In this essay I will examine both sides of the abortion issue.
Menu Abortion access: All sides of the issue
One of my friends objects to this analogy because she thinks there isa fundamental difference between allowing your organs to be used to savesomeone outside of yourself and someone "inside" of you "for whom you areresponsible." My response is that (1) the raped pregnant woman is not responsiblefor the fetus's being inside her and (2) the responsibility for savingeither life is exactly the same; inside or outside is irrelevant. If youcan save someone else's life by donating an organ you do not really needor giving up some part of you, such as blood, that you can replenish naturally,you are just as responsible for saving or ending the life whether it isinside of you or outside of you, in the next room or in the next countyor the next country. Proximity or position have no particular bearing.I am not here arguing that we ought to require blood giving and organ donation,etc. I am only arguing that it is inconsistent not to, especially aftera donor is dead, and at the same time hold that women must use theirorgans as life support for fetuses they did not voluntarily or negligentlycause.
Something both sides of the abortion debate can agree on
The analogy or application to rape should be fairly obvious; since thewoman is not responsible in any way for the fetus, she may choose to, butcannot be required to, maintain its well-being until it can survive withouther. The fetus, though itself innocent, is the victim of a circumstancethe woman is not responsible for; and good Samaritanism cannot demand thekind of sacrifice she would have to make to carry the fetus toward termif she does not want to. That sacrifice includes great effort, as wellas emotional and physical stress. A woman might volunteer to make sucha sacrifice, and that may be a very laudable choice, but she cannot berequired or expected to make such a sacrifice. Such a sacrifice would beabove the call of duty, not a duty or obligation in itself. A woman cannotbe justifiably treated simply as a machine that this fetus is hooked upto as a life support system. Legal demands for doing positive good, asopposed to not doing positive harm, to another are far weaker than moraldemands. Except for the military draft and payment of taxes (and then onlyif one has something to pay taxes on) for the collective good (schools,highways, defense, etc.) we do not legally require innocent people to dopositive benefit for others they have not themselves taken on some specialobligation to benefit. The only people we make actually help others arepeople convicted of a crime whose sentence for punishment and rehabilitationis, or includes, some sort of service program. The law demands no one elseact as a good Samaritan at sacrifice to himself even when another person'slife is at stake. No one is required to give bone marrow to another whomight be saved by such a transplant; no one is required to donate a kidneyto someone whose life it could save and who will probably die without sucha donation. No able person is even required to give blood, though thatis a replenishable resource, safe to donate and would probably save manylives. Our society does not even require the donation of organs for transplantwhen someone has died, and presumably then has no use for them. Organ donation,even at death, is strictly a voluntary choice. Generally we do not "cannibalize"parts from living or dead people who did not "will" such parts to otherswhile they were alive. Whether this is right or wrong, it seems to me tobe inconsistent with requiring a woman who is not responsible for her pregnancy(as in rape) to support its completion with her body organs, even thoughthey are left inside her.