even bracketing entirely more general arguments about abortion[,] the ready acceptance of abortion of "defective" fetuses . . . violates the human dignity we share. It sets aside the fundamental bond of parents and children, inserting choice in the place of love and acceptance, and teaching us thereby that we must justify our continued existence, especially when we constitute a burden to others.All true, and certainly miles away from any kind of philosophizing we may expect from a White House bioethicist between now and 2013. But the point Meilaender is making--that abortion creates a culture of wantedness, where children's lives are valuable not intrinsically but only relatively, according to whether their parents want them--is universally valid. It need not be qualified by the implication that it applies more so to eugenic abortions. Every abortion "sets aside the fundamental bond of parents and children, inserting choice in the place of love and acceptance." Every abortion teaches us "that we must justify our continued
existence, especially when we constitute a burden to others." For what is an "unwanted" child but a human life considered to be "a burden to others"? I don't know why Meilaender fails to make this logical leap. Perhaps, sensitive to accusations that pro-lifers wish to impose upon others their religiously based belief in fetal personhood, he wishes to isolate his criticism of abortion in an area where there may be common ground. But if that is the case, such timidity is unwarranted, for the core of his argument is not that abortion violates the human dignity of the unborn. It is that abortion violates the human dignity of born children, by denying or relativizing their intrinsic value. This is a point that can be argued effectively purely through reason, and it is essential if we, as a society, are to accomplish what Meilaender rightly deems "our moral task . . . to seek to recognize the person who is there."
Understanding man's place in the ethical universe.
by Dawn Eden- The Weekly Standard
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