This is a follow-up to my previous post:
A commenter left the following question:
I've talked to some pro-choicers recently who have relied very heavily on the inside-the-mother's-body argument. They dismiss all counter-examples to bodily autonomy because they don't involve another human being being *inside* of the other person.
How would you respond a person who kept pushing the fact that a fetus is inside of another human and says that in no other instances would we allow another person to remain inside of someone else against their will?
The answer deserves a separate post, so I'll respond here:
i) Let's begin with a preliminary observation. Many abortionists are fanatics. There's no example you can give that will make them blink.
However, that can be useful to expose their fanaticism and misanthropy. When they take a totally selfish position, they reveal the fact that they don't have what it takes to be a good friend. They're not friendship material. They can't be trusted. They will always put themselves first.
Now let's consider some examples:
ii) We could begin by asking them how the fact that a person or baby is inside the body rather than outside the body a morally relevant difference. What's the principle? Is the principle that no one ever has the right to depend on us for their survival?
iii) Does the abortionist take the position that we never have a duty to hazard our own life or health to protect another?
Most pregnancies aren't hazarous. I'm just using a more extreme example to establish a principle. If we sometimes have a duty to endanger our own life or heath to protect another, surely we sometimes have a duty to provide for the needs of another in less extreme cases.
iv) Apropos (iii), suppose a mother and her teenage son are at home when a violent intruder breaks into the home. Does the son have a duty to fight the intruder to protect his mother, or should the son try to escape, leaving his mother in the hands of the intruder?
Suppose, in this scenario, the teenager and the intruder are fairly evenly matched. Or maybe the intruder is physically stronger. There's a high risk that the son may be killed if he tries to defend his mother. Does he have a duty to assume that risk, or should he save his own skin at the expense of his mother?
v) Consider a variation on the same scenario: instead of a mother and son, it's a husband and wife. Does the husband have a duty to protect his wife, perhaps if only to buy her time to get away, or should he throw her into the arms of the intruder to buy himself time to get away?
vi) Suppose a superbug kindles a raging pandemic that threatens to kill 90% of the world's population. Suppose there's a man who due to a genetic mutation, carries an antibody in his bloodstream that can be used to produce an effective antibiotic.
Suppose he refuses to donate his blood. He himself is immune to the superbug. He doesn't care about the fate of the human race in general.
Should he be forced to donate his blood, to save the human race?
vii) Suppose a man wakes up in a strange motel room. He doesn't remember how he got there. He has a bandaid on his arm.
A cellphone rings. He is told that a computer chip was implanted in his arm. It contains a recipe for producing an antidote to a catastrophic bioweapon. He is instructed to board a plane to the USA. Once he arrives, he will be taken into custody, and the computer chip will be removed. His patriotic action will prevent the human race from exposure to a catastrophic bioweapon.
Should he comply? He was kidnapped. His body was commandeered. He didn't agree to this. But now that he finds himself in this situation, does he have a duty to cooperate?
viii) Suppose a man and wife are trapped in a dystopian society. Suppose the husband has a chance to smuggle his wife to freedom. Does he have a duty to do so?
Assuming the answer is yes, let's give the scenario a science fiction twist. Suppose the husband can smuggle his wife to freedom by digitizing his wife, uploading his digitized wife onto a computer chip, which he implants in his arm. If he makes it to the other side, he will reverse the process.
His wife is now in his body. Does that change his duty?