But what are these people thinking? Do they really think it's ok to sacrifice a mother's life in order not to kill a fetus, even though the fetus will probably die if the mother dies before the fetus is big enough to survive?
But of course, that's not the end of the story. Women who are denied legal abortion will often seek illegal ones, and this, my friends, is not good for your health! Every 8 minutes a woman dies because of an illegal abortion! Oh, and yes, the fetus dies too. Making abortions illegal does not keep fetuses alive, it just kills the mother too.
So what, some people might say - so what, so people do say - a great number of women die from illegal abortions, but that number is nothing compared to fetus death from legal abortion! Baby murder! they say.
Just to be clear on that, as a moral philosopher (by profession), I'm meant to have a position on whether abortion is murder or not. I'm meant to know whether a fetus is a human being, or just a potential human being, whether your death can count as murder if you're not even conscious yet. Well, I don't. Not really.
But I'm quite clear on what other kind of things count as murder: taking the life of a person against their will, and that includes capital punishment, and killing in war. Not much to think about here, really. You inject poison into a person's arm, and you have to strap them to a bed so they don't try and escape while you do it - that's murder. You drop a bomb on a bunch of people, shoot them in the chest - that's murder. And yet, note that a lot of the people who support anti-abortion reform are also pro-capital punishment and pro-military intervention. Pro-life, indeed!
So granted, they believe a fetus is innocent, whereas a convict is not (well, not entirely clear on whether that's at all true of most death-row inmates...) and a foreign soldier or at a push, civilian, definitely is not. And a woman who got pregnant and wants to get rid of her baby? Of course she's not innocent! What was she doing getting knocked up in the first place? She got raped, you say? Well, let's face it, she was probably asking for it.
So I don't have a knock-down philosophical argument in defence of abortion, but I've got some pretty good ones against the anti-abortionists. I really don't think abortion is murder. But letting a woman bleed to death because you prevent her from choosing a safe abortion is murder.
Oh, and here's a thought for a possible compromise: maybe anti-abortionists would be ok with the idea of aborting only female fetuses since these females are likely to grow up into rape-provoking women? Hold on, isn't that the case already in some parts of the world?