Some pro-life campaigners say, `Ah, but this "act of autonomy" is different to all others because it harms and ultimately destroys another human life - that of the fetus'. I don't deny this. I do think there are massive questions to be asked regarding when a fetus becomes fully human, but I don't deny that a fetus is at least a potential human life and that abortion ends that potential human life. But I have made a moral judgement, and I've decided that it is worse - infinitely worse - to force a living, breathing, autonomous individual to do something against her will than it is to terminate an as-yet unformed, potential human life. That is the bottom line for me: the freedom and autonomy of a woman are more important than the continued existence of a fetus.My response in a comment -
I am comfortable with making this judgement call. Now, are you comfortable with the moral judgement you have made? Which is that it is acceptable in certain circumstances to deprive individuals of the right to act in accordance with their consciences. That it is okay to hamper to the point of destroying a woman's moral autonomy during the nine months that she is pregnant. That a woman loses many of her fundamental freedoms when she becomes pregnant. That it is acceptable for society to force women to do something against their will, with all the terrifying illiberal and anti-social consequences such a tyrannical course of action is likely to have. That women should become, in essence, slaves to circumstance rather than shapers of their circumstances. I'm happy with my moral judgement that it is acceptable to terminate a potential human life in the name of preserving the moral autonomy of an already existing human life [...]
I have to say, we all know where babies come from, so a woman having sex - performing the action that creates a baby - and then complaining because she has lost her autonomy seems a specious argument, like jumping in the water and complaining about getting wet. Getting pregnant is what a woman's body is supposed to do and is a result of having sex (of course, not all of the time). It is not something that is involuntarily forced on a woman (discounting rape) but something she chooses to do. This is where the woman makes her choice. It is entirely her decision: she has the choice to say yes or no to having sex. Ultimately the baby is a direct result of that choice, even though she may not want a baby. She can refrain from the actions that naturally lead to it. After that, it is too late. You make it sound like it isn't fair to her that she got pregnant, and is something other than the direct result of her actions.
I have the choice to drive very fast in my car or not. I may find the speed pleasurable, and getting a ticket is obviously not the outcome I want. If I speed (my own choice) and then get a speeding ticket (something that may not happen every time I speed, but depends on the chance of a police officer spotting me) do I then have a right to complain and to ask the officer to tear up the ticket because it isn't the outcome I wanted? I exercised my choice, took all the precautions I could in order not to get caught, decided to drive at the speed I wanted, and must live with the consequences of the result that naturally flowed from that.
You may contend that having sex is not the same as breaking the law, but (if you're a Christian) you believe that sex out of wedlock is against the moral law. It used to be called 'fornication'.
This is why, historically, sex had been confined to marriage. It is the safest place to have sex: in a committed relationship where the woman has the definite support of her partner. Getting pregnant actually used to be something wanted. It was often seen as a curse if a woman could not conceive.
Abortion these days is used as a contraceptive and is largely the fault of a liberal society. The pleasure of having sex has been separated from one of the main reasons for it: procreation. Having sex is now one of those Friday night pleasures, like having a beer, or a smoke, and it doesn't seem to matter with whom you do it, as long as both parties are agreeable.
I actually see the term 'abortion' as a bit of a misnomer. A rocket launch can be aborted during the countdown, but once there is ignition and the engines have fired, the rocket has been launched and the only way to now stop it is to hit the self-destruct button or to shoot it down. So it is with sex. It is a woman's choice to abort (not to have sex at all), but once the egg and sperm join, procreation is under way, and the only way to stop it is to destroy the baby.