Abortion Advocacy as Moral Suicide
Virtually every school of modern ethics, including Neo-Thomism, stakes its claim to truth on an entirely rational system of thought. In any rationalist system of ethics, every basic principle must be stated in universal terms in which "I" am denied a privileged perspective. I may not, for example, make rules that apply to everyone but me--only the Congress of the United States is free to do that. If I advocate an unrestricted right to abortion, then, it must include my mother's right to have aborted me for whatever reason she chose.
This may appear to be a variant on the familiar right-to-life argument which goes, "Aren't you glad your mother did not believe in abortion," but there is this essential difference. The "aren't you glad" ploy assumes that my existence is self-evidently desirable, but in insisting upon a universal right to commit prepartum infanticide we surrender our privilege of taking anything for granted, even our own existence. Of course, abortion advocates of bad faith or limited imagination might readily assent and proclaim their willingness to die for their mother's right, but it is hard to find anyone willing to die even for a close relative, as Admetus found out to his cost, and when his wife Alcestis accepted death on his behalf, he was desolate. And, any abortion advocate who proclaims his willingness to die for the sake of his mother’s freedom can only prove his good faith by immediately killing himself.
Suppose the abortion advocate made the counter-argument that "I" would not really have existed when my mother made her fatal decision, which makes my existence irrelevant to the discussion. To this one must answer, "Yes, but you do exist now, and given the choice, which would you deny--your own existence or your mother's right to choose? Imagine the situation as a kind of thought experiment with two buttons, the first labelled "YES, unrestricted right,” the second "NO, restricted right." If you push "unrestricted," then your mother would have been free to terminate you for any reason no matter how whimsical, but if you push "restricted," it means your mother would have been limited in her choice, and one can then decide under what circumstances it would be better never to have existed.
If you choose yes--only to wink out of existence--then you have denied your own being, your own particular point of view that has evolved from the moment of conception up till now. You have not only rejected one of the few universal human attributes--the desire for self-preservation--but you have in principle stripped yourself of legitimate personhood: Can we really argue with a person who has never really existed? This argument is, in a way, an analogue of Anselm's proof of God's existence--that God must exist because our mind is constructed in such a way as to conceive of him. If our conception of ourself involves us in self-annihilation, then we are the opposite of all that God is; we are nescient, impotent, and incompetent--in a word, nothing.