Palin’s View on Abortion

Gov. Sarah Palin has received a lot of heat for being really extreme on her view of abortion. Just to recap, Palin’s view is that abortion is impermissible except for cases where the mother’s health or life is on the line. This means that for Palin, abortion for rape or incest cases are immoral. This seems hard to swallow, even for Republicans.

I actually find Palin’s view consistent. I’ve never understood the position that someone is pro-life, yet the exception is rape and incest. Why so? Let’s see what Palin says:

“I am one to believe that life starts at the moment of conception. And I would like to see fewer and fewer abortions in this world.”

Ok, I’m assuming she means that it becomes a person at the moment of conception.  That’s fine, most pro-lifers agree.  So here’s why she’s consistent: if you believe that life (or it becomes a person) begins at conception, then that means taking away that life is still deemed wrong.  It doesn’t matter if it’s rape or incest (why should it?  After all, it’s still a person).  A being doesn’t lose the status of being a person because the situation was a bad one.  A person is still a person.

Thus, abortion is wrong because it kills a person according to the pro-lifers.  But I think that if they’re going to be consistent, they must agree with Palin, meaning that even in cases of rape or incest, it’s still killing a person.  Yes, it sucks that the situation has made the woman pregnant, but again, if you are defining life (or a person) at the beginning of conception, then you must take that definition and make it consistent with everything else.  And this means that abortion for rape and incest is still killing a person.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
This entry was posted in 2008 Election, Abortion, Ethics, Paper Topic, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Palin’s View on Abortion

  1. Farrah says:

    I agree with what you’ve said in the last paragraph. If someone has chosen to be a pro-lifer, than they need to have consistency. Governor Palin definitely holds consistency over her view on abortion. However, I do not agree with her personal view. I agree that people should have the right to choose, it’s our own personal freedom to have that right. As somebody who supports choice, I also support a woman’s choice to keep a child or not, especially in a circumstance when rape is involved. I believe that adoption should be encouraged as much as possible and should be made easier so that women do have many alternatives if they are not able, or ready, to provide themselves. Pro choice isn’t the same as pro abortion. It means choice to either have or not have children. Palin has her own view on the matter, and that’s great.. but I don’t see it going anywhere. People can choose now, and that’s given us freedom, that shouldn’t change.

  2. Killer J says:

    Well, hell Shaun. I guess you’re right. If a person says they are pro life, then it shouldn’t matter what conditions created the life.

  3. bpascalfan says:

    Thanks for this piece Shaun; I am new to your blog. I agree with you on your main point.

    In reference to the 1st comment, I’m not sure I see the justification for such a category as “pro-choice.” The fundamental issue on the table is whether the fetus in the womb is a person with human rights. If so, they must be protected, and the fact that the woman happens to “house” them for 9 months does not make their life or death a mere (morally neutral) matter of her “choice.”

    Any more than it would be a father or mother’s morally neutral “choice” to feed their young children an adequate dinner, or send them to school; failure to do so would be called neglect and would be criminally punishable.

    The question at stake is whether there is a category of people — the unborn — whose legal rights are being violated by the current status quo (Roe vs. Wade).

    It is much like the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In the 1960’s, you could either be pro-Civil Rights, which meant you wanted to change existing laws; or against Civil Rights, meaning you supported the status quo.

    To say that you personally liked minorities, but were opposed to their obtaining equal legal rights, would still make you anti-Civil Rights, even if you personally did not mistreat any minorities.

    Pro-abortionist doesn’t mean you are personally involved in performing abortions; it means you’re not ready to recognize human fetuses as fully human in the legal sphere.

  4. shaunmiller says:

    Welcome bpascalfan.

    I agree with your assessment. It’s true that the division between the pro-life and the pro-choice camp. However, there’s one issue that I disagree with. You say it comes down to recognizing human fetuses as fully human. I don’t think it comes to that. Both pro-choice and pro-life will agree that a fetus is a human. The issue isn’t if it’s a human, the issue comes down to the fundamentals of what constitutes a person.

    Now part of my article was saying that the pro-life camp (at least the majority of it) seems to have an inner contradiction but they don’t realize it. My claim is that if one is pro-life, it must include the idea that abortion is wrong even during rape and incest cases. This is because, according to the pro-lifers, the fetus is still a person. And part of the moral responsibilities is that it is immoral to kill a person. Thus, I contention is that if one is pro-life, they must also say that it is wrong to abort even in cases of rape and incest if they are going to be consistent with their definition of a person.

  5. Pingback: An Inconsistency Within the Abortion Debate « Shaun Miller’s Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s