In my previous post I made a moral case that abortion is wrong. Definitely read that first if you haven’t, because it lays the groundwork for what I want to talk about today. It’s from this moral framework that I’d like to discuss common pro-choice arguments in favor of abortion.
Refuting Common Pro-Choice Arguments
1) A woman should be able to make choices about her own body.
There are a lot of people who are personally against abortion, but still conclude that they can’t tell a woman what to do with her body. We love personal freedom, and the autonomy to make our own choices and control our destiny.
The problem with this argument is that the human fetus is not her body. It is in her body, but it is not her body. It is a separate human being with its own DNA and its own blood type. Yes, it affects her body, but it’s not equivalent to having a mole removed. The decision to abort a fetus affects more than her own body. It ends the life and potential of another human being.
The moral value of the unborn baby does not hinge on the mother’s value of it. If you believe it does, then you must surrender to her choice at any time in the pregnancy. If the choice of the mother is the only thing that matters, then you must permit week 39 abortions.
2) The abortion debate isn’t about killing babies, it’s about women gaining equality.
How are women ever going to compete against men, and achieve equality, if they’re forced to carry babies to term that they don’t want? A woman’s ability to have an abortion, and not be tied down to giving birth, is essential to women achieving equality with men.
This argument seems to be a primarily economic one. That getting pregnant and being forced to see it through is an undue economic burden on the woman. I can absolutely confirm that my children are an economic burden, but that’s not a justification to end a human life. The selfish desire to abort a baby to focus on a career is not a justification for abortion.
3) A woman’s private medical decisions are between her and her doctor.
This is a spin on the women’s choice argument. This is a private medical decision, and it’s up to the woman to make.
The problem with the privacy argument is that it doesn’t work when applied to other scenarios. Does someone have a right to abuse their child in private? Of course not. Privacy does not make abortion OK. It’s either the ending of a human life or it’s not, and framing the decision as an issue of privacy is irrelevant. Making an immoral decision in private doesn’t make that decision moral.
4) In the case of rape or incest, abortion should now be permissible.
Some people are against abortion, but they’re willing to make an exception in the case of rape and incest. I understand why. These are horrible, and absolutely awful circumstances I never want to see happen to someone. It is very rare, somewhere around 1% of abortion cases. If someone isn’t willing to admit that all the other abortions are wrong, then the case of rape or incest is simply being brought up to try and justify all the other abortions done for far worse reasons (Ben Shapiro).
The reason the fetus came into existence has no impact on its value. The fetus is either a human being or it is not. Related to this idea is aborting a baby for reasons most people find objectionable. Is it OK to abort a baby because it’s a girl? Because of the race of the baby? Most would argue those reasons are immoral. The pro-choice position must explain why abortion for one reason is morally acceptable, but not for other reasons.
5) Pro-life supporters only care about the baby before it’s born, but stop caring once they’re born.
I’ve heard this argument from a lot of Christians in the last few months. Personally, I think this argument was mostly a justification for them to feel better about the political candidate they were supporting, and has nothing to do with abortion.
It’s possible to care about the life of the unborn fetus, and care about people after they are born. I can want to protect human life, and believe the church and private charities should help people. Disagreeing on the way people are cared for post-birth has nothing to do with whether or not abortion is moral. There’s also something very wrong about equating the ending of an unborn life to support for a government welfare program. Supporting a government program to help the poor does not grant moral authority to then declare abortion OK.
Political opinions about social programs or government funded birth control are a separate discussion. The government not paying for your 25 cent condom has nothing to do with the killing of an unborn baby.
6) If a woman isn’t ready, or not able to adequately provide for the baby, then an abortion is actually the responsible thing to do.
This argument asserts that the life of the baby is only worth living under “good” circumstances. Try applying this same argument to a toddler living in poverty. Is it responsible to kill the toddler so they aren’t subjected to their poor situation? Of course not.
The situation that life comes into is never a sufficient reason to end life. This is actually an attempt to justify selfishness. “We’re not ready to be parents, and we don’t have enough money, so this baby would be better off never having known this hardship.” Children are born into “bad” circumstances all the time, but no one would argue those children should be killed, or that they shouldn’t have been born in the first place. The life of the unborn is more important than whatever situation they’re being born into. Life is worthwhile all the time, not just when it’s convenient or comfortable.
Choice, Choice, Choice!
The more pro-abortion arguments I read, the more hollow they sound. The mantra of “it’s a woman’s choice” is not an argument for or against abortion. It’s an argument that the morality of abortion is unknowable. It’s whatever you decide it to be. Even the biggest supporters of abortion can’t provide a logical argument.
First I discussed the morality of defending the unborn, and here I’ve looked at common pro-choice arguments. In the final post, I want to discuss what I think happens next. It’s not enough to only argue against abortion. What happens after we’re done defending life? You can read about that here in my final post of the series.