Many people, especially Catholics and other traditional Christians, often struggle with questions about voting, the common good, and social issues such as abortion during election season. In this piece, I want to highlight a common claim about abortion in such a way as to show what the claim entails, and what it does not.
Claim (p): It is immoral to vote for a candidate who favors abortion.
Now, take this example to better understand what the claim entails. Candidate A favors allowing abortions, but is against the death penalty, torture, unjust wars, and assisted suicide. The candidate supports programs for the poor and disabled, and actively promotes the preservation of the environment. Candidate B is against abortion, but favors the death penalty, allowing torture, and war under any circumstances. This candidate does not believe that the poor or disabled ever need any government assistance, and is ambivalent about environmental concerns at best.
If (p) is true, then it is an immoral act to vote for candidate A.
However, even if this were the case, the truth of (p) would NOT entail that voting for candidate B is a MORAL act. (P) can only be used when talking about candidate A, since A fits the criteria laid out in (p). Candidate B’s opposition to abortion does not directly pertain to (p), since (p) only deals with those candidates who favor abortion.
There are still a number of other questions that should be brought up, so the later posts will focus on some of the following issues: what if there is no candidate who opposes abortion in all cases? What if there is no candidate who opposes abortion at all? What if a candidate opposes abortion yet supports many other morally reprehensible policies? I will discuss these questions and more in the following posts.