I would think that the greater the (perceived) quality of life in asociety, the fewer abortions there would be, for two reasons: (1) rearingaccidentally conceived children would not be such a difficult (and sometimesalmost impossible) burden because there would be help available, for example,even just day-care facilities at work or school; and (2) one would notbe so likely to feel one is doing the child a favor by not "forcing itto be born" into conditions that no one should have to endure -- conditionsthat might even make the person himself wish he had never been born. RememberI am not necessarily just talking about trying to provide a life with theminimal "basic" necessities of food, shelter, clothing, and medicine, butalso trying to provide all the kinds of things that make human life moreworth living -- love, compassion, understanding, opportunities for mentalor intellectual development, being treated fairly, etc. -- the kinds ofemotional, psychological, "spiritual" necessities of the soul that can evensometimes,though not as a rule, transcend inescapable poor health and/or poverty.
[I would hazard the guess, though this has no bearing on my argumentabove, that privacy is morally justified to let people do things that otherswould find distasteful to witness, but not to do things which are actuallywrong. There are many things we do that we do not even care people knowwe do, or might do; we just do not want them to watch us doing them. Thereare many things we know other people do, or might do; we just do not wantto (have to) watch them doing them. Hence, absent strong evidence somethingwrong is occurring in a home or other non-public place, privacy is protectedin order to keep people from being embarrassed or disgraced; it is notprotected in order that they can do wrong.]
Beliefs, Attitudes, and Issues About the Quality of Life
The analogy or application to rape should be fairly obvious; since thewoman is not responsible in any way for the fetus, she may choose to, butcannot be required to, maintain its well-being until it can survive withouther. The fetus, though itself innocent, is the victim of a circumstancethe woman is not responsible for; and good Samaritanism cannot demand thekind of sacrifice she would have to make to carry the fetus toward termif she does not want to. That sacrifice includes great effort, as wellas emotional and physical stress. A woman might volunteer to make sucha sacrifice, and that may be a very laudable choice, but she cannot berequired or expected to make such a sacrifice. Such a sacrifice would beabove the call of duty, not a duty or obligation in itself. A woman cannotbe justifiably treated simply as a machine that this fetus is hooked upto as a life support system. Legal demands for doing positive good, asopposed to not doing positive harm, to another are far weaker than moraldemands. Except for the military draft and payment of taxes (and then onlyif one has something to pay taxes on) for the collective good (schools,highways, defense, etc.) we do not legally require innocent people to dopositive benefit for others they have not themselves taken on some specialobligation to benefit. The only people we make actually help others arepeople convicted of a crime whose sentence for punishment and rehabilitationis, or includes, some sort of service program. The law demands no one elseact as a good Samaritan at sacrifice to himself even when another person'slife is at stake. No one is required to give bone marrow to another whomight be saved by such a transplant; no one is required to donate a kidneyto someone whose life it could save and who will probably die without sucha donation. No able person is even required to give blood, though thatis a replenishable resource, safe to donate and would probably save manylives. Our society does not even require the donation of organs for transplantwhen someone has died, and presumably then has no use for them. Organ donation,even at death, is strictly a voluntary choice. Generally we do not "cannibalize"parts from living or dead people who did not "will" such parts to otherswhile they were alive. Whether this is right or wrong, it seems to me tobe inconsistent with requiring a woman who is not responsible for her pregnancy(as in rape) to support its completion with her body organs, even thoughthey are left inside her.
After-Birth Abortion: The pro-choice case for infanticide.
However, the genetic bond, particularly for women, seems to be veryimportant psychologically. While thinking about the ideas for this paper,I spoke with two women who seemed to me to have inconsistent views aboutone's (natural or moral) rights concerning their genetic offspring. Thesewomen saw no reason that an unmarried father (or father-to-be) shouldhave any say about whether the fetus is aborted or not, how the pregnantwoman should take care of her own health and well-being, and whether thebaby should be offered for adoption or not. Yet they thought a woman shouldbe able to decide that an embryo she does not want to carry (which couldfeasibly be transplanted into the womb of a woman who wants to rear it)could be terminated instead of transplanted. These women seemed to thinkthat there is some more important relationship, and responsibility andrights, between a mother and child than between a father and child -- evenif the genetic mother is not the one who will carry the embryo in her bodyuntil it is born. Unlike me, they think the physical aspects of pregnancyare not what sometimes creates an earlier emotional attachment not opento fathers, but that something does at a female genetic level or very earlygestation time for a woman. One of these women, an attorney, even saw noreason why a man should have any determination about abortion even if hewere forced, say at gunpoint, to have intercourse with some woman who wantedto have a child. It seems to me this kind of distinction between a geneticmother's rights and a genetic father's rights is unwarranted in a casewhere the genetic mother does not have to be, or is not, the gestationmother.