Should abortion be legalized when a baby can be profiled by family history as at high risk for a life in crime?
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No. Not at all. This is borderline inhuman, in fact. The idea that we would abort a fetus because we think that it is likely to become a criminal is unconscionable.
Among many other things, we have no real way of knowing that an unborn fetus is going to become a criminal. Even if we could know that there is a "high risk" of a baby becoming a criminal, it would still be horrible to abort it simply because of that risk. Killing a fetus that could become a living human being is a very serious thing. It should not be done simply based on what might happen.
The answer is not whether it should be legalized. As of this precise moment in time, that would be deemed unethical, inhumane, and criminal. However, who knows, if in about one hundred years from now, the advances in genetics and the way of life in the society of the future, will preclude a new definition for the words "ethical", "humane", or "criminal."
What I am visualizing here is that, as society gets more violent and less concerned about consequences, there may come a time when certain behaviors will be re-defined and re-labeled. It is, in fact, very likely that it will happen. The way we do and see things today is nowhere near what it used to be a century ago. Who knows? Maybe the time WILL come and that MAY be an option in the future.
I, for one, am Pro-Choice: I believe it is the woman's right to decide whether to allow her unborn child to be aborted, and I certainly don't think the government should be involved in the decision-making process. Since the Roe vs. Wade ruling in 1973 that deemed anti-abortion laws unconstitutional, your question is pretty much moot.
Instead of focusing of the ethical dilemma of abortion in general, I want to talk about the reason behind it--the context that my imagination fills in from your question is a world where fetuses are scanned after conception and, if deemed a high criminal risk, aborted. What an absolutely horrific (but, I would not argue impossible) vision of the future.
I can't help thinking about the many children... young adults, really... that I have had in my classrooms who have come from difficult, sometimes criminal family situations. Yes, a good number of these kids get swept into a life of crime as well. But some do not--and it's that some that go on to do incredible things, both for themselves and society at large. It takes an unthinkable courage to walk away from the path that some may say a certain person is destined for. Not every person is cut out for that. But the definition of a humane society, I would argue, is one that allows its people chances to make their own, positive destiny. Cutting an innocent life short is a crime that we sometimes punish with death. If we, as a society, decide to sanction the execution of "pre-criminals" who have done nothing, that makes us just as culpable as those we may feel justified in exterminating.
P.s. This kind of thing sort of happens in the film Minority Report (2002).
I do not think there is any way we can positively determine that a fetus is going to be a criminal just based on family history. As someone else has mentioned there are multiple factors that determine how a child turns out as an adult. Aborting a pregnancy based only on that fact would be very wrong.
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