There is no need to recount the gruesome statistics of Roe v Wade's legacy; for those, go here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html (the Guttmacher Institute, by the way, is about as pro-abortion as a group can be).
For this post, rather, I want to explore two common objections which advocates of prenatal violence often raise to outlawing the barbarous practice of abortion. I will reveal, in advance of my argument, that there is not a single justifiable reason for the purposeful murder of any unborn child. I am not here intending to consider every argument.
The Mother's Health
The most common argument I now hear for legalized abortion is, sadly, the only argument also commonly used by many who otherwise consider themselves to be anti-abortion. This is the argument for legalized abortion in those (extremely rare) cases wherein the mother's health is at grave risk. Truly, this argument is difficult to counter because of the emotional implication that to oppose this argument, one is actively promoting the death of the mother. This, of course, is false and misleading: a red herring fallacy. If an action is right, it is right regardless of consequences; conversely, if an action is wrong, no positive consequence can justify that act.
Here I will suggest a Christian principal which we, as Americans, are often eager to neglect:
It is better to be killed, than to kill.
It is always unjust and immoral to sacrifice the life of the innocent - even for the sake of another innocent. Taking the "health-of-the-mother" argument to a slightly different scenario will highlight the perilous moral ground on which it rests. Consider a 2-year old girl, Marie, who is infected with a deadly and highly contagious disease; such that any contact with Marie by others would result in contraction of the disease. Would a community be morally justified in murdering 2-year old Marie for the safety of the community? Moreover, what sort of parent might abandon the little girl and not, instead, rush to her aid knowing that to do so means the death of them both?
Now, in answer to the emotional drama inflicted on us by the use of this red herring argument, I offer a basic fact: everyone dies. Old and young, man and woman, whether by disease or disaster, every single living being on earth will die. And if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation in which your only viable option for life is to first take the life of an innocent person, I hope you will understand the principle I gave above: It is better to be killed, than to kill. Think of shipwrecked sailors confronted by starvation and the horrifying tales of cannibalism; by killing fellow sailors, the hungry have preserved their lives, but at what cost to their eternal souls?
No, as humans we are often faced with difficult situations during which the better of us will seek not only the good of others but also the good of our souls. A man might be tasked with confessing a failure to his employer, knowing that his career will be finished. For fear of losing his job, he may lie or cheat; he may also, for honour's sake, press forward with the truth at the peril of his own financial safety. I pray God find me at the table of the honourable dead rather than that of the cowardly living.
Illegal Abortions are Dangerous
The second argument I will consider is closely related to the first, yet far more asinine and absurd in its conclusions. Almost nothing is more irritating than to hear the tired and untidy refrain that
"If a woman cannot obtain a legal abortion, she will be forced to use illegal and dangerous methods".
As if any sort of magical jurisprudence could eliminate the danger to the infant during a "safe" abortion.
This argument is absurd, and is clearly the design of desperation. Imagine if we applied this reasoning to theft. Perhaps it is too dangerous for thieves that homeowners are allowed to defend their families and homes; we need to legalize theft for the safety of the thieves. We could have open house nights at which times thieves could take the things they want without fear of danger to their health.
Simply put, no sane society enacts laws for the sake of the criminal. Theft is unsafe, drug use is unsafe: the danger serves as a natural incentive to avoid the bad behaviour. Aside from the fact that it is not society's duty (nor is it in society's best interest) to lessen the pain of immorality, the abortionist's argument here seems to suggest that a woman is incapable of making any other decision than to terminate the life of her child. This suggestion should upset women more than it seems to do.
Tu Quoque and Other Nonsense
Without delving too deeply into more arguments for legalized abortion, I will note at least one more obnoxious argument. It's not actually an argument at all, but a malformed tu quoque logical fallacy:
"Well, if you're so pro-life, why don't you spend more time arguing against the death penalty?" (or for universal health care, or for immigrant's rights, etc.).
I guarantee you have heard one of these weak attempts at intelligence. Remember to redirect the conversation back to abortion, but let's all be willing to discuss these other important social topics as well and in their own time.
I hope the minor exploration of these two common arguments will help you separate the wheat of reason from the chaff of rhetoric. I am interested to know what you consider to be the best arguments for abortion and how you have answered those arguments.
I pray God the Father of mercies will illuminate the hearts of men and women to the evil of abortion. Pray with me.