I must say that I started off enjoying Mark Ira Kaufman’s letter to the editor in 11 September’s edition of the Akron Beacon Journal supporting abortion rights. Not that I agree with him, but that he supplied some different things about which to think – until he fell into the pothole of mudslinging at the end. But if you don’t mind, let us take a look at what he said.
Concerning whether a pregnant woman is one person or two, he makes the arguments that it is completely subjective and up to the woman. Those who see things otherwise “cannot distinguish between an acorn and an oak tree.” Using his same metaphor I would argue that the actually is referring to himself. The root of the word semen means “seed.” There is the seed, not after it has been sown.
Referring to another letter he writes, “the writer and her ilk insist that one is a person from conception. Do they calculate their ages from conception of from birth?” This is a clever argument though he is debating a convention, nothing scientific or theological. That is why they are called “birth”days and not “having become a person” days. Can you imagine trying to calculate when a person was conceived (especially in ages before modern science?) With some couples it might be easy, with others – it could have been any number of times. Celebrating birthdays is a convention, not a theological declaration.
“Do they demand citizenship for the conceived?” Yes. Well, at least protection from the government that is charged for the protection of all in their care. But once again, it is highly impractical. If one travels out of the country much, how does one prove where one is conceived? It is far easier to prove where one is born. This again is a convention, not a statement on personhood.
“How about habeas corpus for unlawful incarcerated “citizen” inside a pregnant prison inmate?” Interesting but silly. This one made me smile. Of course the natural place for a baby is in the womb. That is where the baby experiences health and the baby’s most ideal freedom. That is true almost wherever the mother is. The baby is not also incarcerated, he is where he is supposed to be.
“Can a pregnant woman take a tax deduction the moment the test strip turns blue?” No she can’t. But this argument supposes that the state has the power to make morals. It does not have that power unless there is no God. If there is no God, then those with power make the morals. If there is a God, persons have dignity no matter what the state says since it is their inalienable right given to them by their Creator and not by any human person or action.
So can a woman be the only person who can decide if she is two persons or one? No. Either a person is a person or they are not. If the issue is in doubt, we must err toward the possibility that we are dealing with a human person. If we are willing to take the risk that we are killing off thousands of our own human beings, then I throw Mr. Kaufman’s line back at him with slight modifications:
Any nation allowing its mothers to kill the babies in their wombs surrenders the privilege of self-identifying as civilized.
The rest of his letter is unsubstantiated statements and little mudslinging and not worthy of comment.