This is a very touchy issue. If you don't think that a male has any
right to voice any opinion on abortion, stop reading right here.
I figure I can at least look at the philosophy regarding abortion,
because many people figure that vegetarians must naturally and logically
be opposed to abortion. The argument is simple: if someone is pro-life,
they would extend that to animals; if someone is pro-choice, they would
not want to make decisions about the fate of the body of a still-alive
The pro-life argument examined from the sentience angle:
(Sentience: ability to feel pain and respond to stimuli.)
At conception, a fetus is without consciousness and is not sentient,
as it has not yet developed any nerves or brain. At birth, and for at
least a month or two before birth, the fetus is sentient. That question
that I am unable to answer is: at what point does the fetus become
sentient? If one takes the animal rights point of view of sentience, then
the fetus is sentient as soon as it has developed a central bundle of
nerves -- probably somewhere in the first six weeks, I'd guess.
Such a fetus is essentially as sentient as a pig fetus in a similar state
of development. Any factory-farmed animal is a heck of a lot more sentient
than the pig fetus, and yet pro-life people still eat animals! Not only
that, but they eat female pigs whose fetuses were aborted during
Respect for life.
Vegetarians usually have a respect for life that extends to animals
such as clams or flies. I save earthworms I see that are close to drowning
on the sidewalk, or wasps that are trapped on the wrong side of a window.
In the same way, a vegetarian woman might apply the same respect for life
to her fetus.