S.L.E.D. Part 4: Degree of Dependency

by Garnet

Time for the final installment in the S.L.E.D. Series.  I’ve dealt with the first three common pro-choice arguments, all attempts to dehumanize unborn children based on either size, level of development or environment, and so make abortion excusable.

The last argument has to do with the degree that the fetus is dependent on his/her mother.  Some people say that since the fetus is so dependent on his/her mother to survive, and would not survive on his/her own, the mother has no obligation to keep the fetus alive, and thus may abort it.  The fetus, they say, cannot survive on its own, so it must not have a right to life, since it can only survive as part of the mother.

This argument breaks down in a number of ways.  Unborn children are not the only human beings dependent on another for survival.  A newborn cannot survive without a caregiver.  A diabetic cannot survive without insulin.  A person with a heart condition cannot survive without a pacemaker.  Does this dependency make them less of a person?  Of course not.  Dependency is not a criterion for determining the value of life for born individuals, and it should not be applied to the unborn.

An embryo is very dependent on its mother at the beginning of pregnancy, and gets less dependent as the 40 weeks go by until it is ready to leave the comfort and warmth of the womb and face the cold, harsh reality of this world. The umbilical cord can be cut, but does this end the baby’s dependency on Mother?  No.  From what I understand, a mother’s responsibilities toward that baby grow exponentially after the baby is born.

In addition, humans continue to become less dependent on others as they get older.  Toddlers are less dependent than babies; teenagers are (read: are supposed to be) less dependent on parents than toddlers; adults are less dependent than teenagers.  So the trend of a lessened dependency begins in the womb and continues throughout life long after birth.  Birth, actually, is quite an arbitrary point to say that babies are sufficiently independent to be given rights as persons.  Often at the end of life, elderly people become more and more dependent on others, but this does not take away their right to life.

Essentially the argument to say the unborn have no right to life because of its dependency is age discrimination, and should not be tolerated.

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2 thoughts on “S.L.E.D. Part 4: Degree of Dependency

  1. Pingback: I’m a Person: Inside and Out « uOttawa Students For Life

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