“If You Don’t Like Abortion, Don’t Have One”

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Incredibly, this was the sage advice of a writer who showered us with his wisdom in the letters to the editor section in our local newspaper.  I rarely read the letters to the editor, because they almost never say anything of substance, but in a moment of weakness, I read them and was treated with this gem.

What is the problem with this statement?  Well, for starters, it betrays a complete lack of understanding of the pro-life position.  Those who oppose abortion do not do so because of a personal preference.

We are not saying that we don’t prefer abortion.  We are saying that abortion is morally wrong, and that it is, in fact, the taking of an innocent human life.  A person’s personal preference about an act is completely different from his knowledge of whether the act is morally right or wrong.  One can prefer things that are morally wrong or one can prefer things that are morally right.  Pro-lifers don’t strictly care about what people prefer when it comes to abortion.  They are arguing about whether abortion is morally right or wrong.

If abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, and we routinely pass laws that protect innocent human life, it follows that there should be a law that prevents abortion.  Not because we don’t prefer abortion, but because it is morally reprehensible.

Would it make any sense for me to say, “If you don’t like murder, then don’t commit one!”?  Or what about, “If you don’t like rape, then don’t commit one!”?

If abortion is truly the taking of an innocent life, then telling people not to have one if they don’t like it is as asinine as telling someone not to murder if they don’t like murder.

We don’t tell people not to produce acts of evil if they don’t personally like a particular evil act.  We tell them not to commit acts of evil because evil is morally wrong, and we ought not do what is morally wrong.

  • Don Davis

    It’s true that it’s morally wrong, but I do think we need to qualify that. Why is it morally wrong? Is it because we’ve just decided it’s against our own moral standard? No! Christians don’t set their own moral standards, they are set by God’s moral standard for all people in every culture. In the Ten Commandments God tells us not to take human life. It’s wrong for everyone because the Creator of the Universe says so.

  • Brad

    Actually, in the 10 Commandments, the specific prohibition is against murder. If this is what you mean by “take human life”, I would agree with you. However, if used in the context of capital punishment, I’d have to disagree. Just on a side note.

    I do agree with the post on abortion. If murder of a pregnant woman can result in 2 murder charges, then why does abortion not result in at least 1?

  • Bill Pratt

    I do think the Bible teaches that abortion is wrong, but I don’t use that argument with most people because those who don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God don’t care what it says about abortion.

    I believe you can make a strong argument against abortion using science and natural law. I have described this argument in this post.

  • Tye

    everyone should definitely go read “Defending Life” by Francis J. Beckwith.

  • Patricia Meehan

    When I hear of the way people think now, I want to cry (actually, I do). I think of the way God must feel about these things and also what is in store for those who oppose God. We are living in a world where most people believe abortion, homosexuality, filthy talk, lying, cheating, pre-marital sex, and everyone living their own way. Wrong is right and right is wrong. I know these things were predicted, but it still makes me sad. Pat

  • I hope you are similarly prepared to legislate against angry or lustful thoughts, because you believe they are also immoral.

  • Kullervo,

    Since you seem to think morals shouldn’t come into play with law, should we make murder legal? Your logic seems to be heading that direction.


  • Bill Pratt

    A society cannot legislate against everything that is immoral, because some things are impractical to enforce, such as people’s thoughts (which only they know). Our laws typically only punish people’s external actions, not their thoughts.

    We do, however, have many laws that prohibit the taking of innocent human life. In fact, our government is specifically tasked with protecting life, because without life, all other rights are worthless. The fetus who is targeted for abortion is not concerned with freedom of speech, the right to privacy, or freedom of religion, but the right to life.

    I assume you would agree that preventing innocents from being killed is something we should legislate?

  • Alicia C Simpson

    The question in my mind is how best to end abortion. Simply passing a law may well be insufficient to stop people from having an abortion.

    The first problem has to do with the ease of transportation. A person may well choose to fly or travel to a country where it is legal.

    The second problem has to do with enforcement. How do we discover when the law has been violated? How can we prove such to a jury? Finally, what form of punishment would be appropriate?

    To effectively end abortion with a law these problems would need to be addressed.

  • Bill Pratt

    Thanks for the comment, Alicia. It’s true that enforcement may be an issue, but there is no doubt that making abortion illegal would greatly decrease the number of abortions. Remember that abortion was illegal in every state before Roe v. Wade. Since Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions has skyrocketed (approx. 50 million abortions in the US alone).

  • Ronz

    The arguments for abortion rest on your definitions on life… which is actually a gray area, making it a difficult issue to resolve in the secular world. The main problem lie on your perceptions on one question: when does a life start?

    I have seen people trying to extrapolate their arguments by saying that the use of contraceptives is also considered killing, because they defined a life as the potential future that an individual possesses. Hence, preventing fertilization is considered killing, too… which is actually going into slippery slope already, but it demonstrates the importance of getting your perceptions correct, which as Christian, I should say, based on the Bible itself.

    Even as a Christian, I always have this thought: For every unwanted pregnancy, there is a high chance that the individual will not receive enough care and love… Is the suffering that this individual would have to go through… inevitable, then? Of course I am assuming many things, but… without abortions… I really do not know what the state has to do with another millions of life to feed and educate… Most likely, their standard of lives will not be very high, either… So, many social implications by banning the law. It is a moral dilemma, as legalizing and banning abortion will have negative effects either way

  • Fenris

    “It is a moral dilemma, as legalizing and banning abortion will have negative effects either way”

    The negative side effect on one side being death and on the other a POTENTIALLY harder life.

    “The arguments for abortion rest on your definitions on life… which is actually a gray area, making it a difficult issue to resolve in the secular world.”

    The fact that it is a gray area makes it even more ludicrous that legislation can be passed endorsing it. On one side you have many lives made harder by the heavy responsibility and financial difficulty of a child and on the other side you have the deaths of millions and millions of lives. Now admittedly the mother’s burden is of legitimate concern for the state, but the state should err on the side of caution if life, as it is concerned here, is a gray area and millions of lives could be being lost.

    “I have seen people trying to extrapolate their arguments by saying that the use of contraceptives is also considered killing, because they defined a life as the potential future that an individual possesses.”

    I would not attempt to extrapolate this kind of argument. Life should be considered as the point where the sperm attaches to the egg and the fetus then begins to have its own cellular autonomy. It ceases to be a part of the mother at that point and is its own person. The fact that there is still a high mortality rate for the fetus from natural causes at this point does not reduce the argument that this is the point of life anymore than the high mortality rate of infants in past centuries changed whether or not they were human lives deserving of protection either.

    The protection of life is a job of the state and the allowance of abortion by the government flies in the face of that.

  • Charlie

    Amazing how conservatives are all about freedom, except when it comes to policing women’s bodies.

  • Charlie,

    I am not saying this to be snarky, but your comment could easily be turned around on you.

    “It’s amazing how liberals are so concerned with protecting the life and rights of people, except when it comes to protecting the life and rights of the un-born.”


  • Hking817

    It is not morally wrong. First of all if it is a womens right and a womens choice. And it is not a life if its under 8 weeks (it is a grain). If more than 12 than yes it is morally wrong. Once you give actual birth and you have a living breathing child that is what is considered human life. I hate people who preach its wrong its wrong its wrong but where the heck are you when someone has a child and cant take care of it. Its not as simple as saying don’t have sex or use protection because accidents happen. And you shouldn’t be forced to have a child if you can’t take care of it. And sometimes a womens CHOICE to have an abortion is better then having a kid grow up with a crack mother, end up on the street, in foster care going from home to home, getting abused or worse or just having a horrible life when their parent had no point having them in the first place or again just doesn’t have the means to take care of them. Unless you walked a mile in someones shoes don’t judge them. And my other issue with religious people like most of you, is you are hypocrites. Just because someone doesn’t think or believe what you do “they are wrong’. And the funny thing is aren’t you not suppose to judge? And that’s all that you people do. Please pray on that one.

  • Female English Student

    No, I want to defend the first author. If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.

    Yes, it’s the loss of a life, but the woman who does it is only harming her child (and possibly the father of the child or others she may have told about her pregnancy). It’s her choice, she will have to deal with the consequences, and it’s got nothing to do with anyone else.

    Murder is different. Not because the life is any less important, but because a murderer hurts so many more people, and a murder is generally a violent act. An abortion isn’t viewed by many people as something wrong.

    I do understand that they’re both loss of life, and I’m against abortion, but we can’t enforce our own views on other people in this situation. In my opinion anyway!

  • brad

    Abortion is now wrong in any scence.
    Something is alive if it can exist or has existed without outside assististance
    A fetus has not.
    That is the fact.
    Until a fetus can survive with out assistance its simply not alive

  • Greddae

    I know this is merely in the OT, but God stated in OT that if a man pushes a pregnant woman and she miscarries but no other damage is done, the man shall be punished by paying a fine. If she miscarries and other damage is done to HER, the punishment shall be an eye for an eye, a life for a life, etc. If it was such a big deal, why would they only have to pay a fine for killing a fetus?