On his new YouTube show, Philosophy Time, movie-star James Franco and co-host Eliot Michaelson are tackling some highly contested issues. Recently, the duo interviewed Princeton Philosophy Professor Elizabeth Harman and discussed her argument for early abortion. James Franco delivers a priceless reaction to her nonsensical argument.
In the interview, Harman stated, “…I think if a fetus hasn’t ever been conscious, it hasn’t ever had any experiences; and we aborted it at that stage, actually nothing morally bad happens.”
In response, Franco asks, “Can’t you only judge that in hindsight?”
Harman then argued that because killing a fetus takes away its chance for a future before its even begun, there is no moral quandary to be had. She essentially believes only wanted-and-kept fetuses have “moral status,” and the aborted (or naturally miscarried) have no such privilege. In Harman’s world, to-be-aborted babies are not “future people”—only womb exiters are.
Again, Franco wants further clarification. He asked, “If a woman decides to have an abortion with an early fetus, just that act or that intention negates the ‘moral status’ of that early fetus just because if she goes out and has an abortion, it’s pretty certain that it’s not going to become a person?”
Harman’s early abortion argument only grows more convoluted. You might be wondering how a carried-to-term baby can have moral status, while an aborted or miscarried baby does not. According to Harman, when it comes to abortion, the lack of moral consequence stems from the simple fact an aborted baby has no future. She argues that having a future is the determining factor of moral status. Naturally, Harman’s ridiculous argument fails to account for the fact abortion takes away a fetus’s potential future.
James Franco didn’t seem to be impressed with Harman’s explanation either. The moral issues of abortion cannot be waved off by saying an aborted baby has no future; that’s exactly why it is such a highly contested issue.