Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Are You Pro-Life?

Posted by Michael Dickens on June 12, 2009

This intriguing video asks some thought-provoking questions about what it means to be pro life. The video essentially argues that it is hypocritical to be anti-abortion and pro-capital punishment or pro-war. I disagree, and here’s why. (It also argues that “pro-life” people are not really pro-life, which I agree with, so I won’t be arguing against that point.)

Question 1: “Do you support capital punishment?”
Cdk007 argues that sometimes innocents are executed (eight confirmed times in the last 30 years). He says that it is hypocritical to support the occasional execution of innocents, but not support abortion. “Why is it okay to execute an innocent adult, but not to abort an embryo?” Though an important point, I am going to hold off on rebutting this.

Question 2: “Do you support war?”
Cdk007 says that wars are usually for self-defense, but there is never a guarantee that innocent bystanders will not be killed. “Why is it okay to kill women and children who get caught in a crossfire, but not okay to abort an embryo?”

You will now see why I have not yet rebutted them. Cdk provides a rebuttal (which is the one that I would have used), and then rebuts the rebuttal. I will rebut his rebuttal of the rebuttal.

The rebuttal: “Many of you will argue that capital punishment and war serve a greater good. Therefore the death of innocent individuals, while regrettable, is not enough to make such activities unjustified.”

The rebuttal to the rebuttal: “If you have rationalized that it is okay to take some life to save others, then why not take the embryo’s life to save the mother’s?”

Rebuttal to the rebuttal to the rebuttal: Because (in the mind of an anti-abortion person), that is a kill-one-save-one. War and capital punishment are kill-one-save-many.

So then why am I anti-capital punishment and anti-war?

Capital Punishment:
1. Even felons have a right to life.
2. Capital punishment is more expensive. (Counterintuitive, I know, but true.)
3. Sometimes innocent felons are executed. (Notice the low priority of this argument: of the 1135 people executed 1978 to 2008, only eight were found innocent.)

1. People who sign up for war are “innocent”; even though they volunteered, most of them didn’t know what they were getting into or didn’t really have any other choice (financial issues, etc). The weight of this argument increases drastically when a draft is instated.
2. War is harmful to society in many ways, and in general leads to sadness (of relatives and friends of soldiers, etc). This is somewhat counterbalanced by the potential economic benefits and revitalization capabilities of war.
3. Sometimes, innocents die.


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