A subject that often generates more heat than light, for understandable reasons, it is unfortunate that the question is phrased so fallaciously. It’s like that old question asked by one’s friend, ‘have you stopped beating your wife lately?’ To answer yes is to agree with the premise that you were, in fact, beating your wife. To answer no is to also agree with the premise that you were beating your wife but you haven’t stopped.
This question is much the same, for it asks ‘should abortion for underage children require parental consent?’ If you answer yes, you agree with the premise that abortion is acceptable, but under certain circumstances. If you answer no, then you support abortion as being an option as well.
I don’t suppose there is a third option, is there? Why, yes there is a third option when dealing with the false dichotomy! Simply reject the question. Suppose you were asked, as so many schoolchildren were in years past, ‘you have five people in a lifeboat, limited food and no chance of survival with all of you consuming the resources. One of you is a teacher, another an engineer, a farmer, a sailor and an author. Knowing that your survival depends on fewer people in the boat, which of them do you throw out so the group can survive?’
This question is crafted for one purpose, whether or not that teacher would admit or understand. It is intended to cultivate a utilitarian type of evolutionary ethic in the minds of those students. Whatever we must do to survive, eliminating those ‘useless eaters’ for the survival of the collective. In such a response, I would suggest that the teacher be the one to walk the plank for suggesting murder as a viable option for civilized people, because human life has intrinsic value and that value cannot be taken away by a majority vote. Then I would reject the question for it’s intent and it’s fallacious use of the either-or. To choose between people to whom I assign an arbitrary value ignores the fact that I would not be choosing in the first place.
The same goes for the unborn, and rests on one simple question. To borrow a construct from Greg Koukl, I will put forth the following setting.
A young child has something in a box nearby his mom who is busy with her daily tasks. The child asks, ‘Mom, can I kill this?’ What is the question that needs to be answered before allowing the child to continue? The question that the mom necessarily asks is ‘what is it?’ Before a person can either make a moral statement approving or denying the act of abortion, one needs to know what it is that is being aborted?
Finally, to quote Greg on the subject, “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.” I say that the unborn are human persons, valued not because of their location in or outside of the womb, nor for their dependency on a certain environment (are adults not dependent on the earth to live, or born children their parents?) They have value because they are precious unborn human persons, and to destroy them violates both our humanity as being created in the image of God, and His command not to murder.
To support a law that says ‘…and then you can take the life of the baby,’ is to accept the premise that it’s okay to do it in the first place, and is simply digging deeper down this terrible hole we are in if we hope to ever stop this reign of terror inflicted on preborn children.