Fun with hypotheticals!

We'll be doing a really terrific Second Saturday about abortion in the not-too-distant future (not October) that I've been working on and planning for quite some time. But in relation to a friend's question, I thought I'd share some food for thought that we'll be discussing when we do tackle that topic.

Want to have fun? Get into a debate with a rabid anti-choicer and pose the following scenarios to them:

  1. If abortion is illegal, then what should the penalty be for women who have one? Should they be charged with murder? If so, how long should their sentence be? Should there be a different level of punishment for women who abort for "unacceptable" reasons (poverty, not ready to be a parent, don't want kids, abusive situation, too many kids already, etc.) vs. women who abort for acceptable reasons (rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother)? If so, why? Also, what method will be used to determine the mother's reasons for committing the crime? Answers should be in essay format.
  2. A fertility clinic is on fire. You believe life begins at conception and thus, heroically charge in to save the thousands of frozen embryos about to be destroyed, when you discover a two year old child trapped inside the clinic. You only have time to save either the child or the thousands of frozen embryos. Which do you save? Why or why not? Show your work.

Scenario 1: Most anti-choicers recoil at the idea of charging women with murder, yet that's the logical progression of what they're advocating. If they're truly committed to the idea that abortion is murder, they should have no compunction with the logical consequences of murder. Additionally, if the woman's reasons for having an abortion can determine her punishment, then how can it be justified that abortion is the taking of an innocent life? After all, regardless of whether the woman aborted her pregnancy because she has too many mouths to feed or doesn't want to carry her father's child, it's not the fetus' fault how or why it was conceived, and murder is still murder. And although the law does allow the consideration of extenuating circumstances in determining punishment, it doesn't allow no punishment at all when a crime is committed. What would be the appropriate criminal punishment for an incest vicitm's abortion?

(If you do happen to get an anti-choicer who agrees the woman should be charged with murder...well, at least they're consistent. :)

Scenario 2: If they truly believe life begins at conception, there should be no reason to choose the child over the thousands of embryos.

No comments: