9. Abortion, birth control:
social issues with major existential implications (particularly abortion), and
which are also surrounded by all manner of form. Regarding abortion, as we have
just seen we want to eliminate the taking of human life, and this logically extends
to children, including unborn children. However, there is a conflicting existential
issue here, which is that individuals should be able to control the circumstances,
and make the major decisions, of their lives. To me, the resolution of this conflict
is that when a baby is in the womb, it is dependent solely on the mother: it is
in fact inseparable from her. Allowing it to live therefore remains her choice.
Indeed, the unborn child is completely at her mercy. (The mother may continue
the pregnancy, but also drink and smoke.) However, once the baby is born it is
an independent entity, whom anyone can care for. Therefore, the mother loses this
choice, and power.
As to the man who is responsible, through his participation in the pregnancy he
has effectively granted his acceptance of the birth, and he does not have the
right to demand its termination. Even if he was tricked by the woman he cannot
demand this, since he could have used a condom to ensure effective birth control
himself. Also, if the pregnancy is not terminated he has the right to care for
(or to be involved in the care of) the child, or, along with the mother, to put
it up for adoption. However, the existence of the possibility of adoption does
not undermine the womans option to choose abortion if she so desires. She
cannot be forced to bear the child and then give it up. This is the worst kind
of form, even if the person to whom she is forced to give the child is the father.
Of course, she could take a merciful position and bear the child and then give
it to a childless couple (or the father), but the choice remains hers.
The goal, of course, is to minimize unwanted pregnancies, such that abortion is
only considered in the case of rape or when the unborn child suffers critical
health defects. And this, again, is a measure of our social progress. Such progress
can be judged by our steps in achieving the ubiquitous availability and affordability
of birth control, and the education that goes with it, and the elimination of
resistance to using it, such as the misplaced drive of the Catholic Church, which
prohibits birth control other than the ineffectual rhythm method, and which therefore
effectively seeks continued exponential growth in the human population.