Anyway, I felt I had to step in and correct some of the misconceptions expressed there, and in the process I ended up explaining how I value different kinds of life. Thought it might be interesting to get people's thoughts and reactions on it. Here you go.
I just ask that where possible people broaden their idea of what might be valuable, and don't abort without a REALLY good reason.
Just to play devil's advocate: why not?
Me (Context: Brian had said above that I was basing my answers on subjective emotion, and that just wouldn't do if I wanted to take a firm position against anything):
My conscience tells me that doing so is objectively wrong. You may call it subjective if you like, but I do not view it so.
Brian then went on to talk about various trivial reasons why one could have an abortion, up to and including the desire to look good in a bathing suit, which apparently was one person's reason (according to a court case he found). And then said:
Are you suggesting that abortion for such trivial reasons would be wrong?
Yes. My position is this:
1. Harming any form of life unnecessarily is wrong. (Life should be respected wherever possible).
2. Different forms of life have different intrinsic values, based on level of consciousness, and harming higher-value life is wrong to a greater degree than lower value life. Which is what makes it morally acceptable to eat vegetables in order to stay alive, and potentially meat animals as well, although the more I learn about them the more I think I should be a vegetarian. But destroying plants for no reason is wrong, but not as wrong as killing animals or humans for no reason.
3. The degree to which harming life is wrong scales not just with the intrinsic value of the life involved, but also with the level of harm involved. So, subjecting myself to harm to save an animal's life would be ethically right in general, depending on the level of harm involved. By the same principle, if killing of any form of life is required, killing slowly and painfully is more wrong than quickly and painlessly.
4. Another factor is the potential for growth into a higher form of life. So, for example, a human zygote would be of greater value than a fish zygote.
5. To me, it seems that a human zygote, although it has a potential to become a higher form of life, is a relatively low form of life, and therefore abortion should not be termed murder. Without a detailed knowledge of biology, I cannot attempt to place an exact value on it, so my position is to avoid abortion wherever possible.
6. Killing is simply one of the most extreme forms of harm, to be factored into the overall wrongness of the act. In extreme cases, known harm to human beings can be used to justify the killing human zygotes, and potentially relatively undeveloped human fetuses. If the harm to a confirmed human being is extreme (the mother's life is at risk, for example) the mother's life takes precedence over that of the fetus, unless she indicates that she would prefer otherwise.
What I'm saying is, abortion isn't "right" in my view, as it does involve killing life. But there are isolated times when it can be less wrong than the alternatives, and therefore in a sense the right choice.
I know, it seems like I've made up a complicated value system to determine right from wrong. But please keep in mind I've done so based on my conscience which I believe to be reliable, and to me the Church's value system seems just as made up, but is not as much in accord with my conscience. In fact, whenever I've gone into a church, belief in the simplified model of God they have presented seemed very much wrong, which is why I've always left.