I heard Mr. Provenzo on the Laura Ingraham Show, and although I do not agree with him, I would like to thank him for going on to discuss his views. Knowing Laura I'm sure he had a fair idea of what he would receive, but he went on anyway, and I salute him.I thank Steve for his questions and I'm happy to attempt to answer them as I can. To start with his first, I do not argue that a fetus/newborn child's location decides its worth. I say that its location decides its rights.
One thing that he mentioned in his interview with her was that he believed that human life begins at birth, or once the baby is out of the birth canal. To me this is a very problematic view, and I would like to ask Mr. Provenzo two questions-
1.) Does location decide worth? It seems to me that the ONLY difference between an unborn child moments before birth, and a child moments after birth is location. Ontologically there is no change. The child's nature hasn't changed- same DNA, same level of development, same physique- only his "home" has changed. So, does human worth depend on our location? ...Also, it must be said, that since the unborn depend on their mother's bodies to survive, this in no way negates their right to full human status. All this shows is that human life's viability is dependent on at least two environments during it's natural existence. To pull a fetus from the womb will kill it as sure as if we held a grown man under the water. In BOTH cases we have pulled a human being from the environment best suited to sustain it's life at that level of development.
2.) Isn't the development of the unborn itself proof of life before birth? To say life begins at birth begs the very question. For the development necessary to bring an unborn to that point is one of the four criteria used to define life. The unborn from conception have all four criteria- metabolism, development, growth, and reproduction (in it's DNA). How can anyone deny the process within the womb as being signs of life, and then affirm the very same process outside the womb? Do not babies continue to develop after birth? ...And isn't this a form of prejudice? Developism? You seem to prefer one set of developmental stages over another purely out of preference.
For example, for a woman who wants nothing more than to have a child, a fetus's worth is inestimable the moment it is first conceived in her womb. In contrast, for woman who does not wish to have a child, a fetus inside her carries no worth.
In this light, I say that it is only the question of individual rights that must concern us. I argue that in the womb and until birth, a woman's right to her own life and her own body supersedes any right of her fetus to be born--that is, if the woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy. A woman assigns worth to both her own live and values and in the case of her pregnancy, that of her fetus. Because we are dealing with a woman's independent body and her own internal processes, a woman's personal evaluation of her life (and her wishes for it) are and must be sovereign.
I think that Steve sees this to a certain degree when he points out that a fetus's existence is dependent upon a woman's body to survive, even if he seeks a different conclusion in respecting the right to choose to have an abortion than I do. In the womb, the fetus is physically dependent upon the woman. A woman must be able to regulate that dependence and shut it down if she judges the needs of her own life to be incompatible with its continued existence.
"Outside the hatch," as I so eloquently put it when I was a guest on the Ingraham show yesterday, the context completely changes. Now giving birth to full-fledged newborn child with a conscious faculty, biological and physical independence, the child enjoys its right to its life and its parents have a moral responsibility to care for the child that they created until it is able to sustain itself.
I think that by reading through my answer, above, one can see why I am not so concerned with the issues Steve raises in his second question. For example, I might not be particularly impressed with a woman who waits until the last moment to abort a healthy fetus absent a particularly compelling cause (such as knowledge of retardation). I might even wonder exactly what such a woman was waiting for in delaying her abortion. Nevertheless, I still and absolutely hold that such a woman has the right to abort her pregnancy; furthermore, if she is acting in her rational self-interest (a far, far more demanding task that many of my opponents consider it to be), I would hold her choice to be fully moral. I hold that rational morality comprises of those choices that advance individual human life without coercion or sacrifice. To deny a woman the right to abort an unwanted fetus would compel her against her will to sacrifice her life in the name of the unborn. I oppose any such attempt with the fiber of my being because no one has the right to coerce another in such a manner, least of all here.