Thursday, June 01, 2006

Abortion Makes My Head Hurt

My Good Friend, Dr. Denny Burk, wrote this post on his blog, and I couldn't help but use it here. I'm going to post it in its entirety because it makes some fantastic points about abortion. I still, for the life of me, can't understand how so many peace-loving Americans can buy in to such barbarism. I'm truly baffled by the abortion debate... or even that there is a debate at all.

Here's Dr. Burk's post:
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz reviews Ramesh Ponnuru’s anti-abortion tour de force The Party of Death. In this critical review, Berkowitz puts forth the same pro-abortion arguments that have been refuted time and again by pro-lifers. He writes:

Invisible to the naked eye, lacking body or brain, feeling neither pleasure nor pain, radically dependent for life support, the early embryo, though surely part of the human family, is distant and different enough from a flesh-and-blood newborn that when the early embryo’s life comes into conflict with other precious human goods or claims, the embryo’s life may need to give way (source).

The problem with Berkowitz’s critique is that none of the deficiencies he lists make a human a human. His argument is essentially this: “Since the unborn are really small, since they are not fully developed, since they are after all invisible to us in their mother’s womb, and since they are dependent upon another for life support, they therefore do not have a right to life as other persons do.”

Is this really what Berkowitz believes? Do we treat small people as less human than bigger people? Do we treat one-year olds as less human than fourteen year olds because the one-year olds aren’t fully developed yet? Do we treat the person who depends on insulin or kidney dialysis as less than human because of the degree of their dependency on another for life? Of course not. We don’t treat such people as less than human because we all know that personhood is not dependent upon size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency.

Berkowitz really misses the point here, and his critique of Ponnuru rings really hollow precisely for this reason.


Denny Burk said...

Thanks for the shout out to the homie!

ryan said...

Well-written. But has there ever been a logical defense of abortion? The only defense for abortion is to deny the human-ness of an embryo and I have never heard a logically-sound argument toward a human embryo being non-human. In fact, if you watch the people who insist that it isn't, I think most of them don't even believe themselves. It's the part of their rhetoric that they most often avoid and seem least passionate about.

Your Biggest Fan said...

Hi, Steve!
Quite a post. I don't know if I mentioned it to you, but about a month before the semester's end, all around campus an organization had erected gigantic billboard-sized posters covered with horrifying images of abortion. Often I only had time to slow my walk and catch segments of heated debates going on all around the site, but what I caught astonished me. One girl, whom I distinctly remember, insisted that a fetus acts as a "parasite" to a woman's body, and every woman has the right to treat her condition. My response is the same as yours. But then I though, how and why does this living person, who once depended on the care of some mother figure, so strongly believe this way? And how should someone like me even think about approaching her?
I guess it's part of college, especially one like mine, to encounter such ideas and have to really weigh them for yourself, when before the answers had been so clear. On my campus, to have opinions is to finally exist in relation to the world. And you'd better be ready to talk about it because everyone else is.

On a completely different subject, my sister said she had a great time with the kiddos. I miss you guys and love you!