Is late-term abortion ever necessary?
It is unfortunately common for people to be against abortion, but make exceptions for cases like rape, incest, or the health (not necessarily “life”) of the mother. It’s unfortunate because it’s an incoherent position.
If the unborn is not a human person, then no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn is a human person, then no justification for elective abortion is adequate. How would the way in which a person came to be change the way that we should treat them, and whether or not we can kill them? These exceptional cases may be emotionally, psychologically or even practically complex, but they are not morally complex.
Matthew Warner offers his opinion on those who attempt to be pro-life with exceptions:
I think there are two explanations for these walking contradictions. The first is that they are not actually pro-life and do not actually believe that an unborn human being is an unborn human being. However, they call themselves “pro-life” because their personal preferences happen to align with that of pro-lifers (except, of course, for their exceptions). They may believe they are pro-life, but they are such because it’s convenient and not because they first believe that every human person should be treated with dignity and respect for their individual right to life.
The second is that they refuse or are unable to reconcile the conflict between their belief in an objective right to life of every human person with their emotion associated with a particularly challenging situation. There are no doubt some extremely difficult situations people find themselves in after traumatic, horrifying events like rape and incest. And certainly when a loved one’s health hangs in the balance, I can understand the emotion involved, too.
It’s not our place to judge these people. However, it is our place to stand up for any innocent people who may get trampled on in the process.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so hard for these people. Most of these emotional situations are made much worse because the mothers, and often the doctors, are very uninformed as to what options are actually available. On a larger scale, many who subscribe to these exceptions do so because they have been badly misinformed and lied to about the reality of such emotional situations.
Many justify their entire reason for the need for legal abortions as to save the life of the mother. They picture a mother who is faced with a decision: To have this baby and die, or abort this baby and live. Of course, even if this situation was entirely plausible, we are not justified in intentionally killing an innocent human being. However, the truth is that it’s not a real situation. It’s one made up by abortion advocates to maintain a shred of credibility in the imaginations of American emotionals.
Others make similar types of arguments for cases where they think the unborn baby suffers from some disability or will suffer and live a short life after birth. Yet again, these are situations fueled by half-truths, short-sightedness, and hopelessness.
There’s also a good debate in the comments at Fallible Blogma, but to dig deeper, check out the article upon which Matthew bases his post:
“Is Late-term Abortion Ever Necessary?“… sheds a lot of light on these difficult emotional challenges that so many imagine make exception for horror.