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If it is illegal for a rape victim to kill the rapist after the fact, then why should it be legal for the rape victim to kill a baby that is the product of the rape? It seems to me that abortion is "vigilante justice" in a sense. This is all assuming, of course, that the unborn child is considered a living, human being. If it isn't, then why is an unborn child not then considered "evidence" to be used by a third party? I do not think an unborn child should be considered anything in between a "living human" and an "object," but please take this distinction into consideration.

January 2, 2014

Response from Stephen Maitzen on January 2, 2014
There are relevant differences between the rapist and the fetus conceived as a result of rape. If, after the fact, the rapist no longer poses a threat to the rape victim, then the victim's killing the rapist would be revenge rather than self-defense, and we normally take very different moral attitudes toward those two types of action. By contrast, the fetus still constitutes at least a burden, and perhaps also a threat, to the rape victim, and importantly a burden or threat for which the rape victim is in no way responsible. I think it's this absence of responsibility in the case of rape that makes the most important difference. Even if we assume that the fetus conceived by rape has as much intrinsic moral status as a normal five-year-old child, that wouldn't make the rape victim responsible for the fetus in a way that obligates her to allow the use of her body for its survival. There are many five-year-old children in the world for whose survival you and I aren't obligated to make highly burdensome sacrifices.


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