Pro-life vs. Pro-choice

Roe vs. Wade and other ongoing debates demonstrate that the question of the rights of the foetus vs. the rights of mothers (fathers are rarely spoken of) is far from settled. I have to provide a suggestion on what must be done by way of preamble to any such solution.

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...on, communication, and self-concept . . . must be present before persons can be spoken of. Strictly speaking therefore, abortion is allowable throughout pregnancy. Because incipient mothers are clearly persons, their rights trump those of foetuses at any stage of pregnancy. Indeed, in Britain and elsewhere, the possibility of 'fourth trimester abortion' is now being discussed. This is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Western nations permit abortions during both first and second trimesters, in the context of techniques competent to rescue infants born in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. In other words, there is already an overlap of a month or so, if viability outside the womb is the criterion.

Pro-lifers, again claiming self-evident truth, stipulate that every fetus is a person: each possesses a complete genetic code, attains human appearance early on and - most importantly - has the potential of full personhood. From the moment of conception, every fetus is a human being. Therefore, since it is wrong to kill human beings - even when they are asleep or unconscious for other reasons - abortion is murder.

Pro-choicers wield no less provocative challenges. They charge that pro-lifers focus upon the fetus to the exclusion of individual rights. If women to be considered moral agents, only they have the right to make decisions so intimately involved in every aspect of their lives.

A subsidiary pro-choice argument suggests that abortions have been difficult to obtain historically because pregnancy and child-rearing render women emotionally and financially dependant upon particular men. ...