Abortion

I like to unwind with a social issue every now and then.

I would like to start out by saying that based on my views, I would have to identify more with the pro-life side of the argument. However, I am not pro-life for the more conventional reasons as are usually presented in the abortion debate. My argument is based on reasons of personal responsibility, not religious views.

The most common pro-choice argument, that “the woman has the right to choose” is inherently illogical and irrelevant, regardless of where you stand. What many pro-choice supporters fail to realize or choose not to realize is that the woman already made her choice. She was faced with a choice between having unprotected sex, and not having unprotected sex. At the first moment the question of abortion comes to the table, the argument is no longer “the woman has the right to choose” but instead, “the woman has the right to change her mind”. She has made an apparently unadvantageous decision, and she wants to now terminate the pregnancy to make it all right. The problem lies in the fact that abortion nullifies the apparently negative consequences of partaking in risky behavior. By allowing abortion, society has decreed that this behavior is responsible, and even respectable. And when people are no longer forced to take responsibility for their actions, they are more likely to repeat those actions. I guess you could say I am pro-choice also, but I am for a different choice. Also, I know that there are a few cases in which women are raped, and in a few cases the woman’s health is endangered by the birth of a child, but those make up a very small percentage of total pregnancies, and even then in the case of rape, there are alternatives to abortion.

The second most common pro-choice argument, that “the woman has the right to control her body (and the fetus, as it resides within her body)” is logical, but only depending on how far you are willing to extend that logic. I could kill another person by using my finger to pull the trigger of a gun, and then argue that I should not be punished because I have the right to control my body. I would be laughed at, though, as any action a human being exercises requires control over one’s own body. We outlaw certain actions in order to protect the freedom of other people. To question this pro-choice argument, I would say “Why not allow the rape of a woman? She will just have an abortion anyway, and the rapist was simply exercising control over his body.”

In the previous paragraph, I outlined the reason we have laws: To protect the rights of other people. I now realize that this begs the question of “When does the fetus become a person?” Although I will be more than willing to take in to account any definitive scientific proof on this matter, for the time being, I will address the question through a lens of practicality. The mutual objective of the progenitors (excluding cases of rape) is to create a new human being, and since conception is the first purposeful and definitive step to fulfilling this objective, I will define this moment as when the group of cells begins to identify as a person. However, let not this assumption shift the focus of my main argument: It’s mostly about personal responsibility. If more people used good judgment, many fewer people would need abortions in the first place, and many more people could get along.

If we must retain abortion as an acceptable action in society, government should act regarding abortion as it did before Roe v. Wade, and have the power reside in the states to decide how abortions are handled. Or perhaps no government regulation is needed at all. All I ask is that abortion be justified as a responsible act first (which I see as a very difficult task), and then perhaps let the market decide its fate.

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5 thoughts on “Abortion

  1. gnomestrath

    This appears to conflict seriously with your recent comments on personal freedom. Also you miss a few points:

    Some pregnancies are involuntary – Rape
    Some are unintentional – contraceptive failure

    Does the woman have the right to choose in these circumstances

    In addition you make the point of when does an entitiy arise from a fertilisation and therefore when can it be an unlawful killing.

    On this there could be an arguement for reducing the length of the pregnancy permitted to be terminated. Note also that up to >10% of pregancies are aborted naturally for reasons that are unknown some quite late. Since society does not treat these natural abortions with the same process – i.e. funerals is society accepting that they are not yet people who can be unlawfully killed.

    Reply
  2. Jacob Post author

    I understand that there is a noticeable number of cases in which a woman did not have a choice in getting pregnant (e.g. rape, contraceptive failure) and also legitimate pregnancies which endanger the health of the woman, but those all make up a very small percentage (around 4.7% in the case of rape) of the total number of pregnancies.

    By the way, I’m not sure what you mean by “natural abortion”. Abortion itself is a term that implies external intervention, though I could plausibly see you referring to miscarriages, stillbirth, etc.

    Also, where did I contradict myself about personal freedoms?

    Reply
  3. gnomestrath

    Abortion is a term does not actually mean exclusively external intervention – it is unfortunate that it has become associated with negative events.

    Quote from your Conservative text:

    The conservative then focuses on the freedom and potential of the individual.

    This must therfore include the right to choose whether to have an abortion. The point that because the involuntary pregnancies are a low percentage is irrelevant- supposing it was 100% of all preganacies does this change the position on a womens right to choose. If you take the Palin position that a women cannot choose to have an abortion under any circumstances I regard that as morally indefensible. What if it was 90% involuntary or 80% or 70% …. Then it could be argued ah an abortion is permitted if the prganacy was involuntary – how is this then defined.

    The arguement that the embryo is not being given the choice of life is for other reasons specious and I can argue that with you another time.

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  4. Jacob Post author

    The conservative also holds high the respect for the rule of law. Individual freedoms cannot be unlimited in a civilized society, because that would abridge the right of other individuals. That is why we have laws, and government. A woman cannot choose to kill her father, why should she have the right to terminate an unborn child? I know this again revisits the premise that the fetus is a living human, a commonly debated assertion today.

    In the case of rape, if the number of pregnancies caused by rape was 70-90%, then the my entire sociological argument would be changed. As it stands right now, however, the grand majority of unwanted pregnancies are caused by irresponsibility, and thus abortion is a negative act not because it potentially destroys human life, but because it perpetuates the practice of unsafe behaviors throughout society (not to mention the marginal economic and pathological repercussions as well).

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