I’ve ignored most of the renewed reproductive controversy but Democracy in America offers me an in, eulogizing Ruth Barcan Marcus EG writes

With regard to abortion, for example, she notes that people marshal a variety of arguments, some of which reference competing claims (such as the right of the fetus to live, or the right of a woman to control her own body), and some of which make prima facie claims (such as that a fetus is not a human, or that it is). She continues:

What all the arguments seem to share is the assumption that there is, despite uncertainty, a resolution without residue; that there is a correct set of metaphysical claims, principles, and priority rankings of principles which will justify the choice. Then, given the belief that one choice is justified, assignment of guilt relative to the overridden alternative is seen as inappropriate, and feelings of guilt or pangs of conscience are viewed as, at best, sentimental. But as one tries to unravel the tangle of arguments, it is clear that to insist there is in every case a solution without residue is false to the moral facts.

Abortion seems to me to be a particularly poor example of a lack of moral resolution. From listening to the discourse from almost every corner its clear that bordering on no one takes the issue seriously and is primarily just posturing.

I have heard no mention of whether or not fetuses or infants for that matter are p-zombies and if so would that matter. I have heard no serious treatment of the difference between the duty to prevent miscarriages and the duty to prevent abortion. I have heard no mention of whether or not all potential existing persons have moral relevance. I have heard no mention of wrongful life. These are trivially basic issues underpinning all this, yet the conversation does not even try to address them. Not fail. Not wave away. They simply don’t try.

Could it be that people don’t actually care about getting the internally consistent answer even supposing there was a internally consistent answer to be had?

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