A few months back I found myself in San Antonio, Texas working the evening shift with a bunch of IT geeks. I was there to train them on using some new tech then critique and improve their workflow. When I showed up, I hadn’t actually met any of my teammates before, except for one guy who I’d spent a week with on a project in Philly about four months back named Leo.
Leo and I were the only two non-locals, meaning we both went back to a hotel at the end of the night instead of home to our families. Most nights we would find ourselves off work at about 1am and too wired to go to bed, so we’d head back to the Residents Inn where we were holed up, drink beer, play Xbox and talk life.
Leo turned out to be a pretty interesting guy. Despite being a native Texan, he was a full blown atheist and a fairly liberal guy. We had quite a few deep conversations about just about everything under the sun. Time, the universe and idea of God, relationships and family, sex, what kind of tacos were the best…but perhaps the most enlightening conversation we had was about abortion. Go figure.
The Classic Abortion Argument
I used to be a pro-choice kind of guy. I believed, and I still do believe that it is a person’s choice to do what they will to their own body. Leo feels the exact same way. But after growing a bit older and worldlier, having kids, and maturing a bit intellectually, I eventually shifted to a new opinion on abortion.
I have since realized that abortion involves more than a single person. There are other parties involved as well, the other(s) being the unborn. The unborn have a heartbeat. They too require nourishment and warmth. They feel. They bleed. They are alive.
Abortion is a nasty situation where in one person exercising their right to do as they will with their body, they are encroaching directly on the rights of another, resulting in a loss of life that some would consider unjust and perhaps even murder.
Leo saw my point but objected and disagreed, still sticking to his argument that it is a woman’s right regardless. And so we found ourselves at a stalemate. You simply can’t change minds that don’t care to be changed. But me being me, I could not let well enough alone, and I decided to post a question to Leo on the fly, off the top of my head. It ended up being a doozey.
The Murder Scenario
It is 7pm on a Sunday night when a young lady gets a craving for ice-cream. She asks her husband to go fetch some sweets for her but he is busy preparing for the work week, so she slips on her shoes, grabs her purse and keys and makes her way into town where she stops at a small corner shop.
As she makes her way into the shop, dreaming of Cherry Garcia and a crunchy pickle, a young man in a hoody approaches her and pulls out a knife, demanding her purse. The young lady freezes, terrified. Shock renders her unable to move like a deer in the headlights.
The thug becomes uneasy as people continue to walk in and out of the corner shop just 20 feet away. Fearing he is about to be noticed, he slashes at the young lady, grabs her purse and runs.
The young lady falls to her knees, holding her side where the knife had punctured her. Someone quickly notices her and she is rushed to the hospital.
The young lady pulls through the accident fine, but in the process, she lost her child. She was 23 weeks pregnant. The thug in the hoody was apprehended by the police shortly after the attack.
What would serve justice in your eyes?
Here is the question I posed to my friend Leo after painting this scenario.
You are the young lady’s husband. The fetus that was lost in the attack was your unborn child. The fetus was 23 weeks into development. In some states, the cutoff for an abortion is 24 weeks, meaning you could theoretically have had the fetus aborted legally if you wished.
Should the thug be charged with murder?
What if the young lady were only six weeks pregnant, or 12, or 18? Would it make a difference? Is it ever not murder? Does the unborn count as a life or not?