The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet 407

"If you wish to uphold basic human justice,
you must do so for everyone --
not just selectively for the people that your side,
your culture, designates as OK." Edward Said

A progressive argument against abortion

What does it mean to be pro-life?
Well, at its most basic, two things.

Pro-lifers believe that human beings have human rights
from the moment their lives begin,
and that this occurs well before birth
(usually at conception or implantation.)

We further believe that the act of conceiving a child
brings with it certain obligations to the child
(who did not, after all, ask to be conceived),
and that one of these is to allow the child the chance to be born.

That's all.
Fetal rights + parental responsibility = a pro-life stand.
No need to pass any ideological, religious, sexual, racial, or economic litmus tests.

Why fetal rights?

Fetal rights,
is nothing more than an extension of the principle of equality
to the youngest members of the human family.

It bears close examination, though,
because the answer to the question of whether human rights
apply to the unborn illuminates the answerer's views of human rights in general.

Ask yourself:
is there a difference between a "human being" and a "person"?

If so, what is it?
Presumably, a "person" is considered a bearer of human rights.
The usual criteria currently offered for personhood include sentience, viability, and birth.

Each has its merits and demerits,
as long as you are willing to accept their common premise;
that it's moral for a powerful group of humans
to deny fundamental rights to a powerless group
based on criteria set by the powerful.

If humanity is thus divisible into rights-bearers and non-rights-bearers,
then sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are not wrong
just because they're discrimination.

Instead of asserting that all humans are created equal,
we must instead prove that gender is the wrong criterion to use for discrimination,
that race is the wrong criterion to use for discrimination, etc.

The acceptance of discrimination on the basis of age or development
poisons the well against those of us who would fight other forms of discrimination
by stripping us of the weighty (and properly so) argument that equality is a ideal to strive for.

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