Most Americans, even those who generally support a ‘right’ to abortion, don’t like the idea of later-term abortions.
Ann Furedi points out why this is intellectually dishonest:
To the ‘ethical straddlers’ concerned about gestation we must ask: is there anything qualitatively different about a fetus at, say, 28 weeks that gives it a morally different status to a fetus at 18 weeks or even eight weeks? It certainly looks different because its physical development has advanced. At 28 weeks we can see it is human – at eight weeks a human embryo looks much like that of a hamster. But are we really so shallow, so fickle, as to let our view on moral worth be determined by appearance? Even if at five weeks we can only see an embryonic pole, we know that it is human. The heart that can be seen beating on an ultrasound scan at six weeks is as much a human heart as the one that beats five months later.
That sounds like a great case against all abortions!
However, she’s actually arguing the opposite.
The moral principle at stake in the debate on later abortions, the one that genuinely matters, has been ignored completely in the recent discussions. This is the principle of moral autonomy in respect of reproductive decisions. To argue that a woman should no longer be able to make a moral decision about the future of her pregnancy, because 20 or 18 or 16 weeks have passed, assaults this and, in doing so, assaults the tradition of freedom of conscience that exists in modern pluralistic society.
Let’s remember what moral autonomy gets us on ANY issue:
None is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10).
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
And let us also not forget what moral autonomy means in this case – the destruction of a small human being by larger human beings.
Even a pluralistic society dictates limits on that sort of behavior for the sake of the weaker members. Where that weaker member lives shouldn’t make a difference.