The argument over abortion generally tends to come from one of two sources. Pro-abortion; the government should not be able to tell a person what they can or cannot do to their own body. Anti-abortion: life beings in the womb, ergo abortion is state sanctioned/sponsored murder. This is largely the reason abortion arguments rarely end with a changed mind (and usually end by dissolving into an argument over fascism and licentiousness) ... the arguers start from completely different points.
The argument must begin from the same starting point. But where to start? How can we fairly choose where the argument begins? The pro-abortion argument begins with the mother. The anti-abortion argument begins with the in utero baby (or fetus). Perhaps, both perspectives should be argued to truly come to a conclusion?
The argument that the government should not be able to tell a person what they can or cannot do with their body is a specious and fallacious argument. The government imposes bans on many personal issues. You cannot use (or even carry) illicit drugs, there is an age level set for use of alcohol and tobacco, smoking tobacco is restricted in certain locations, you may not sell your organs or body parts, in the same vein, you may not sell your body (sexually) in most places, nudity is prohibited in most locations, self mutilation will land you in a mental institution, and suicide is illegal everywhere. There are many other examples...
While I may personally agree that government should not be able to dictate what you can and cannot do with your body...it is not an argument that can be supported by an abortion rights advocate. I think that even if we both agree the government has no place telling you how to deal with your body, we would both agree that the government must prohibit behavior that could be harmful to others. For example; drunk driving, assaulting another person, using speech to defraud, etc...
This leads us the anti-abortion argument. Life begins in the womb, so abortion is murder. How do we decide when life begins? Is it at conception when the new life begins to grow? Or at 40 days when an EEG can first sense brain function? Or at viability - what the US Supreme Court defines as 28 weeks - when the child can survive outside the womb, with aid? Or how about as early as 20 weeks when some babies have been known to survive live birth? Or is it at birth...whenever that happens?
Some have argued that abortion should be legal in any case and that infanticide should be what is argued.
Peter Singer uses the arguments for abortion to defend infanticide saying infants lack "rationality, autonomy, and self consciousness" and therefore "simply killing an infant is never equivalent to killing a person."
The rational decision is that one of two choices must be made; That life does indeed begin at conception and therefore the in utero child must be treated as a person. Or we must decide that Mr. Singer is correct and we should be arguing over the age that is appropriate to stop infanticide and not abortion.
My choice is that abortion should and must be called murder. If the mother has chosen to take part in sexual behavior and is pregnant she should be compelled to carry the pregnancy out to its natural conclusion (even in the case of rape or incest ... which makes up less than 1% of abortions). What is the reason the mother must be compelled? As I said earlier it is the responsibility of government to make and enforce laws that protect one person from another.
Some may see this as doomsaying but see the signs understand the the times that we live in. We have the most pro-abortion President our nation has ever seen and we have a Democrat controlled Congress. President Bush signed the Mexico City Policy which would not allow federal funds to be used in abortion clinics overseas, he also signed the partial-birth abortion ban which stops doctors from partially birthing the baby before killing them. The Democrat party was against both of these policies. President Obama has already revoked the Mexico City Policy, and federal funding is now flowing into abortion clinics internationally. He is also a proponent of partial birth abortion, and of the Freedom of Choice Act (which would prohibit any federal, state, or local governmental entity from interfering with a woman's ability to have an abortion). (You can fight FOCA here, sign the petition.) Very soon abortion law will be codified at the National level and like Europe and other western nations; free and easy access to abortion will become the norm in the United States. When even our opponents openly acknowledge that the child within the womb has life and yet abortion still exists we must understand the forces against us. It is as old as time itself. Life v. Death ... I daresay ... Good vs. Evil. Peter Singer, a hero of the abortion (and now infanticide) movement says that while children in the womb (and infants) may have life...they do not have personhood.
Peter Singer argues that pro-life groups are not wrong about the inception of life in the womb.
"The pro-life groups are right about one thing: the location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make such a crucial moral difference. We cannot coherently hold that it is all right to kill a fetus a week before birth, but as soon as the baby is born everything must be done to keep it alive."
Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse, "On Letting Handicapped Infants Die," in The Right Thing to Do, James Rachels, editor (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 146.
"[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being's life." (Rethinking Life and Death 105) Peter Singer
I am not Catholic but the video gets the point across...