Abortion: What logical arguments are there?

I’ve written about abortion before a few times. In fact, in my last post on the topic, I issued a challenge:

“I challenge anyone who is pro-choice to attempt to justify their position while maintaining some kind of civility. I challenge them to think about their position, and the ramifications that the arguments they make carry.”

No one accepted that challenge, despite over 200 views of that post since I wrote it.

What arguments are there for abortion that actually can logically justify it? I don’t think there are any. The key is the realization that we are indeed talking about human beings. There is no way to deny scientifically or philosophically that the unborn “fetus” (baby) is human. It is an established, empirical fact. What else could it be? A fish? No, it is a human fetus, and it is a human being, complete with a completely unique set of DNA, a 50% chance of being a different gender, and (often) a different blood type.

The question then is, according to those who are pro-choice, whether this “human being” is a person? While some may balk at such a strange question, that is indeed the question those within the pro-choice camp must put forth, for once it is acknowledged that a fetus is a human being, one must look to other means by which to justify killing this human being.

The argument is often made that while it is inside the mother, it is part of her. This is, in fact, completely false. Something that is part of the mother will have the same DNA as the mother, it will have the same blood type. An arm is not the same as a fetus.

To finally make this point as clear as possible, I cite none other than the “Pro-Choice Action Network”, which states “..even though a fetus is biologically human, it’s definitely not a person (legally and socially), and it’s questionable whether it’s a human being (physically)” (Arthur, cited below). Even the “Pro-Choice Action network freely acknowledges that the fetus is biologically human. The question they try to press is whether its a person. Further, they try to question “whether it’s a human being (physically)”. I don’t even know what this means. What is the difference between being biologically human and physically human? I see no difference whatsoever. It’s telling that these are the hairs the pro-choice network must try to split to make their case.

How is it that being transported outside the mother magically turns a baby into a “person”? Take an example of a baby premature by three months. What makes the 6-month old baby inside the mother less of a person than that baby outside of the mother?

Let’s turn again to Joyce Arthur’s article for the Pro-Choice Action network. “Another key difference is that a fetus doesn’t just depend on a woman’s body for survival, it actually resides inside her body. Persons, by definition, must be separate individuals who operate independently of others. They do not gain the status of persons by virtue of living inside the body of another person – the very thought is inherently ridiculous, even offensive” (Arthur, cited below).

I’m curious as to who made this definition of persons. Not only that, but I’m curious as to how this means that babies are persons? Babies cannot operate independently of others. They will die if left alone. Are babies no longer “persons”? Further, we see a wonderful example of the “straw man” fallacy here. The argument pro-life individuals make is not that babies gain the status of persons “by virtue of living inside the body of another person”. No, the argument is that babies gain the status of persons by being human beings. No other reason is needed. Personhood is not something to be bought and sold, defined and taken away. It’s not something to be arbitrarily defined as we see fit. That is exactly how such people as Hitler managed to murder millions of people. When we redefine personhood to fit our desires, we kill persons.

The chilling response is often that we can somehow justify killing this baby, for it is a “choice.” As Magda Denes wrote, “I do think abortion is murder–of a very special and necessary sort” (quoted in Alcorn, 99 [cited below]). How is it that murder is ever “necessary”? What other cases of murder can be “necessary” if there is such a thing as a “necessary” murder?

I’m confused as to what arguments remain. The inconsistencies in the pro-choice camp abound. They acknowledge that a baby outside the mother at 8 months is indeed a person and should not be killed, but that same baby, most would say, could be killed just hours before its birth! What kind of “logic” is this? Where will it lead? Where has it lead already?

I reissue my challenge to any pro-choice individual. Make your case. Make it without using ad hominems. Make it, acknowledging that science has shown that the fetus is human. Make your case for “necessary” murder of human beings.


Alcorn, Randy. Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments. Multnomah Books. 2000.

Arthur, Joyce. “The Fetus Focus Fallacy.” The Pro-Choice Action Network. Accessed March 24, 2010.


The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from cited material which is the property of its respective owner[s]) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author.

About J.W. Wartick

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


10 thoughts on “Abortion: What logical arguments are there?

  1. Truly, the “logic” of these arguments makes my head hurt, JW! But consider what Peter Singer has been teaching for I don’t know how long or to how many people: that the fetus is human but that this is not enough to warrant “sanctity of life”. As a matter of fact, Singer says that a baby is human but not a person until said baby can be socialized, upwards of the age of two years, I think.

    The problem seems to be that people have lost the ability to think, to reason, to understand the most commonplace common sense things. All human beings are persons. All human life is sacred. All human life is to be revered, cared for, respected, protected, cherished, nourished, loved, embraced.

    In their mad dash, their stampede, to assert their own “rights” many people are trampling the rights of others. Americans used to stand up against tyranny. We used to root for the underdog. We used to repel bullies. Now we stand for tyranny instead of against it. We crush the underdog instead of cheering him. We have become the repulsive bullies.

    God help us all.

    Thank you for writing about this, JW. Thank you for standing up for life.

    I like your new blog theme, btw. 🙂

    Posted by Disciple | March 24, 2010, 8:24 PM
  2. Couple things I’d love for you to comment on and think about.

    #1. there’s a reason why doctors suggest you don’t say you’re pregnant for a few months due to the nature of how a fetus grows. There are a litany of complications that can happen in which the fetus does not begin to fully develop and a more typical window for miscarriage.

    #2. Pro-choice doesn’t mean “go have an abortion”. Pro-choice reflects more of life’s complications. Fetuses can grow mangled inside the womb, there are cases of rape, incest, complications in the mother’s health.

    #3. Often, Pro-Life supporters will cite photos of fetuses or photos of the abortion process and cite how abortion doctors are killing what god intended.

    Have you ever witnessed open heart surgery? Child birth? Modern denistry?

    Most of all the above operations are gruesome to watch and one could argue mess with God’s naturual plan. Maybe the reason you had a heart attack is you were suppose to die. Maybe your teeth are a mess because that was the intentions. Maybe woman are suppose to die in natural child birth.

    It’s so convenient to allow science to prolong your life, but for pro-life people to take one moment to think that perhaps there are other reasons for abortions, like wanting to make sure an unwanted child isn’t brought into the world discarded and neglected resonates care for life’s conditions.

    #4. Explain to me this concept…
    Many critics are made at certain poverty stricken women who have too many children and are a burden to the state and tax payers. Fine…
    But then many of these same critics don’t want these women to have abortions. If the women do, they want them charged as murders and they want them to go to prison… To then be official burdens to the tax payers…

    How does this make any sense whatsoever?

    #5. If life is so precious, why aren’t more pro-life supporters Vegan? They seem to have no issues whatsoever wearing leather, eating meat, swatting flies, and buying most of their purchases from Wal-Mart, a company that imports over 80% of their products from China, a non-Christian country, which pays it’s workers poverty wages that Americans couldn’t even live on. Wal-Marts has the highest amount of employees on welfare than any other company in the US.

    My point is this… If the Pro-Life term actually meant “we are concerned with all living things”, they would resemble more of the care of Mother Theresa and have more faith that God will be the final judge, rather than themselves.

    And they’d also consider, that just being alive encounters many complications.

    Posted by Dan Y | March 1, 2011, 2:25 AM
    • I’d be happy to comment on your points.

      #1) You wrote that “there’s a reason why doctors suggest you don’t say you’re pregnant for a few months…”
      That some doctors may suggest (no source given) that you shouldn’t say you’re pregnant for a few months doesn’t mean you are not pregnant for a few months. Are you suggesting some alternative definition of pregnancy?

      #2) You wrote, “Fetuses can grow mangled inside the womb, there are cases of rape, incest, complications in the mother’s health.”

      I fail to see how the fact that fetuses may grow mangled in the womb would lend to an argument for the pro-choice position. Also, stating that there “are cases of rape, incest, complications in the mother’s health” isn’t an argument. I agree, there are such cases. What is your point?

      #3) Please show me where I utilized the method of “shock value” of photos. Unfortunately, your arguments are beginning to sound quite straw man-like.

      #4) Again, this is a perfect logical fallacy, namely, the straw man. I’ve argued that we shouldn’t kill babies. Your counter is to complain that some people complain about a burden to tax payers. Non sequitur.

      #5) Again, a ridiculous fallacy. First, I argue that human life is precious. I am not making the assertion that other life is not, but I’ve never argued broadly that we should fight to keep every living thing alive. If that were my argument, I couldn’t even be a Vegan, could I? Are you suggesting plants aren’t alive?

      But #5 is mostly just a red herring.

      So far, your counter to my argument has been merely to make red herrings and straw man arguments. I think the pro-life position as I’ve argued for is fairly unchallenged. If you’d like to make an argument to actually counter any premise in any argument I’ve presented, I’d be happy to see it.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | March 1, 2011, 5:14 PM
  3. excellently done.masterfully handled. what this world needs is more christians who are ready to defend their beliefs as you are.

    Posted by observer | June 16, 2012, 9:30 PM
  4. On a scale of 1-10 you get 11.

    Posted by observer | June 16, 2012, 9:32 PM
  5. Please explain to me when, legally speaking, a person is able to use another persons body against their will.

    Rape? No, not even if the man really wants it.

    Organ donations, even for relatives? Not required.

    Forced breastfeeding? Nope. Not even for the innocent babies.

    Children that are born and “children” that are still in the womb are not the same. When a parent doesn’t properly care for their child, we can and do take them away to anothers care. What if a woman doesn’t do the right things while pregnant?

    We have no way to take away a child before it’s born. Our only option would be to imprision her to ensure she “properly” obeys.

    These are people we are talking about. Real women and even girls. They are not mindless incubators.

    Even if a fetus is a person by law, it’s irrelevant to the abortion debate.

    Abortion is, at worse, removing life support.

    Posted by Cathrine | July 10, 2012, 6:57 AM
  6. Differet human beings place different values on various forms of life under various circumstances. It’s that simple. The person who argues against even abortion during the embryonic period before it is even a fetus might argue for war with North Korea, leading to millions of deaths. They are not hypocrites, necessarily, they just value certain life under certain circumstances more than others.

    Posted by pj | September 18, 2017, 9:43 AM


  1. Pingback: Abortion: The Minority Rules « - July 27, 2010

  2. Pingback: Sources for Pro-life Apologetics « Ratio Christi- Apologetics At The Ohio State University - October 22, 2012

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