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Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Argument Against the Legality of Abortion

The evolution of my political beliefs, although still evolving due to the fact that my knowledge is and will be growing until my time here is over, have gone from a hard, party-line Republican to a mixture of conservative and libertarian--and if you're not familiar with the parlance of political affiliation, libertarian does not mean the same thing as the contemporary term, liberal. I don't have a liberal bone in my body. My world-view is very traditional. My moral fiber is deeply entrenched in Christian teachings. Because of that, I will say that I am very conservative. But the more I see the federal government encroach into our lives, the more I grit my teeth and say, "Don't tread on me." In that, I am somewhat of a libertarian, and I align myself quite a bit with the libertarian stance on many issues. But there is one issue that separates me from most libertarians entirely. That issue is abortion.

I believe that morality is absolutely absolute and not relative. By that, I mean the notion that a person can make his own morality is absolutely erroneous. If morality was relative, then there would be no morality; there would just be opinions on what should and shouldn't be acceptable. And if you believe this, then just say so, but don't say morality is relative to the individual. But until there is an absolute consensus on what is and is not moral, then there will be dissent on both sides of each issue. Because of that, I believe that the general stance of a large governing body, such as our federal government, concerning issues that do not affect or infringe upon the rights of individuals, should be largely amoral, in the sense that its laws should not be made on the basis of morality. I know what you're about to say.

But Vins,conservatives believe that the government should promote morality. So are you saying that the government shouldn't promote moral Christian behavior?

No. I'm not saying that at all. The Christian aspect of that statement will have to be addressed in another post for another time, but to the general question of whether or not the government should promote morality, I say absolutely. But this does not mean that the federal government should make moral decisions the law of the land. The reach of the federal government is far too over-arching to be making those types of decisions. So, to be clear: yes, the federal government should promote morality, but no, it should not make laws that tell us what we can and can't do on the basis of morality. Why? Because if we give the federal government that power, then we take a very real risk of having it make a law declaring something to be immoral when we might believe that it is moral. For instance, when I have children, I don't want the federal government to have the authority to tell me that I may not spank my children because it is immoral.

I can align myself with some of the core libertarian principles because of this, but as I said earlier, I cannot align myself with the general libertarian stance that abortion should be legal.

But Vins, you just said that the federal government shouldn't make moral decisions into law. So How can you say that the federal government should ban abortion?

Easy. Because the issue of abortion is not an issue of morality when in the sphere of government.

Huh?

Ok. I believe, with every fiber of my being that abortion is immoral. I believe that murdering a born child or an adult is also immoral. But if you believe that we give consent to be governed in order to protect our rights, then you also must understand that we don't have laws against murder because it is immoral, but rather because murder takes away the right of life to an innocent person. Once again, the reason why we allow the government to make laws on our behalf is a topic for another post (and I have written about this already in another post), but simply put, the reason that a society comes out of the state of absolute liberty (anarchy) is so that it will have a common authority that will punish others who try to infringe upon the rights of the individuals in that society. Therefore, understanding this, one can only conclude that the laws that we do have should only be for the protection of liberty, not for moral reasons.

Ok, Vinniemac, you're chasing rabbits again. What does that have to do with abortion and it not being a moral issue?

Well, if abortion was only an issue of morality, then our federal government should have no authority to make a law concerning the issue. But if it can be argued that abortion does in fact infringe upon the inalienable right of an individual, then not only can the government make a law to protect that right, but it also has the undeniable duty to make a law to protect that right. And the inalienable right that I am speaking of is, of course, life.

If the "fetus" in the mother's womb is a life, then our government must protect that individual's right to life. I don't think that anyone can argue with that. As equals, no one person's rights are weighed any more heavily than another's, right? Then neither the mother, nor any other individual, has the right to take the right to take the life from of unborn child.

Aha! Well, Mr. Rocket Scientist, there's where you lose your argument. No one can prove that the fetus is a life, because no one knows exactly when life begins.

Absolutely right. I don't know for a fact when life begins. I believe that life begins at conception, but I have no way to prove it to the "Doubting Thomas". But I don't have to prove that it is a life. All I have to prove is that it may be a life.

Huh?

On what most important factor do we base our legal system? The principle that all are considered innocent until proven guilty. Not the other way around. AND in order for a suspect to be convicted of a crime, all reasonable doubt of his innocence must be absent. In essence, in order for an individual to be eligible for a life sentence or the death penalty, all of the burden rests upon the shoulders of the prosecutor.

This same principle must be applied to the question of whether or not a fetus is a life. If the possibility exists that it is a life, then all reasonable doubt must be proven false in order for it's termination to be allowed. If it is not proven false, and there is some reasonable doubt to the opinion that it is not a life, then our government has the obligation to protect that entity under the reasonable possibility that it is an innocent life. And let's be honest, if a fetus is a life, then it is, without a doubt, the most innocent form of human life.

The "right" of the mother no longer bears any credence in the decision if the fetus is a human life, and since it cannot be proven that it is not a human life, then it must be treated as one since the possibility exists that it is a human life.

If one understands this, then my core beliefs are not hypocritical, and in fact, the core beliefs of many libertarians would have to be hypocritical, though perhaps not knowingly. The reason being that since individual liberty is the core principle behind both my beliefs and the beliefs of the libertarian philosophy, then abortion bans do not infringe upon the liberty of the mother, but rather protect the liberty of a possible life.

I rest my case.

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