One does not need to go very far to find examples of rather confused thinking about abortion. Indeed, both intellectual and moral confusion typically abound in many cases of pro-abortion argument. Inconsistencies and outright contradictions are often the order of the day in such arguments.
We have a great example of this in today’s Herald Sun. A female columnist there has produced an article which amply demonstrates the confused and muddled thinking of the pro-abortion crowd. Indeed, it is one of the more illogical and chaotic pieces I have come across of late.
I refer to Sally Morrell’s “Sex selection ban means tragic choice” article. It is a bizarre and contradictory defence of sex-selection via IVF. She thinks this is a perfectly acceptable procedure, and she oddly claims that if it were legal here, the tragedy of the twins’ death I wrote about recently would have been avoided:
In this case a Victorian couple aborted perfectly healthy twins conceived by IVF because they wanted a girl instead. She foolishly argues that if the ban on sex selection were removed, this never would have happened, and even says this at the end of her piece: “No, it’s the babies lost that must be our real concern here and for that reason alone the law must change so that no more will we see parents disposing of one child to make way for another.”
Already there is so much muddled thinking here to deal with that one hardly knows where to begin – and much more confusion awaits us! There are very good reasons for outlawing sex selection. The chief one is that children should always be viewed as an end in themselves, not simply as a means to some adult’s selfish ends.
Children of any sex are always of value and worth for who they are, not because of their gender. But once we allow gender selection to take place, we open the door for all sorts of other trivial reasons to produce designer babies. If we can argue for the gender of a child today, then why not argue for hair colour, or height, or right-handedness tomorrow?
So there is no guarantee whatsoever that the legalisation of sex-selection will prevent abortions for a whole host of superficial and trivial reasons.
But consider her strange words here: “it’s the babies lost that must be our real concern here”. But why Sally? Only if we think the unborn baby has an inherent right to life does such a comment make sense. Yet Sally tells us that “I’m not anti-abortion”.
Sorry Sally, but you can’t have it both ways. If you are pro-abortion, then why would you worry about “babies lost”? Indeed, she confuses everyone with this odd line: “I can understand people being horrified by the abortion of the twin boys. I’m appalled myself. While I’m not anti-abortion, I deplore abortion being used as contraception or for sex-selection.”
Why in the world does the abortion of these twins appal you Sally if you are not against abortion? What you have just told us is this: ‘Abortion appals me but I am not against abortion’. Go figure. What she seems to mean – but is not even clear about herself – is that some forms of abortion are OK while some others are not.
But why? How can the killing of an unborn child be sometimes acceptable, but sometimes unacceptable? Indeed, unless we regard the unborn as having real moral status – that is, unless we regard the fetus as a human being with an inherent right to life – then why should she be appalled at any abortion done for any reason?
Either the unborn child is a human being – a person with a fundamental right to life – or he or she is not. If not, then one should no more worry about the “termination” of these healthy twin boys than one should worry about clipping one’s fingernails.
Sally cannot have it both ways. If we are talking about a real human being with a real right to life, then surely killing him or her is morally wrong. But if there is no humanity and personhood attached to the unborn, then all abortion should be morally acceptable and nothing to be appalled at.
But wait, there’s more. Sally does not seem to even have a basic understanding how the sex-selection process works. Recall that she said this: “I deplore abortion being used as contraception or for sex-selection”. Yet her entire article is one long defence of sex-selection!
Does she even know how this process works? It seems she wouldn’t have a clue. So let me fill in the picture for her. As Christopher Kaczor reminds us in his important new book, The Ethics of Abortion (Routledge, 2011), there are several ways in which this can take place:
“Sex selection can occur in three ways, prior to conception via sperm separation, after conception but before implantation via genetic diagnosis of IVF embryos, and after implantation via abortion.” What Sally evidently is not aware of is the fact that the third technique – abortion of the fetus during the course of pregnancy – is by far the most widespread means.
Thus in most cases of sex-selection, what we have is an abortion to rid the couple of either a male or female unborn baby. But recall the position of Sally: she is fully in favour of sex selection, but she is against abortion for sex selection!
She might as well seek to argue that she is fully in favour of children driving cars, but dead-set against 2-15 year olds driving ! Thus the utter incoherence and illogic of her argument. But clear thinking and careful moral reasoning is seldom a strong point of the pro-abortion crowd.
What we have here is yet another example of mushy moralising and conceptual confusion. But this is nothing new in the abortion wars. Sadly it seems to go with the territory. But if anything, error highlights truth, and sloppy thinking helps point to clarity of thought, so at least for that reason we can be thankful for her article.