Essay:General refutations to common pro-choice arguments

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Essay.svg This essay is an original work by --Animalian (talk) 00:37, 14 February 2015 (UTC).
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.

Wherefore pro-choice advocates typically justify abortion on the grounds that a fetus is non-human, the child unwanted, and the mother free to regulate her body, pro-life advocates counter with scientific evidence that a fetus is, indeed, human, that unwanted children value their lives independently of parental disdain, and that the right to choose simply fails to take precedence over the right to life, rare cases excepted.

Denying that a fetus is human is essential to denying any and all rights to the fetus, including the right to life. To all scientific understanding, however, a fetus is irrefutably human, sharing a vastly similar genome, physiology, and capacity to flourish in the vast majority of cases. All attempts to dehumanize the fetus are but acts of rhetoric which estrange common sense and repudiate scientific consensus.

Pro-choice advocates may object that fetuses lack rationality and cannot (yet) act as moral agents. To subscribe to this narrow, Kantian view of rights and corresponding duties, however, would justify the indiscriminate and unadulterated abuse of infants, the mentally deficient, and all animals, for by denying “consciousness” to these individuals, we reserve them no rights, and owe them not a single obligation.

Pro-choice advocates may also object to the notion of “potential” life, alongside the intellectual and moral agency which may or may not attend it. Such an argument, again, defies common sense and scientific understanding, in that pregnancies, both documented and undocumented, have a 60% chance of being carried to term. Moreover, the probability that the resultant child will grow into a healthy, young adult ranks at least 90%.

Arguments that children will be unwanted or abused are likewise inexcusably flimsy. If a pregnancy is carried to term, 98% of white mothers and 99% of black mothers will not abandon their child. If abortion were restricted, these rates would remain roughly the same, since the maternal bond is among the strongest in nature, reinforced by oxytocin release during childbirth, breastfeeding, and childrearing.

In the argument from abuse, it is compelling to ask the following rhetorical questions: 1) Would you drown puppies because of the potential their present or future owners a) might abuse them, b) will probably abuse them, or c) do abuse them? 2) Would you kill Cinderella because her step-family abused her? 3) Would Cinderella appreciate that you killed her, assuming she somehow could, to spare her the supposedly “intolerable, life-negating” abuse?

Unless abuse is truly life-negating, as in many depraved cases of animal vivisection, pain so profound, and prospects of recovery so slim, there exists little justification to deprive an individual of life, and even then, we would preserve hope for a better life, and seek to ameliorate the very conditions which conduced one so unlivable. All other acts constitute murder rather than euthanasia, and consequently rarely possess sufficient justification.

We now arrive at the final juggernaut in the pro-choice argument, the right to choose. While a mother may possess the right to regulate her body, she should not do so to the extreme detriment of another. Murder, unjustified or insufficiently justified killing, which abortion constitutes in the vast majority of cases, is a profound detriment violating those most fundamental and intimate rights to life, bodily integrity, and freedom.

A woman may be forced to accept the inconvenience of motherhood, but does that justify murder? Why should the “right to choose” come before the right to life itself? Anyone who can justify murder on the basis of trivial comforts, unnecessary luxury, or pure whim is not only a threat to her children, but to the world, animals, and humanity at large. This mindset of self-interest before the rights and lives of others perpetuates extreme poverty, begot the Holocaust, and leads us to exchange the lives of 60 BILLION cows, chickens, and pigs every year for a few tasty nibbles.

Pro-choice advocates, terrain now disappearing from beneath their feet, might desperately flee to the last remaining argument of any substance, that of overpopulation. Abortion, indeed, serves as a form of population control, but it is just as radical and inhumane as genocide or warfare, belonging not to civilized society. Instead of resorting to such primitive methods of population control, we should economically empower the poor, universalize education, provide better healthcare, and subsidize contraceptives, all more effective and rewarding vehicles of population control and societal progress.--Animalian (talk) 19:12, 15 February 2015 (UTC)