My body, my right, my choice. Does this refer to abortion or vaccination? The claim that abortion is an individual right is a precarious moral argument. Mandatory vaccination is justified by the principle that society can constrain individual rights for the sake of the greater good. The principle that individual rights are subservient to the welfare of the community underlies our whole body of laws. It’s the basis for the argument for gun control and it must be the basis of the argument for legal abortion.
Anti-abortionists rest their moral argument on a religious dogma fabricated by the oligarchy to distract our attention from its depredations. The argument derives power from the pretense of being rooted in the well-established moral framework of Christianity. Those who support abortion, gun control, environmental protection, et al., do not have a comparable monolithic moral framework to lean on.
I’m not suggesting we establish an alternative religion, but it would serve us to nurture an alternative, secular ethos into being. We deprive ourselves of this opportunity, and thus weaken our position by relying on an argument of individual rights.
The material benefits of legalized abortion align with principles of sound, pardon the term, husbandry. The management of human habitation of the planet includes population control. We want to give mothers the best chance and conditions for the practice of motherhood, thereby giving children the best chance to blossom into healthy, skillful humans. Skillful humans can, we hope, mitigate the causes of suffering. Suffering from lack of food, suffering from the psychic pain caused by inadequate nurture and the social turmoil caused by damaged humans.
Legal abortion is healthy for our species. We must give mothers the best conditions in which to practice their art.
A coherent moral syntax enables us to communicate resonant messages in response to all the interlocking issues that pit self-interest against the common good.