It has been over a year since I put up my post, “If you end abortion, then…” dealing with common objections to ending abortion, mostly focused on the consequences of such an action.
In that year’s time, I have come across more objections to and arguments against the pro-life movement. On this post, I want to take the time to look at these arguments. Some are more complicated than others and will require a deeper response. Though lengthy, I believe reading the entire thing can help both the open-minded choice advocate and the pro-life advocate.
I am separating this into two different posts as well. The first one will deal with what I call “popular objections,” that is, objections that are commonly heard in the media. These are easy to swat down as there isn’t much substance. The second part will deal with the more scientific objections and deeper philosophical objections (e.g. what about when a fertilized egg splits and later comes back together?, are humans truly ever innocent?, a human has a right to kill whatever is dependent upon that human, etc). The first part will be more useful as these are the common objections. The second part, however, will be more enlightening for the rare occasion you run into a good argument for pro-choice.
1) The only reason someone would support pro-life is that that person is against a woman having a right over her own body.
A common argument is that those who are against abortion are only against abortion because of their belief that women hold little to no rights over their own bodies. It is true that there are some pro-life advocates who also hold the belief that women are lesser than men (such as extreme Islamists or extreme fundamentalist Christians), but ultimately such views are unrelated to abortion. One can believe a women holds the full rights to her own body, but still believe that abortion is wrong.
Some pro-life advocates are against contraceptive use, but this goes both ways. Just as they are against it for women, they are likewise against it for men as well. Thus, those who are against contraceptive use seemingly have a different view over the liberties a human can take with his or her body. Regardless, the standard applied to women under such a view is likewise applied to men.
Finally, if pro-life advocates were against what women did with their bodies, why aren’t they out protesting women who get piercings, women who paint their toenails, women who get tattoos, and so on? It would seem that the one issue the pro-life crowd concerns itself when it comes to a woman’s body is what she does with her womb when there is a child inside of her.
This indicates that the issue isn’t about the right a woman holds over her body. It is more about if what is inside of her is human. The issue of “women’s rights” is truly secondary to the issue of intrinsic value in humanity. Is what is in the womb human? If so, is that human life intrinsically valuable? Those two issues must be looked thoroughly. In fact, the only way we can move on to the issue of women’s rights, specifically a woman’s right over her own body, is if we can prove that either of the previous two questions can be answered in the negative. Then and only then does the abortion debate become an issue of women’s rights.