I appreciate your stand for the right to life of prenatal children, but I think that you have misunderstood the arguments against incremental legislation. The argument has never been that incrementation is itself immoral but rather that the type of incrementation being pursued by many pro-life leaders is immoral. Groups like AHA, Personhood USA and the Personhood Alliance recognize that state level personhood amendments are incremental. They simply do not view this type of incrementation as immoral.
The state level amendments allow are simply a way for each state to ban all abortions within its jurisdiction, and the local initiatives currently being pursued by the Personhood Alliance provide means for individual municipalities to ban all abortions within their jurisdictions. This is a moral form of incrementation, for its implementation would not involve a failure to defend the right to life of those to whom the leaders of the individual states or municipalities have a moral obligation.
Bills like the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, on the other hand, do involve a failure to defend the right to life of those to whom our leaders owe a moral obligation. I am certain that you agree that political leaders have such an obligation to uphold the right to life of every individual human being within their jurisdictions both because that obligation is dictated by God and because it is recognized in the Constitution. Given this fact, then, it naturally follows that any incremental bill which fails to meet this obligation is immoral. The question is not whether a given bill is incremental or not but rather whether the incrementation sought to be implemented by the bill is moral or immoral.
You made reference to a few different analogies in your article, but I think that the situation which currently exists in our nation can be better understood through a direct correlation. Instead of comparing abortion to the holocaust or slavery, let's just take the current crisis and all of the efforts to fight it and simply change the age of the children involved. All of us in the pro-life community agree that their is no moral difference between a prenatal child and a child of any other age, so changing the ages of the children involved will not have any effect on moral arguments.
For the sake of argument, therefore, let's change the legality of abortion at any time up to birth around 40 weeks to a law permitting the killing of children at any time up until their fourth birthday. Similarly, let's change the Partial Birth Abortion Ban to a ban forbidding the killing of a child on their fourth birthday even if the fourth anniversary the actual minute of their birth has not yet arrived. We could also view the informed consent laws to laws requiring the parents of children under the age of four to be given information regarding the killing of their child before they make the decision to have their child killed, and we could even require them to wait 24 or 48 or 72 hours after receiving that information before they follow through with their decision. And since you mentioned the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in particular, let's go ahead and view this act as a bill proposing that no child can be legally killed by his parents after the age of 2 instead of the age of 4.
Now, in this type of situation, would you say that changing the age at which it becomes illegal for a parent to kill his child from the age of 4 to the age of 2 constitutes an achievement of the government's responsibility to meet its moral obligation to defend the right to life of all human beings within its jurisdiction?
The AHA and the personhood movement have answered this question with a resounding, No! But I am curious as to your thoughts on this correlation. Would you support a bill that changed the age for legally killing children from 4 to 2? Would you vote for a man seeking the presidency who said that he thinks parents should only be allowed to kill their children up until the age of 2? Would you consider someone pro-life if they defended such a bill as much as you have defended the Pain Capable Act?
Please understand. I am not saying that I do not consider you to be pro-life. I simply think that your passion has prevented you from understanding those with whom you disagree, and I think that if you would take a moment to consider how you would respond in the above correlation you may have a better understanding of why the AHA takes the position that it has taken.
You can read more about my fight against abortion at the Personhood Initiative website.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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