In the U.S. we fought a Civil War over the issue of slavery. The primary issue was the states’ freedoms to conduct themselves without undue deference to the federal gov’t., but the signal division was whether the fed had the right to impose regulation over slavery or to phase it out. The foundational division was over the institution of of human slavery.
The side fighting and dying for the soon or the eventual elimination of slavery won. The side fighting and dying for the continuation of slavery lost.
In other words, we here in the U.S. decided unequivocally that it is illegal and immoral to own people. We definitely established that long ago. I am right, aren’t I?
Yet I have discussions with people regularly who claim that they have a legal and moral right to own human beings.
It is the pro-choice position that a woman may dispose of her own fetus any way she likes because she owns it. I have been told this countless times. Are pro-choice advocates then proposing that an unborn child is her mother’s slave?
Here are the arguments presented to me:
1. A fetus is:
not sentient enough
not a separate body from its mother;
2. Therefore, not a possessor of human rights.
3. I own it. I may do as I please with it without consequence:
It is in my body.
It is the same as an organ which I may donate.
I can keep or dispense with it as long as it is dependent on me.
4. It’s settled law.
You have no right to tell me what I can do with my property.
5. Yes, it is my slave. I am its slave owner.
( Note: Often, justifications #1 and #2 are skipped as unnecessary, the sole justification given as “it’s in my body.”)
It seems that just moral decisions made long ago are still denied. Slavery is alive and well.
It is true that in this fallen world, the imposition of power by one over another is inescapable. In many relationship contexts, one party is weak and the other is strong. But under such circumstances, moral people do their best to maintain a just balance. And moral people do their best to mitigate harm. In fact, we the strong are all called upon to defer to the weak, to defend the weak, to protect the weak.
In the context regarding unexpected pregnancy, there are two paths to go down. You can assert the power to rule over your own body, and further, your power to rule over the weaker being in your body. Imposing your rights over hers, and ending her life (violently, since there are no nonviolent methods). Establishing that you are accountable to no one.
Or you can recognize that you are a self-determining adult member of a society, accountable to societal morals. You may even recognize that you are accountable to an objective, transcendent moral code. You recognize that all human beings have equal value, and therefore all human beings have equal rights. If you’re not a science denier, you admit that babies in the womb are both living and human in the same manner that you are.
Therefore, you have no right to superimpose your rights to your preference over your baby’s right to life.
You make the best of a difficult situation and choose from options which preserve the fetus’ life as well as your own well-being.
Which of these paths is the more reasonable? Which is the less dire? Which results in no deaths? Which respects the humanity of all parties?
Let’s end slavery for real.