Why Abortion is Wrong is a series that attempts to view the issue of abortion from a number of different views and angles. In this series, we answer the age old question: Why is abortion wrong? You can see the whole series here.
Within any argument, there are two sides. If there was only one, there would be no argument. For any good argument, you must understand your opponent's position. If you don't know what you are arguing against, how can you refute it? So far in this series we have examined the arguments against abortion. Now, it is time to examine and refute the arguments commonly put forth for abortion. Let's begin.
All of us have heard at one point or another that abortion is "a woman's choice." This is by far the most common pro-choice argument, and even the name pro-choice is derived from it. Often times pro-choicers will say that a fetus is no different than a woman's tonsils or appendix. As that fetus is merely a "dispensable part" of the woman, that woman has the right to abort that baby. It is a woman's "choice" to do as she wishes with the baby, because it is not actually independent of her. A quick logical look at the situation, however, shows otherwise.
First, by arguing that a fetus is little more than a part of a woman, you are ignoring the obvious: The fetus at the very least has the "potential" to become a living human being. The tonsil and appendix do not have that potential, and so the three can not be treated alike. Second, by arguing for "choice," you are missing an important implication of the word choice: Doesn't the baby have a choice? I think the child would choose to live, personally. By giving women the "choice" to abort their child, you are ignoring the "choice" of the unborn. I think that's pretty significant.
Now onto another argument that I've heard often; one that makes no sense to me. I've heard it said that we shouldn't ban abortion because banning abortion wouldn't stop. They say that banning abortions would only make illegal - and potentially deadly to the mother and the child - abortions more common. I've even heard it said that those who oppose abortion "want to take America back to the 'back-alley abortion' times."
First, abortion as it currently exists has killed well over 40 million babies a year for the past seven years, according to this pdf from the Guttmacher Institute. According to the National Organization for Women, "During the 1950s and 60s, each year an estimated 160 to 260 women died from illegal abortions, while thousands more were seriously injured." In the United States alone, as I've said before, more than one million babies are aborted every year. According to the same National Organization for Women site, between 200,000 and 1.2 million babies were aborted illegally over a span of about 20 years. We meet that number - legally, I might add - in one year. I don't want to seem calloused, but the numbers clearly favor making abortion illegal. This is a choice of millions versus thousands. Both are valuable life, and both should be protected, but the weight is clearly on the side of banning abortion. Besides, if we make abortion illegal, that would mean that to have an abortion would be to break a law. We have a system in place to deal with those law breakers and correct their mistakes for the future. Whether that system is perfect or not is another debate altogether.
So we see that the choice argument could be used as a pro-life point and the legality argument fails some basic fact checking. The common pro-choice arguments, then, are invalid. Next week I'll be digging a little deeper into the pro-choice arguments and finding the less common, but more potent arguments in the pro-choice arsenal. Thanks for reading!