I don't want to get all political here, or even especially controversial (though it's hard to avoid that with this topic), but I've been thinking about abortion a bit lately, and so I figured I'd post my thoughts.
Primarily I've been ruminating on two pro-choice arguments. First, that a woman should have the right to choose what she does with her body. This is, of course, the central position of the pro-choice side, and while I remain unconvinced, lately I've been having trouble even seeing how an abortion-rights supporter could whole-heartedly embrace this argument (and that's not meant to be an insult; it's just my honest thought-process).
I've had two major strands of thought about this idea: First, we routinely regulate what a person can do with their bodies. And even when we don't regulate we routinely have well-developed opinions about how other people should act. It almost seems to be human nature that we care what other people do with their bodies. I certainly understand the argument from autonomy, but I'm wondering if the philosophical underpinnings there wouldn't unravel with some pressure.
Secondly, with regard to the "woman's body" argument, is a question of just how far that goes. There seems to be a general societal disdain for pregnant women who drink/smoke/eat deli meat, because it can be so damaging to her child. Yet, if people really embrace the "woman's body" argument, then don't they have to be completely hands off with regard to pregnancy behaviors too?
The second general position I've been thinking about is the more laissez-faire abortion approach. I've never understood how someone can say "the woman has to make the decision, so no one else should have an opinion" or the related, gender specific, "I'm a man, so since I will never have to make this decision my opinion doesn't really count and I'll just stay out of it." Why is experience (or potential experience) a prerequisite to a position? Sure, we can qualify those with experience as experts, but only in-so-far as experience is an important element. Surely with a question like abortion other things are going to be relevant, like philosophical, medical, or moral insight. Shouldn't people with views based on those qualifications be entitled - and even encouraged - to share their insights into the problem?
I guess what I'm saying here is that I can respect the pro-life position, and I can respect the pro-choice position, but I have a lot of trouble with the laissez-faire position.
For anyone who reads Zhubin's blog, yes, this was largely prompted by the discussion in the comments section of his latest post.
The summit doesn't differ from the deep, dark valley,
And the valley doesn't differ from the kitchen sink.