“I do think that the argument can be made that the case law establishes that there is one and only one reason that must be the reason for there to be a constitutional right to an abortion (other than to protect her own life or health): The woman must actually believe that what she is destroying is not a person.”
—-Blogger/retired law professor Ann Althouse, commenting on today’s SCOTUS decision in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
The Supreme Court rendered a split decision on Indiana’s contested abortion law. The Justices upheld part of Indiana’s 2016 law placing restrictions on the disposal of fetal remains after an abortion, but left the part of the law overturned that would have prohibited women from choosing the procedure after of a diagnosis or “potential diagnosis” of Down syndrome, “any other disability,” or because of the fetus’s gender or race.
Justice Thomas wrote a dissent taking issue with the latter, writing in part,
“Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.”
Thomas’ point makes no sense ethically. If the fetus is not a person or human being, then it shouldn’t matter why the woman chooses to end her pregnancy. If it is a person or human being and deserves legal protection, then ending its life for any reason is equally wrong.
Ann’s statement, however, is extremely provocative. How many women who want an abortion give honest, unbiased consideration to whether or not the unborn child is “a person”? The entire pro-abortion movement is built on the necessary assumption that fetuses/embryos/unborn babies are not human beings, and it is an assumption that was arrived at in order to allow abortions and make them guilt free. Abortions are not legal because the unborn are not individual human beings; the unborn are not individual human beings so that abortions can be legal.
This why Ann’s framing is fascinating. The unborn is a person or it isn’t; what the potential mother “actually believes” shouldn’t change anything. Do I think that many, many women “actually believe” their unborn child is a person but accept the official pro-abortion cant that it is not in order to justify an abortion?
It is a form of contrived ignorance.
[The diagram above comes from The Ethical Skeptic. It’s an interesting site.]