Abortion discussions can get ugly really fast. Two minutes into the exchange, the participants are no longer talking about abortion; they’re talking about each other! Pro-life advocates accuse abortion-choice advocates of hating babies. Abortion-choice advocates accuse pro-life advocates of hating women.
Both are missing the point entirely. We need to keep the main thing the main thing.
I Agree, If…
As a pro-life advocate, I think abortion-choice advocates are on to something. They’re right that abortion is a personal, private matter that should not be restricted in any way. They ’re right that laws restricting abortion are unjust. They’re right that pro-lifers should not impose their views on others. They’re right that everyone but the woman should stay out of this decision.
Yes, they are right about all of that—if. If What?
If the unborn are not human beings.
Contrary to what some may think, the issue that divides me from abortion-choice advocates is not that they are pro-choice and I am anti-choice. Truth is, I am vigorously “pro-choice” when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. I support a woman’s right to choose her own healthcare provider, to choose her own school, to choose her own husband, to choose her own job, to choose her own religion, and to choose her own career—to name a few. These are among the many choices I fully support for the women of our country. But some choices are wrong, like intentionally killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way of something we want. No, we shouldn’t be allowed to choose that.
I’m not yet arguing the unborn are human beings. I’ll make that case later. Rather, it’s clarity I’m after. As we shall see, the abortion issue is not about forcing morality; it’s not about privacy; it’s not about who hates women and who loves them.
It’s about one question: What is the unborn?
Men and women have an equal right to weigh in on that question. Religious and non-religious people do as well. A tolerant society will welcome a free exchange of ideas and judge arguments according to their merits, not the gender or religion of those advancing them.
One-Minute Summary of the Essential Pro-Life Argument
Premise #1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.
Premise #2: Abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.
Conclusion: Abortion is morally wrong.
Pro-life advocates defend their essential argument with science and philosophy. They argue from science that the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. You didn’t come from an embryo; you once were an embryo. They argue from philosophy that there is no relevant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that justifies killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you could be killed then but not now.1
Should I read on?
Yes. However, you may want to hear both sides of the abortion issue before going further. If so, you can watch a thoughtful debate on the topic at the link below. Why not take a look to clarify your own thinking? While the speakers disagree on abortion, they treat each other with respect. They challenge arguments rather than attack each other personally.
Wayne State Abortion Debate
It’s possible to think clearly about abortion.
You just need to ask the right questions: