The coup of relativism in the abortion holocaust is that it convinced societies that abortion does not end a human life but stop it from being. It created a false distinction between biological potentiality and actualization of that potential. The argument often goes like this:
Something is not truly alive until x or y or personhood is not achieved until z or w.
The biological fact that a unique human being is created at the moment of conception is irrelevant because biological potentiality does not equate with personhood only the fulfillment of some arbitrary or subjective developmental landmark. In other words life that is afforded rights only begins after some subjective conditions have been fulfilled. One extreme example, is clearly articulated by Joyce Arthur in an article titled the Fetus Focus Fallacy:
“We all have our own opinions about what the moral status of the fetus might be. Some people believe a fertilized egg is a full human being with an absolute right to life that supersedes any right of the woman. Others believe that a fetus attains moral value only after it becomes viable, or upon birth. But that’s all these beliefs are – opinions. There’s no way to decide between them, because they’re entirely subjective and emotional. Therefore, the only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman. The status of her fetus and any moral value accorded to it is entirely her call. A fetus becomes a human being when the woman carrying it decides it does.”
The Fetus Focus Fallacy
The beginning of life, according to Joyce Arthur, is a matter of opinion, an arbitrary delineation that can only be bestowed by an “act of the will” of the biological mother. This absurdity states that being human is not an intrinsic property of humanity, but rather an acquired trait that is only bestowed by an intellectual accent of another human being: “A fetus becomes a human being when the woman carrying it decides it does”. This is perfectly consistent with relativism. In that it presupposes that A) objective truth cannot be known and therefore B) truth is only relative to the opinion of the individual. In the case of abortion the only opinion that matters is that of the mother. The explicit outcome of such argumentation is the denigration of the dignity of human life to a subjective opinion. The consequence is about 730,000 abortions in the US alone in 2011, according to the CDC. That is almost a million lives quenched before they were born.
The problem with such a framework is that it removes the intrinsic value of human life by imposing conditions on it. It ignores the biological fact that at the moment of conception a unique and different human being is created. That its value is not dependent on achieving some developmental stage, but that is intrinsic to its creation. In the words of Dr. Zeus: “A person, is a person no matter how small.”
This post was a continuation of Relativism and Natural Law.
For a detail and frankly better explication of the issue of Abortion read Trent Horn book, from which I draw guidance in writing this post:
Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk about Our Culture’s Toughest Issue