|Goya, "The French Penalty", c. 1824|
Yet the pressures towards both cannot be overestimated. As we have seen with recent changes in sexual ethics, without a firm understanding of why these things are wrong, they soon become socially acceptable and then commonplace. Chesterton once joked that one might overcome the need for birth control by letting all the babies be born and then killing those one didn't like. He was attempting a reductio ad absurdum, but today influential philosophers are advocating infanticide in all seriousness.
So, what is intrinsically wrong with abortion and the "mercy killing" of human beings? We cannot understand this without some appreciation of the notion