The Corner

The Drowning Baby Analogy

Hey folks I just said I thought Instapundit’s post was interesting. I didn’t say I agreed with it. Two objections that strike me — and several readers — as obvious.

First of all, no matter what the law requires, morality absolutely requires you to save the drowning baby. That the law imposes no penalty whatsoever to such morally disgusting behavior is a scandal, but it doesn’t make the morality any less clear. If the law doesn’t require me to save the baby’s life, than the law is “a ass.”

Second, the drowning baby isn’t very much like abortion anyway because it is not the natural or default state of a fetus to die just as it is not normal for a baby to drown in water. It takes action by one or more parties to drown a baby in water or to abort a fetus. Surely the law recognizes that it is murder to drown a baby in a puddle. Indeed, the law may or may not require the individual passerby to stop someone from drowning a baby (I would like to think it does) but a policeman is most definitely required to stop anyone drowning a baby — including its mother or father. Further, if I stopped someone from drowning their baby I sincerely doubt I would be in trouble with the law.

In other words, the analogy falls apart because the drowning baby scenario Glenn provides is more like a miscarriage while an abortion is more like a willful killing.


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