The philosophical debate of abortion hinges on the question of when the life which grows in a woman’s womb actually becomes a child and thus acquires human rights. Even if someone rejects the idea proposed by the American founding fathers that people don't “acquire” rights but are “endowed by their Creator” with inalienable rights, it is an irrefutable fact that no one has the ability to discern when the magic moment occurs in the womb when fetal flesh becomes a human being. So, In the most plain, unembellished language, the right to an abortion is the right of a woman to make a gamble by which she either kills her own child as it grows in her womb or kills a lump of flesh which will soon be her child.
I was tempted to insert quote bubbles next to the jubilant young women in the pictures that say, “Human or Not? We Decide!” or “Kill According to Conscience!” or “Vote ‘Yes.’ Free Sex from Responsibility!” But aside from my own moral conviction, the defense of the abortion gamble as a righteous cause is just perplexing. If a woman believes she should be allowed to make the gamble because she doesn't believe she is morally accountable to a Divine authority and thinks that all of life boils down to minimizing obstacles to physical survival and sensual pleasure, I would expect her to be adamant and consistent, but not passionate—more like an empty-hearted businessman insistent on destroying a nature preserve for real estate development than a moral crusader campaigning for human rights. (The premise of pro-choice activism is that unborn babies aren’t worthy of human rights!)
But the right to gamble on killing that which is a baby or soon-to-be baby has all the characteristics of a zealous campaign for justice: shouting protesters, picket signs, demonization of opponents, etc. The part that’s hard on the brain is that the movement is often framed as a fight against oppression, as if to say, “Those heartless, iron-fisted traditionalists aren’t gonna tell me I can’t kill my baby! No body’s going to punish me with parenthood just because I had sex!” Up until this point in history, the ones who kill babies and fight those who want to save them have been thought of as oppressors. How is this no longer the case?
With all this in mind, I suspect Lewis’ characterization in Miracles of naturalist philosophers who insist that we are only bodies without souls is also true of pro-choice activists. He says they try to deny humanity by making us out to be nothing more than highly intelligent animals but all the while remain human in their passionate protests (animal picket lines and sit-ins are pretty rare). Having a sense of justice and morality is fundamental to what it means to be a human being. The problem of the human condition, however, is that the unjust, animal nature is also a fundamental part of being human, and the two sides are at war. Pro-choice activists, along with most on the ideological left, want to work out a way for both sides of their nature to win.
They want to gratify both their unjust carnal appetites and their sense of justice. They reject Plato’s idea that a just life is achieved by ruling and restraining the appetites with reason and morality. But because they can’t fully divorce themselves from a concern for justice, they try to put justice and appetite on the same side and then cast those who propose moral restraint of the appetites as “oppressors” to be fought in the name of justice. They are much like a married man caught with a prostitute while his wife suffers from a long-term illness. Instead of contrition and humility, he expresses indignation for those who would make him feel guilty for having his “needs” met. Those who are rightly the targets of just indignation become indignant themselves in order to deflect guilt and avoid repentance. At first, indignation is used as an illegitimate fortress. Then defending the fortress becomes a just cause in itself, so that the very people who reject the personal, moral demands of justice assume the role of justice warriors. As R.R. Reno says, “They insist upon a political correctness that rejects moral correctness." The result is the absurdity of a moral crusade against morality.