A brief debate regarding abortion

Anonymous said:

The majority of Americans don’t want to live in a Christian theocracy. If you don’t believe abortion is right, don’t get one. Leave everyone else alone, and don’t force your religious beliefs on others. Pretty simple.

I replied:

I think you’d agree that all people have inestimable value and dignity and deserve honor, respect, and protection. If so, you’d likely also agree that society should establish laws to prevent and correct injustices.

If someone believes unborn children are, in fact, people, whether that belief is grounded in morality, biology, or a combination of factors, it stands to reason he (or she) would rise to their defense and strive to outlaw abortion. He is not attempting to establish a theocracy. He believes human dignity and justice are at stake. If he’s right, shame on him if he doesn’t stand up for the innocent and helpless.

Anonymous replied:

Yes, I do agree with your first paragraph, but I also believe that paragraph is antithetical to the view that women shouldn’t have federally protected rights to abortion access. There is so much nuance in this issue, and those nuances aren’t being taken into account by those that want to restrict abortion access because they are looking at it through a very narrow religious lens. Women aren’t getting abortions because they are immoral monsters and simply just want to end a potential life for the sheer enjoyment of it. There is always a reason for making that choice. I would gather that most of those reasons are more dignified, justified, and moral than forcing a woman to give birth against her will regardless of the situation she is in.

I replied:

Every human right has its boundaries. We may allow a man to swing his fist in any direction he wants for any reason he wants—good, bad, silly, indifferent; it doesn’t matter—but his right ends at someone else’s face. He has a right to pursue happiness but never at the expense of someone else.

Regarding abortion, the pertinent question is, when does human life begin? We need a sound, coherent answer before we can evaluate the matter of competing rights. If the unborn child is a person, a would-be mother’s right to pursue happiness ends before she takes the life of her child in that pursuit. Her freedom of choice was choosing to have sex. Her freedom continues as she chooses whether or not to give up the child for adoption. But if the child is a human life, the child’s right to live cannot be her choice.

Even though we may not agree, I love and respect you.

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