I was born a few years after Roe v. Wade, and my mother—a very petite woman who is prone to headaches, nausea, and chronic pain—was pressured by her doctor to abort me for her own good. She refused, and I was born with a deaf and deformed ear. But I was born—that’s the important thing. And because I was born, my seven children could also be born.
I’m pretty grateful to my mom. Aren’t you grateful to yours?
I recently came across the pro-abortion Tumblr meme pictured here, and as today is Easter—a day celebrating the restoration of physical and spiritual life—I thought I’d address its mistaken claims.
1. The bodily autonomy argument. Most of the meme is devoted to this, in the form of a story about society not being able to force someone to save a sibling’s life through a blood transfusion.
The first flaw is that the inaction of not donating blood is not equal to the action of aborting a baby. In the meme’s sibling-saving scenario, the natural course of doing nothing would be the death of the sibling. In the case of a pregnancy, the natural course of doing nothing would be the birth of a baby. To make the parallel work, doing nothing for your sibling has to be compared to violently dissecting an unborn baby. Hardly the same.
The second flaw is that, even though the law does not force us to save the life of a sibling, it does force us to maintain the life of our offspring. That’s what laws against parental neglect are for. Again, the analogy fails.
If a woman has no responsibility to the life developing inside her, then why are smoking and drinking during pregnancy frowned on and often regulated?
2. “To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will…” Pregnancy is not random. It happens as a result of a consensual act, and regardless of whatever precautions anyone takes, everyone goes into sex knowing that pregnancy might result. The pregnancy wasn’t “against their will,” their will was just to be able to have sex without responsibility for it.
If abortion advocates are right, why not phrase their intent this honestly? A person’s right to life is universally acknowledged; where is there a documented and defended argument establishing a right to sex without results?
3. “…in an incredibly invasive, expensive, and difficult process…” This is not an accurate description of pregnancy, nor is it relevant to this issue, even if it were accurate. Using rhetoric this loaded to disparage something that literally billions of women have done without invasion, expense, or difficulty reveals how weak the case made in this meme is.
4. “…to save what YOU view as another human life…” Capitalizing the word “you” like that is meant to make this seem like merely an opinion, and an unsound one at that.
But is it just an unsound opinion? Isn’t there plenty of objective evidence to support seeing the unborn as human and alive? They have distinct DNA at conception, they develop sensitive nervous systems capable of feeling pain quite early, and we can now even perform surgery on them before birth and then finish the rest of the pregnancy normally.
The fact that so many discoveries of the last 40 years have further enlightened us about the living, human nature of unborn babies, and dispelled so many ignorant assumptions about them from the Roe era, should really make us pause and think more, shouldn’t it?
After all, if there is any doubt about the status of the unborn, if there’s any debate to be had at all, shouldn’t we be more cautious and err on the side of life?
If an unborn baby isn’t alive, then why can murdering a pregnant woman be prosecuted as a double homicide?
5. “…the early stages of pregnancy when the vast majority of abortions are performed…” This sounds like a tacit admission that late-term and partial-birth abortions are wrong, which is progress. In that case, at exactly what point in a pregnancy are you comfortable saying, “Today the fetus is not alive and we can abort it, but tomorrow it’s a living person and that would be wrong?” Doesn’t that sound ridiculously dangerous?
6. “You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using any more after they have died.” Actually, you can. Next of kin do this all the time.
A person can document their refusal to donate organs after they’ve died, though, but if you want to make a “dead body / pregnant woman” analogy work, where unborn babies are like kidneys or livers, you run into the same problems discussed in #1 above.
7. In addition to the other questions I’ve raised here, I’d like to add one more: presumably, if someone shared or liked the meme I’m analyzing, they probably consider themselves a feminist. In that case, how do you feel about the conscious use of abortion internationally as a tool to prevent the birth of females and reduce the population of women? Is bodily autonomy still sacred when it’s being used to wage a global war on girls?