Thursday, November 19, 2020

An "elevator speech" defense of abortion

Simplifying complex issues is often problematic. One problem is that simplications is that they sometimes lead to mere slogans and soundbites that are totally unpersuasive to anyone who doesn't already agree with the point of view of the slogan. Simplifications also sometimes don't contribute to any greater understanding of the issues, even an understanding of why their current understanding might be missing something. 

With that in mind, here's a simplification adapted from the Preface of Thinking Critically About Abortion

Why is abortion not wrong and should be legal? 
Let's begin with less morally-controversial claims: adults, children and babies are wrong to kill and wrong to kill, fundamentally, because they, we, are conscious, aware and have feelings. But since early fetuses entirely lack these characteristics, they are not inherently wrong to kill and so most abortions are not morally wrong, since most abortions are done early in pregnancy, before consciousness and feeling develop in the fetus.

And since the right to life is not the right to someone else’s body, fetuses might not have the right to the pregnant woman’s body—which she has the right to—and so she has the right to not allow the fetus use of her body.

Such an extended soundbite or "elevator speech" is not perfect, but it has the advantages of raising the questions of why anyone or anything is wrong to kill and the question of what the right to life is a right to

How would people respond to this elevator speech? What might work better and best? 

Here are some ideas from the Respect People Foundation


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