Abortion: Further Issues

I’ve written arguments against abortion before, but I’ve come up with/read about some other ones and I wanted to bring them up as I think they raise some unique issues.

One argument I read recently (over here, though I can’t seem to locate the exact post) is that abortion seems to be very anti-men. Those concerned for the rights of individuals should, in order to be consistent, care about both women’s rights and men’s rights. The reason abortion is anti-male is because men don’t have the choice over whether the woman gets an abortion or not. Now, obviously, there are many cases where men (unfortunately) push their significant others for abortion, but what I’m pointing out is that if an adult woman wants to have an abortion, the man can’t stop her if she just goes in and does so. But here’s the punch line: if the woman decides to have the baby, and the man didn’t ever want him/her, he still has to pay child support. So the man can’t decide to have the baby, but if the woman does and he didn’t want him/her, he still has to pay the child support. I’m clearly not saying that men should not want babies, but this is an extreme double standard.

Another issue to raise is the fact that abortion is completely devastating certain minority communities, African Americans in particular (see here for a very interesting site, but if you doubt the validity of this claim, just google it and you’ll find plenty of statistics).

Abortion destroys objective human value. One great point that was brought to light in my eyes a while back (see other post) is the question of how is it that coming through the birth canal suddenly changes this fetus/nonhuman tissue/tumor/whatever term one wants to use to hide the “personhood” of the baby into a baby? What makes the “thing” a baby outside the mother, but not a baby inside the mother, at the exact same stage of pregnancy? How is it different to kill a baby inside the mother (abortion) or kill it outside (murder)? Just being inside a woman doesn’t somehow make the fetus/etc. part of the woman, particularly if it can survive outside of the woman. Though–and here is a very important and chilling point–if one wants to argue that direct dependence on the woman for survival is the difference, then children are not “persons” either until they are capable of taking care of themselves all on their own. A newborn baby, for example WOULD NOT SURVIVE without parental (or other) care. Does this mean the baby too is not a “person”? What definition of personhood is being used, and how does it avoid the points I raised in my other post that I have linked a few times?

Part of my reflections on abortion have lead me to try to see it through the eyes of  a pro-choicer. Some of this has come through simply reading from blogs of pro-choice individuals. One thing that is surprising to me is how angry a lot of pro-choice people tend to be. They seem to think that pro-life people are specifically targeting women and trying to “keep them down” in some way. Is it really that hard to acknowledge that there is another side of the debate that might have legitimate reasons for being pro-life? Well, I at least am going to try to acknowledge that pro-choice individuals genuinely raise some good concerns. One of these is a concern for the rights of women. There is no reason to fault someone for wanting to be sure that men and women have equal rights (though interestingly, as above, it seems that men are sometimes pushed aside in this). Pro-choice people show a wonderful concern for women who are struggling with hard decisions, a concern that I think we pro-lifers need to acknowledge and adopt in our own testimony for our side of the debate.

Pro-lifers are not part of some agenda to “keep women down” this is completely ridiculous, and it is in fact a great example of the use of a “straw man” fallacy in argument. I wish that logic was incorporated more into this debate, because all too often I see people on both sides just shouting each other down or using all kinds of fallacious statements. Something this important to both sides, however, seems to alienate logic. I pray that one day this will not be the case. If any real headway is to be made, both sides need to sit down and discuss the issues in a logical way, while allowing for the other side to have some truth.

About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


8 thoughts on “Abortion: Further Issues

  1. I have a few questions with respect to your closing statement. Please consider my inquiries an attempt, as you suggest, to employ logic. What sort of truth do the pro-abortion folks have that will change the perspective of a pro-lifer to the point of making some headway? What sort of headway will result? Is compromise the best idea considering the issue being discussed is a matter of life and death for many individuals?

    Posted by T. Emmett Bramwell | December 12, 2009, 11:46 PM
    • I’m not sure that I ever said “compromise” or implied compromise in any way. I believe that the “pro-abortion folks” have a valid point about a woman’s rights and the fact that many women today face some difficult decisions. Pro-choicers tend to, in my experience, focus very closely on women and their rights and trying to insure that their voices are heard. I believe that all too often, we pro-lifers do indeed ignore women in the equation, focusing entirely on the unborn child. Thus, we can strive to incorporate a deeper concern for the women involved into our view (I know that I at least need to in some ways). I’m not saying pro-lifers are women oppressors, but I think pro-choicers have a good point in that women do need to be considered. Obviously I still would never recommend abortion or agree that it is acceptable, but this doesn’t eliminate this point made by the pro-choice camp.

      So “compromise” is likely too strong a term. I think it is too hot an issue to really compromise in the sense of finding some agreeable middle ground. But I think that we can take from the good of the pro-choice camp (considering women in the issue and ensuring adequate facilities, etc.) and at least acknowledge that pro-choicers have good intentions and are not evil, vile people (despite what we think of abortion itself).

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 13, 2009, 1:45 AM
  2. Your closing statement is the definition of compromise – to settle or adjust by concessions on both sides. Unless, of course in, “allowing for the other side to have some truth” you meant something else.

    Posted by T. Emmett Bramwell | December 13, 2009, 2:17 AM
  3. Some factual background may be helpful:

    According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute of Planned Parenthood, 48% of the 3000 abortions every day are repeats(not the woman’s first abortion). In short, five out of every 10 abortions every day are repeats. Now, some of these repeating women will have no more abortions, so, for this rate of repeat to continue day after day, some of the women in the five who are having their first abortion will repeat. This means that something like seven or eight out of every 10 abortions is had by a woman who is either repeating or will go on to have another abortion. On the face of things, the large majority of women aborting each day are either using abortion as a primary means of birth control, rather than contraceptives, or as a backup for the erratic use of contraception.

    The pro-life movement spends perhaps 50% of its financial resources on ministering to women who have a problem pregnancy. Organizations like Birthright assist women with free medical care, free housing, emotional support, and they set up adoptions for women who do not wish to keep the child, with families that provide financial support for the woman through the pregnancy. As things stood when last I checked, there were 40 families waiting to adopt each white newborn released for adoption in the USA. There are enough minority families to adopt minority newborns and, in case there are not, the minority newborn is released for adoption to white families, in which case she becomes adoptable many times over. So setting up this sort of arrangement isn’t terribly hard to do.

    From the first the pro-life movement has emphasized the rights of women, no surprise as it is more often than not staffed and supported by women. It has long held that prohibiting abortion, while essential, is just part of what must be done. Women need practical alternatives to abortion. The solution to the abortion problem includes not just prohibition, but the feminization of society at a level that was cut short by giving women the expedient solution, get rid of your unborn child. Affordable childcare, a decisive end to this stigma of unmarried pregnancy, financial support for pregnant women, and so on. This was the program of militant feminists like Susan B. Anthony, who denounced abortion as ‘the unspeakable crime of child murder’ and supported the passing of the statutes that Roe V. Wade struck down. The underlying idea of pro-life feminists has been this: promoting the liberation of women by making women the mortal adversaries of children is no liberation at all, but a tragedy for all concerned.

    Posted by jim stone | December 24, 2009, 8:40 PM


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