Victor Reppert poses the following important question on his Facebook page:
What, if anything, is wrong with holding, at the same time that a) Abortion is murder, and b) abortion should be legal?
It's not a logical contradiction, is it? Is it merely counterintuitive? Is it un-Christian?
One way of reaching this position might be to hold that, given a metaphysical or religious perspective, you view abortion as murder, but, living in a society where large segments of the population don't share that perspective, you don't think it reasonable to pass laws imposing that view on the general public.
The propositions in question are not logically contradictory. But one can generate a logical inconsistency by adding an eminently plausible proposition. Consider the following antilogism:
a) Abortion is murder
b) Abortion should be legal
c) Murder should be illegal.
The triad is logically inconsistent: the constituent propositions cannot all be true.
Now (c) is the least rejectable (the least rejection-worthy) of the three propositions. For if the law does not proscribe murder, what would it proscribe? The purpose of the State, at a bare minimum, is to protect life, liberty, and property. (Call it the Lockean triad.) If the State is morally justified, then its passing and enforcing of laws is morally justified. Among these laws are laws pertaining to the killing of human beings. Without going any deeper into it, I will just assert what most of us will accept, namely, that the intentional killing of innocent human being is morally wrong and therefore ought to be made illegal by a morally justified State.
In short, we ought not reject (c). Therefore, one who accepts (a) ought to reject (b). Transforming the antilogism into a syllogism, we get:
Murder should be illegal
Abortion is murder
Abortion should be illegal.
Reppert ought to be persuaded by this argument since he accepts the minor and I have given a powerful argument for the major.
Reppert asks whether it is reasonable to pass laws against abortion in a society in which large segments of the population do not oppose abortion. Well, was it reasonable to pass laws against slavery in a society in which large segments of the population did not oppose slavery?
Suppose we become even more morally depraved than we are now. We get to the point where the majority considers infanticide morally acceptable. Would it be reasonable to do away with the laws proscribing it? Or the laws proscribing child pornography? Or rape laws? Should the law merely reflect the going moral sentiment no matter how decadent it becomes?
I'll leave you with these questions.