What if life is not something that comes about because a body in a womb has reached enough maturity to survive outside the womb? What if life exists even prior to conception? If this is true, how does it change the way we understand termination of pregnancy? Let us not cloud the discussion with religion. Let us neither cloud with rape, nor liberation and equal rights for women. They are separate issues after all. Let us simply consider our degree of certainty in the way we understand life, consciousness and person hood. Let us question the level of trust we place in government / law / science … how safe are their truths? Because after all they are often the unchallenged axioms upon which we reason our decision making.
The Bodily Concept of Life
In simple terms ‘I am my body’ and I therefore do not exist outside / before / after my body being alive. In terms of abortion law, in many parts of the world, this means I do not exist until my mother has been pregnant for 24 weeks.
When an abortion can be carried out … most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy (NHS, UK)
After 24 weeks I am a person, before I am not a person – I have no rights. So it is okay for my mother to have an abortion before 24 weeks, but after 24 it becomes illegal … akin to murder. At least that is the view in the eyes of the law of some of the countries of this planet at this time. How sure are we that is way of looking at life is safe. Is it safe enough? Safe enough to be 100% sure we are not inadvertently betraying someone who has chosen to become our child?
And anyway, what has viability outside the womb got to do with right to life? Because after birth a baby continues to be completely dependent on a mother/father/other carer(s). The baby is dependent within the womb from day 1 of conception right through childhood. Surely those upon whom they dependent have a duty of care? Contrast the attitude ‘my body / my choice’ with ‘my dependent / my responsibility’. Which do you think is more liberated? Let us not confuse the issue with pregnancy coming about because of abuse … therefore xxx. Abuse is wrong, but we all know two wrongs don’t make a right.
[Work in progress – article not completed]