Abortion should be allowed if fetus is not viable

Joel Kurtinitis had an opinion printed in the Des Moines Register on 3/25/18 (see link below) wherein he wrote that a fetus should be protected against abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be detected (around 6 weeks into pregnancy).   He and other millennials may not have been exposed to the philosophical argument in favor of a woman’s right to choose abortion up to the time that a fetus is viable.  A fetus is viable when it is able to live outside of the mother’s womb, either with or without assistance (usually around 24 week into pregnancy).  A classical libertarian philosophical position is that every person has the right to use and control his or her own body as they wish as long as they don’t infringe on other people’s right to do the same.  In the case of abortion, this means that neither the fetus nor anyone else, has the right to force the mother to carry the fetus inside her body.  If the fetus is not viable, then the mother should be free to abort it.  If the fetus is viable, then the mother should take reasonable care to not harm the fetus during delivery.

Link to Kurtinitis’ opinion in The Des Moines Register:  https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2018/03/22/heartbeat-bill-abortion-millennials-iowa-legislature/449965002/


6 thoughts on “Abortion should be allowed if fetus is not viable

  1. Kurt, you argue that a fetus’s viability should be the controlling issue with regard to abortion. Not only is this an arbitrary point in time that suits the whims of both “Progressives” on the one hand, and unbelievers on the other, but it denies the obvious truth that life begins at conception. Therefore, I believe that a mother should have no right (with but few exceptions), from that point forward, to “infringe” upon a fetus’s right to grow and be free to make his or her own life decisions. If viability is your main concern at the beginning of life, then it should follow, logically, that the issue of one’s viability should be a controlling factor over one’s entire lifetime. I agree with you that a woman has the right to use and control her body however she chooses, but only up to the point when she becomes pregnant. After that, she hopefully will have learned enough to keep this from happening again. Irresponsibility should give no one the right to take another’s life.


  2. John, the point in time is not arbitrary, but it is uncertain. Exactly when a fetus is viable is changing as our science and technology changes – specifically how early a fetus can be delivered and can survive. Of course life begins at conception. For me, the question is when should that life be protected. I think most people would agree that the fetus is not life that must be protected when it is a single fertilized cell, or just 2 cells, or 4 cells… It is a matter of degree of development. So, there is not a clear or “bright” line. If, as I think, a mother should not be forced to carry a fetus, then there are two choices: abortion or delivery. If the fetus is not viable, then the only choice is abortion. If the fetus is viable, then both choice are available, but I think that only delivery should be available at that point. I don’t know anybody who is really pro-abortion. Nobody hopes to have an abortion. But people are pro-choice – believing that the mother should have that choice – at least in the early stages of pregnancy.


    • Kurt, I’d like to take issue with three points you made in your reply: 1. The point in time is both arbitrary and uncertain. Though we can’t predict the exact moment when viability occurs, it is still an arbitrary benchmark. Why not when a heartbeat is first detected? Why not when an ear is first visible? Why not when the mother first feels the fetus move inside of her? “Viability” serves to ease the conscience of those who, deep down, realize what is actually occurring when an abortion is performed. 2. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less how the mother feels about it. I agree that she should have choices — but only before she conceives life. She should have the choice of which contraceptive to use. She should also have the choice of when and whether to have unprotected intercourse. But it is wrong on so many levels for her to use her superior power to deny a fetus the most fundamental choice, i.e., the choice to live or die. 3. You indicate that most people would agree that a fetus is not life that must be protected in its earliest phase of development. I’m sorry to say that I believe you’re correct. However, you probably won’t be surprised to know that I don’t care what “most people” agree on when it comes to, in effect, the genocide this country has perpetrated on the weakest among us since Roe v. Wade in 1973 (to our collective shame). Leading up to that decision, its proponents told us that abortions would be rare, only in the cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother. We’ve “progressed” since then to the performance of hundreds of thousands of abortions every year, and millions since the case was decided. If that isn’t barbaric, then please, tell me what is.


    • Kurt, I’d like to correct something I said in my most recent post. I do, in fact, care about how the mother feels. I realize that the decision to have an abortion can be a difficult one, fraught with fear and a sense of guilt for many. The point I so indelicately tried to make is that I don’t believe her feelings should rise above the right to life of the fetus. I wish I had worded it differently.


  3. Kurt, I agree. As a matter of fact, when I posted my thoughts yesterday, I realized I had pretty much used all the arrows in my quiver, and that any further discussion about the issue would probably be an exercise in futility for us both. I enjoyed the exchange, though.


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