I realize I am in a very small minority of university-educated people who are anti-abortion (in most, but not all cases) or “Pro-Life”. Nonetheless I’d like to respond to popular Pro-abortion/”Choice” arguments to expose them for what they are: thinly veiled rationalizations for the killing of unwanted children.
1. The majority want/accept unregulated abortion, it must be right.
The majority of voting Americans chose Barack Obama. The majority of Americans made his only viable alternative John McCain. The majority either were ignorant of Ron Paul or looked down on him. The majority of the world consider laws criminalizing marijuana reasonable, just and acceptable. The majority of people in the western world support Israel. Etc.
We are all ignorant to a certain extent, but the majority of people in the world are ignorant to the point they can barely manage their own lives, let alone decisions that can and do affect the lives of millions around the world. They often can’t be trusted to make serious decisions of life and death which require a neutral and impartial level of analysis void of emotional manipulation. In high school my English teacher read us an excerpt of a story and asked if anyone knew the measurement of a fathom. Someone replied: a few meters. I stated it was a few feet, having some yachting experience behind me. I was the sole dissenting voice in a classroom on a simple question of fact. Sheep herded around the majority who adamantly insisted they were right. I stuck by my guns even though I admit that the unflinching certitude of the others planted a sliver of doubt in what I thought I knew. When the teacher proved me right, I realized the fallibility of the belief of a majority in certain situations.
2. Its not life.
I suppose anyone can define anything to be a living thing or not based on subjective biological criteria (EG, formation of nervous system, brain, limbs, etc). Everyone agrees that once born a life exists. But does that same life exist just because it can’t be seen with the naked eye?
Does a child rapist get any leniency from a judge or jury by saying that he (or she, hi feminists!) shouldn’t be punished as severely because the 6 year old hadn’t yet developed a mature reproductive system or breasts? Of course not. The trier of fact would throw the book at the perpetrator precisely because the 6 year old is especially vulnerable when compared with a teenager or adult.
The reality is, when a fetus/embryo is wanted, it is a baby. When it is not wanted, it is expendable. In the US, Scott Peterson got convicted of double murder for killing his pregnant wife. How many Pro-Choicers raged at the injustice of a man guilty of an extra murder he did not actually commit? Or was that fetus a life purely on the fact the late Laci Peterson wanted it?
3. Woman’s body->woman’s choice to do whatever she wants with it.
I agree that any person should be able to do what they want with their body. But there’s an obvious moral caveat to that: …provided it doesn’t harm others. Keep in mind this logic was used up until a generation ago as a defense for domestic abuse. It’s the man’s private home, whatever happens inside is none of anybody else’s business. Feminists vigorously disagreed, leading to the modern feminist mantra: the personal is the political. Do these same feminists wish to create the double standard (they abhor when it affects women’s liberties) they refuse to grant a man?
4. The child will be worse off if he/she is unwanted.
This is weak. Why don’t we cull children in orphanages and foster homes then? And even if a child would rather die than live unwanted, that decision should be theirs alone to take. But the main fallacy of this is it surreptitiously changes the emphasis from a woman’s selfish desire (to avoid a noticeable pregnancy of a few months) to the interests of the child who’s about to be killed. Does a woman really care about the child? Of course not. And that’s why abortion clinics never refer to the entity as a child, but the dehumanizing euphemism “fetus” or “embryo”. To prevent the woman from seeing what shes about to do for what it is: facilitating murder.
5. The child has severe developmental disabilities.
See point 4. But it also begs the question, Why don’t/can’t we kill people with down syndrome or other severe mental/physical/developmental disabilities then?
6. The pregnancy threatens the woman’s life.
This would be a situation where abortion is justified. No one should be expected to allow even an otherwise innocent person to endanger their life without reasonable measures of self-defence.
7. The pregnancy was a result of rape.
This is a tough call. I’m inclined to make this a second situation where abortion is justified. Rape is traumatic enough as is. It is morally repugnant to demand a woman bring the spawn of a rapist to term. Although arguable that the child had no role in the initial crime, a woman should be able to terminate such a pregnancy for the sake of her own mental well-being, which could otherwise be seriously jeopardized.
Moreover, my opposition to abortion as birth control results from my belief in individual responsibility. Consensual sex is one thing and the consequences thereof, whether heartbreak, STDs, pregnancy, should be dealt with by the person who had an active and willing role in bringing them about. Non-consensual sex is another matter entirely and a woman should therefore not be obligated to deal with its traumatic consequences any more than is absolutely unavoidable.
8. A pregnancy obligates a woman to raise a child.
No it doesn’t. In western societies adoption is a viable option. A woman’s biological instinct to raise children notwithstanding, it stands to reason if a woman doesn’t want a pregnancy to the point where she’ll have an abortion, giving it up to a family who can’t have a child of their own isn’t too onerous an alternative.
9. A woman will feel emotionally burdened about giving birth to a child and not being able to raise it.
This is a rationalization of a guilty conscience (see point 4). Note how the emphasis is placed on the interests of the child, as if they would somehow be supported by an abortion.
10. “I don’t regret my abortion.”
Yeah you do. Most women who have an abortion regret theirs, if they’re honest with themselves and others. In the movie Lake of Fire, a woman is filmed as she undergoes her 3rd or 4th abortion. In an initial consultation, a nurse asks her if she is sure she wants to undergo the procedure or if she has any moral issues with it. The woman doesn’t hesitate in saying shes perfectly comfortable with it, and states she has already had it done multiple times. So she undergoes the procedure, which apparently is very uncomfortable if not painful. The film ends with her subsequently being put in a “recovery room”, where she breaks down, inconsolable.
This is what happens when you do something wrong: your conscience kicks in and makes you feel bad for something you know is morally wrong.
In other words, if I have my appendix or a cancerous tumor removed, I don’t feel shame and wouldn’t feel awkward talking about it with strangers. If I steal something, unless I’m an utter sociopath, I’ll feel at least a pang of guilt and remorse. And this includes those who wear “I’m proud of my abortion” t-shirts. Right. Keep telling yourself that, sister. And those looks you get, I’d bet most of them aren’t ones of support or approval.
11. “Pro-Choice” doesn’t mean pro-abortion, it just means giving the women the option to choose whether to have one or not.
OK, this is abortion’s smoking gun. If you’re for the death penalty, you’re for it. You’re not “pro-choice” because it is taken for granted the death penalty, where legal, is only applied in appropriate circumstances. The fact people who support unregulated abortion can’t even call it what it is indicates #1 that they at least subconsciously know abortions are immoral and/or #2 they don’t feel confident enough on the moral merits of their cause to convey their beliefs in a transparent and honest way.
The debate has devolved into a propaganda war. On salon.com, an otherwise excellent publication, pro-lifers are referred to as “anti-choice”. Note how this stealthily makes a moral principled stand into something most reasonable people would not agree with. It’s as if those against abortions of convenience are actually despotic micro-dictators on a slippery slope jihad lobbying for a totalitarian, patriarchal state.
Lets just call a spade a spade. Lets get rid of these “life/choice” window-dressing paradigms. The issue is abortions as a method of birth control. Are you for it or against it, and why?
12. Abortions, if illegal, will happen anyway. The best approach is harm prevention of safe, easily accessible abortion clinics.
Harm prevention is a compelling argument. It is most effectively wielded as a method of mitigating the havoc wrought by drug addictions in urban centers. But it shouldn’t apply to abortion since the life of a human being is at stake.
In other words, would these “it’s-gonna-happen-anyway” advocates would be persuaded by the notion of enclosed “killing-room” facilities whereby people who want to kill each other in a gunfight can do so in a way as not to threaten third parties from errant bullets? Of course not. The reason being, civilized societies (countries employing capital punishment being the exception) don’t see killing as a way of solving problems. So why do we make an exception in abortion we wouldn’t make for two consenting parties in the “killing-room” example above?
And as for the back-alley abortion thing. First of all, the notion that women scrape their uterus with coathangers is a misleading canard. What is done is a coathanger is coated with a substance (usually tape) to irritate the cervix to the point where a clinical abortion becomes necessary.The rusty nail image presented though, is an effective way of engendering support for that which can’t easily be rationalized through honest and transparent discourse.
But lets assume the rusty-coat-hanger back-alley “Dr.” argument as something which will regularly and inevitably result as a result of regulated abortions. People will always engage in risky activity. Harm prevention is good, but again, if another life is at stake the government should stay out of the way and not encourage and enable anti-social and destructive behavior. And, as cold as this sounds, if you are stupid enough to have an unprofessional abortion, you should be prepared to deal with the consequences.
I hope the preceding analysis has lead questioning of existing social paradigms. While I support feminism’s occasional use as a tactic, the partisan nature of feminism, replete with egregious double standards (how many feminists lobby for equalization of family law rights? or equal pay in the porn industry?) makes it something increasingly unpalatable even to many educated women in western societies.
The bottom line is this: abortion, for better or worse, is a moral issue. The problem is people can rarely examine it logically and rationally. The debate is shrouded in raw, passionate emotion. People who are against abortion are upset because they see millions of lives at stake. People for abortion are upset because they view the regulation of abortion as somehow infringing liberties, as if liberties were something that can never be placed within certain moral and legal boundaries. The fact abortion advocates obfuscate, mislead, and stage counter protests for a cause they have already won illustrates to me, at least, that they realize abortions legitimacy is built on very unstable legal and moral grounds.
Whatever your personal views on the subject, I encourage you to broaden your intellectual and ideological horizons as much as possible. As evidently as I am in favor of one side of this issue, there is not a moment that goes by when addressing this topic that I remind myself that I might be wrong and seek further information which may either support or disprove my existing beliefs.