TheUnderdog has asked me the following: “If someone told you they were pro choice because they didn’t want foster kids getting PTSD in the foster system, how would you respond?” I figured I’d share my answer publicly, because I really detest this form of argument from the Pro Choice camp.
The argument posited is that it is moral to make abortions due to concerns over conditions after birth. For the sake of argument, I will be assuming that in this hypothetical scenario the child will be certainly born into non-ideal conditions.
The very first thing to examine is the morality of the act itself. If the act is obviously amoral (that is, neither moral nor immoral) or moral, then having the abortion would be a no-brainer and we could end the discussion here.
Recall from my debate with Seldiora,
“Those in favor of abortion assert there is a difference between being a human being and being a human person. The human being is simply a member of the species Homo sapiens, but personhood is based on other qualities that are developed over time. This is how, despite abortion objectively and irrefutably killing a human being, Pro-Choice advocates can still manage to justify the practice. They say killing a human being is fine, as long as it is not a human person.However, using the Pro-Choice’s own line of reasoning, the uncertainty principle states that there are 4 potential possibilities of abortion:1. The fetus is a person, and that is known.2. The fetus is a person, but it is unknown.3. The fetus is not a person, and that is known.4. The fetus is not a person, and that is unknownThere are ramifications to each:1. You have committed brazen homicide.2. You have committed manslaughter3. You have done nothing wrong.4. You have committed criminal negligence.In 3/4ths of scenarios, the abortion is not justified.However, 2/4ths of these scenarios are impossible. No one can say with absolute certainty that abortion does not kill a human person. At best, someone can be strongly convinced that it does not, but they have no capacity to prove so....This throws out options 1 & 3, along with the only justifiable abortion scenario, leaving only unjustifiable scenarios.”
OK, so there is no way abortion as an act is not immoral in some form or fashion. So clearly, then, the matter is worth digging into deeper.
Now, even if abortion as an act is immoral, an immoral act could still be justified if it is outweighed by a positive good. This depends on three things: the degree of the immorality of the act, the degree of the positive good, & whether there are alternative options available to circumvent the immoral act and attain the positive good.
Regarding the first, I think both options 2 & 4 present a great evil.
“Uncertainty as to whether a building is occupied does not give an exterminator the right to fumigate. Uncertainty as to whether an overturned bassinet is empty does not give a truck driver the right to plough through it. Uncertainty as to whether a walk-in freezer has been vacated does not give a night manager the right to lock and bolt it. Uncertainty as to whether a high climber has moved to another tree does not give a lumberjack the right to fell the timber. And uncertainty over whether a person is really dead does not give a mortician the right to light the furnace. Personal conviction makes no difference. The absence of human life must be completely verified before any of these actions can take place.”
I also think it wouldn’t be inaccurate to reject the Pro-Choice differentiation between humanity and personhood altogether.
Further citing my debate with Seldiora,
“Because the Pro-Choice metrics of defining personhood are indistinct and immeasurable, the voter should prefer the objective Pro-Life standard: “To kill a member of the Homo sapiens without justification is immoral.”Under this standard, the abortion debate is instantly settled.......Indeed, it is better to draw the line at killing a human being. If we did not, what else would be the metric we use to draw it?If PRO thinks personhood begins with consciousness, then people in a vegetable state, suffering brain damage, or severely developmentally handicapped are “not people” under PRO’s logic and can be freely killed with no moral repercussion.If PRO thinks life begins with the “ability to respond to stimuli,” we run into the same logical blunders: what about people in a vegetative state?The baby is also able to respond to stimuli as early as 8 weeks, well within the first trimester, when the majority of abortions happen.Maybe PRO thinks it is “viability,” that is also nonsensical. Are people on life support who are technically “unviable” less than a human person?
This would escalate the severity of the crime to blatant murder.
The other thing to consider is the circumstances that has lead to the perceived need of such an abortion, starting with the decision to have sexual intercourse in the first place. An act of evil is less severe if the actor was forced to make the decision due to circumstances out of their control (i.e. rape). Yet that’s not what we see for greater than 99.5% of abortion cases.
Abortions happen typically when a couple has sex without taking proper precautions.
A study took polls of those who had abortions and asked them if they were using condoms or contraceptives at the time of pregnancy, and they asked them if they were using these consistently.
While 42% of the condom-users reported failure, inconsistent use was reported by half of those using condoms as well. Once you consider that only 1/250 condoms breaks (0.4%), the study shows that inconsistent use was the biggest contributor to unwanted pregnancy.
The results are similar with contraceptives, which are 91%+ effective, as 3/4ths of those taking them reported inconsistent use.
Using a condom consistently, and using a contraceptive if it fails consistently is next to foolproof statistically. There is also the tried and true method of abstinence.
“when a person voluntarily engages in a behavior which can produce reasonably foreseeable consequences, and the agent is a proximate and primary cause of those consequences, then it follows that the agent has obligations with respect to those consequences. In the case of procreation, the child needs care. To fail to provide it is to allow harmful consequences to obtain. Since the agent is causally responsible for the existence of a child in need of care, then the agent is morally responsible to provide it. “
The agent should not simply forgo their responsibility by killing that child. Such an act is beyond abhorrent.
Moving to the second factor, then, abortion must reap a very large positive good in this scenario to outweigh the act itself… Unfortunately, it doesn’t. It is preferable to live in crappy conditions than to not live at all.
I addressed this some in my debate with Seldiora, when he asked: “what about disabled children, who may live an entire life of suffering?”
To which I responded:
“As you have admitted, life is a continuous process. If this is the case, why stop preventing the suffering at birth? Why not kill 80 year old disabled people so that their remaining years will be pain-free?
Hopefully you will see CON’s point. Furthermore, who are you to decide which life is or is not worth living? What level of suffering is the threshold? Where do you draw the line?”
Expanding this idea to poverty, Abort73 writes:
“Isn't it true that there are born-children, today, who are growing up in poverty? Has anyone ever heard someone argue that the mothers of these born-children should have the right to kill them, since they can't afford to raise them? No one makes such an absurd and heartless argument because we all know that no amount of financial hardship is sufficient rationale for killing another human being, particularly an innocent child. On a practical level, there are more crisis pregnancy care centers in America today than there are abortion providers. They all function to help bring women through their pregnancies by providing them the emotional and financial assistance they need to carry to term and, if need be, place for adoption (which would relieve all future financial obligation). When help is needed, help can be found.”
This form of argument additionally assumes that if you live impoverished or in crappy conditions your life is nothing but pain. That’s objectively false in every case without fail.
C. Everett Koop, who pioneered the field of pediatric surgery, points out that
"some of the most unhappy children have all of their physical and mental faculties, while some of the happiest youngsters have borne burdens which most of us would find very difficult to endure."
In every life, there is the good & there is the bad. Even if there is a little good and a lot of bad, who are we to say that life is not worth living? Additionally, who are we to say that someone’s conditions won’t improve over time?
Research shows there are 3 basic things that any person can do to be successful: finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until 21 to marry and have children.
The results speak for themselves:
“Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year).”
Addressing the foster home PTSD thing specifically, if anything the presence of foster homes and orphanages supports my argument.
Tying this into the third factor (that is, “whether there are alternative options available to circumvent the immoral act and attain the positive good”), a foster home or an orphanage is not at all a net negative existence. While it’s true that these systems are not perfect, overall they are very positive forces for society. Have you heard anyone argue to kill born orphans so that they can avoid the prospective chance of developing PTSD (Which, by the way, many people live with just fine)?
If those options exist, then, how then do we justify abortion? The answer is simple: we can’t.
That’s why many people argue the orphanage/foster care system will be overrun if we outlaw abortion.
Newsflash: it won’t.
"The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) points out that "there are many couples hoping to adopt for every one adoptable infant." Their studies show that one-third of all women, aged 18-44, have considered adopting, and their coverage of the dramatic rise in international adoptions is further evidence that the demand to adopt is well ahead of the number of infants available to be adopted.
The NCFA also points out that roughly 98% of the unmarried women who give birth decide to parent their baby. Only 2% place for adoption.10 If you apply that percentage to the number of pregnancies currently being aborted each year, the abolition of abortion would require the adoption of approximately 20,000 additional babies each year.....
A second point to consider is this. If abortion were not an option, if women had to carry their children to full term and fathers couldn't bail themselves out of child support by paying for an abortion... The number of unplanned pregnancies would almost certainly go down. As it stands now, abortion is a safety net”
Finally, even if none of that were true, we could look back to what I said earlier:
“Using a condom consistently, and using a contraceptive if it fails consistently is next to foolproof statistically. There is also the tried and true method of abstinence.”
Those constitute alternatives in of themselves, do they not?
Hope this answers your question, TheUnderdog.