Friday, May 21, 2010

Pro-Choice Versus Pro-Life

I just finished reading a book entitled Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? Michael J. Sandel. In this book he discusses concepts of justice that have been proposed over the years and concludes with his own view.

"Justice is inescapably judgmental.....questions of justice are bound up with competing notions of honor and virtue, pride and recognition. Justice is not only about the right way to distribute things. It is about the right way to value things."

Sandel states that you cannot define justice independently of the moral weights that people assign to certain concepts. He discusses the issues surrounding the contentious abortion arguments. The pro-life view claims that a fetus at any stage of growth represents a life, and an abortion is always a termination of a life—infanticide. The pro-choice argument appears as a way to dodge addressing this moral issue by arguing that the government should not get involved in making decisions that women should be allowed to make on their own. At the heart of the pro-choice argument is the notion that one cannot determine exactly when life begins so the government should not get involved. Sandel points out that this approach is not working, and that it shouldn’t work because it is a cop-out. He believes that if you want to argue a moral issue you have to address the moral issue. The concept of pro-choice avoids explicitly addressing it. In fact, polls seem to show that the percentage of people describing themselves as pro-life is growing.
Sandel has definitely provided some food for thought.

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