Six short Pro-life responses to Six popular Pro-choice slogans

Cross-posted from ProLife NZ

1. ‘It’s a women’s right to choose.’

Of course we all respect someone’s right to choose, it would make you seem like a moral monster to deny something western civilisation values so highly. However, clearly there are many circumstances where the right to choose has its limitations. No-one is trying to tell women they can’t choose what to eat or who to talk to but the idea that choice is absolute is nonsense. One must clarify what is being referred to when we talk about having a right to choose to do something. If I wanted to choose to shoot my dog or beat a child for fun you would likely be abhorred at the nature of my choice and tell me that I have no such right to do so.

Very few people think that we should be able to kill other human beings with impunity which means that the nature of this ‘choice’ begs the question and assumes something about the nature of the unborn. That they are different, less valuable, outside of our moral circle, disposable and whose geographical location justifies their killing in the name of Western autonomy. Clearly whether someone is male or female they do not have the ‘right’ to choose to do whatever they want. Dressed up in more philosophical language we would find ourselves responding to the bodily autonomy objection that has been suitably refuted elsewhere ad nauseam.

2. ‘Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.’

Let’s try and use similar logic on some other moral quandaries, ‘Don’t like slavery? Don’t own one.’ Don’t like wife beating? Don’t beat yours.’ Don’t like child abuse? Don’t abuse yours. Don’t like strawberries? Don’t eat them. What this slogan does quite effectively is that it moves abortion from being something that may be an objective moral wrong that kills a developing and innocent human being to one of personal tastes. Very few people would accept that preferring strawberries over apricots is morally similar to preferring to keep slaves or not, yet this is the category the slogan is putting abortion in. Slavery is wrong because it treats intrinsically valuable human being’s as a commodities that can be traded and sold.

However the real crime of this slogan is that it promotes the idea that those who are Pro-life only think abortion is wrong because they don’t like it, which is false. Whether someone likes strawberries or apricots is a personal preference that no-one would disagree with, but equivocating between that and an act that kills another human being is absurd and assumes moral relativism. This leaves the proponent of such a slogan in the position of having no authority to tell us that neither slavery and wife beating are wrong if I happened to like them.  Lets get this straight, when someone who holds the Pro-life view says abortion is wrong they are not simply saying they don’t like abortion, they are saying it is objectively wrong regardless of how someone may feel about it.

3. ‘Keep your Rosaries off my ovaries.’

What could be said in response, keep your ideology off my theology? I’m not a Roman Catholic and have never prayed the Rosary, however what this slogan seems to be suggesting is that any objections to abortion that may have some religious basis must stay out of the discussion. This assumes a few things. Clearly there are many religious people who are pro-choice so religious arguments may-well be of importance to them and if abortion is wrong then they would want to know. Secondly, in the grand scheme of things the Pro-life position is not necessarily a religious position, one can be a theist, pantheist or atheist and still be Pro-life. The fact that many Christians are Pro-life may be observably true but the wrongness of killing unborn human beings through the means of abortion would still be as wrong if it were said by an atheist. To be clear the Pro-life case doesn’t have a gender or religion even if there may be a theological frame-work that best supports its conclusions.

Also as far as I’m aware those that hold to the Pro-life view whether religious or secular are not trying to tell women who they can and can’t have sex with. Certainly the slogan makes a good sound-bite but in terms of substance like the other two I briefly responded to they are in reality pretty poor.

 

4. ‘Vote Pro-choice. Politicians make crappy doctors.’

Postmen would likewise make crappy airline pilots and sushi chefs would probably make bad car mechanics so at least the part of this slogan that makes up its core is most likely factually accurate (unless one is both a trained physician and politician). However, whether politicians make poor doctors or not doesn’t by any means lead me to think that I ought to allow the intentional killing of unborn and developing human beings.

It should also be pointed out being a doctor is no guarantee that one will arrive at a sound moral conclusion, they have their own world-view and biases as much as any other person. Politicians have a responsibility to make decisions that not everyone is going to agree with, but nevertheless that’s the role they are in and I imagine a great many doctors would make crappy politicians.

I could just as easily turn this slogan around and with just as much legitimacy make a similar slogan that read ‘Vote Pro-life. Politicians make crappy doctors’. Both would be poorly argued slogans but in reality slogans usually make poor arguments, although they do often represent the logic of the larger movement. Which in this case would be rather poor logic.

5. ‘May the fetus you save be gay.’

This one more than any other slogan I’ve addressed literally stinks of hypocrisy. Assuming the whole premise of abortion rights means implicitly that abortion kills thousands of developing human beings every year that would have grown up to be gay. Yet it is the Pro-life position that argues from philosophy and science that all human life should be respected and not intentionally killed through abortion. So whilst the Pro-choice position tries to mock the Pro-life position it simply demonstrates its own internal hypocrisy by defending the killing of those they often defend once they are grown up.

To accuse those who hold the Pro-life position as homophobic only serves as a red herring because the Pro-choice lobby would rather move the discussion away from the reality of which they defend.

The Pro-life position is that abortion takes the life of a whole, developing, distinct and defenceless human being. To kill an unborn human being to benefit others is unequivocally a moral wrong. To justify killing them means putting them outside our common moral circle and views them as outsiders who are different to us, similar to how people throughout history have justified numerous examples of human cruelty. Abortion therefore treats the developing human fetus as something dispensable and without its own intrinsic moral worth.

6. ‘Stop the war on women.’

Lets get this straight, there is not a war on women. The vast majority of those active in the Pro-life movement are women so it is difficult to suggest that a movement is ideologically at war against itself. It is this sort of rhetoric that sums up many of the Pro-choice slogans, strong on rhetoric but weak on substance.

If men could get pregnant abortion would still be wrong, the debate is focussed on women because it is women who get pregnant and primarily procure abortion. Abortion is not about men against women it’s about the nature of the unborn and whether or not killing them is morally permissible. Those are questions that must be asked by both men and women and the answers to them will determine where you will stand on the issue of abortion.

I’m a man myself so if you think my sex stops my points having any legitimacy please remember that arguments do not have genders.

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  • Noduh

    Here here!