There are several arguments used by pro-abortion advocates that argue the ramifications of not allowing abortion outweigh the ramifications of allowing abortion.
With the previous topic in mind – that human life is most logically defined as that which begins at conception or implantation – let us look at some of the common scenarios presented:
If abortion is no longer allowed, women will go back to coat hanger abortions.
It might be true that if abortion is no longer allowed (outside of medical conditions) some women might go to “back alley abortionists,” which inevitably puts the mother at significant risk. Obviously law enforcement would have to step up investigating doctors and other people who offer such illegal services. This would, in turn, drive up the cost of enforcement, which would force taxpayers to pay a heavy toll. Is banning abortion worth this?
I would first argue that yes, it is. In protecting human life, it is hard to place a monetary value above human life. Secondly, the argument is a flawed one. This same standard used – if action x takes place, consequence y will follow, thus it is best not to do x – is hardly used (if at all) in any other legal interpretation. People will murder regardless of the law, do we then allow murder? Some men will attempt to molest children; do we then allow child molestation? Drivers will violate the speed limit; should we get rid of speed limits?
Laws are put in place with the knowledge that some people will break them, this is why there are consequences for breaking the laws. Likewise, if abortion is banned there WILL be illegal abortions performed, but this doesn’t mean laws shouldn’t be passed against abortion. People’s reaction to the law has little effect on the morality of the law.
In other words, it shouldn’t matter what women will do once an anti-abortion law is passed – what matters is that the ethics of the situation are preserved.
Most women who have an abortion are in poverty, so pro-life advocates are advocating letting more children be born into poverty.
If abortions were discontinued, it is true that some of these children would grow up in poverty. According to this study, about 28% of abortions come from the lower class income bracket (in the United States). 19% are from the lower-middle, but an astonishing 51% occur in the middle to upper-middle class income bracket.
What the above statistics show is that some children would be born into homes of poverty, but 51% would be born into homes where the median income is anywhere from $30,000 – $60,000 a year. Though this doesn’t promise a life of luxury, it does show that these children would not be born into poverty.
With the statistics aside, however, I sometimes wonder if anyone notices the elitism in this argument. It assumes that a life born into poverty and hardship is simply a life not worth living. By saying, “The mother wouldn’t be able to afford the child,” we are essentially saying, “it’s better to be dead than to be poor.” If this is the case, under this same mentality, we can justify infanticide for children in poverty stricken homes. In fact, if need be, we can even kill off the homeless population out of compassion – if the homeless person is too crazy to hold a stable job, then it is better to liquidate him than allow him to continue a life of poverty. After all, it is better to die than to be poor.
It is unethical to allow a child to be born into a home where she is not really wanted to begin with. This will only increase child abuse and neglect.
It is a serious matter when a child is born into a home that really doesn’t want her. Disallowing abortions would most certainly cause more unwanted children to be born, which would – unfortunately – increase abuse and neglect in certain instances.
This increase, however, doesn’t justify abortion. Going back to the homeless analogy offered above, does it make sense to liquidate the homeless since they are unwanted by society (if they aren’t unwanted, why does society go to great lengths to make sure the homeless don’t interact with the “normal” population by posting ‘no loitering’ signs on buildings)? Any way of thinking applied to the child in the womb must inevitably apply to all humans in all situations since the child in the womb is human (as per my previous post).
Secondly, it would make more sense to take taxpayer money that is currently being used for abortions and apply it to adoption agencies, sex-education instruction, and easy availability of adoption. A mother who knows she can’t handle a child or doesn’t want one can then have all medical bills paid for throughout the pregnancy and have a family waiting for the child.
Even if the child ends up in foster care or an orphanage, this still doesn’t justify killing the child. Again, it is the equivalent of saying “all foster children are better off dead.”
Christians Need to Respond
One of the reason people are afraid of banning abortion is because it would bring about negative consequences. The mothers are also legitimately afraid – often they are single, young, and don’t know where to turn. It would be better for Christians to stop judging these pregnant mothers and ousting them from the church and instead learn to help them – or at least help the children that are born. For as much as Christians speak out against abortion, how many churches have put money into creating a pregnancy crisis center that offers viable alternatives to abortion? How many churches have, instead of building an unneeded multi-million dollar sanctuary, chosen to build a shelter for pregnant women who have no other place to go?
If Christians really want to see abortion go away, we will have to act on a personal and local level. Though it should be outlawed by the government (it violates a natural law) we cannot rely upon our corrupt government to ban it. Therefore, it makes more sense to deal with this on the community level where Christians can have the most impact. The best way to end abortion, for now, is to change it one person at a time.
http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html (accessed June 4, 2008)