The abortion wars have been heating up lately, with pro-lifers making advances by attacking the abortion industry at its fringes. With all the legal rhetoric flying, lets take a minute to be clear on the real issue. What, exactly makes life valuable? I think it boils down to a fight between a) a “Sanctity of Life” ethic – human life is inherently valuable because we are created in the image of God or b) a “Quality of Life” ethic – a human life is only valuable as it is able to meet certain (shifting) standards.
The philosophical basis of abortionism is based on b). Human life is not inherently and objectively valuable. It only gains value as certain criterion are met – being loved by a parent, having certain physical or mental capabilities, having a certain material standard of living, etc. If a human being, either preborn or infirmed or elderly or whatever, does not meet these criteria, it does not merit the status of personhood and is therefore expendable. The pro-life crowd is banking on cases that show this this philosophy taken to its logical ends, as in the case of partial birth abortion and the Utah woman who refused a C-section, for example. (Also, see the linked article in this previous post) Time will tell how it works.