I've been intrigued by the whole abortion-prolife businesss since I first encountered it in 2003. At that point of time I was nominally Catholic, and held the view that choice is good, very good indeed, for a woman to choose whether she wants to abort her child or not. "Who's the state to say whether a woman should have a child or not?". I was also, at the same time and unsurprisingly, a nihilist. This learning about the arguments of prolife movement, based on natural law and then from the point of view of the Catholic Church, kind of "brought me back" to rediscover the joy of life within the Church. Hence this topic holds a special place in my heart.
It's July 30th when I began writing this. Not a particularly special day, but as I helped some friends to find facts to prepare a prolife presentation, I realize that despite a mountain of information available about abortion -- from both its advocates and from those who says it is a mortal sin, I haven't found one that summarizes it comprehensively. I suppose sometimes it seems too much to compress thousands of years of learning that support some of the arguments brought forth by its most vocal defender, the Catholic Church.
So I'm going to attempt to write a little bit more systematically, specifically about why abortion is not reasonably acceptable, not even mildly tolerable. Despite numerous 'rationales' proposed by its proponents, I am firmly in the camp that believes that it is an atrocity against the human race.
One last note: this is not meant as an attempt to 'win' anyone over. My treatment of the subject of abortion will spread over many areas but I will not elaborate too much, since my primary audience will be those people who *already* believe that abortion is wrong, but need a quick primer in articulating *why* exactly it is wrong, and how to answer common straw-fish arguments thrown by 'the other side' about any possibly good reason to support abortion.
So here we go; below are the common polemical arguments presented from the Pro-Choice Camp:
1. Fetus != Baby
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Within a few weeks, possibly before the woman realizes she is pregnant, what is growing in her womb is not a blob of cells. There is no logical or mythical line that a fetus must cross in order to become a baby. You want to talk about dependence? Then most kids don't cross that line until they go to college!
2. Fetus != Person, therefore it has no protection of a person under the law
There's no logical 'beginning' of a person before or after fertilization. A day-old baby is the same person as he was a day before his birth, the same person as he was 2 days before his birth, and so on, until we come to a logical beginning, which is fertilization. During fertilization, a new creature with a complete set of DNA is created - even as a single-celled organism before the cells multiply.
Historically, personhood doesn't begin until after the person is born -- like in Roman times, when the father has to 'lift up' the baby to proclaim it as his son, if not, to reject it.
Philosophically, that's bosh. We've established that the fetus is a baby, and that baby is the same person, before and after birth. That baby cannot, at some point of time within its mother's womb, suddenly become a rabbit or a bird at birth. A human fetus grows to be a human person. A Person has human rights.
3. It's just a blob of cells, a part of a woman's body; she decides what she can do with her body.
Yes, a woman, or any free person for that matter, has the right to do what she wants to do with her body. A fetus isn't a part of a woman's body the way an arm or an eye is.
4. It's just a blob of cells; it's not murder.
We've established that the fetus is a baby, and a person. Premeditated, deliberate, involuntary termination of a person's life, in any sense, is murder. There's a law protecting the eggs of a bald eagle. Clearly, everybody knows that destroying an egg of a bald eagle destroys one more eagle. That which is growing in a pregnant woman's womb, is a baby. Clearly, to destroy it is to kill one more person.
5. Every child a wanted child
Boy, this is a slogan from the Clinton era. Pregnancy is never accidental, just as sex is never accidental. Pregnancy is an intended end of sex, biologically speaking. Every couple who has sex should keep in mind that their action indicates biologically that they want to conceive a child.
6. Abortion is a healthcare right, a woman's right
Several movements have begun to push for abortion to be proclaimed as a woman's right, cleverly stowed under the slogan of women's healthcare – which has become synonymous with abortion and contraception. Pregnancy is not a disease. Human rights can never, ever, include rights that deprive another of his basic human rights. Even in the case of a pregnancy that "endangers" the health of the mother, abortion is still not a right - it is only a tolerably evil consequence of saving the life of the mother. (More about this myth of dangerous pregnancy: only in very rare conditions make pregnancy hazardous to a woman, which are certainly not present in the majority of abortion-for-health cases)
7. Abortion should be 'safe, legal and rare'
Another Clintonesque legacy. Stats showed that abortion numbers spiked during the Clinton years. Relative safety, legal status and easy availability (sometimes subsidized or covered by insurance) does not exactly discourage its practice, you see.
8. Abortion has helped curb crime in dangerous neighborhood
There is higher density of abortion clinics at poorer neighborhoods. In New York, under Rudy Giuliani, abortion was used as part of the zero-tolerance strategy. It is a form of eugenics, or baldly put, genocide. It is saying that 'poor people' should not be encouraged to have children, and this slippery slope will lead to a situation where poor people will not have rights to have children. Social determinism: not all who grew up in poor neighborhood grew up to be criminals. Guess which ethnicity has experienced the greatest number of abortions? 37% of all abortions are done on African-American women, more babies (nearly 15 million -- PDF!) have died through abortion in the last 36 years than the number that slavery killed.
9. Abortion helps us to be ecologically friendly
(I must admit this is one of the more 'loco' arguments) Are human beings parasites? Is the earth overpopulated? 40 years ago, scientists say that at the rate human beings are propagating, there will not be enough food for everyone. Well, they've been proven wrong. Human beings are not only consumers but also producers whose creativity transcend conventional growth projection. As a side point, artificial engineering of population, made countries like China, and a large part of Europe experience demographic 'winter'.
10. Abortion is Pro "choice"
When the other side talks about 'pro-choice', this choice is never the choice of the baby, always of the mother. Thus the strong wins. This is pure discrimination, dictatorship of the powerful.
11. Abortion is legal
Today, in the US and in many parts of the world, yes, it is legal. But abandonment is not. Abandonment of a newly born child, say in a trash bin, is a crime. Abandonment of a child that survives abortion, say in an abortion mill, is a crime. Is it not inconsistent, not to mention absurd, given the legality of abortion? Have you ever given it any thought? For many in the prolife movement, these laws are seen as steps towards more prolife legislation.
12. Are you ready to support the baby born out of wedlock?
This is a form of ad-hominem attack, which moves the argument from the morality of the act, to the person who defends or opposes it. In reality, the Catholic Church, being one of the most vocal opponents of abortion, is also the greatest provider of social & medical service in the US (and I suspect in many other countries as well). She walks the talk.
13. Prevention is better than cure.
#1 – Abortion is NOT a disease!
#2 – Stats show that free availability of contraception does not correspond to lower rate of abortion. It stands to reason that increased false sense of security gave rise to promiscuousness.
14. Morning-after pills are not the same as abortion.
Morning-after pills contain hormones that prevent implantation of a fertilized embryo, often given to victims of rape, or those who have had 'unprotected' intercourse. In other words, a baby may (or may not) have been conceived but could not 'latch' onto the mother's womb and is subsequently killed. While it is intended to prevent ovulation and prevent fertilization, taking the morning-after pills may be an abortifacient act if fertilization has already occurred.
15. I don't agree with it, but I will protect the woman's right to choose...
This is like saying: I don't agree with slavery, but I wouldn't help my neighbor's slave escape and I certainly won't vote to end it either. Bull.
16. I don't agree with it because I'm “Catholic / Jewish / Muslim / Evangelical / <insert your own faith here>” but I won't impose my belief on others
Public square is where faith & reason meets, to throw it out of public square is a form of dictatorship of laicistic relativism. Should we hang our faith at the doors when we step into our offices? Should the Church not build hospitals and schools, because that reflects their belief that nurturing the body and the mind are good works? Should Bl. Damien not have served the leper community in Molokai? Should Mother Teresa not bother to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta? All beliefs influence public decisions.
Additional reasons why abortion should not be seen as a normal part of our lives...
Loss of protection of conscientious objectors (eg. FOCA)
If abortion gains status as a right, then as a consequence, medical professionals need to protect these 'rights'. A pharmacist cannot refuse to dispense abortifacients, and doctors have to supply abortion service on demand, because they are seen as basic rights of the patients, which must be upheld by adherents of these professional standards.
Aborted fetus as a source of embryonic stem cells
Aborted fetus is a source of embryonic stem cells (ESC). As long as there is a steady supply of aborted fetuses, there is a steady supply of ESC, hence perpetuating this vicious cycle of supply-demand that extols their price in terms of human lives.
Aborted fetus as a source of donated organs
Aborted fetus can been seen as a source of donated organs. And why not? If abortion is seen as a right, and not a tolerable evil as it is seen today, then logically, a utilitarian end can be found for these unwanted consequences. What's stopping them from being used as a source of organs?
That's all I have for now, I hope it helps somebody out there.