Actor James Franco, one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, recently sat down with a professor of philosophy from Princeton to discuss the issue of abortion. His quick response arguing that abortion is wrong is stunning.
Franco hosts a YouTube series he calls “Philosophy Time,” in which he explores various issues pertinent to today’s culture. In this episode, he asked Elizabeth Harman, philosophy professor from Princeton, to explain her views on abortion.
After a lengthy justification in which she argues that some fetuses deserve to live while others do not—because they don’t have a future—Franco replies with a simple question. Her response went something like this, in her words:
“I defend the view that there is nothing morally bad about early abortion. So, a lot of people think ‘Well, it’s permissible to have an abortion, but something bad happens when the fetus dies.’ And 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…
“So, James, when you were an early fetus … all of us think we already did have moral status then. But we had moral status in virtue of our futures. … But some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view, that is a very different kind of entity. That’s something that doesn’t have a future as a person and it doesn’t have moral status.”
James Franco’s response: “Can’t you only judge that in hindsight?”
Jim Treacher, a blogger for The Daily Caller, offered his take on Franco’s reaction to Harman’s stance:
“In sum, Harman’s argument is that killing a baby isn’t immoral because…you’re killing it. You’re not wrong to kill someone (or as she’d prefer, something) without a future. The future that you’re taking away from it. … Like the guy who murders his parents, then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.”
Watch the YouTube video here:
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