Sunday, July 18, 2010

CHOICE - the C Word

A woman has a right to control her own body....
              RIGHT TO PRIVACY
                              RIGHT TO CHOOSE
Before this Academy, it was when I heard this argument that I got nervous. What do you say in response? How can I argue against the feminist agenda that has indoctrinated our culture and made women feel like killing their children is the only way to complete equally with a man in the workplace? This argument is the most common that pro-lifers face and it basically boils down to: Don't Force Your Morality on Me.

Because of the prevalence, I would that I would share a few talking points that we learned on Friday (but its a complex topic that we spent the whole day on, so I won't share ALL that I learned. If you want to know more, ask me).

It can't be taken for granted that this argument has an effective, emotional pull? You want to force mothers to carry their babies to term? But in our society, freedom of choice is limited to the fact that it doesn't involve or trample upon another person's rights. "She has the right to control the use of her arm by choosing to swing her arm. However, that right stops when her arm approaches the tip of my nose." A woman certainly has rights to her own body, but the baby inside of her is a completely, new human life with rights of its own. An example can be taken from slavery - when slaves were erroneously assumed to be just property, white people were given the freedom to keep slaves. But when the argument was raised that slaves deserved equal rights, slavery was considered an abomination and many fought for those rights for years. No one's right to choice should ethically involve taking away another's right - especially the right to life.

Judith Jarvis Thompson wrote an article in 1971: "Must an unwilling pregnant woman provide her body for the use of the child?" Through her very influential, yet flawed argument she clearly demonstrated that this issue is a conflict of rights - the child's and the mothers. Let's examine these 2 rights.
Right A: the right of the unborn not to be killed.
Right B: the right not to sustain the unborn.
Thompson's conclusion is that the mother's rights prevail because the child is a parasite, invading her privacy and forcing "itself" upon her. But the only way to have Right B is to violate and override A. Let's suppose that these rights were combined into one situation: a pregnant woman must decide between death or having to sustain the child for nine months, what do you suppose she would choose? The right to Life - because this right is more fundamental and necessary for the other right to exist at all. So the priority of rights - between the right to not be killed and the right to not sustain the life of one's baby - definitely falls on the baby's right.

Now let's compare the violation. Taking away to the right to life is irrecoverable - it irreversibly ends life. And although pregnancy can be a severe inconvenience for many women, it is limited to 9 months and that inconvenience does end. The raising of a child is a lifelong journey, with many ups and downs, joys and headaches but many parents say that it is one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. But if a mother absolutely does not want to take care of a child, rather than abort her baby, she should put it up for adoption where it has the possibility of a wonderful, loving home (one of the 1 to 2 million in the US who are waiting for children to be placed in their homes).

Bottom line, the right to life is higher than the right to be inconvenienced. The right to choose should not include the right to end innocent life.

Additionally, reason and historic experience teaches us that unless we protect the rights of others, our own rights soon diminish as well.

Women should have to stop apologizing for the fact that they bear children. To expect women to kill their children in order to succeed in the world (i.e. to achieve complete equality with men) is to treat women as second class citizens. Abortion proponents pit mother and child against each other - and it is crucial to reveal to women who love the phrase, "My Body, My Choice" that the child is not an enemy but a gift.


  1. Great job, Abby! You have really sound arguments! I do still wonder, though, about how when abortion was abolished a couple decades ago, women went out and did it anyway, often in very unsafe and inhumane ways. Sometimes they'd take matters into their own hands. Other times they'd pay doctors on the "black market" to perform the abortion for them in secret. When abortion was legalized again, women were able to go to doctors to have the procedure (for lack of a better word) done in a sterile and controlled setting where the health of the mother could be monitored. I don't agree with abortion, and think that women should be required to undergo counseling and be given other options besides abortion, but I worry that if abortions were made illegal in the US, they would still happen, just in a less controllable manner without the required counseling and monitoring. And those who could afford it would just cross the border and have it where it was legalized. After having a couple of my other concerns answered just in reading this post, I'm interested to hear what your argument would be regarding this concern?

  2. Melissa, I'm glad that you asked!!! I do have a response for you - I will post it soon. Sorry, I'm just on my way to class right now. Thank you for being willing to ask hard questions: they are worth answering.