Recently I was listening to the July 23, 2011 broadcast of Unbelievable, a great UK radio program that faces off Christians and non-Christians on a range of theological, philosophical, and moral/social topics. The July 23rd broadcast addressed the issue of abortion. Representing the pro-abortion side was Wendy Savage, and representing the anti-abortion side was Madeleine Flannagan. While much could be said concerning the dialogue, I want to focus on one particular comment from Ms. Savage. Ms. Flannagan was arguing that it was just as wrong to kill a baby in the womb as it is to kill a baby outside the womb. Ms. Savage responded to the effect, ‘It’s not a baby, it’s a fetus.”
Pro-choicers often make this sort of “argument.” The problem is that it commits a categorical error. “Fetus” is not a type of life distinct from a “baby” or “human being,” but the name we give a particular stage of human development—on the same level of “adolescence, toddler, adult,” etc. So to say “it’s not a baby, it’s a fetus” is only to say “it’s a younger human being, not an older one.” But that observation does not tell us whether or not it is morally acceptable to kill younger human beings. That’s the million dollar question, and one pro-abortion advocates like to skirt.