Let me state, at the outset, that I am pro-choice.
We human beings share an inherent right to exercise dominion over our bodies, and to make choices derived of this right. In America we impose limits on this right of bodily dominion. We have laws prohibiting suicide, prohibiting the use of illicit drugs, and controlling other means of ingestion such as smoking and drinking alcohol. We entrust parents to exercise benevolent dominion over the bodies of their young children; we allow the state considerable dominion over those in our armed forces; and we incarcerate criminals, reserving the death penalty for those who commit the most heinous of crimes. Also in America, we allow extreme violence, even dismemberment, against the body of a human being that has yet to be born and thus remains inside the body of its mother.
Let me also state, for the record, that I am pro-life.
The right to life is the most basic of human rights, a foundation upon which all others rest, and its infringement should occur only in the most extreme circumstances. Our society condones, for instance, application of the death penalty for the most heinous of crimes (as mentioned above), the taking of another life in self-defense, as well as the taking of life as an act of war. Each of these examples implies, indeed mandates, a level of compliance and lack of innocence on the part of the victim. In contrast, it must be recognized that taking the life of an unborn human being mandates the victim’s non-compliance and utter innocence.
Efforts to infringe upon a person’s life or bodily dominion must be approached with great caution and reason. The central issue regarding abortion, then, is really one of addressing how society should balance these two rights – bodily dominion and sanctity of life – which appear, at times, to conflict.
In the case of an unborn child, innocent life is in the balance, and a proper course manifest.