“For the last 30 years, I’ve supported abortion rights,” says Ruben Navarrette Jr., a columnist for The Daily Beast. “This year may be different.”In the meantime, the sixth video had been released. Share
What is different this year? The release of five videos by the Center for Medical Progress showing representatives of Planned Parenthood and their associates engaging in discussions and activities related to the sale of fetal body parts. Navarrette mentions he’s expressed concern, outrage, disgust, and horror over the videos. But he’s not yet changed him mind completely about abortion:
For those of us who are pro-choice, the Planned Parenthood videos are a game changer. As to whether that means I’ll change my view, I’m not sure. I’m on the bubble. Ask me in a few weeks, after the release of more videos.Since the first video came out nearly a month ago, many pro-lifers have assumed they were indeed a “game changer.” Yet we are constantly surprised to find that while our friends and family are troubled by the videos they are, like Navarrette, not quite ready to give up their support for abortion.
The videos have certainly stirred the moral intuitions of many pro-choice advocates. They realize that the fetal parts in the videos are from beings that were human and once alive. Yet there remains a disconnect between what they are seeing and an explanation for why it is immoral to kill humans at the fetal stage of development.
Philosopher Donald Marquis provides an intriguing argument that attempts to answer that question. Marquis circumvents the discussion of fetal personhood and examines the question of what makes killing wrong. According to Marquis, this is the question that needs to be addressed from the start:
After all, if we merely believe, but do not understand, why killing adult human beings such as ourselves is wrong, how could we conceivably show that abortion is either immoral or permissible.Marquis concludes that what makes killing inherently wrong is that it deprives a victim of all the “experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one’s future.” It is not the change in the biological state that makes killing wrong, says Marquis, but the loss of all experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one’s future (hereafter we will refer to these as EAPE).
These EAPE are either valuable for their own sake or lead to something else that is valuable for its own sake. When a victim is killed, they are deprived not only of all that they value but all that they will value in the future. Therefore, what makes the prima facie killing of any adult human being wrong is this loss of future EAPE.
This has obvious implications for abortion. Marquis concludes that:
The future of a standard fetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children. Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to fetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie morally wrong.(Read more.)