape or incest, to abort an unborn child conceived from that ugly situation is to say that the rapist, the family abuser, has worked a corruption of blood, that the child is guilty of the sin of the parent and deserves the death penalty. We don't even allow corruption of blood for traitors anymore. That sort of primitive vengeance went out with the Middle Ages but in our horror at the crime of the (usually) father, we want to wipe the innocent issue away, so perhaps the shame shall recede. Instead we create a greater shame.

The idea of genetic deformity as a cause for abortion creates a slippery slope because there is no accepted definition of what conditions should be repaired and what require abortion. At the very extreme, the "inconvenience" of a daughter has led to huge sex selection abortion totals in the PRC and India. This too is genetic selection as much as aborting hare lips and other correctible conditions. Even conditions that are not correctible, such as Down's syndrome, are no excuse for abortion. Many Down's syndrome sufferers can walk, talk, hold simple jobs, even get married and have their own families. Yet some people routinely recommend abortion in such cases.

Even for hopeless cases, one of the most overlooked contributions that they provide is, during disease shortened lives, they provide lessons to those around them in human spirit, dignity, and love. When you foreshorten those unpredictable, deeply moving lessons, you may relieve strong emotion and suffering but what is left is a shallower existence.

Posted by TMLutas at July 27, 2004 02:37 PM