Can a pro-lifer be both open-minded and confident?
If only because it’s hard to prove a negative, one can never be completely confident that there is not some evidence out there somewhere that would lead one to become pro-choice.
And the less familiar a pro-lifer is with the literature on the abortion issue — Boonin, Beckwith, Kaczor, etc. — the less reason that person would have to be confident in that way. A person who has read everything and has ended up with strong pro-life convictions, may perhaps feel that it is only in theory that he might encounter a new pro-choice argument that he will not be able to defeat, or some new scientific or statistical evidence that might change everything for him. But we can safely guess that most pro-lifers have never read a book on the subject. How can someone who has never read Boonin feel confident that nothing he might read in Boonin, if he reads open-mindedly, might overturn his pro-life views?
So I think that the only way a pro-lifer can be both open-minded and confident is if he has a plan B for how he will operate if the evidence leads him to be pro-choice.
By such a plan B, I don’t necessarily mean a rehearsed speech that he will use to explain to his friends how he had made a mistake. I just mean that he must have confidence that life will still be worth living even if he changes his most cherished opinions. And in fact life should still be worth living if not even more worth living than it was before, because presumably he will change from an old opinion only to a new opinion that carries more truth.
In other words, a pro-lifer can be open-minded and confident if he is confident in always progressing toward more and more truth, but not if he is confident in remaining always pro-life.
I think it is extremely unlikely that the evidence will ever lead me to become pro-choice, by the way. My point is just that being really open-minded can only mean being ready to change any opinion at all.
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Some future posts:
A Trade-Off of a Sensitive Nature
Unborn Child-Protection Legislation, the Moral Health of Society, and the Role of the American Democratic Party
The Motivations of Aborting Parents
Why Remorse Comes Too Late
The Kitchen-Ingredients Week-After Pill
Unwanted Babies and Overpopulation
The Woman as Slave?
Abortion and the Map of the World