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woman must legally have the right to intentionally deform her fetus by taking Thalidomide and, in doing so, give birth to a baby who will have any number of “severe and debilitation malformations” to “the limbs (upper limbs more commonly affected than lower limbs), face, eyes, ears, genitalia, and internal organs, including heart, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract.”¹¹ This intentional deformation of a child clearly qualifies as torture against another member of the species Homo sapiens, and this consequently cannot be legal in the United States. If this intentional deformation cannot be legally (not to mention ethically) justified, then the “My Body, My Choice” argument likewise cannot be justified. It cannot be logically consistent both to hold that a woman has the right to do anything she wants with anything inside her body and to assert (rightly) that intentional deformation is both illegal, unethical, and inconsistent with the FDA’s policy.¹² These two claims cannot be harmonized. This thought experiment can be taken further still. Suppose that a pregnant woman in the United States went to her medical doctor but not because she wanted Thalidomide. Suppose she wants the doctor to help her intentionally torture her third-trimester fetus to death by dismemberment. At 20 weeks gestation or earlier—at least 8 weeks prior to the beginning of the third-trimester, which runs from 28 to 40 weeks gestation—a fetus can feel pain.¹³ Please note, we are in no way suggesting that anyone would ever do this. The twisted logic that this would require would take an extremely disturbed individual to come up with and actually execute. However, for the sake of the thought-experiment, should this hypothetical woman have the right to pay a doctor to intentionally torture her fetus to death? Clearly, this is torture against another member of the species Homo sapiens who as such possesses an equal right to life. Again, the “My Body, My Choice” argument falls apart. If a woman should not have the legal right to torture her fetus to death by dismemberment, then a woman does not have the right to do anything she wants with anything inside her body. This thought experiment raises an interesting parallel between the hypothetical horror of

a doctor intentionally torturing a fetus to death and the procedure for a late term abortion called “Dilation and Evacuation” or “D&E.” This procedure was described by Chief Justice Roberts in the US Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Carhart (2007): The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.¹⁴ If a hypothetical woman does not have the right to intentionally torture a fetus to death as in the previous thought-experiment, then a D&E abortion, which literally rips the fetus apart and removes it limb by limb, also cannot be legal. The two situations are one and the same. That being said, there is a second, different type of bodily rights argument for abortion that must also be examined known as the “Right to Refuse” argument. Like the “My Body, My Choice” argument, the “Right to Refuse” argument may or may not assume that a fetus is a member of the species Homo sapiens and that the fetus possesses an equal right to life. However, the “Right to Refuse” argument claims that a woman has a right to refuse the use of her body to someone else who wants to use it. We would like to propose a thought-experiment to demonstrate that the ethical and legal implications of the “Right to Refuse” argument are unreasonable.¹⁵ Recall the opening few scenes of the Pixar movie Up. The film’s main character is Carl, an elderly widower, who uses hundreds of balloons to lift the house off the ground and to transport himself to South America. A few minutes into his flight, however, Carl hears a knock at the door. Standing outside on the porch is a young Boy Scout named Russell, and he is un55

Profile for Rebuttal

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Profile for rebuttal
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