Part One: What is abortion?
Arguments for abortion only make sense if you deny the personhood of the unborn. If the unborn is just an impersonal clump of cells, a part of the woman’s body, then no justification for abortion is necessary. If I believed that the unborn was not a human person, abortion would not trouble me at all. However, the evidence that the unborn are human persons is overwhelming.
“Fetus” is a stage of human development, like “baby” or “teenager.” The fact that the first stage of development takes place inside the mother’s womb does not make the fetal human any less of a distinct human being than a newborn baby or a 13-year-old. From the moment of conception, the unborn human has a complete set of DNA, separate from the mother’s. The claim that the unborn is “part of the woman’s body” would be disproved by a DNA test.
None of the differences between fetal humans and newborn humans indicate that those inside the womb are less distinct human persons than those outside the womb. Click here for an article about the SLED test. SLED stands for Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. (Keep scrolling past the recommended links below for Part Two.)
Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins
Life Begins at Fertilization, Science Teaches
We Know They Are Killing Children — All of Us Know
The Insignificant Differences Between Fetal Humans and Human Toddlers
Only One Question
Part Two: Calling abortion what it is
When you call abortion what it is, pro-choice arguments fall apart. Here are some common pro-abortion arguments, along with translations that take into account the reality of what abortion actually is.
- “Banning abortion would only lead to illegal and unsafe abortions.”
Having established that abortion kills an innocent human being, we can accurately rephrase this statement to say, “Banning murder would only lead to illegal and unsafe murder.” It doesn’t make sense. We shouldn’t legalize atrocities so that we can regulate how those atrocities are committed. We can see this by considering a situation in which the evil of the action is not controversial. For example, there would be a much lower chance of a rape victim being killed, contracting a disease, or becoming pregnant if we legalized and regulated rape. Should we do that? Of course not! So why would we do it for the murder of unborn humans?
- “We would see a huge decrease in abortions if there was access to free contraceptives and free child care for working women.”
If there’s nothing wrong with abortion, why even offer this argument in the first place? The only reason to find ways to decrease the number of abortions is if abortion actually does kill a human being.
When rephrased to call abortion what it is, this statement would say: “We would see a huge decrease in mothers killing their children if there was access to free contraceptives and free child care for working women.” Women should not be allowed to kill their children because they don’t have access to free child care, or because they weren’t able to afford contraceptives.
- “Defunding Planned Parenthood will eliminate free screenings that help uninsured women and men detect cancer and STDs.”
Does the fact that an organization offers free cancer and STD screenings justify allowing that organization to kill unborn humans? If Planned Parenthood continued to offer the same services, except that it only performed abortions when necessary to save the life of the mother, there would be no reason to defund it. As long as Planned Parenthood continues to kill unborn humans, defunding it is the right thing to do. There are tons of free clinics that don’t perform abortions. That’s where I went when I was broke and uninsured.
- “I have the right to choose what I do with my body.”
This objection translates to, “I have the right to decide if this child’s life is worth the burden of pregnancy to me.” It argues that a woman’s right to bodily autonomy is more important than her child’s right to not be killed, even though in the vast majority of cases, the child is conceived as a direct result of an action that the woman chose to take. But when two rights are at odds, the more basic and costly right should be protected. It should be no different when it comes to protecting an unborn child’s right to life.
- “My choice to have an abortion is personal and private.”
Rephrased, this statement says, “My choice to kill my unborn child is personal and private.” Killing someone should not be an acceptable personal choice regardless of whether the intended victim is inside or outside the womb.
- “If you haven’t adopted any children, you have no right to comment on abortion.”
Rephrased to be more accurate, this says, “If you haven’t adopted any children, you have no right to comment when women kill their unborn children.” This objection is meant to accuse pro-lifers of hypocrisy, but it becomes nonsensical when you call abortion what it is. Why would someone’s choice not to adopt have any bearing on whether it’s wrong to kill an innocent unborn human? If more people adopted, would the moral status of abortion suddenly change? Of course not. The morality of killing innocent humans has nothing to do with what percentage of people choose to adopt.
- “If you’re a man, you have no right to comment on abortion.”
I wrote a whole blog post on this objection.
- “Pro-lifers’ opinions aren’t worth listening to because they’re a bunch of hypocrites.”
This commits the logical fallacy of attacking the character of the person making the argument rather than dealing with the substance of the argument itself. A statement of fact doesn’t become more or less true depending on who says it. The pro-life argument (abortion is wrong because it kills an innocent human being) is in no way dependent on the character of the people who happen to be offering it.
- “I should be able to have an abortion because if I had the baby, she would have a difficult life.” (Because she would be poor, because she would be disabled, etc.)
Should a very poor mother be able to kill her five year old because of the financial burden? What about a five year old with Down syndrome? No? Then why would it be ok to kill him or her in the womb? The five year old is the same person who was in the mother’s womb. The only differences are the child’s size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. If difficult circumstances don’t justify killing someone living outside the womb, they shouldn’t justify killing someone inside the womb either.
- “Abortion should be legal because sometimes women who wanted their babies have to abort them because of an extreme medical condition that would prevent the baby from being able to survive outside of the womb.”
What this argument is really saying is that because there are rare, extreme cases in which the child would die of natural causes after birth, it should be legal to kill an innocent unborn child under any circumstances. Put in this way, the problem should be obvious. Extreme situations can’t be used to justify abortion on demand. The vast majority of abortions are performed on healthy unborn children.
- “I should be able to have an abortion if the pregnancy poses a direct threat to my life.”
I agree! This one is true even when you rephrase it. “I should be able to kill someone if doing so is necessary to save my own life.” This is the only case in which abortion is self defense instead of murder.
I should note that some women who have abortions are misinformed about what abortion is. Murder is deliberately killing someone, but some have been convinced that their unborn child is a blob of tissue that’s just part of their body. I would not accuse those women of murder, but I would accuse abortion providers of it.
Relentlessly Call Abortion What It Really Is
Pro-Woman, not Pro-Abortion
If You Don’t Like Abortion, Don’t Have One
Even Abortion Advocates Shy Away from the Truth About Elective Abortions
Planned Parenthood and Prenatal Care (“We don’t do that here.”)
Most Planned Parenthood Locations Don’t Offer Prenatal Care (YouTube)
Ultrasounds for Killing, Not Care, at Planned Parenthood (YouTube)
Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic