Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pro-choice, not pro-death.

You know, you don't blog for a while and suddenly all the settings change and you're trying to work out how to post.  It's like starting a blog all over again.

But I digress.  After all, what could I have read that galvanised me into blogging again? 

An article that's been trending on my friends' list recently, namely an article by a group of "medical ethicists" from Oxford University.  In it, they suggest that newborn babies are still no different to foetuses and embryos as they lack real personhood.  Therefore, it should be permissible for a "partial-birth abortion" to take place. 

I'm sorry, but isn't that infanticide?

As a pro-choicer, I am all for a woman choosing abortion when a pregnancy threatens her life, health (physical, mental, emotional), wellbeing or the life or quality thereof of the foetus.  Yes, that includes if the pregnancy was unplanned and "inconvenient" to the woman, but that's a whole other argument over contraception education and choice.  If a woman goes through a pregnancy to term, that implies explicitly that she thought about keeping the child and is willing to go through it (or unwillingly, sometimes.  Again, different argument.).  But on the whole, preparations have been made and responsibilities have been accepted, whether those involve raising the child or having someone else raise them (family or the state).  That includes if the child is disabled.  However, medical ethicists Alberto Giublini and Francesca Minerva suggest that
The case for “after-birth abortion” draws a logical path from common pro-choice assumptions to infanticide. It challenges us, implicitly and explicitly, to explain why, if abortion is permissible, infanticide isn’t.
There is a massive difference between a foetus and a baby, even if some people on either side of the argument say otherwise.  A foetus is still in its cellular stages; it's still no different to a parasite or a tumour, as harsh as that sounds.  The mother still has a choice whether she wants to keep it as a child.  It's still a difficult choice for many, don't misinterpret that.  Abortion isn't easy for a lot of women, even if society implies it's just a form of contraception for "whores and sluts".  A foetus that can viably survive outside of the womb is a baby, and like all babies and children, is vulnerable and in need of protection.  To suggest killing them after birth is inhumane to me, even if they are unwanted by the parents.  As flawed as the system might be, adoptoion and foster care is still an option for those babies.  They shouldn't be killed because they're inconvenient.  If that was the argument, what's preventing us from killing "inconvenient children" and freeing up space in a crowded adoption system?  It's not as if a baby is safe at home either because they are still vulnerable to abuse and death at the hands of family if they decide they can't cope with raising the kid. 

Now, the ethicists and Journal of Medical Ethics say this isn't a new argument and they wanted to engage people in debate and thought.  I'd say they did a pretty good job and making me want to argue with someone as the very thought of "partial-birth abortion" sends chills down my spine.  After all, to suggest that there is no moral difference between abortion and killing a newborn is like saying there's no difference between selective breeding and ethic cleansing. 

I suppose what also really got me boiling is the language in some of the articles covering this topic.  Yes, it's a hot debate topic with a lot of twists and arguments.  There's also a lot of mudslinging on both sides, but I guess I focussed and took to heart the arguments that pro-choicers are pro-murderers.  A pro-choice person would not actively seek to kill a child once out of the womb.  At the very least, not a mentally and morally sane one.  To suggest partial or post birth abortion of an otherwise healthy, viable child is scary and abhorrent.