Which is why McCain's much cleaner answer may come back to haunt him. It's not just that a majority of Americans favor at least limited access to legal abortion. (I've seen polls suggesting that a substantial minority of Americans thinks McCain himself is pro-choice, which is a natural mistake given his maverick image. Will independents like him less when they learn more?) McCain's construction that life begins "at the moment of conception" opens a whole new set of questions. There is a world of mystery in what transpires between the moment when egg meets sperm and the point of implantation, when that fertilized egg nestles into the uterus and begins to grow. [...]To that second paragraph there is only one proper response--but how can I phrase it politely? Um, no digestive system waste product, Famous Arthur Conan Doyle character? ;)
Consider the obvious implications if rights attain the moment the egg and sperm meet: all kinds of embryo research become questionable, starting with the stem-cell research McCain says he favors. Couples who undergo in vitro fertilization and then choose not to implant all the embryos are surely violating the rights of those that are discarded or frozen. Some forms of contraception, such as IUDs and the morning-after pill, would presumably be illegal if they affect the ability of an egg to implant. Abortion opponents contend that the birth control pill itself, while designed to prevent ovulation so no egg is fertilized in the first place, may also have the effect of blocking implantation of any egg that sneaks through. Suddenly, a whole range of reproductive choices comes into question.
That's the whole point, silly pro-choicers. Reproduction involves the creation of new life. Making choices before engaging in the act likely to lead to reproduction is morally permissible, provided that the choices are moral (pre-marital abstinence, marital use of NFP or other morally permissible means of spacing children, marital acceptance of and love and care for the children who naturally result) and not immoral (sex outside marriage, contraception, serial divorce with its impact on children, etc.).
But making "reproductive choices" when reproduction is already a fait accompli is just code for "killing the unborn child we weren't prepared to accept despite the fact that we were engaging in the act known to lead to reproduction." And making "reproductive choices" that involve IFV and embryo manipulation will always be immoral, because the child is deprived of his/her natural right to come into being as a result of his/her parent's marital embrace, instead being objectified and manufactured in a lab as if he/she were a merely material product with no inherent rights or dignity of his/her own.
And it's that, the objectification of the unborn human, treating the child as if he is his mother's property to kill or not as she chooses, or to manufacture, or to avoid artificially through contraception, which has always been the motivation behind pro-life objections to abortion. We do oppose abortifacient birth control methods (and non-abortifacient, too, though for different reasons). We do oppose IVF. We oppose any so-called "reproductive choice" that directly and intentionally ends the life of a developing human being in the womb. And we always have.
Perhaps these new public discussions of life issues will bring a moment of clarity to those who are vaguely "pro-choice" who have never examined the moral incoherence of their position, and the firm consistency of ours. If we don't begin with the premise that all human beings are worthy of life from conception to natural death, we end with mushy relativism--and relativism is always surprised to discover the existence of truth.