Responses to Pro-Life Arguments

Note: I published an article showing why these arguments work as well for late term as early term abortion here.

Anyone who holds pro-choice or pro-abortion views will almost certainly encounter “pro-life” objections to abortion. These arguments attempt to show that abortion is a seriously immoral act, equivalent to murder.

Traditionally, feminists have responded to these objections by focusing on the mother’s right to bodily autonomy. Indeed, bodily autonomy is an important part of the abortion debate. But bodily autonomy arguments typically only show that abortion is permissible. That is, they show a woman has the right to an abortion, but do not address whether or not abortion is actually a bad thing to do. This is an issue, because many things we have the right to do are still seriously immoral and ought to be discouraged by a healthy society. (For instance, a person may have the right to turn his back and do nothing if he sees a child drowning. But we would rightfully say that this is bad behavior to be discouraged!)

To fully defend abortion as a positive part of women’s health care, we should be able to show that women who get abortions have done nothing wrong, legally or morally. And in fact, a careful analysis of the issue shows this is the case. “Pro-life” arguments rest on assumptions that are largely incoherent and, if taken seriously, are deeply anti-life. In comparison, pro-abortion arguments are wholly compatible with a healthy worldview that values the lives of both mothers and children. 

This may seem like a bold claim. In the responses to popular pro-life talking points below, I’ve developed these ideas and provided rebuttals to the most common pro-life objections to abortion.

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