On Abortion and the Eating of Meat
I have friends of all kinds, and that includes one friend several readers were shocked to learn of several months ago: a country-music lovin’ woman who has fur coats. Now, she’s not the typical country-music lovin’ woman; she’s from the northeast, is highly educated, and is a gym-goin’, Lexux SUV-drivin’, suburban mom of two adorable boys who aren’t allowed to eat candy, drink soda, or go to McDonald’s. She is "pro-life," or anti-choice, depending on where YOU stand. She is respectful of my beliefs and doesn’t push Jesus on me (not that there’s anything wrong with his story–it’s one of my favorites!).
There’s nothing she can’t say to me, and vice versa, but she nevertheless treaded into the dicey area of abortion several nights ago, thinking (I’m sure): I’m gonna catch her being a hypocrite, as I know she’s not pro-life.
Friend of Mary: If your personal ethic says that killing without necessity is morally unjustifiable, how can you be pro-abortion?
Mary: First of all, friend, no one is pro-abortion; they’re pro-choice. Second, there are two issues here: my personal views on abortion, and what I believe should occur as a matter of law. Regardless of my beliefs, should the government be able to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body? As far as I know, there is a lot of evidence that after 8 weeks the human fetus is sentient. And if killing a sentient being without necessity is morally unjustifiable, then abortion after 8 weeks would be morally unjustifiable.
Friend of Mary: So you agree with me, that abortion should be illegal.
Mary: No. I don’t agree. In fact, as long as it’s legal to kill nonhuman animals for food, clothing, or sport, abortion (when neither the mother’s nor the fetus’ life is at stake) should be legal as well. I’m not saying a human fetus and a cow are equal or have the same value, but if they have the same capacity for pleasure and pain, they are both sentient. If you can decide to take the life of one for your own reasons (like taste or fashion), you should be able to decide to take the life of the other (whatever your reasons are for not bringing another human child into the world). If nonviolence is the principle that guides your life, it shouldn’t discriminate.
I’m sure to get loads of e-mails about this, but I just don’t understand how someone could be vehemently anti-choice, yet not use the very same logic (i.e., it’s murder) for killing a sentient being who’s not human.