This is a paper I wrote in seminary showing why abortion is wrong on the basis of reason, philosophy, science, the founding documents of our nation, and Scripture. I’ve been intending to post it for quite a while, along with most of my other papers, and with the Planned Parenthood revelations going on, right now seems as good a time as any to post this.
II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PERSONHOOD
A. The Dignity of Human Beings
B. Human, or a Human Person?
C. Personhood and the Constitution
D. Personhood and Arguments for Abortion Rights
1. The Right to Privacy
2. A Woman’s Right to Do What She Wants With Her Body
3. The Back Alley Argument
4. “If you don’t agree with it, just don’t do it”
III. THE UNBORN AS HUMAN PERSONS
A. The Unborn Are Living
B. The Unborn Are Living Humans
C. The Unborn Are Living Human Persons
1. Unique Individuality
2. Personhood is Ontological, not Functional
3. Gradualism Fails
4. Scriptural Testimony
5. The Existence of the Soul
6. The Inconsistency of Denying Personhood to the Unborn
The purpose of this paper is to argue that the unborn, from the moment of conception, have a right to life that is on the same level as infants, children, and adults. An induced abortion at any stage, therefore, is a form of discrimination that ought to be just as unthinkable to our society as slavery and genocide. Indeed, our society’s permissiveness toward abortion is nothing short of hypocritical when placed next to its passion for political correctness. In a society where so many run eagerly to show sensitivity towards the “rights” of nearly every special interest group, no matter how extreme, it is unconscionable that the rights of the weakest and most defenseless among us are revoked in the name of “choice” more than one million times a year.
The discrimination inherent in abortion may be termed natalism. As philosopher and ethicist Francis Beckwith explains, natalism is “the denial of the fundamental human right to life to a segment of human beings simply because they are not post-uterine.” Natalism is a form of prejudice that is even worse than its counterparts of racism, ethnocentrism, and sexism because the end result is almost always the death of its victims:
Just as skin color (racism), ethnic origin (ethnocentrism), gender (sexism), national power (imperialism), and birth date (ageism) are irrelevant to one’s possession of fundamental human rights, so is one’s degree of development and location inside or outside the womb (natalism). Unfortunately, this politically correct prejudice, manifested in the practice of abortion, nearly always results in the death of its victim.
Our argument that natalism ought to be unthinkable in our society will proceed in two steps. First, we will argue that whether the unborn have a right to life on the same level with all who are post-uterine is completely settled on the basis of one question: Are the unborn human persons? Second, we will argue that, from the moment of conception, the unborn are indeed human persons—and therefore in possession of a right to life equal to that of all other people.