How might an egoist argue about abortion?
An egoist might argue for abortion, noting that terminating a pregnancy might be in the best interest of an individual. Having a child can be a burden for a woman. She may have to earn extra money in order to support the child’s needs. She may lose out on opportunities she could have taken advantage of while childless – including attending college or going to parties with her friends. She may lose friends as her child’s emotional needs begin to take precedence. She may have a harder time finding romance, because it is easier to date while childless. An egoist might point to these losses as evidence that a woman should abort her child.
Is abortion a slippery slope to disposing of human beings society sees as unfit?
Allowing and sanctioning abortion sends society down a slippery slope, which leads to the disposal of human beings who are deemed “unfit.” There is evidence that abortion is used to prevent the birth of “undesirables” in China. According to the New York Times, sex-selection abortion has helped make “China’s sex ratio to 118 boys for every 100 girls.” Furthermore, abortion in America has a historical connection to the eugenics movement. Birth control advocates like Margaret Sanger who are still revered by today’s pro-abortion advocates met with colleagues such as Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color: The Threat Against White World-Supremacy to work toward preventing the births of people they deemed undesirable. According to Jefferis Kent Peterson, they “advocated abortion as a means of eliminating the poor; especially Blacks, Jews, Slavs, and Italians.”
While some might argue that the pro-abortion movement has long departed from these radical views, current abortion statistics indicate that some of the goals of these radical forefathers are being realized today. According to The Atlantic, “women of color are five times as likely to terminate a pregnancy as their white counterparts.” This is a result that might have pleased Sanger and Stoddard. Meanwhile, in today’s society, some argue that abortion based on abnormalities that may cause disabilities should be allowed. Opponents of this idea argue that allowing abortions such as these is insulting to disabled people and that it promotes the idea that the lives of disabled people are less valuable than the lives of others. This view is not only promoted by pro-abortion advocates. It has also come up in discussions about end-of-life care.
Cass Sunstein, regulatory Czar for the Obama administration has advocated favoring young people over the elderly when it comes to medical care. In 2003, he wrote, that when calculating the value of a statistical life he believed “that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives.” “A program,” he said, “that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”
If people accept the argument that abortion is justified when a fetus is likely to develop a disability, they are accepting a premise that is contrary to the idea expressed in America’s declaration of independence, that “all people are created equal”. Instead, they are saying that people are inherently unequal and that the value of a life changes according to health and capability. If people accept these ideas, then other people deemed less desirable could be at risk. Such reasoning could be used to deny end-of-life care to the elderly. It could be used to continue to increase the racial gap in abortions – and if the wrong people were to gain political power, it might even be used to justify harming political opponents. The justification of abortion, therefore, might send the nation down a slippery slope.
- Dutton, Zoe. “Abortion’s Racial Gap.” 22 September 2014. The Atlantic. Online. 5 December 2014.
- Jian, Ma. “China’s Brutal One-Child Policy.” 21 May 2013. The New York Times. online. 5 December 2014.
- Peterson, Jefferis Kent. “Abortion – A Liberal Cause?” 28 April 2009. MIT. Online. 5 November 2014.