Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Philosophizing on Science and Abortion

This was originally written for a class about morality.

If we accept that women have the inalienable human right to obtaining abortions, it follows that nothing – including science – should be used to limit the scope of that right. Although the law in the United States criminalizes abortion after the first trimester, and many politicians seek to curtail even this short window of time, women have the ultimate right to autonomy over their own bodies.

A fetus is only potential life. Regardless of whether or not a fetus has personhood in any sense doesn’t change the fact that one person has no right to use another person’s body without his or her permission, as a fetus is doing in its mother’s womb. Even if, for example, science makes it possible for a fetus to be viable from inception, so long as it is part and parcel of the mother, she holds the right to terminate or continue with the pregnancy.

As an Orthodox Jew, I personally follow the halakha (Jewish law) that a woman may only have an abortion if the fetus is posing a danger to her life or health. However, as a feminist activist, I hold the belief that it is a woman’s right to have abortion access without restrictions, regardless of how I would comport myself in my personal life.

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