19 Dec, 15 | by Iain Brassington
Abortion is always going to be a controversial topic. For what it’s worth, I hold that there’s nothing wrong with it. That’s me speaking from my habitual non-consequentialist position. From a more utilitarian perspective, I’m willing to concede that, given the choice between world A, in which abortions happen, and world B, in which they don’t because noone gets pregnant without wanting it, and everyone is perfectly happy to continue with her pregnancy, A is worse. But A is nevertheless a whole lot less bad than world C, in which women are compelled to continue with pregnancies they don’t want. In other words, there’s no need or desire for abortion in super-happy-fluffy world, and super-happy-fluffy world is better than the real world – but we live in the real world, and having abortions available makes the real world better than it could be.
I’d like to think that I’m doughty enough to have my mind changed on this, though. Should someone have a really good argument for the wrongness of abortion, or the overwhelming badness, I’d like to think that I could be persuaded – that I’d let the argument go wherever it takes me. I think that that’s just intellectual honesty. It’s just that I have yet to come across an argument that I find persuasive, and I don’t even know what such an argument would look like.
What I can say is that, while I find even the best pro-life arguments unpersuasive, some are worse than others, though. There’s a guy who keeps posting to the Bioethics Facebook group with links to lamentably bad arguments. And, of course, there’s the CMF.
On their blog, Philippa Taylor has been getting herself into a tizzy about the recent ruling that Northern Ireland’s very restrictive laws contravene human rights legislation, and suggests that there is a whole range of reasons why the law should not be changed there.
Let’s have a look… more…