Hendrik van der Breggen is a Canadian philosopher who has written a popular-level book about abortion. Hendrik’s book does a good job of exposing and revealing the flaws in many popular pro-choice arguments. It’s important to understand that this book is responding to popular pro-choice arguments. Hendrik is a philosopher but the purpose of the book is not to address academic arguments or to present the most sophisticated responses to these arguments. The book is meant as a popular-level critique of popular-level arguments that anyone can understand and use against these arguments. He addresses many arguments that most people have heard, as well as many that some may not be aware of.
Hendrik’s book is split into three parts. In the first part, he addresses arguments related to denying the personhood of the unborn. Part two deals with arguments related to the bodies of the mother and unborn child. Part three addresses miscellaneous arguments that don’t fit into the first two categories, arguments such as “every child should be a wanted child”, “pro-lifers don’t help people after they’re born”, and “Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ justifies abortion”.
This book began as a response to Nathan Nobis and Kristina Grob’s short book Thinking Critically About Abortion, and van der Breggen says in the Introduction this book can be seen as a counterpoint to that book. Nobis has responded to several of Hendrik’s arguments in a review here, and Hendrik has also responded to Nobis’ review at his blog here.
If you are new to the pro-life movement or a novice in abortion discussions, this book will help you know what arguments you can expect from pro-choice people and help give you a springboard for discussion by giving a good response to these arguments. If you are more experienced in the movement, you may still benefit from some of the responses but you will definitely want to read some of the more academic treatments of the issue, such as Beckwith’s Defending Life and Kaczor’s The Ethics of Abortion. You can also hear Nathan and my interview with Hendrik at the Pro-Life Thinking podcast which you can listen to here.