Several arguments used to justify abortion cannot coexist with each other. Some pro-choice claims entirely negate others and collide with themselves. Here are a few examples:
#1. “A man’s opinion on abortion is invalid” vs “Roe v. Wade ought to be upheld”
We are constantly reminded by pro-choice individuals that men cannot have a valid opinion on abortion since they do not have uteri and do not know what being pregnant feels like. We hear about how the old white men in Congress ought to have no say on such matters, lest they actualize The Handmaid's Tale.
Yet pro-choice individuals argue Roe v. Wade is a seminal decision which ought to be upheld; as a matter of fact, they come out in hordes once a year to march for this cause. Why? They argue it is crucial to preserving a woman’s right to choose her healthcare and to preserve bodily autonomy.
However, there is one problem: Roe was decided by a Supreme Court consisting of nine men, seven of whom wrote the majority decision favouring 'women's rights'. To make matters worse, six of the seven were old white men.
Thus, when pro-choice individuals think Roe should be upheld, they are admitting seven men, none of whom had any idea what it is like to be a woman, were capable of making a valid decision concerning what women can do with their bodies. Yet, when women push the "Do not talk about abortion unless you have a uterus" rhetoric, they are effectively demanding Roe be overturned, as it was made by a panel of nine men.
#2. “My body, my choice” vs “We must only have restrictions on late-term abortions”
"My body, my choice" is arguably the most common pro-choice argument since Roe. The fetus, being inside of and attached to the woman's body, is considered by pro-choice individuals to be a mere collection of cells that happens to be a part of the woman's body. Since every individual has the right to do as she pleases with her body, the argument states a woman has the right to dispose of her fetus as she would dispose of an appendix or other unwanted part of her body.
Ignoring the scientific ignorance and utter boneheadedness of this argument, let us look at another one being made by a shrinking minority of pro-choice individuals: an argument justifying abortions until a certain point in the pregnancy. Most set this point at the 20th week after taking things like viability and pain-sensitivity into consideration and agreeing any abortions after this point could be restricted by law.
A contradiction arises when a pro-choice individual wishes to make both these arguments. While they affirm a woman has full autonomy over her body, they also affirm the fetus has a right to life after twenty weeks. To justify holding both these positions, they must show the fetus ceases to be part of the woman's body past the 20th week; a position they cannot maintain for several reasons including the fact of the fetus still being inside of, attached to, and dependent on the woman. The only consistent position is to begrudgingly allow for abortions until the point of birth; a position the majority of pro-choice individuals are not-so-begrudgingly endorsing in droves.
#3. “Abortions must be safe, legal, and rare” vs “Abortion is healthcare”
President Clinton set out the tagline "safe, legal, and rare" to describe his party's position on abortion, a move meant to pacify voters who had a shred of morality left in them. A similar attempt has been said by individuals such as President Obama and abortion-rights groups like NARAL through the oft-repeated 'pro-choice, not pro-abortion' line. The underlying sentiment seems to be this - abortion is an immoral, but necessary act in modern society; while a woman must be given the choice, it is not something which must be actively encouraged as the first course of action.
One also hears another line repeated in ad nauseam by pro-choice advocates (including NARAL and Planned Parenthood), namely "Abortion is healthcare." This is often demonstrated when terms like 'reproductive healthcare' are used as synonyms for abortion or when it is demanded that abortion be covered by medical insurance.
Yet if abortion is healthcare, why must it be“rare?” Ought we not make healthcare universal and available in plenty, lest we risk the wrath of Bernie Sanders and the new generation of Democrats? Furthermore, if abortion is healthcare, why can we not call ourselves “pro-abortion?”
Once again, it appears we have a contradiction between these arguments, for it is not possible to call abortion healthcare and then treat it as something which must be sparingly utilized. Perhaps this is why no Democrat uses the "safe, legal, and rare" line anymore.
#4. “I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion” vs “It is just a clump of cells.”
Pro-choice indivials will often claim they are “pro-choice, not pro-abortion”, which means they support a woman’s right to choose abortion but personally do not favor it. Tomi Lahren has made this argument stating she is pro-choice, as she does not want the government dictating morality, but not pro-abortion because she personally does not agree with it. The Washington Post published an article titled, “Pro-choice, not pro-abortion” in which the author states those who support access to abortion, do not endorse it.
However, this argument makes no sense in conjunction with the pro-choice argument of, “it is just a clump of cells”. If the fetus really were “ a clump of cells” with no inherent rights or dignity, there would be nothing wrong or immoral about endorsing abortion. To state one is “pro-choice, not pro-abortion” is to acknowledge the fetus is more than merely a clump of cells. It seems like a direct contradiction to claim something is merely a clump of cells while simultaneously suggesting that killing the fetus is immoral. One must either admit the fetus possesses a higher status than a few cells, or one must not show any discomfort in claiming to be “pro-abortion.”
#5. “You should not impose your morals on other people” vs “Taxpayer money should fund abortion"
Pro-choice individuals often argue pro-life individuals should not impose their morals on other people. They make statements such as “Keep your morality out of my uterus” or get your “ethical high horse out of my uterus.” This argument is simply asinine, as we must enforce morality to some degree in order for crimes such as homicide and rape to be illegal. Pro-choice individuals likely support murder laws, which is an imposition of morality. Since abortion is murder, it only makes sense that the pro-life fight for it to be illegal, as murder in any other case is illegal.
Pro-choice individuals make the argument against imposing morals while simultaneously supporting taxpayer funded abortions. When they demand abortions be funded via taxes, what they are actually saying is, “I believe abortion is moral and it should be funded by you, the taxpayer, regardless of your moral position on it.” This in itself is a blatant imposition of one’s morality on another. A significant amount of taxpayers are forced to fund an organization they are morally against.
If pro-life individuals cannot impose their morality on others, applying the same logic would mean that pro-choice individuals cannot force their immorality on others by demanding them to fund abortions.
#6. “What a woman does with her body is none of your business” vs “Your tax dollars should fund Planned Parenthood"
Pro-choice individuals frequently justify abortion by claiming what a woman does with her body is no one’s business but her own. Therefore, no one else should have a say in the matter. This is essentially what “my body, my choice” means. The Guardian published an article claiming “…women’s abortions are none of your business...We should not have to explain ourselves or justify our life decisions: our abortions are ours alone.” Not only is this argument ignorant of another human life worthy of protection involved, it also does not carry any weight in light of the way Planned Parenthood is funded.
The government allocates over $550 million taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood every year, and the pro-choice movement supports this. If what a women chooses to do with her body is none the taxpayers business, why should the taxpayer be financially responsible for it?
Some often justify this by claiming Planned Parenthood offers other healthcare services such as mammograms and pregnancy tests. However, Planned Parenthood performed over 300,000 abortions last year, which constitutes a significant amount of the procedures they performed. Ultimately, one cannot claim abortion, or what a woman does with “her body,” is none of the taxpayer’s business while taxes are funding Planned Parenthood.
To conclude, it is evident several foundational pro-choice arguments blatantly contradict each other, and such contradictions severely affect the soundness and cogency of the overall position. It is imperative, then, for both sides of the debate to examine their arguments and ensure they are consistent rather than contradictory, for without consistent arguments, our position is rendered both unpersuasive and invalid.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.
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