There's an argument against abortion that says this:
- since it would be (and is) wrong to harm a fetus—say by a pregnant woman smoking (too much) or using certain drugs or drinking far too much alcohol [leading to fetal alcohol syndrome] or otherwise acting in ways that are dangerous to the fetus—abortion is also wrong; or,
- if it's wrong to do things that are damaging to a fetus (and it is), it's also wrong to damage a fetus by aborting it, especially since abortion is a greater "damage."
This argument has been dubbed the "impairment argument" against abortion and has gotten some development and defense in philosophical journals.
While the argument might be new and might seem clever (maybe another "zinger"?), it at least seems that the argument just isn't good, for pretty simple and obvious reasons.
Simply put, why is causing, say, fetal alcohol syndrome wrong? Why is someone knowingly and avoidably causing something like this blameworthy?
The most obvious and straightforward answer is this:
- causing fetal alcohol syndrome (and other similar conditions) is wrong because it leads to a future person having a worse quality of life, a more difficult life, than they would have had if they had not had fetal alcohol syndrome: life would have been better for them if their mother did not do what she did.