I was in a discussion with a co-worker today about the topic of abortion and one point she made up to me as someone who is pro-choice is “You don’t have a uterus.”
Well, I suppose it’s meant to be a point.
In his work, “Defending Life”, Francis Beckwith has a word to describe this argument.
First off, my view on whether the unborn are human or not has nothing to do with the genitalia I possess. Now I won’t deny that I can’t know the experience of what it feels like to be pregnant. However, that is not what is under discussion. We are not discussing what an experience is but what the unborn is. (And to the comment on my last blog and I plan on addressing those issues later, yes though, there are some people who believe the unborn is a person and still favor abortion.)
I will never know what it means to carry around a life inside of me for nine months and then go through an experience that I am quite certain is painful in having that life come out into the world. No doubt, that is a hard experience to go through from morning sickness to cravings to the painful moment of birth itself. (To which I say I wonder about when I get married and get to the point where my first child is being born. There will be all the yelling, screaming, crying, groaning, moaning, not to mention whatever noises my wife is making at the time.)
However, if the man is to have no say in the abortion debate simply because he’s a man, then why is it, that since he can have no say on whether the life should live or not, that he is then forced to pay child support. If the experience is to belong solely to the mother, then shouldn’t all the ramifications of that belong to the mother?
There are other points Beckwith points out as well. For instance, if a man can have no say in the issue, then it’s time to throw out Roe v. Wade. Why? It was a decision made by nine men. These men don’t have uteruses though. (I would hope you all knew that by now.) However, their opinion seems to be binding on the issue.
Beckwith also says then that the mother cannot make a decision on whether the boy should be circumcised or not. After all, the woman possibly can’t know anything about what that experience is like. (And my fellow men, aren’t you glad that that happens at a time when we’re really too young to remember what it felt like?)
Finally, Beckwith says that the sword can cut the other way. Every argument given for abortion I saw today was an emotional one at some level. Could it be that since men are not the ones that are the most emotionally involved in the case that they should be the ones who are given the most authority in the matter?
The ultimate problem is simply that this argument is an argument based on experience and does not address the issue at all. Whether the unborn is a human person or not cannot be addressed by describing what the experience of pregnancy is like or how painful it is. It is a question about ontology and not function.