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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Who Robs Whom of Their Humanity?

I was asked to give my analysis of the views of Ann Furedi, a pro-choice advocate in England for an upcoming debate she's going to have with pro-life advocate Gregg Cunningham. I'd like to talk about one article in particular that she wrote, in which she argues that not allowing women the right to have an abortion is essentially robbing her of her humanity.

In her article, she references a book by Ronald Dworkin, in which he argues that "wrestling with these difficult decisions is part of our humanity, and to take away our responsibility for our own moral decisions would be to take away our humanity." On the surface, it's hard to disagree with this assessment. One thing that sets our species apart from the lower animals is our ability to wrestle with difficult moral decisions.

But this doesn't mean that we have a right to make any and all decisions. If we follow Furedi's argument to its logical conclusion, we should do away with all laws because restricting peoples' freedom to make choices and be responsible for our moral decisions is restricting their right to be human. In fact, no one can take someone's ability to choose away. Even if you make something illegal, that person will still be able to choose to do the act in question. They'll just be punished if they're caught. Furedi is not advocating the right to make a choice, but to make a choice free of any consequences.

If the unborn are valuable human beings like we all are, then we can't allow the choice to kill them to be a legal one, just like we make it illegal to kill people outside the womb. Furedi actually agrees that if the unborn are human like we are, then we can't allow abortions. Furedi can argue that this would "take away a woman's humanity," but if the unborn are truly human beings, then you can't allow people to kill them to uphold someone else's "humanity." By doing this, you are robbing someone else of their humanity, the unborn human being who is being legally killed. We need laws in place so that those who can't protect themselves need to be protected from those who would want to do them harm.

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