An intelligent young Christian once told me he did not know if elective abortion was wrong, even in the second trimester. He needed to do more research on the issue, he explained, because he did not want to make a decision based on emotion.
I have two problems with this approach.
First, the idea that the abortion question will be decided by research is very naive. For example, consider the two scholars Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who recently wrote an article in the distinguished Journal of Medical Ethics entitled, “After Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” In this article, these scholars argue that parents should be allowed to kill their child, not only in the second trimester, but even after birth.
Now what is the problem here? Do Giubilini and Minerva simply need to do more research? Would reading a textbook on fetal development make them pro-life? Probably not. The abortion question cannot be resolved so easily. The facts of fetal development are widely published and well-known, and yet the debate rages on, even in academia.
But what if Giubilini or Minerva was standing with a scalpel in hand, looking down on an unwanted infant squirming on the table? Would these scholars have the heart to put their philosophy into practice? Let us hope not. Let us hope that their emotions would stop them.
This brings me to my second contention. Not only is my friend mistaken in his high view of research, he is also mistaken in his low view of emotion. As illustrated by Giubilini and Minerva, emotion may do more to lead a person to the truth than research ever can. Put another way, emotion is like a built-in alarm bell that lets us know when something in our logic has gone terribly wrong.
In conclusion, consider once again this video, which I have posted in my articles numerous times. This is a second trimester abortion:
One is entirely justified in determining that his procedure is wrong based upon emotion. In fact, we have a clinical term for people who do not allow normal human emotions to influence their moral decisions; we call them psychopaths.