Going On Hold


I'm terribly sorry, blogging-world, but I just can't cope right now. My computer problems don't seem to be going away...they're only multiplying. I simply don't have the time/resources to do everything I'm used to doing, and my schoolwork comes first. I am NOT stopping forever...and I hope I can get back up in the next few weeks. This stall saddens me. In the past three months I have grown to love blogging, and I'm getting anxiety attacks over the idea of stopping, because there are so many subjects I want to blog about and I feel like I'll get behind, especially with the "news" type posts I do every once in a while. Sigh. Again, I'm really, really sorry. Instead, I suggest scrolling down to my handy little "blog list" thing I added a while back and reading some of those instead if you want to stay updated. I recommend them all (obviously) but Live Action and Life News especially.

Cyber-world, YOU HAVE NOT DEFEATED ME!! I SHALL RETURN! (I really loath computers sometimes...)

Behind the Sunglasses

As you can see, I did not post anything Tuesday. My reason this time is that my computer cord died on me, so I have no computer until I can get a new cord. I'm currently borrowing someone else's computer, and don't have access to any of the posts-in-process that are saved on my own computer. Again, my apologies...these are all valid minor catastrophes that are truly keeping me from posting regularly, I assure you! In any case, today's post is a bit unconventional--just something that has been on my heart lately.

My community has an "Old Settler's Day" parade every year. My family lives close enough that we can easily walk to it. This year's parade was a few Saturdays ago. It was a very warm, sunny day, and my familiy and I got to sit on an unshaded hot corner of the street. I didn't really mind though, because I love parades--even though I've outgrown begging for candy from every group that comes by.

But this post isn't about the parade.

I was happily trying out my new sunglasses that day. I wear normal eye-sight glasses, so I've never been able to wear sunglasses. However, I recently bought these neat clip-on sunglasses-lenses that go right over my eye-sight glasses lenses (there's a tongue-twister for you).

But this post isn't about the sun-lenses.

Everybody else got tired of the parade before I did, so we started home early, and soon we were walking by houses. Some ways ahead of us was a group of teenage girls hanging out on the sidewalk. I don't remember the exact number, but there were at least three, and however many there were, I have it in my head that they were all, except one, wearing black. (I don't know why I remember it like that, thinking back, it seems strange, but that's what's in my memory.)

Being the anti-social person I sometimes am, I was glad I could "hide" behind my new sun-lenses (and my mom) to escape this awkward pass-the-somewhat-emo-looking-girls-on-the-sidewalk moment. As we got closer, I saw that there were some bags, or baskets, full of stuff on the sidewalk with the girls. Maybe there was a trashcan too. I didn't get a good look at the things, because I didn't want to stare (though I'm not sure why I was worried, because I don't think they would have been able to tell I was staring), and what happened right after I got close enough to see them would probably have completely knocked the memory out of me anyway. (Or maybe it did, and that's why I can't remember.)

As we drew closer, the girls stood up (they had been leaning against a little wall that ran alongside the sidewalk) and courteously moved the bags of stuff from the sidewalk over to the side so we could pass. I pretty much looked straight ahead as we went through the little group, but then, to the left, one of the girls caught my eye. She was the one that I remember not being dressed in black. I don't know what she was wearing, but I don't think it was black. I was almost past her when she caught my gaze and our eyes, despite mine being covered by shades, met. And it was, as cliche as this sounds, as if time froze for an instant, and that that image of her was branded onto my mind. It shocked me, because I completely was not expecting it, and the feeling I got as soon as I saw her was that she was out of place--this was wrong, she didn't fit in with the other girls...they looked too casual. They were just teens having fun on the weekend, hanging out on the sidewalk, right? RIGHT?

She was crying.

And I can remember her face as if I had seen her two minutes ago instead of two weeks.

She was a bit shorter than me, probably about the same age, thin, with long light brown hair down past her shoulders. Her face was a bit freckled, red and blotchy, the sun reflected off of the tears on her face and she looked agonized. I also remember that she held a cell-phone in her right hand--not talking into it, just holding it--one of those flip-open phones, and it was closed, as if she had just made a call, or was just about to make one.

I automatically flicked my eyes away for an instant, with the oops-sorry-I-didn't-mean-to-interrupt-your-private-cry-excuse-me-I'll-leave-now-and-pretend-I-didn't-see, and then the next instant I looked back. Because I didn't just want to leave it at that. Crying on a public sidewalk on a community holiday isn't a conventional activity. Something was wrong. But I couldn't do anything, could I? What would she and her friends think if I just stopped and said--what, exactly? What's wrong, honey? Do you need help? Do you need a place to stay?

Deducing from the aforementioned odd packages on the sidewalk, maybe she had just left home. Or maybe not. Maybe her pet had died. Or she'd broken up with her boyfriend. Or she'd just had an argument with her best friend. Or a rough week at school. Who knows? I sure didn't. I still don't. Would it have helped anything if I'd stopped?

All of this is running through my head in a split second. I'm still walking. I haven't hesitated. She's directly beside me when I look back...and I smile. I couldn't say anything with my eyes because they were covered up. I was thinking, very clearly, and very determinedly. I didn't think I could stop, or if I did stop, if I'd be able to help. But I wanted to communicate to her with that glance. I was literally thinking as I smiled, "She needs to know I care...I'm sorry...I'll be praying..." I wanted her to know that. Maybe spiritually, if need be. But how much can you communicate that in the half-second it takes to pass someone on the sidewalk?

And I have been praying. Every day. I can not get this girl out of my head. Should I have stopped? Maybe. I still don't know what I would have (or should have) done and said. Maybe she didn't get my "message". Maybe she was thinking "Why the heck is she smiling at me, can't she see I'm devastated? Jerk." I don't know. But I'm praying. I'd appreciate it if you'd pray too.

I wish I hadn't worn those sunglasses.

Image found via Google Images. No copyright infringement intended.

Refuting Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" (Part 2)

Judith Jarvis Thomson

Click here to see part 1.

This is the continuation of my dissection of the "ultimate pro-abortion argument". If we can prove this argument wrong, we can prove any pro-abortion argument wrong. This series will probably have roughly nine parts to it, because it is naturally divided up into sections. If you don't wish to read the whole thing, I have put in italics the parts I believe to be the most important/relevant, though I would reccommend reading it as a whole. My comments are (in parentheses and underlined).

This particular section is, for the most part, correct. Things get stickier in the later sections, but this one is pretty much a logical argument--it's the way Mrs. Thomson says these things that is unsettling. Her conclusion isn't incorrect--it's the manner in which she gets there that is wrong. Be aware as you read it that she is setting the stage to convince you later that the woman has a right to do whatever she wants with her unborn children.

Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion

From Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1971).
(Reprinted in "Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics," 5th ed., ed. Ronald Munson (Belmont; Wadsworth 1996). pp 69-80.)



Let us call the view that abortion is impermissible even to save the mother's life "the extreme view." I want to suggest first that it does not issue from the argument I mentioned earlier without the addition of some fairly powerful premises. Suppose a woman has become pregnant, and now learns that she has a cardiac condition such that she will die if she carries the baby to term. What may be done for her? The fetus, being to life, but as the mother is a person too, so has she a right to life. Presumably they have an equal right to life. How is it supposed to come out that an abortion may not be performed? If mother and child have an equal right to life, shouldn't we perhaps flip a coin? Or should we add to the mother's right to life her right to decide what happens in and to her body, which everybody seems to be ready to grant--the sum of her rights now outweighing the fetus's right to life?

The most familiar argument here is the following. We are told that performing the abortion would he directly killings the child, whereas doing nothing would not be killing the mother, but only letting her die. Moreover, in killing the child, one would be killing an innocent person, for the child has committed no crime, and is not aiming at his mother's death. And then there are a variety of ways in which this might be continued. (1) But as directly killing an innocent person is always and absolutely impermissible, an abortion may not be performed. Or, (2) as directly killing an innocent person is murder, and murder is always and absolutely impermissible, an abortion may not be performed. Or, (3) as one's duty to refrain from directly killing an innocent person is more stringent than one's duty to keep a person from dying, an abortion may not be performed. Or, (4) if one's only options are directly killing an innocent person or letting a person die, one must prefer letting the person die, and thus an abortion may not be performed.

Some people seem to have thought that these are not further premises which must be added if the conclusion is to be reached, but that they follow from the very fact that an innocent person has a right to life. But this seems to me to be a mistake, and perhaps the simplest way to show this is to bring out that while we must certainly grant that innocent persons have a right to life, the theses in (1) through (4) are all false. Take (2), for example. If directly killing an innocent person is murder, and thus is impermissible, then the mother's directly killing the innocent person inside her is murder, and thus is impermissible. But it cannot seriously be thought to be murder if the mother performs an abortion on herself to save her life. It cannot seriously be said that she must refrain, that she must sit passively by and wait for her death. (No, it cannot. This is a tragic situation. Somebody has to make the choice--who will live?--and who better to make that choice but the mother herself? Some people would say that nobody should be allowed to make that choice--it's up to God--but frankly, if the mother makes the choice to not do anything, she's also making the choice to give up her life for her child (even if, by some miracle, she ends up not dying). And several mothers do make the choice to die for their child.) Let us look again at the case of you and the violinist[.] There you are, in bed with the violinist, and the director of the hospital says to you, "It's all most distressing, and I deeply sympathize, but you see this is putting an additional strain on your kidneys, and you'll be dead within the month. But you have to stay where you are all the same. because unplugging you would be directly killing an innocent violinist, and that's murder, and that's impermissible." If anything in the world is true, it is that you do not commit murder, you do not do what is impermissible, if you reach around to your back and unplug yourself from that violinist to save your life. (Again, be aware this is making the extreme assumption that the pregnant woman was both raped and is now in a life-threatening situation, both of which are rare, especially both of them together.)

The main focus of attention in writings on abortion has been on what a third party may or may not do in answer to a request from a woman for an abortion. This is in a way understandable. Things being as they are, there isn't much a woman can safely do to abort herself. So the question asked is what a third party may do, and what the mother may do, if it is mentioned at all, if deduced, almost as an afterthought, from what it is concluded that third parties may do. But it seems to me that to treat the matter in this way is to refuse to grant to the mother that very status of person which is so firmly insisted on for the fetus. For we cannot simply read off what a person may do from what a third party may do. Suppose you filed yourself trapped in a tiny house with a growing child. I mean a very tiny house, and a rapidly growing child--you are already up against the wall of the house and in a few minutes you'll be crushed to death. The child on the other hand won't be crushed to death; if nothing is done to stop him from growing he'll be hurt, but in the end he'll simply burst open the house and walk out a free man. Now I could well understand it if a bystander were to say. "There's nothing we can do for you. We cannot choose between your life and his, we cannot be the ones to decide who is to live, we cannot intervene." But it cannot be concluded that you too can do nothing, that you cannot attack it to save your life.(Notice how throughout this section she repeatedly calls "the child" an "it".) However innocent the child may be, you do not have to wait passively while it crushes you to death[.] Perhaps a pregnant woman is vaguely felt to have the status of house, to which we don't allow the right of self-defense. But if the woman houses the child, it should be remembered that she is a person who houses it. (She is setting the stage here, implying that because the child is inside of her, the woman has the right to do whatever she wants with it, though she doesn't make that argumen here.)

I should perhaps stop to say explicitly that I am not claiming that people have a right to do anything whatever to save their lives. I think, rather, that there are drastic limits to the right of self-defense. If someone threatens you with death unless you torture someone else to death, I think you have not the right, even to save your life, to do so. But the case under consideration here is very different. In our case there are only two people involved, one whose life is threatened, and one who threatens it. Both are innocent: the one who is threatened is not threatened because of any fault, the one who threatens does not threaten because of any fault. (This is extraordinarily interesting. Take her violinist example: somebody kidnapped her, and the woman will only live if she kills the innocent violinist. She is innocent. The violinist is innocent. The people who kidnapped her can stand-in as the people threatening the woman with death unless she kills the violinist (of course, it's flipped around, and they want her to die instead of the violinist, but it's the same type of situation, with a malicious third party involved). So how is this different? The problem with Mrs. Thompson's argument here is that she's looking at it all wrong--the mother doesn't have a right to decide to kill the child because the child is threatening her life as Mrs. Thompson implies, but rather because somebody has to decide, and the mother is best equipped for that job. What's more, here's another discrepancy with the violinist example: Mrs. Thompson is assuming that the mother has no connection with her unborn baby by comparing the baby with the unconcious violinist. Anybody who has known a pregnant woman (or has been pregnant herself) knows that this is not the case.) For this reason we may feel that we bystanders cannot interfere. But the person threatened can.

In sum, a woman surely can defend her life against the threat to it posed by the unborn child, even if doing so involves its death. And this shows not merely that the theses in (1) through (4) are false; it shows also that the extreme view of abortion is false, and so we need not canvass any other possible ways of arriving at it from the argument I mentioned at the outset.

Only one post this week...

Due to a family crisis, my regular post preparation time was drastically interrupted, and I was unable to finish the intended post for today. The crisis has now been mostly resolved--but that still leaves me far behind in my writing. Apologies! Instead, I will today's post Thursday, and hopefully keep a regular schedule from there--I will try to prepare more ahead of time from now on so I won't be caught like this again!

Thank you for your understanding!

I Remember Where I Was on 9/11

I am six. My mother sits me and my sister down on the rug in her room in front of the TV. She tells us to remember this day. I don’t remember her telling me that, but I must have done my best to obey, because I do remember.

I am confused. I don’t understand what is going on, why this is so important. In my six-year-old mind, I wonder why the news station keeps playing the same clip over and over, telling the same story over and over, instead of going from story to story like they usually do.

The clip they show is from a pedestrian’s viewpoint—one of those raw videos taken with a blurry camera and a shaky hand, instead of the fancy news ones. There’s a short stone wall to the left, running down the sidewalk, and trees growing on the other side of it. Coming up behind the trees, fairly close and easy to see, is the single burning tower, and its twin. There’s a man on a cell phone in the right-hand corner. He’s facing the stone wall, not the person taking the video, and not the towers. In slow motion he turns towards the towers, just as an airplane slowly soars into view from the left panel, crashing into the other tower. And explosions.

I get bored after a while, I remember that, but I’m also a little scared. Because I don’t understand what is going on. I don’t understand why my parents are upset. I’m scared enough to keep my restless six-year-old self sitting in the same place and not asking if I could leave now like I might normally do if my parents weren’t upset.

I also remember, fuzzily, the disbelieving horror my parents expressed when the towers collapsed.

I remember what seems like a few days later, though I suppose it could have been longer, and my dad has gotten out the modeling clay from the basement, and he sits at the kitchen table sculpting something. I ask why he’s doing that. And he (or perhaps mom) tells me it’s because God told him to.

It’s the towers, buckling in the middle. I watch for a while, because my dad doesn’t regularly sculpt things, and it’s interesting. But I’m still confused.

I’m missing something, I think.

Years later, sitting in the car with my mom, driving somewhere, we hear something on the radio about the war in Afghanistan and a bunch of other things I don’t understand and mom turns the radio off.

“When people complain,” she says, and she’s crying, “When people complain about the wars and the fighting, remember that they attacked us first.”

I remember.

~Dedicated to the 3,000 + American heroes who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
My memory may be faulty on some details, but they are real memories.
God bless America.

Images found via Google Images. No copyright infringement intended.

Moral Legislation

Hello world. I’m here to do yet another myth-busting post regarding government and abortion.
First, the Separation of Church and State. Put simply, that separation does not exist—at least not in those words. Those words in that order are nowhere in the Constitution. In fact, the words “separation” and “church” don’t appear at all. The word “religion” does though. Twice. In the same place, which is - you guessed it – the First Amendment.
Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

"You placed a nativity scene
within 30 feet of a blinking reindeer
display...a violation of the separation
of Church and State...you're going

That’s it. The “separation of church and state” doesn’t exist to keep the Church out of the State—but to keep the State out of the Church.
Related to the separation of Church and State is the popular lie that you can’t legislate morality. In reality, all legislation is somebody legislating somebody’s version of morality. All legislation. There isn’t one law that isn’t related to morality. I challenge you to try to find one that doesn’t lead back to somebody somewhere’s version of morality.
So to ask a Senator to keep his religious beliefs and his personal morality out of the Congress is unrealistic. The Senator was elected because of his personal morality (though not necessarily his religion)—otherwise known as his worldview. All politicians are elected because of their personal morality. They keep a list of their opinions on their campaign websites for the public to come and scrutinize.
Now, a line does have to be drawn between religious beliefs and liberty. Sexual immorality, for example. Do I believe premarital sex is a sin? Yes I do. Should the US have a law against that? Absolutely not. That’s Big Government in the extreme.
Pro-abortioners use both the “separation of Church and State” and the “you can’t legislate morality” arguments to use against pro-lifers.
“Keep your religious beliefs off of my body!” they proclaim, “It’s none of your business whether I kill this fetus or not.”
Remember the line that needs to be drawn? Abortion is not on the same side as premarital sex. Why?
Because some “personal morality”, some “religious beliefs” are too big to be ignored. Some things are too obviously bad, too obviously hurt someone, even if you don’t believe there’s a God.
Pro-abortioners don’t support rape.
They don’t support murder.
They don’t support genocide.
They don’t support racism.
They don’t support slavery.
They don’t support animal cruelty.
They don’t support child abuse.
They don’t support violence (against born people, anyway).
All of the things listed above are (with the exception of animal cruelty) violations of basic human rights.
They shouldn’t support that either.
All  images found via Google Images. No copyright infringement intended.

The Deadly Dangers of Childbirth

Those are the dangers pro-abortioners like to point out. It isn’t uncommon for pro-abortion organizations to claim that abortion is many times safer (sometimes they claim up to twelve times safer) than childbirth. This has always sounded odd to me, since pregnancy and childbirth is flowing with what comes naturally to the female body, and induced abortion disrupts that flow. Unlike other surgeries, abortion gives absolutely no benefit to the body—it doesn’t improve your heart or help your knees or hips or any such thing. So the question is: what does abortion do to the body, what dangers does it pose, and is it really safer than childbirth?
The short answer is no. Common sense should tell us this. It isn’t safer than childbirth. And abortion isn’t an extraordinarily safe insignificant surgery. For one thing, it’s a blind surgery. The abortionist can’t see what he’s doing, unless he does an ultrasound-guided abortion, which doesn’t happen often because it takes five to ten minutes longer. (Longer abortions = fewer abortions = less money.)
As I said in another post, when death certificates are made out, the cause of death is rarely listed as abortion, unless the woman dies on the operating table, or perhaps in an emergency room immediately following the abortion—and not always then. Instead, the direct cause of death (infection, bleeding, etc.) is listed. Abortion is the indirect cause of death, and in most cases it is not mandatory to list abortion as an indirect cause of death (Here is an excellent article by Physicians for Life that gives more details on how abortion deaths vs. other maternal deaths statistics are warped.)
There have also been studies that research a randomly selected group of women who died within a year of their last pregnancy (whether it ended in birth, miscarriage, or induced abortion), compared to women dying with no recent pregnancy. The study I link to here includes not just physical-complication-deaths, but also suicides and motor vehicle accidents and such things, and then explains possible reasons for why (in this particular study, anyway) women who have had abortions always (except in natural death, where non-recent-pregnancy women were the highest) have the higher death rate.
It is also likely abortion causes (or helps cause) even more indirect causes of death. For example, I ran across this recent report the other day. It stated that the United States ranks 41st in maternal deaths, with 1 death for every 4,800 births. First on the list was Ireland with 1 death for every 47,600 births. On a whim and a hunch, I looked up Ireland’s abortion laws. Turns out that abortion is illegal in Ireland, except when the life of the mother is in danger, and perhaps for severe physical complications; there is quite a bit of conflict in Ireland over its abortion laws, so I’m not positive how restrictive its laws currently are, but it is obviously more restrictive than, say…the US. I’m not saying that abortion is the sole cause of this, but the US isn’t exactly lacking in medical advances. There has to be other reasons: perhaps men and women in Ireland tend to live healthier lifestyles than we tend to live in the US. And/or perhaps abortion raises the risk of childbirth, which raises the childbirth death statistics, which in turn gives abortion advocates their “proof” that childbirth is more dangerous than abortion…even though abortion advances those risks in the first place.
In any case, abortion is more dangerous than the official statistics and abortion advocates say. How much more remains to be seen, but it can’t be ignored.

Refuting Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" (Part 1)

Judith Jarvis Thomson
Click here to read part 2.
This is the beginning of my dissection of the "ultimate pro-abortion argument". If we can prove this argument wrong, we can prove any pro-abortion argument wrong. This series will probably have roughly nine parts to it, because it is naturally divided up into sections. If you don't wish to read the whole thing, I have put in italics the parts I believe to be the most important/relevant, though I would reccommend reading it as a whole. My comments are (in parentheses and underlined).

(By the way, my presidential candidate breakdown is in process!)

Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion

From Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1971).

(Reprinted in "Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics," 5th ed., ed. Ronald Munson (Belmont; Wadsworth 1996). pp 69-80.)

Most opposition to abortion relies on the premise that the fetus is a human being, a person, from the moment of conception. The premise is argued for, but, as I think, not well. Take, for example, the most common argument. We are asked to notice that the development of a human being from conception through birth into childhood is continuous; then it is said that to draw a line, to choose a point in this development and say "before this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person" is to make an arbitrary choice, a choice for which in the nature of things no good reason can be given. It is concluded that the fetus is[,] or anyway that we had better say it is, a person from the moment of conception. But this conclusion does not follow. Similar things might be said about the development of an acorn into an oak trees, and it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that we had better say they are.(This comparison in this context is unfair. Acorns are not oak trees in the same way that babies (or fetuses) are not adults. An acorn is still an individual oak, just merely at the earliest stages of development, like an embryo is an individual human being at the earliest stages of development. Also, compare a “dormant” acorn (or any seed) to an unfertilized human egg.  The dormant acorn is merely waiting for the right conditions (warmth, water, soil, etc), while the egg is also waiting—first to be let out of the ovaries, second to be fertilized by sperm. Once the acorn actually starts growing, I actually would in fact call it an oak tree—just an extremely small one. Or, even if you don't call it a tree--let's say you crush a developing acorn. Now, did you kill an oak, or didn't you? The same goes for the embryo. If you crush an embryo, did you kill an adult, or didn't you?)  Arguments of this form are sometimes called "slippery slope arguments"--the phrase is perhaps self-explanatory--and it is dismaying that opponents of abortion rely on them so heavily and uncritically.

I am inclined to agree, however, that the prospects for "drawing a line" in the development of the fetus look dim. I am inclined to think also that we shall probably have to agree that the fetus has already become a human person well before birth. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when one first learns how early in its life it begins to acquire human characteristics. By the tenth week, for example, it already has a face, arms and less, fingers and toes; it has internal organs, and brain activity is detectable.(I commend this woman for, at least, unlike other pro-abortioners, admitting that this is true, though it can be true two weeks earlier, not just at ten weeks, depending on how you count it.) On the other hand, I think that the premise is false, that the fetus is not a person from the moment of conception. A newly fertilized ovum, a newly implanted clump of cells, is no more a person than an acorn (As previously stated, a growing acorn, as opposed to a dormant one) is an oak tree. But I shall not discuss any of this. For it seems to me to be of great interest to ask what happens if, for the sake of argument, we allow the premise. How, precisely, are we supposed to get from there to the conclusion that abortion is morally impermissible? Opponents of abortion commonly spend most of their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly anytime explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion.  Perhaps they think the step too simple and obvious to require much comment. (Yes, I would think that intentionally killing another person would be self-explanatory. Notice how she's setting up her argument to convince us that it isn't always wrong to kill a person by suggesting that it isn't always that simple.) Or perhaps instead they are simply being economical in argument. Many of those who defend abortion rely on the premise that the fetus is not a person, but only a bit of tissue that will become a person at birth; and why pay out more arguments than you have to? Whatever the explanation, I suggest that the step they take is neither easy nor obvious, that it calls for closer examination than it is commonly given, and that when we do give it this closer examination we shall feel inclined to reject it.

I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. (This is what makes her argument so convincing: she accepts the pro-life premise.) How does the argument go from here? Something like this, I take it. Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life. No doubt the mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body; everyone would grant that. But surely a person's right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother's right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it. (Actually, the fetus is not a part of her body, so that’s why she can’t have an abortion. As for “what happens in” her body…99% of the time, the mother has already made her choice about what happens in her body. Now that somebody else has been brought in, she has no right to reverse that choice.) So the fetus may not be killed; an abortion may not be performed.

It sounds plausible. But now let me ask you to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, (Again, 99% of the time the woman made the choice to risk being plugged into the “famous unconscious violinist”. Very rarely is she “kidnapped” to be “plugged in”) and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you (In this analogy the woman is subjected to this treatment because of someone else’s somewhat malicious intent. Eg, they know exactly what will happen to her body - people rarely impregnate women just to impregnate women)--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it's only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you." Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says. "Tough luck. I agree. but now you've got to stay in bed (Rarely is a woman confined to bed for nine months, and of course nine years is absurd, because of a pregnancy. And assuming the woman truly had nothing to do with the risk of getting pregnant, this is still greatly exaggerating the “problem”) , with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person's right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him." I imagine you would regard this as outrageous, which suggests that something really is wrong with that plausible-sounding argument I mentioned a moment ago.(No it doesn’t. There isn’t anything wrong with the “plausible-sounding argument”. Exaggerating the consequences of a “kidnapping” (or rape) distorts the argument and changes the circumstances that the original argument pertained to.)

In this case, of course, you were kidnapped, you didn't volunteer for the operation that plugged the violinist into your kidneys. Can those who oppose abortion on the ground I mentioned make an exception for a pregnancy due to rape? Certainly. They can say that persons have a right to life only if they didn't come into existence because of rape; or they can say that all persons have a right to life, but that some have less of a right to life than others, in particular, that those who came into existence because of rape have less. But these statements have a rather unpleasant sound. Surely the question of whether you have a right to life at all, or how much of it you have, shouldn't turn on the question of whether or not you are a product of a rape. And in fact the people who oppose abortion on the ground I mentioned do not make this distinction, and hence do not make an exception in case of rape. (I agree.) 

Nor do they make an exception for a case in which the mother has to spend the nine months of her pregnancy in bed. They would agree that would be a great pity, and hard on the mother; but all the same, all persons have a right to life, the fetus is a person, and so on. I suspect, in fact, that they would not make an exception for a case in which, miraculously enough, the pregnancy went on for nine years, or even the rest of the mother's life. (Notice the generalizations? Anyway, no, I probably would not make an exception, but it does depend on the circumstances: on whether the mother would be able to support herself, or be supported by others during the pregnancy, and how severe the health problems would be; if they would significantly decrease her quality of life for the rest of her life . The reason an exception would not be made—despite it being, indeed, “a great pity”—is that an entire life (of the fetus) doesn’t fairly compare to less than a year of the life of the mother.) 

Some won't even make an exception for a case in which continuation of the pregnancy is likely to shorten the mother's life, they regard abortion as impermissible even to save the mother's life. (Again, it depends on the individual circumstances. If the mother and fetus would die as a result of the pregnancy, then naturally an abortion would be, sorrowfully, necessary. The point is to save lives. If one must die, as opposed to two dying, that would be more than, though very sad, acceptable.) Such cases are nowadays very rare, and many opponents of abortion do not accept this extreme view. All the same, it is a good place to begin: a number of points of interest come out in respect to it.