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Medical Bioethics Dangerous philosophy

Moral relativism creeps in

Tragically, many secular bioethicists and modern philosophers have abandoned the principle that every human life has intrinsic moral value. Succumbing to moral relativism which states that there is no such thing as objective truth, these one-time guardians of human dignity have increasingly become advocates for the culture of death. Moral relativism bases "good" or "bad" choices upon purely utilitarian calculations. i.e. how much satisfaction (or cost) does that choice give me versus the alternate choice?

Euphemisms to mask reality

By employing euphemisms and verbal gymnastics, many of today’s leading bioethicists mask the horror of abortion behind the word "choice". But the choice argument still begs the question: "Is the unborn a full-fledged member of the human family, or is he not?".

If the unborn is not a member of the human community, then the pro-abortion philosopher is correct. In this scenario, the choice argument holds, and there is nothing morally wrong with abortion.

If however the unborn is a full-fledged member of the human community, we have a different story. In this scenario, the choice argument is not acceptable since the choice, if acted upon, would be an act of homicide. At the very least, it would be manslaughter if sufficient ignorance on the part of the perpetrator could be proven.

Biological science proves that human life begins at conception. We have laws protecting those who are already born from homicide and manslaughter. There is no logical reason why humans who are already in the world, but waiting to be born, should be denied the same right to life.

Trading in "blob of tissue" for a new argument

For the past 40 years, the main argument of pro-abortion advocates has been that the unborn was simply a "blob of tissue" with no moral worth. Women getting abortions were frequently told that the procedure was simply "excising a bunch of cells". We still hear a variant of this archaic argument from most pro-abortion politicians and mainstream media who blindly continue to repeat the old mantra "we don't know when human life begins".

However, most pro-abortion philosophers are moving away from the previous claim that "we don't know when human life begins". Ultrasound images with in-uterine video are now easily accessible to the public, making it difficult to continue telling the same old lie.

Sub-human, non-persons (1)

Instead, they are now saying "Just because the fetus is genetically and biologically a member of the human species, and just because it has its own individual genetic code, even as a blastocyst, that doesn't mean it's a person with rights. Yes, it's a human, but it doesn't have rights".

This puts our culture in the position of choosing between two very different philosophies of rights:
#1. Either all humans have rights, or
#2. Some humans have rights.
Logically, it has to be one or the other. If only some humans have rights, then some don't. And if you can label those humans that don't have rights, including the right to life, then that justifies your killing them.

The history of that second philosophy is rather dark. It includes the 1857 Dred Scott vs. Sanford U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that black people were not fully human because they were property. The Court reasoned that since blacks are property, they don't have rights, and since whites own property, they have a right to property. Therefore, ruled the judge Dred Scott should be returned to his owner.

That second philosophy is also the history of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party, the Nazis. By labelling some humans (Jews, Polish Catholics, blacks, etc.) as non-persons, the Nazis justified gas chambers and people ovens.

In history, only when you want to do something bad to some humans do you relabel them. The only way to protect against the shocking immorality of these actions is to choose philosophy # 1 - that all humans are persons.

Today moral relativists justify the murder of unborn babies by relabeling them as a "fetus", and avoiding any inference in their language that the "foetus" might actually be a human being. They justify killing millions of embryonic humans in order to harvest their body parts by coldly dehumanizing them with the "embryo" label.

Footnotes:
  1. This section is adapted from "Pro-life Logic", a talk given by philosopher, Peter Kreeft. The talk was given at Georgetown University on October 19, 2006. It can be listened to online at: http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/19_prolife-philosophy/peter-kreeft_prolife-logic.mp3