Capitalism Magazine’s article, Abortion Rights are Pro-Life, has convinced me that my position in the debate on abortion is weak. I used to take the view that abortion violated the rights of a child, and that therefore it was immoral (in most cases). On the other hand, I didn’t believe the government should do anything about abortion. As Milton Friedman said: “The government solution to a problem is usually worse than the problem.” The last things I want to happen are backstreet abortions, mothers killing themselves and so on. It would be morally acceptable for government to protect the rights of the fetus, but not practicable.
The fundamental shift in my thinking is that I no longer believe that a fetus has individual rights – or, at the very least, I’m not so sure as I once was. As the article says:
“what it actually is during the first trimester is a mass of relatively undifferentiated cells that exist as a part of a woman’s body. If we consider what it is rather than what it might become, we must acknowledge that the embryo under three months is something far more primitive than a frog or a fish.”
I’m very happy for fish and cows to be killed to provide me with food, and the reason is that I do not believe they have the same rights as humans. If a fetus is more primative than these, how can I justify saying its rights are greater?