Sometimes, it would’ve been easier if I were still radically pro-life, so that I could tell anyone supporting abortion or euthanasia that people have no right to take the life of anotheer person, no matter how dependent that person is on someone else. Yet I recognize a person’s right to bodily autonomy, too, and for this reason, should be pro-choice: no matter how many alternatives to parenting exist, there is no alternative to gestation other than to terminate. Therefore, if pregnancy threatens a woman’s health or wellbeing – even if that threat is motivated by factors related to the unborn child she carries, such as if that child has disabilities -, the only option to relieve that threat or discomfort is to terminate the pregnancy. If you believe in a person’s right to do with their own body as they please, therefore, you must automatically be pro-choice on abortion.
But what if you do not want a child, and that child is born? If not wanting a particular child is a valid reason to abort when the child is still in your womb, isn’t it a valid reason to terminate the child once it is born? In my opinion, no, because, unlike gestation, parenting by a specific person is not a necessity to keep the child alive. A parent can choose to give a born child up for adoption, or, if the child has disabilities, can choose to put them in a care home. Of course, care homes may provide less-than-optimal services to children, and adoption might affect the child’s mental health, but the solution is to improve care and adoptive services.
It is interesting, of course, that infant or child euthanasia is only legal on children with disabilities, whereas abortion is legal on any fetus up till viability. If being a burden on one’s parents were a legitimate reason to kill, and if it didn’t matter whether a child is still in the mother’s body or not, and if alternatives such as adoption aren’t relevant, either, then euthanasia should be legal on any infant. Also, if the fact that the infant cannot make their wishes known and therefore has the parent make these decisions for them, that should go for any infant, too. No baby can tell their parents that they want or don’t want to die, and any baby could grow up to be a pain in the arse of the parents.
So why is it all about disabled children? It’s probably that it is abled people making these decisions. They think that living in a marginalized body somehow makes you less of a valuable human being. Not only do they allow euthanasia of consenting adults only if the adult is disabled enough by someone else’s standards to be worse than death – despite the fact that people with the same disabilities might live happy lives -, and not on non-disabled people who “suffer life”, thereby stripping adults of the right to decide what to do with their own lives. On top of that, it is only abled people who can decide that a certain body type makes you worse than death, even regardless of your own opinion if you’re a child, regardless of whether other children with the same disabilities live happy lives. In fact, infant euthanasia with parental consent goes farther: if a parent is unhappy, that is a reason to kill the child, regardless of whether other parents may be happy to parent a disabled child, or this specific disabled child.
In short, abortion is legal on any infant up to viability, because this is the only way to relieve the pregnatn person of the discomfort or threat of gestating. On the other hand, once born, if your parents view you as a pain in the arse, but only if you also live in a marginalized body, you can be killed with these parents’ consent if they feel unhappy about parenting you, regardless of how easy it is to get rid of you without killing you. And even if abortion is not merely about bodily autonomy, am I still the only one who perceives a double standard here?
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