What every single open letter to New Zealand abortion providers sounds like to me

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Here’s what every single open letter to New Zealand abortion providers sounds like to me.

To New Zealand baby killers,

The Infanticide Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ILRANZ) would like to thank you for all the amazing work you do, often unseen and unacknowledged. While we do not write this type of letter nearly as often as we should, those of us who pursue a pro-death agenda admire and respect the enormous role you play in ensuring and enabling access to baby killing services. We know that providing these services is all too frequently done at a cost to your own safety and wellbeing. We honour your bravery; bearing the brunt of pro-life rebukes, threats and attempts to expose clinic/medical providers as villains.

ILRANZ and pro-death supporters know better. We know that in an ideal world, one we strive to attain, that what you do should be understood as a basic health service. That killing babies should be one part of a wider sexual and reproductive health strategy that enables access free of charge and without barriers to those who need it; without judgement, without recrimination, and without fearing for one’s safety. There would be no stigma and no shame because baby killing would be conceptualised as a basic human right and an integrated health service.

We also know that inside the four walls of slaughterhouses and butcheries around the country that women get some of the best baby killing in the world. You play a fundamental role in ensuring these services continue, but also that pregnant people (especially women) are cared for, listened to and provided with the best option based on individual need. The time spent holding someone’s hand as they explain why killing their own unborn child is their only option. …

That’s enough of that. The cold hard fact of the matter is that the above adaptation is exactly how the original letter sounds to many. (It didn’t always sound that way to me.) Anyone interested can read more at the link above.

What I’d like to do now is present an argument against abortion.

It’s called the Argument from Caution.

(The following is closely based on this article by Matt Flannagan.)

Suppose one morning you are in the bush hunting deer. You have been informed that at some point that morning a party of school children is going to be hiking along the deer trail where you are hunting. Mid-morning you hear rustling and see movement in the bushes. Despite careful examination you are unable to ascertain whether the movement you see is a human being, a deer, or another animal. Are you justified in shooting at the target?

The answer is clearly no … This is because

(i) You know that at some point in the morning, in that place, a human being will be present;
(ii) It is morning and you are perceiving a living object in that place; and
(iii) You are unable to identify whether what you perceive is a human being or not.

It would be an act of gross recklessness or negligence to destroy the target because these three facts are in play. A similar argument applies in the case of killing a pre-natal human being.

You know that at some point between (and including) conception and birth, a human being with an unalienable right to life comes into existence. You know that a pre-natal human being is in existence during this period of time. Hence, unless it is beyond reasonable doubt that a pre-natal human being does not have an unalienable right to life, it is seriously immoral to destroy it.

Now I don’t know what theory of human rights the author of the original open letter subscribes to (or even if she has one) or when she thinks human life begins. I subscribe to a Jeffersonian theory of human rights, and I think that human life begins at conception.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

But, for the sake or argument, it matters not whether my theory of human rights, or view about when life begins, or hers, are true. That’s the whole point of the Argument from Caution. Caution mandates that we assume that human life begins at conception and that an unborn child has an unalienable right to life from that point onwards.

See also Saturn’s Children. Libertarianism and Abortion.

See also Butchered at birth.

POSTSCRIPT. Please don’t confuse evincing a quite staggering degree of hypocrisy with exercising a prerogative to change one’s mind. Do as I say, not as I have done.

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7 Responses to What every single open letter to New Zealand abortion providers sounds like to me

  1. Adam says:

    While it might be difficult to determine when human life actually begins, the safest bet is to assume it is, unless you can actually prove otherwise. It’s much like being innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    • Richard says:

      Caution mandates that we assume that human life begins at conception and that an unborn child has an unalienable right to life from that point onwards!

  2. reed says:

    Hmm… I’m not able to comment at mandm.org.nz anymore.

    Matt – if you read this can you allow me to comment on your site please.

  3. Heather Goode says:

    Human life may begin at conception but there has to be some pragmatism. What are my miscarriages? Manslaughter if a cause is found to be something I did. How much work should go into the 1 in 4 pregnancies that end in miscarriage. Pregnancy is a potentially life threatening condition and often leads to life-long serious health conditions. I personally know women who got asthma, diabetes, celiac, lupus, broken tailbone, psychosis, depression, liver disease, and breast cancer (and yes that pregnancy was terminated to stop the hormones increasing the growth rate and probably saved this woman’s life) from their pregnancies. I respect your views Richard but really it’s not a decision you will ever personally be faced with so black and white pronouncements are easier for you.

    • Richard says:

      What are my miscarriages? Manslaughter if a cause is found to be something I did.

      Good counterargument. :-)

    • reed says:

      What are my miscarriages? Manslaughter if a cause is found to be something I did.

      If a person’s child dies and the cause is found to be something the parent did then the parent could be guilty of murder, manslaughter or it could just be an unfortunate accident.

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