Archive for March 15th, 2014

March 15, 2014

The abortion flap

by Neil Rickert

There has been some recent discussion of abortion, following a statement by Dave Silverman about the secular case against abortion.

My current inclination is to agree with Libby Anne, who points out the secular argument against abortion is just the argument against abortion.  There is nothing especially secular about it.  Perhaps the catholics have a specifically theistic argument, based on declarations from the papacy.  But evangelicals do not.  If anything, their holy book seems to approve abortion in at least some circumstances.

So what am I to make of the post by Massimo Pigliucci:

In that post, Massimo writes:

Of course there are logical, science-based, and rational arguments against abortion.

The argument against abortion is a moral argument.  I’ll grant Massimo that there are rational arguments, because we do reason about moral questions.  But I fail to see that there are logical arguments.  Morality does not emerge from the use of logic.  When we apply logical reasoning, the moral points can be found in the premises, not in the logic.

I really wonder about his comment on a science-based argument against abortion.  Is this the same Massimo as the one who disagreed with Sam Harris’s claim that there is a scientific basis for morality?

My own position

So what’s my position on abortion?  I personally am opposed, except for special cases such as whether the mother’s health is threatened.  But, frankly, this is a cheap position for me, as a male, to hold.  The decision on abortion should be made by the pregnant woman.  Nobody else is entitled to make her moral judgments.  So call me pro-choice.  The best way to deal with abortion is to avoid unwanted pregnancy.  So call me pro-birth-control.

In summary, I’m not sure what the flap is all about, other than politics.  The abortion issue has received far more discussion than it warrants.