[From the essay, “The Conservation of Nature and the Preservation of Humanity,” in the book Another Turn of the Crank]
That I believe abortion to be wrong does not mean that I cannot imagine situations in which I would support a woman’s decision to have an abortion–or in which I would have an abortion, if I were a woman, or perform an abortion, if I were a doctor. Because we are human, we don’t have the happiness of choosing always between good and evil. Sometimes we must choose between two evils, and Idon’t recommend turning away from anybody in that predicament. Because our life does not always offer us clean-cut choices between good and evil, we are going to need forgiveness. And I believe in the possibility of forgiveness, as I believe in the possibility of just remorse.
We are nevertheless entrusted with the care of our fellow human creatures. If abortion is wrong, as I believe, it is wrong because it excludes some of our fellow humans from our care. But to think that abortion is wrong is to risk dangerous oversimplification if we cannot follow our thought to its logical conclusion. If we cannot justify violence to unborn human beings, then how can we justify violence to those who are born, or to the world that they are born into?
The issue ultimately turns on one question: Is a human fetus a human being? I believe that it is. Anybody who believes that it is not must say what else on earth it might be.