Response to pro- “choice” objections part 1

What about rape?

Rape is a very tough situation. Obviously, it is a grave evil and is not the woman’s fault. At the same time, if a child is conceived, it is not her (the child’s) fault either. The circumstances of how one came into being should not determine her value as a person. Sometimes people are conceived in rape, adultery, drunk one-night stands, marital sex, etc. These circumstances do not make a human any less of a person in any instance. This is true both after someone’s birth and before.

The child is an innocent person with rights. Although it may be hard to carry the child, the solution to a rape is never a murder. Hence the solution should be to support the victims of rape, both the woman and the child, and make sure both are provided for during and after the pregnancy.

Isn’t this something that should be between a woman and her doctor?

This is absurd given that a fetus is a human being. The decision for a woman to kill her unborn infant is no more between her and her doctor than the decision to kill her three-year old. The reason is that there is a third party involved, namely, the unborn child with rights of her own.

I would never have an abortion but I wouldn’t impose my views on others

This view assumes that (1) morality is subjective and (2) the fetus has no rights. No one wants to “impose” their views on others, but sometimes, it is necessary to put your views into law in order to make sure that justice is served. This objection to abortion is obviously false if we change it around a bit and use it against the stance that “the murder of three year olds should be illegal.” If I objected to that stance with “I would never kill a three-year old but I wouldn’t impose my views on others” I would be branded as a nut, and rightfully so. The reason is that in the case of murder, there are innocent people who have rights which the government must respect and enforce. For the sake of the innocent, the correct view must be enshrined into law.

Men can’t really take a side on this issue as they do not understand what it is like to be pregnant

The three premises I gave above on abortion are each questions of objective fact. The first is one about the type of procedure that abortion is. The second is a question of the nature of the embryo. The third is a question of ethics and when it is wrong to end a life. Each of these is an objective question subject to the various forms of argument (e.g. scientific, philosophical). Since men and women are equally capable of using intelligent reasoning, men and women are both equally capable of taking a stand on abortion.

This objection only works if we take morality to be based on emotion. I will concede that a man cannot necessarily “feel” what it would be like to be pregnant and to put himself in that situation. But this does not mean he cannot take a stand on abortion. Also, it doesn’t necessarily support the pro-abortion position. The fact that he cannot really know what it’s like to be pregnant may just mean that he is less likely to fully comprehend the fact that an unborn child is in fact a child.

A woman has the right to be in control of her body. Shouldn’t this mean no one can tell her not to have an abortion?

An unborn child is an individual human being. Although she is dependent on the mother for life, it does not follow that she is one and the same as the mother. Clearly, given that the unborn child has a unique heart, brain, blood type, etc. she is not the same as her mother. Given that the unborn child is an individual human, she has rights of her own.

The objection might be pursued however by saying that since the unborn child is dependent on the mother for life, the mother has the right (given that she has a right to control her body) to end the pregnancy. This however would mean that the mother has a right to kill her child given there is sufficient dependence of the child on the mother. This is strange though because even young children are dependent on their mothers. Siamese twins are often physically dependent on their twins. There are no grounds to commit murder in these cases, so this seems to undermine the claim that dependence means the right to kill.

Another reason that dependence does not provide grounds to kill is that the right to life exists within a person on account of her nature as a human, not because she is independent or something like that. Given the correct view of rights, this objection is simply a non-sequitur.

If you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one, but don’t force your views on others.

This is faulty because when one understands why abortion is wrong, he should understand that it is a view that must be encoded into the law. If I think that abortion is wrong, I presumably think this because I hold that abortion is murdering an innocent child. Those who think this is the case yet still consider themselves pro-choice are either not thinking about the issue or they are morally corrupt. The reason is that to really think that abortion is the murder of the innocent yet at the same time think that the government shouldn’t make it illegal is an absurd position. It would be like saying “I think slavery is wrong but I don’t think that it should be illegal.” In some ways, it’s worse than just denying the thing is wrong.


Pro-lifers are really just “anti-choice” or “pro-birth”

Being pro-life does obviously mean being against the murder of unborn infants. So insofar as this is the choice we are talking about, the choice to kill a baby, then yes we are anti-choice. Everyone is anti-choice when it comes to murder at least to some degree. Most people are “anti-choice” about killing three year old children.

It is also true that being pro-life is being pro-birth given that the alternative is murdering the child before she is born. Yet this is usually used as an insult meaning that pro-life people don’t care about children after birth. I don’t think there is good evidence for this. No one can focus on all issues. It isn’t right to say “you haven’t done X, Y or Z for the poor in Africa therefore you can’t help the unborn here.” No one can work for all causes.

That said, even if pro-life people sometimes were negligent about the needs of children after they were born, this would not in any way undermine the pro-life position.

Pro-life people are against women

Pro-life people are pro-women. We are pro-pre-born women because we hold up the right to life for every little girl. We are the ones opposed to sex-selection abortion. We are the ones who think that girls in their mother’s womb should not be dismembered.

We are also pro-mother. We think that women can make the choices necessary to avoid unwanted pregnancies (leaving aside rape). We also think that women can and should be supported throughout tough pregnancies. Finally, we don’t think that we need to give them the option of becoming killers of their unborn daughters and sons in order to escape tough situations. We think that they can get through without killing their own children. Women are better than that.

Leave a Reply