The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Short Paper Regarding Abortion I Submitted For My Ethics Class

The question was this:

Jim and Sue had been plannign to have a child for two years. Finally, she became pregnant. However, their marriage had been a rough one, and by the time she was in her thrid month of pregnancy they had decided to divorce. At that point, both parents were ambivalent about the pregnancy. They had both watned the child, but now things were different. Sue finally decided that she did not want to raise a child alone and did not want to raise Jim's child. She wanted to get on with her life. However, Jim had long wanted a child, and he realized that the developing fetus was partly his own because he had provided half of its genetic makeup. He did not want Sue to end the pregnancy. He wanted to keep and raise the child. The case was currently being heard by the court. Although the primary decision is a legal one, do you think that Jim had any moral rights in this case or should the decision be strictly Sue's? Why or why not?

My answer:

This is an interesting question, because I remember when I was at UNC-Pembroke our freshman seminar teacher asked the class to stand on one side of the room if they were in favor of abortion being legal, and to stand on the other side of the room if you opposed abortion being legal. I opposed it, and a few others did as well, mostly men. The majority were for abortion being legal. One of the guys who was against abortion being legal told me it was mainly because he got his girlfriend pregnant, they broke up and she aborted the baby, but he wanted the baby yet had no power to stop her. He said it was his baby too, and I think he is right. After all, the baby is half of the man’s genetic makeup.
          Similarly, I think Jim in our discussion case has a right to the child equal to the right of the mother, Sue. I think of the Bible, when two women, both claiming to be the mother of a certain baby, went before King Solomon, hoping he would arbitrate and decide who the baby’s mother actually was. Solomon, in his wisdom, said that he would cut the baby in half and give the one-half to each woman. One woman then cried out and told Solomon to give the baby to the other woman. King Solomon now knew that the mother was the one who told him to give the baby to the other woman, because only the true mother would rather not have her baby at all and yet it at least gets to live, than to have half of her baby dead. So, in a court situation, I think the judge should side with Jim. Maybe the court can make Jim “compensate” Sue for carrying the baby to term, and maybe he should have to pay a pretty penny, but the mother should not be allowed to act against the wishes of Jim and end the pregnancy. She does not have to raise the child; she can just let Jim raise it if she does not want it.
Something else to consider- if Sue just gave birth to the child, then right after divorced Jim and said she didn’t want to raise the child alone and did not want to raise Jim’s child, nobody would allow her to end the life of the baby at that point. So, what is difference? Why call it murder after it is outside of the mother, and not call it murder when it is inside the mother? If you say that it is not fully developed in the mother, or that it is just beginning to develop very early on in the pregnancy, my question is this- does the embryo ever turn out to be anything other than a baby? I am not talking about manipulating it to make it into a lung or another organ, I am referring to the natural progression of things. Does a woman ever give birth to another kidney, or lung, or a tree or a dog? Of course this does not happen, that is because there is something uniquely human about this union between sperm and egg from the very beginning, from conception. So I argue that if it murder to snuff out the baby after it is born because it is human, then it is murder to snuff out the developing baby in the womb too, and because murder is illegal, Sue should not be allowed to have an abortion, but she can give up the child after it is born to Jim if she does not want it.  

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