Catholic circles in particular talk about the right to life being a seamless garment.  The idea is that if life is sacred, then abortion is wrong.  Capital punishment is wrong.  Euthanasia is wrong.  So to undermine life is to make the garment come part. This is said to be a consistent ethic of protecting life.  Slippery slopes can be surprising.  It depends on human nature.  A slippery slope might not be very slippery but people can make it slippery.

Religion points to the rising abortion rate as a clear instance of a moral slippery slope.  The implication is that women who terminate and the abortion providers are involved in an evil that sells itself.  That could lead to violence against them.

One example of the slippery slope kind of thinking is that, "You should ban direct killing of an unborn life always. Any exceptions end up being applied by mistake or becoming too liberal. At least with the boundary you know where you stand. You can work hard at avoiding the temptation to cross it."   Another example, "if you abuse animals you will abuse humans." People who work in beef processing plants where animal cruelty is routine do not go home and hit their children. Kind people still eat chicken for dinner knowing the horror life that chicken had before it was slain for food.

Some say that allowing abortion at all leads to more dead bodies - the bodies of babies who should not be aborted but are within the law.  For example, a woman may lie so she can use a law that permits abortion when it is a case of rape.  Others say that that is one slippery slope so abortion law leads to more abortion.  Others say it creates other slopes too.  They say that if you think you have the right to abort your baby that has a disease that will kill it soon after birth then you should claim the right to get rid of a fully grown son or daughter who is suicidal and who won't get better so that you can be free of them and grant them peace in the process.  However abortion for rape when the foetus is seen not as a person but as a person to be does not justify euthanasia or assisted suicide or lifestyle abortion.  Its slippery slope is confined to women insulting the law by abusing it and lying that their child is the result of rape.  Then you can also argue that the slope is not the abortion law but its abuse.

Abortion activists think of an unborn becoming a person gradually. It's a process. Euthanasia activists think that a person who needs that "service" is becoming less and less of a person. This thinking terrifies many for it suggests a human person may not be as valuable as the next person. The person at fifteen weeks in the womb has less value than the one who is there thirty weeks and so can be aborted.

It is true that nature does all things gradually. No process or growth is really simple and each growth is intertwined with other developmental forces and creatures. That is why slippery slopes are a problem in top ethical matters.

People will not agree where to draw the line. And the hypothetical is important too for it speaks of how you think of others and yourself.

With abortion, the line may be drawn at conception and then you end up in principle being willing to see women die if you knew that their month old pregnancy will eventually kill them.

We are not saying all women choose abortion lightly but hypothetically suppose there are. Pro-choice people say it is the woman’s body and her choice but they never let her abort a late unborn child on demand. Those who say that "It is my body" implies a right to abort up to birth are really thinking that late abortion will only be chosen for extreme reasons such as when the baby will not survive anyway. But that is not pro-choice. Such an extreme situation cannot provide for choice. It is not about the woman's body or right to control it. Genuine support for pro-choice means abortion should be allowed up to birth just because the mother does not want the baby.


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