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It’s A Loving Choice – Another (Horrible) Pro Choice Argument Everyone Makes

April 22, 2013

Earlier this month a Utah man was arrested for shooting and killing his five month old son. It was a heinous act that garnered national attention and may end with him facing the death penalty. But what if this deranged man was just making a family choice after taking into consideration the quality of life that could be provided to his child? It wasn’t a decision made on a whim, but a very difficult one that took him weeks of agonizing before finally deciding upon. What if this was demonstrably the best choice for his family? What if, given the circumstances, it was the only morally responsible and loving choice he could have made?

Of course considerations of can the family afford the baby, or what kind of life can the family provide for the baby, have zero legal or moral standing when it comes to ending the child’s life. And rightfully so. Obviously so. It offends our very humanity to even entertain the question. But when engaged in discussions about abortion, you will undoubtedly hear some variation of what I call “the loving choice” argument.

The arguments go something like this. The baby will put undue strain on the family. Parents’ mental, physical, and fiscal health could be affected. There are harsh consequences to raising a child when you aren’t ready to do so, and sometimes parents make the “loving choice” to not put a child through the difficulties of being raised in what is often terrible circumstances. Who are you to judge this agonizing, difficult choice a parent is forced to make for the benefit of the whole family?

But if you are horrified by the thought of the Utah man killing his five month old son because he knew he wasn’t able to care for him properly, why is it ok to kill a five week old son still inside his mother’s womb? If these choices can be made solely at the parents’ discretion, then ending a child’s life is a valid act for a parent to make so long as the child is dependent upon his parent for survival.

Which is why the “loving choice” argument is such a dangerous one. How we value life is extremely important for our society. This is not mere philosophical theorizing. You may have heard of Kermit Gosnell, the abortion doctor on trial for murder after authorities discovered one of his abortion patients died under his care, but also because when performing abortions and a baby was accidentally delivered alive, he would snip through the back of their neck, severing their spines in order to complete the life ending abortion. Somehow killing the baby while it was still inside her mother’s womb was legal, doing it after she left the womb was not. You may be surprised that Dr. Gosnell’s pro choice view was also the “loving choice” one:

“As a physician, I am very concerned about the sanctity of life. But it is for this precise reason that I provide abortions for women who want and need them.”

Women from all over came to Dr. Gosnell’s clinic because here was a man who didn’t ask questions. Here was a man who understood that sometimes “abortion is the most morally responsible and loving choice we can make.”

But it’s not just sleazy, murderous abortion doctors who advocate this position. It’s world renowned Princeton ethics professors. It’s a position published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, where two medical academics create the new term “after-birth abortion” and argue that everyone knows there’s no difference between an infant and a fetus, and therefore infanticide is a perfectly acceptable action for parents to take. It’s a position defended by the editor of the ethics Journal by saying,

“The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world”

The most eminent ethicists in the world have taken the “loving choice” abortion position and extended it to its inevitable conclusion: parents know best what they can handle and what they cannot. Babies, whether born or unborn, are not fully human and can often represent serious hardship to their parents. Joshua Mortenson, the man who killed his five month old son, shouldn’t be jailed for making a terribly difficult choice you and I may never have to face.

Who are we to judge?

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