This, from one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers:
Suppose that through no fault of your own you fall from a great height and that I happen to be beneath you. Looking up, I see that you are headed straight for me and will crush me to death when you land. Suddenly I notice off to my left a red button and a nearby sign that reads “Push red button to disintegrate any object above you.” Thinking fast, I push the red button, you are disintegrated, and I am spared from being crushed to death.
Have I done anything wrong? No: morality permits me to kill you in order to save myself–this is a self-defense killing. But notice that you were completely innocent. The conclusion, then, is that morality permits, at least in certain cases, the killing of innocents.
Does anyone agree with the second sentence of paragraph 2? It’s just a ridiculous statement. Darwinism permits it; naturalism permits it; but what moral or ethical authority endorses this kind of killing? Sure, if you’re being attacked, but that’s not the killing of an innocent.
What’s the proper reaction? Well, if you have the time to find the button, read the note, decide, and act, then you have enough time to step out of the way. Of course, that’s basically manslaughter, or at the very least a violation of Good Samaritan laws. What would be the noble reaction? Trying to save the person. Sacrifice is always morally acceptable. And even if you let him fall, he might survive. But pressing that button is as much murder as anything else.
Anyway, all this leads to the real point:
Pro-lifers, when pressed to explain themselves, almost always say that they oppose abortion because abortion is the taking of innocent life. […]
A better response to the pro-lifer is to point out that his premise–that “life-taking of the innocent is the deepest moral evil”–is false: sometimes the killing of innocent human lives is morally permissible. Are any abortions among the cases where morality permits killing the innocent? *That’s* the issue.
I wonder if this person would be willing to hear the argument that his (or her) premise – that “morality permits me to kill you in order to save myself” – is wrong? And what about the 97%+of abortions that are not performed for the mother’s health? This little anecdote doesn’t apply.
Somewhere in there he makes a comment about a woman’s right to control her own body. But does that right still apply when there’s another human body in there?
I hate the way I sound here…all preachy and self-righteous…I don’t mean to. But aren’t some things obvious?