Profs debate abortion, students see generational differences in election issues
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:10
Alum Blake Hickurson says he came to campus Thursday night to voice his pro-choice viewpoints. Other students displayed their strong opinions on the civil rights issue by asking the professors tough moral questions for almost two hours.
The Pro-Life Vanguard, a club that promotes pro-life values, hosted an abortion debate between philosophy professors Katherin Rogers and Richard Hanley Thursday night. Rogers argued pro-life while Hanley argued pro-choice. Hanley currently teaches contemporary moral issues. Rogers teaches medieval philosophy and ancient philosophy and has also taught contemporary moral issues in the past. Rogers says she and Hanley are good friends and volunteered to be part of the debate.
Hanley, representing the pro-choice viewpoint, says his argument is based on both a metaphysical aspect and a political aspect. He says he supports early, on-demand abortion as long as the fetus and mother are both healthy. Hanley says what defines a person morally is a complex idea, based on ability to think and behave.
“I think at bottom of [the abortion debate] rests on an important metaphysical issue, namely when did the person that is ‘me’ begin,” Hanley says.
He says he thinks the ordinary person does not know enough about metaphysics to determine when a fetus psychologically becomes a person with desires and needs. Therefore, society cannot decide when aborting that fetus is permissible, he says.
Hanley says he thinks abortion is a hot-button topic mostly for Republicans and wishes more Democrats would take it seriously. He says that if Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney is elected there is a good chance his administration will elect judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, which ruled that women had the right to privacy in regards to abortion. He says the judges in the Roe v. Wade case had the right views.
“[The judges] said that the moral status of the fetus, from their perspective is in doubt and they are not competent to make a judgment about what the moral status is,” he says. “There’s some refreshing humility.”
Rogers, representing the pro-life viewpoint, says all human organisms have an intrinsic value the moment they are created in the womb and must be given the chance to grow into a fully thinking person. She says she believes her argument is the most intellectually respectable. She says all humans have value from the moment of conception and abortion would the unjustified killing of that being.
She says in order to be a human creature, you only need to be created. A mother does not have to see that a fetus is thinking during pregnancy to know that eventually it will develop life skills.
“You have all sorts of talents, you have all sorts of abilities,” Rogers says. “You don’t have to be exercising them right now to be the thing you are.”
Rogers says pregnancy is healthy and natural. She says women would be better off not having abortions because the ramifications are painful. She says women would be happier knowing they chose the loving, caring option. For Rogers, Hanley’s arguments could then lead to the idea that it is acceptable to end the lives of small children who might not qualify as moral humans.