That title may have you thinking that I’m going loopy, but never fear. My position on abortion remains the same, it’s just some of the reasoning behind it which is being revisited.
Mandi’s writing a paper on abortion for one of her Masters’ classes, so we’ve been “discussing forcefully” the various positions on abortion. She read a book on the subject by a Christian author that infuriated her because of its lack of regard for the woman involved (i.e. passive vessel, etc.). That may be the biggest failing of the pro-life position: that in our defense of the rights of the foetus/baby/whatever terminology floats your boat, we have been ignoring the rights of the mother.
The flipside is true as well: the biggest failing of the pro-choice argument is the failure to take into account the rights of the foetus, assigning instead all rights to the mother.
The middle path is what interests me: what happens if we equate the rights of the mother with the rights of the foetus, as in they have the same legal/moral standing and their rights are equal. Why it becomes interesting to take this middle road is because the foetus wins by default. Unless you can conceive of some right the mother has that trumps the right to life of the foetus, the baby will always be brought to term, except in instances where it threatens the life of the mother to continue the pregnancy. Is convenience a big enough right to trump the right to life if the mother and foetus are equal? Is escape from the mental anguish from a rape or incest a big enough right to trump the right to life of a foetus? Neither of those rights are codified into law the way the right to life is, so it would appear that the foetus has the stronger argument.
Even in those rare cases where the mother’s life is threatened, the rights are balanced, not automatically in favour of the mother. Something like an ectopic pregnancy is an easy decision because the mother will die and the baby cannot be brought to term. But consider the case of a mother with treatable but progressive cancer. Does her right to live (i.e. through chemo or radiation therapy) automatically trump the foetus’s right to live, if the baby can be brought to term before the mother’s cancer is untreatable? Tough call.