Regarding an Inalienable Right

Regarding an Inalienable Right

A Chapter by Paul

Making choices about our bodies


Regarding an Inalienable Right


Abortion is disturbing. It is ridiculous not to acknowledge this. When I think about abortion my gut reaction is to be anti-abortion. “Pro-lifers” will say that this is natural and I should go with my intuition. Intuition is a tool that humans have often used to make decisions to be proud of and ashamed of; it is rarely the best tool for complicated issues. Some things deserve more than a gut reaction.

I am repulsed at the thought of a fetus being disposed of. I am saddened at the thought of a dependent life, with the potential to eventually be an independent human life, ending. In this repugnance and sadness, it is easy to forget about the already independent life. In my disgust at the procedure itself, at my disappointment with the seeming frailty of ethics in this matter, I forget that I cannot be involved in this decision. An individual does not lose any of their rights because they have become pregnant. All sides can agree that there is at least one independent, sentient, human life in this convoluted equation. The person who is pregnant.

The rights we have as individuals should not disappear due to a pregnancy. I am aware of the uniqueness of this status, another life has begun. In this matter I do not think it is worthwhile to argue about when life begins. I see only two clear markers in this situation: conception and birth. Perhaps science will one day find a marker between conception and birth; I will deal with what I know now. A fetus can live outside the womb before nine months have elapsed, this has been proven medically. There is no sense arguing this point. This leaves us with conception as the other clear marker. We have the beginning of life. All sides can, at the least, agree that a fetus can become an independent, sentient, human life.

When is this potential realized? When can we say that this is a sentient being? The definition of sentience understood as being aware, conscious of sense perceptions. I am sure an argument about an exact definition could last for many, many pages. I will save us the effort. It does not matter in this instance.  

I cannot think of a situation to compare to the ethical and legal dilemma that comes with a person choosing whether they want to be pregnant. Despite the complicated nature of this situation, there is a simple truth. Every individual, of sound mind, should be able to decide what happens with their body. Only a totalitarian government, based on a religious or philosophical dogma, would assume the right to decide what happens with an individual’s body. Religions can forbid abortion in their ranks. Political parties can speak out against using public money to fund the practice. But no free society can make an individual stay pregnant.

This is the starting point and the ending point on this issue. I defy anyone to tell me how a society has the right to make an individual carry a child to term. This does not deny the awfulness of the situation. This does not void the philosophy of any religious group. Again, individuals and groups within the society can choose to make abortion a “sin” for themselves. No free society can mandate “sin” to an individual. Society, government, is here to manage the interactions between individuals. Individuals must manage themselves. The individual who is pregnant gets to make the decision because we can be sure of their wishes, we can be sure of their sentience. Perhaps a time will come when medical science will perfect a procedure in which any fetus can be removed from an individual and kept alive until it can be raised by society. A person unwilling to carry a child to term will have access to this procedure and there will be no need for abortions. All of the anti-abortion groups can put their energy and money toward finding homes for these now independent individuals. These once unwanted and possibly disabled individuals can find the resources and care that these groups will give to them.

Until that time comes, anti-abortion groups can put their energies toward preaching their beliefs. They can try to convince a pregnant woman that it is better to give birth. I would hope they would promise more than encouragement to this woman. The religious people I know would all agree that a group intent on raising unwanted children would be more charitable than a group intent on making a woman’s pregnancy crisis more miserable. And it is no mistake that this paragraph is the first time I have referred to the pregnant individual as a woman. Pregnancy is a crisis for many women. It can be a crisis for whole families but it is the woman's body specifically that is in question. It is her individual rights we are discussing. Spending time and money on alleviating the issues that come from a crisis pregnancy seems a much more fulfilling mandate than demonizing someone in crisis; demonizing someone who is exercising their right to make choices about their body.

There is no pleasant resolution to this issue. There is only a truth that we, as members of a free society, have agreed to abide by. Each person, being of sound mind, has sovereignty over their own body. This is the most extreme example of this mindset that we all believe in. No one can deny that abortion also means the end of a journey toward independent life for another. In this situation, the already reasoning, independent, pregnant individual gets to decide the outcome. 

© 2021 Paul

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Added on June 2, 2021
Last Updated on June 2, 2021



I am writing in the Mid Atlantic area of the United States, mostly non-fiction at this time. I am a song writer as well. Also of interest could be- http://bookstore.trafford... more..

Regarding... Regarding...

A Book by Paul