There was a time when I considered abortion as acceptable at any point prior to the fetus being viable outside the womb. My logic was, if the mother died, then the fetus would not be able to live without her. Admittedly, this was not a well-thought out position, but one borne of poor education on the topic.
However, as time went on and I became more educated in rights, logic and the law, I realized that the point of viability is a variable. It changes not only with the advent of technology, but also with each fetus. I came to realize that humans aren't machines; no two are alike, thus no two fetuses will have the same viability.
Connecting this to the fact that LAW must be definable; that it must be OBJECTIVE, not SUBJECTIVE; that it must be clearly laid out with parameters set in stone; I then realized that there is only point in a fetus' being where that can be pinned down:
Conception. Any other point is variable and depends upon natural events or outside intervention.
Then, I considered human rights and their nature. Bringing them into the equation, I determined that the question is; "At what point are human rights assigned to a human?"
Prior to this point, a human - well, potential human - is merely a mass of differentiated tissue; property. And, like any other property, it can be disposed of in any manner the owner wishes.
After this point, however, a human is - well, a human. He is embodied with all the rights God grants to all human beings and no man is empowered to take them away. One of those rights is the right to life.
So, the problem is, when are rights assigned?
They can't be assigned on some nebulous idea like "viability." As I pointed out earlier, that is a subjective assessment that cannot be presumed to be the same for all. No, rights MUST be assigned at a point that applies for ALL humans.
There are only two points in a human existence that are well-defined and subjective;
- Conception, and
Well, it's silly to assign rights at death, so the only other point available is conception.
But, some say, what about birth? Why not assign rights at the time of birth? That is an event all share.
Alright, why not birth?
First, what is "birth?"
Is it expulsion from the birth canal? If so, does that mean that all delivered by C-section are not human?
Of course not.
How about that point at which the human life takes its first breath outside of the womb; either through natural or surgical means. Well, if for nothing else, we already have judicial precedence set where someone who has killed a pregnant woman has been charged with two murders. As one cannot "murder" differentiated tissue mass, obviously the law already considers the unborn as human with the rights there assigned.
However, even without that legal precedence, I cannot think of any magical process that takes place prior to a child's first breath that converts the fetus from a hunk of flesh to a living being with rights. After all, even birth can be subjective; arbitrary.
Birth can be induced and there is the C-section process, both of which introduce an outside decision on when the event takes place. Thus, even birth is subjective, and more so as our technology increases. Test-tube baby, anyone?
So, birth can't work, either, due to its subjective nature.
Therefore, by the above reasoning, I can see no other time than conception for the assignment of human rights. Thus, any abortion is an inherent violation of one's rights and that is why it should be illegal.