Tough Questions Answered

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Responses to 6 Common Pro-Choice Arguments – Part 3

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

LettersToAYoungProgressive Responses to 6 Common Pro Choice Arguments   Part 3In part 3, we review responses to arguments 5 and 6. Again, our guide through these responses to common pro-abortion arguments will be Mike Adams, author of Letters to a Young Progressive. Adams addresses the abortion issue in Letter 8 of his book.

Argument 5: “It is wrong for a woman to be forced to give birth to a baby she cannot afford.”

This argument is also remarkably callous—so much so that it is difficult to understand how those who make it could describe themselves as “liberal.” Do we really need to start reassigning Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal to underline how profoundly sick and distasteful this argument really is?

Swift wrote—satirically of course—a proposal that suggested people eat their babies in order to relieve their hunger and poverty. Serious arguments in favor of “choice” often sound chillingly similar. For those who have never read Swift, I like to point to a more contemporary example. In the 80s, a punk rock band called The Dead Kennedys wrote a song called “Kill the Poor” in which they mockingly suggested that we kill poor people as a means of eliminating poverty. That would certainly eliminate poverty. But is it really an acceptable solution? Of course not. That was their point.

It’s a good idea to confront the advocates of legal abortion with the question of whether it is permissible to kill to eliminate poverty. In response, they typically say something like this: “No, I would never advocate killing the poor. I would advocate abortion to prevent them from becoming poor people in the first place.” They are trapped once again in the untenable position of denying the personhood of the unborn. Please review argument #1.

Of course, there is another aspect to the poverty-as-a-defense-of-abortion argument. It is the crass argument that the mother cannot “afford” the baby. This raises another fundamental question: “Is it permissible to kill a person in order to alleviate financial stress?” If so, I’d like to kill the banker who holds my mortgage. Just kidding. Of course, I cannot do that anyway since a) he is a middle-aged man and b) the Supreme Court does not authorize abortions in the 200th trimester—at least, they haven’t yet!

Argument 6: “It is wrong to force a woman to give birth to a baby after she has been a victim of rape (or incest, which is almost always statutory rape).”

Whenever I hear an argument for the rape exception, I think of my friend Laura. She was adopted, and in her twenties she wanted to locate her birth mother and learn about the circumstances of her adoption. When she did, she found out that she was the product of a rape. I don’t have the audacity to tell her an abortionist should have killed her. I leave that to the compassionate liberals who oversimplify the rape issue. Actually, “oversimplify” is too kind a term.

They are exploiting the rape issue in order to avoid the central question of the debate: “Is the unborn child—yes, even the product of a rape-human?” I say, “Of course!” And Laura agrees with me. If you disagree, then you may take it up with her or with others conceived in rape, such as attorney and pro-life advocate Rebecca Kiessling. Their lives are hardly useless. And because their mothers had the courage to bear them, they have made a profound difference in this world—including saving countless lives with their pro-life testimony.

Whenever the issue of the rape exception is raised, it is well worth mentioning Kennedy v. Louisiana, decided by the Supreme Court in 2008. The Court spared Kennedy from execution on the grounds that it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” to execute a man who had not killed anyone.

This was a brutal rape case-indeed, among the worst I’ve ever studied. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified at Kennedy’s trial that Kennedy had raped his eight-year-old stepdaughter savagely, to the point of causing permanent physical damage. In fact, a laceration to the left wall of her vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina and caused her rectum to protrude into her vaginal structure. Put simply, Kennedy raped, sodomized, and viciously tortured the little girl.

Thankfully, he was easily convicted for doing so. There is no question whatsoever about his guilt. But the high court ruled that Kennedy’s execution would violate the Eighth Amendment because of “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” This decision rested largely on the fact that most states reject the idea of execution for rape—even the rape of a young child, even accompanied by other aggravating factors.

As a result, this is the position in which we find ourselves: When a woman is raped she has a constitutional right to an abortion. And the rapist has a constitutional right to life. But the unborn baby has no rights whatsoever.

The Kennedy case helps us to better understand another frequently employed argument for the rape exception—that a woman has a right to abort in order to rid her of the memory of a horrible event. But this argument is both logically and factually flawed. Logically speaking, the woman, if granted the right to kill one person, should be entitled to kill the rapist. She should not be entitled to kill the baby! Any assertion to the contrary can be justified only by denying the personhood of the unborn. Once again, review argument #1.

Factually speaking, there is simply no merit to the argument that abortions either soothe the conscience or assuage the memory of rape victims. In the first place, too many women feel guilty and blame themselves in the aftermath of rape, and getting an abortion adds another layer of guilt and trauma. Only the birth of the child can provide healing—even if the child is immediately given up for adoption.

Philosophers since Socrates have been pointing out that it is better to suffer evil than to inflict it. Planned Parenthood counselors are never inclined to raise this point. They profit from the infliction of evil upon the innocent. And they use rape victims to justify their occupation.

After I have finished making all the points I wish to make, I always extend the following offer to my opponent: “If I agree to write in the exception for rape, will you be willing to lobby for the law banning all other abortions?” In all of my years discussing abortion, no one has taken me up on the offer. Their reaction always shows that they were never in favor of keeping abortion legal in order to protect victims of rape. They are simply using these women for political purposes.


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Comments

  • sean

    I’ve been doing more thinking, and I actually do think it hinges on when we consider the person human after all. I was thinking about arguments that don’t invoke that more, and I’m not sure I actually agree with them. For now, I think I’m going to switch to asking questions and proposing hypothetical scenarios as opposed to supporting a position, at least until I’ve had more time to think on this topic. This discussion has certainly made me think.

    To Andrew, suggesting that it is about a woman’s right to her body, and granting person-hood in this argument would mean that it’s equally acceptable to have a very late term abortion, potentially up until inducing labor. Maybe my thinking is wrong here, but I don’t think I agree that such a situation is analogous to not donating organs, and I’m pretty sure Bill feels the same way. Perhaps you could enlighten us both in this area as to what is wrong with this model. It seems consistent to me.

    To Bill, we’ve discussed possible exceptions, but one I don’t think we have touched on is when the mother’s life in in danger. I’d be curious to hear what you think about what is right and wrong in that situation. Also, you consider yourself to have both secular and Biblical backing for your position. If you were to be convinced by argument that your secular rational were flawed, would you cede the argument in trying lo legislate your views and aim for the laws to reflect what the secular model shows is and isn’t wrong, or would you push for laws as a Christian endeavor alone?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    In the case of the mother’s life being in danger, I think an argument can be made for an abortion being morally acceptable. In that case, we are trying to place a relative value on the life of the mother and the life of the baby. There is no objectively easy way to do that.

    Some mothers, in that situation, sacrifice their own lives to save their baby. Others do not. I would have a very hard time, on principle, forcing a mother to end her life in order to save her baby. If she did that, then she would be acting supererogatorily (there’s that word again).

    With regard to your second point, I would not ever want to legislate a law that has only Christian grounding. For example, the Bible commands Christians to pray privately to God every day. It would be ludicrous to pass a law saying that every person, regardless of their religious beliefs, should pray privately to the Christian God.

  • sean

    Thank you.

  • http://space-hippo.net/ John Moore

    You’re going to all this trouble to convince people that abortion is wrong, but you’re wasting your time because everyone already knows that abortion is wrong. Some leftists try to argue that abortion isn’t wrong, but even they don’t think it’s a good thing. No one gets pregnant on purpose so they can enjoy having an abortion. So you’re arguing about what everyone already agrees, and it’s a waste of time.

    The real question is whether abortion should be illegal. Should we pass a law criminalizing abortion? This is where we have real disagreement. I wish you would focus on the advantages of using criminal law to reduce the number of abortions and improve the lives of children.

  • Andrew Ryan

    What strikes me as odd is that ‘rightists’ (as I guess you’d call them) spurn the many measures that reduce abortions in other countries. Make sex education more comprehensive, make contraception cheap and easy to obtain, and abortion rates go down. If you genuinely wanted to reduce abortion rates, you’d support these measures. If I genuinely saw abortion as being no different to murder then I certainly would support those measure even if I found them distasteful – I mean, they’re not as bad as murder, right? And that would show those ‘leftists’ that this isn’t all simply about wanting to control women.

  • Steve Jones

    That would be because leftist don’t understand the concept of convictions without compromise.

  • Andrew Ryan

    No, it shows that the rightists don’t really care about reducing abortion. If you truly thought babies were being murdered, a measure that reduced those murders would be a victory, not a compromise. If you were being murdered and someone else refused to allow measures to stop it happening, how much compensation would you see it that at least they hadn’t ‘compromised’?

  • Steve Jones

    we have laws against murder,abortion is murder we don’t have laws against,are you telling me that there are people who are so ignorant that they don’t know sex causes babies and need to be educated ? get fixed,buy a condom…it is the responsibility of those making babies to curb or adjust their behavior to avoid abortion.

  • Andrew Ryan

    I don’t have to tell you anything, Steve, the facts speak for themselves. Look at Western nations with more comprehensive sex ed and easier/cheaper access to contraception – they have lower rates of unmarried teen pregnancy and teen abortion. And that’s on a sliding scale too – the more comprehensive, the lower the numbers etc. So if you genuinely want to reduce abortion, there’s a good place to start.

    And the last paragraph of Mike Adams’ article above directly contradicts your contention that ‘leftists don’t understand conviction over compromise’.

  • Steve Jones

    Sure,the left has granted it’s self the right to define all things…I know that already,we have sex education and abundant contraception….again are people that stupid ? how much is a condom ? I suppose you think those things should be free to their customers at the expense of everyone else ? you place all of the responsability on a third party instead of the ones….if you support abortion that’s fine,i’m not here to change anyone’s mind.

  • Andrew Ryan

    If you don’t want to implement a
    policy that reduces abortion, that’s fine too. Just shrug your shoulders at people’s stupidity instead (I’m often baffled by ignorance too). But it seems in Europe people do what you say you want them to do

  • Steve Jones

    The “disconnect” is that I believe abortion is murder,there are some states with laws in place that charge anyone who murders a pregnant woman with two murders,obviously they know what abortion is and act accordingly
    What “policies” could be put into place to curb legal murder….I don’t know,you tell me.

  • Andrew Ryan

    We’re already been over the policies that correlate with lower rates of abortion and outofwedlock teen pregnancy. Either you think lower rates of abortion is a good outcome or you don’t.

    It’s not even like those policies are counter-intuitive – teach people more about a subject, they’ll know more about it. Young people have more sex ed, they’re less likely to get pregnant/get other people pregnant. Make a product easier to get hold of, they’ll be more like to use them, and use them properly. Result: fewer abortions.

  • Steve Jones

    So stupid people need constant supervision at the expense of the rest of us ?

  • Andrew Ryan

    Constant supervision? Who said that? We’re talking about education. Abortion rates have actually been falling steadily in the US over the past ten years. A likely reason is greater education and more readily available contraception. Google terms like: sex ed abortion, and read the articles. Whether it’s fewer STUPID people having abortions now I don’t know, but why should that make a difference to you if the bottom line is fewer abortions?

  • Steve Jones

    we are now in a circular discussion,the bottom line for me is that abortion is an act of murder and not ignorance,to remove the consequences of ones actions in the same way a robber would kill a witness to their robbery…it is legal and I’m sure will remain so until the end,let those who commit the act without repentance receive full and just consequences for their actions whether you call it justice or Karma,good day.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Yes, it’s circular because you don’t get the point, so I have to keep stating it. Given that abortion remains legal, if you genuinely cared at all about reducing it, you’d support measures that strongly appear to lead to lower rates of abortion. Given that you reject those measures, I have to conclude you don’t actually care about aborted babies – as long as you think aborters get theirs at some point, you’re happy for abortion to continue. Good day to you too.

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