So why do I spend so much time on abortion? After all, I am running an apologetics blog. Well, I set out to defend Jesus Christ and His Church which by necessity entails defending the lives of the weak and vulnerable, which is especially important when so many people in society do not care about them.
Now I would like to discuss the bodily rights argument for abortion. What it basically states is that even if a fetus is a human person, the fetus does not have a right to “life support” by using the mother’s body, the same way a man has no right to steal a kidney from another person without his consent, even if he needs to survive. This basic idea is contained in the violinist analogy which involves the Society of Music Lovers kidnapping you and forcing you to constantly give blood for nine months to a violinist with a kidney-ailment. I must say that Ms. Judith Jarvis Thompson, who invented this analogy, is quite excellent at making up interesting analogies.
The right to life, as we generally consider it, involves a negative. I cannot go down New York’s Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, for instance, and still respect the right to life of every human individual. However, there is a negative to that. If I were in a spaceship and there was a lady in the airlock about to be let out into the vacuum of space by an absent-minded controller, I would have a moral duty to do what I could to help her. Similarly, children have the right to be kept alive by their parents. If parents leave their children at home for a week and they starve to death, these parents are guilty of homicide. So it makes sense that as a small child has the right to food and shelter at his parents’ home, so also a fetus or embryo, who is a small child, has the right to both food and shelter in his mother’s womb.
As for the objection about using other people’s organs, donating kidneys is not equivalent to giving birth. First of all, the refusal to donate an organ fails to save a person from death, while abortion, on the other hand, actively kills by dismemberment or some other method of active killing. The child is generally dead before being removed from the womb.
Furthermore, the woman is nearly always responsible for the fetus being there in the first place. The woman caused the child to be in her womb and for this reason the child is dependent on her body.
Finally, my kidneys are not naturally ordered to keeping someone else alive, wherefore I have no obligation to use it for this purpose. The uterus’ sole purpose is to sustain life, however, and for this reason it is reasonable to conclude that the unborn child has the natural right to use this organ, just as he has the right to use his mother’s milk if that is the only way to feed him.
So pregnancy is actually ordinary care, unlike donating kidneys. A woman goes through an large-scale and uncomfortable transformation, but it is a natural transformation to which a woman’s body is naturally ordered, wherefore it cannot be considered on par with donating kidneys.
Bonum Certamen Certemus
I am the Catholic of Honor