If you read over what I wrote, I was never trying to persuade anyone to change their beliefs. That's the opposite of what I want; I never even revealed my stance on this issue.
For the record, if anything I'm a libertarian more than anything else, and "pro-choice" should be my default position. But although I value personal rights and liberty, I also believe that “the right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.” I may want
to support abortion, or the idea that people should have the choice concerning it, but one thing stands in my way--the niggling doubt that the fetus should not be harmed.
I was hoping that someone who was "pro-choice" could explain the reasoning behind their stance--i.e. why it's okay to kill a fetus but not a baby.
The "fetus depends on the mother for survival" argument might be compelling if the mother's life were in danger but otherwise it's just not enough to say that because of inconvenience--and I realize this is a weak word to describe the effects of pregnancy and birth on the mother--it would be permissible to terminate the life of an innocent human being. Unless you challenged this belief itself, but that comes later. That is why the following argument
...If people are that concerned with the life of the fetus and how sacred that life is, they can step up and keep said fetus alive
is not enough--unless the life of a fetus can be said to be less valuable somehow than the life of an infant, then abortion should not be left to personal choice any more than infanticide is.
Chaotic Angel, I think in a sense you have the most compelling argument. Sorry if I'm misinterpreting what you said, but if I may clarify...
So, as long as abortions are carried out at less than 12 weeks of gestation, they are acceptable, because before that, the fetus does not feel pain? Essentially that would mean that merely being human is not enough to qualify the fetus for the right to live--b/c the fetus is undoubtedly human--the fetus must also be able to feel pain, and this ability (or lack therof) to feel pain is what sets the fetus apart from babies.
My problem with this is that (1) fetuses develop at different rates--a prematurely born baby might be less developed than a fetus--and some fetuses might be, at 11 weeks, quite able to feel pain and (2) is it enough to say that a person's ability to feel pain is what makes it wrong to kill that person? What if you kill someone painlessly? And doesn't this devalue human life, and the whole idea of the sanctity of human life?
Oh, and just to throw it out there:
Peter Singer makes a similar argument, and I find his reasoning to be pretty persuasive. You could argue, like Singer, that pain is what gives human the ability to make moral choices, and pick between what's right or wrong. And that that ability to make moral choices is what makes human life valuable in the first place (rather than a religious reason, like "humans are made in the image of God," or "humans have a soul," or the argument that being human, in itself, makes human life valuable). Then a fetus, because it's not morally aware, would be no more "precious" than say, the cow we kill to eat.
But Singer also believes that according to the situation, it's also acceptable to kill babies (as long as it's done in a way that minimizes suffering)--"...the fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings."
While I like the consistency of this argument, I'm on the fence about it, esp. trying to argue pro-choice with it, because if these qualities Singer mentions are the criteria for the right to live, then euthanasia becomes acceptable. And I'm also forced to question why this
level of self-consciousness, that we have, is enough, but that
level is not? It just strikes me as too arbitrary.