Updated: Feb 21
By Luke Lancaster
OBJECTION #1: “Women who have been raped should be able to abort their fetuses.”
Answer: Rape is a horrific crime, and both pro-choice or pro-life people agree on that. Justice needs to be rendered towards the rapist. However, will an abortion help the woman? The results of a 200 participant survey of women who have been victims of sexual assault and had children from it found that it did not help. This is documented in the book called “Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assult" by Makimaa Sobie Reardon. The study showed that, of those who got pregnant, the women were not the ones interested in getting the abortion. Rather, it was the environment of people telling them to get an abortion. The study found that those women who then went through with an abortion were in counseling more for the abortion than the rape. For the rape was an act of violence done to them, but after the abortion, they felt that they were the ones committing the act of violence. The suffering of guilt from these women are totally ignored by the media and it is a shame. The testimonies of these women can be analyzed more in-depth through the organizations Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More. After recognizing this statistical evidence, many ask this question: why compound evil with evil by killing the child? Women deserve compassion and help from this terrible injustice, but why not give the child compassion and help as well? We place ourselves in the shoes of the mother and have compassion on her, but we do not also place ourselves in the shoes of the child. The child is as innocent as the mother. Should that baby be killed because of the crime of the father? That baby can be loved by their mother, and the power of love can overcome that.
OBJECTION #2: “The fetus in the womb is not a human person.”
Answer: The fetus is a living organism with the genetic makeup of the Homo Sapiens species and came into existence through a reproductive act from that species. To claim that fetuses are not human is about as illogical as saying that an infant is not human. Both fetuses and infants came about the same way, are rapidly growing organisms, and have the same genetic make-up. Both are members of our human species with the same human nature. To get around this, many people will attempt to change personhood from “belonging to a species” to an organism that is consciously thinking. They will say that fetuses are not conscious, therefore, they are not persons. Yet what does that say about people who are asleep, under anesthesia, or are in comas? Are they no longer human persons? An attempt to change personhood from the commonly shared human nature to something else (ex. conscious thought, pain, breathing, etc.) is not thinking biologically. Life or death should not be regulated by these arbitrary standards.
OBJECTION #3: “Women should not be forced by other people’s beliefs to donate their bodies to a fetus.”
Answer: The man and woman engaged in a reproductive action, so this is hardly a totally unexpected burden thrown upon them. Baby-making activities lead to babies. Reproductive organs are for the reproduction of the species. The uterus is for babies. A woman is not forced to donate her body to a fetus, rather, she freely signed up for it by her engagement in a reproductive activity (if it was consensual). This is not to say that the responsibility falls only on women, though. Both parents have a duty to support the consequences of their actions. Men who do not support their children and leave the mother alone with her child should receive some type of legal punishment. Finally, pro-lifers are not attempting to force their beliefs about what is a human person onto people. Rather, they are attempting to protect the small baby in the womb from the beliefs of others. For example, if somebody claimed that I was not a person, and he or she attempted to take my life, then the law would protect me from that false belief about personhood. That same standard should be applied to those within the womb.
OBJECTION #4: “Not only should women not be forced, but they have the God-given right to utilize their free will and to legally choose to have an abortion. Thus the title: ‘pro-choice.’”
Answer: It needs to be clear that this "choice" is not to prevent a child from existing or not, but whether that existing child should live or not. Yet that should be clear, for even the head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers from 1990-2004, Ron Fitzsimmons, said in the New York Times that we all known that abortion kills a baby! What needs to be understood here is that there are restrictions on our choices once they start interfering with other people's lives. If I "choose" to punch someone, I get charged with battery. It is not my right to punch another person. This is because, legally speaking, bodily autonomy is not unlimited. There are restrictions placed upon our bodies by the state for our good. Consider the fact that taking narcotic drugs is illegal. That is for our safety, for humans can do dangerous actions to their bodies, and the state makes these actions illegal. Abortion should be considered one of those dangerous actions, for it kills a member of our species. This objection also poses a problematic notion of freedom. People get abortions not because they are, for example, freely choosing a different flavor of ice-cream, but rather because they feel that they have no freedom and no choice. It is often an act of desperation. Frequently mothers will feel that they are not ready for or are unable to provide for the child. Do they have the freedom to dispose of that child, though? For there are parents with newborns who feel that they are not ready nor able to provide for the child. It certainly seems to be the case that we need to support those who need help in raising their children, not tell them that they have a right to choose the child's death. Help is available in the form of Community Pregnancy Centers. These centers offer free assistance to women considering abortion. The government should support these programs to help needy parents and should not allow the parents to dispose of their children.
OBJECTION #5: “A ‘person’ is only an organism that is viable, i.e., can exist outside of the womb. Fetuses in the womb cannot exist outside of the womb, so they are not persons deserving the right to life.”
Answer: Currently, the age of viability for babies exiting the womb is at 22 weeks. So this argument can really only apply to babies who are younger than 22 weeks. Yet to even define personhood as an organism who is viable misses the point. Babies in the womb belong to the human species just as much as when they exit the womb. For someone to change personhood from meaning "an organism that belongs to the human species" to "an organism that is viable within a species" has not been hitting up their biology textbook lately. Besides this, the fact that not even newborns are viable is missed. For if they are not taken care of - they will die. The baby outside of the womb is just as dependent on his mother to receive warmth and nutrients as the baby inside of the womb, who also needs the mother’s warmth and nutrients to biologically exist. In the womb, this is through the umbilical cord. Outside of the womb, this is through breast milk. Both babies can only survive with help. As ethicist Peter Singer says, the only two consistent positions on abortion are (1) oppose abortion, or (2) endorse infanticide. Birth cannot be the event that turns a non-person into a person. Finally, it needs to be asked, since when does it mean that if someone is more dependent on us, then they deserve less of our help? The more dependent the baby is on us to survive should truly be an argument for keeping and helping the baby.
OBJECTION #6: “If abortion became illegal, then women would seek them from untrained, unsafe, ‘back-alley’ administers.”
Answer: This is an assumption, not an argument. We have laws against abortion in various states right now and women do not seek out untrained, unsafe, back-alley administers. Within these states, women must go through more hoops to get the abortion, and according to the research put together on the impact of these laws by Dr. Michael New, the laws lead to more mothers giving birth to their children. The desire to get an abortion is not so deep that the woman will do absolutely anything to get it. In fact, if one only looks at the hundreds of abortion testimonies of women - from all different circumstances - who say that if abortion was illegal, they would not have had gone through with it. The website is abortiontestimonies.com. If abortion became illegal, the same doctors performing them would simply do them hush-hush in their medical offices with the same equipment as before. Making abortion illegal would not cause numerous women to seek the procedure from untrained, unsafe, back-alley administers. Making abortion legal does not make the act becoming safer, either.
According to the book “Unsafe” by aul.org (Americans United for Life), there are hundreds of documented instances in legal facilities (throughout the states) offering abortion where the facilities commit numerous violations of health and safety. The book says that "more than 300 facilities in 39 states were cited for more than 2,400 health and safety deficiencies between 2008 and 2020, including hundreds of significant violations of state laws meant to ensure basic health and safety." For example, some of the violations include having untrained medical personnel, expired medications, broken medical equipment, unsanitary conditions, untrained staff, failure to monitor patient vital signs, failure to keep medical records of the proper use of medications and equipment, and failure to have emergency medical equipment or the proper arrangements to take care of emergencies. The abortion industry is highly unregulated.
Finally, although many make the claim that illegal abortions were the norm before Roe v. Wade, this is not true. Abortions performed illegally before Roe v. Wade were about 10% of what they became once abortion was legalized (see the 1981 study by Syska, Hilgers, and O’Hare). An illegal abortion procedure also did not result in numerous deaths for the mothers - as some may claim. The Center for Disease Control said that 39 women died from illegal abortions in 1972, and that 24 women died from legal abortions in 1972 (the same year!). The president of Planned Parenthood in 1960 said, “Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind…Second, and even more important, the conference estimated that 90% of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians.”
OBJECTION #7: “Abortion is necessary because sometimes it’s for the sake of the life of the mother.”
Answer: When there is a life-threatening situation for the mother, the mother needs to be helped. Those doctors helping these complicated pregnancies are a part of the subspecialty in healthcare called “maternal-fetal medicine.” The doctor attempts to help these two patients – mother and fetus. Now, according to multiple doctors, when attempting to save the mother, there is no medical necessity to kill the baby. There is no medical reason to kill the baby. There are many ways in our medically advanced culture to save the life of the baby. For example, one way is for doctors to deliver the baby early. With our advanced healthcare, that baby can survive at only 22 weeks. So, if some issue with the mother will cause an issue later on in the pregnancy, the doctors can sometimes just deliver the baby really early on in the pregnancy. Finally, killing one person to save another is just bad ethics. You cannot do evil so that good may come out of it. The ends do not justify the means. There’s never a justification for killing the baby.