imageBeing pro-life I’ve heard numerous arguments for and against abortion rights.  It will certainly be a topic of discussion leading up to the 2012 presidential election with the Iowa Caucus in particular as Iowa’s social conservatives who make up the caucus going base will be vetting the different Republican candidates.  John Paul Nunez examines four bad arguments for abortion over at Ethika Politika.  The four arguments that are often used by the left are:

  • Being personally against abortion, but you shouldn’t force your beliefs on others.
  • A woman can do whatever she wants with her body and the government shouldn’t interfere.
  • My personal favorite – abortion is a woman’s issue so men shouldn’t have the right to tell a woman she can’t have an abortion.
  • Women will still have abortions even if they are illegal, so let’s keep it legal and safe.

The primary problem with all of these arguments is that they do not address the primary question as it relates to abortion – when does life begin?  Because if that is settled all of these other arguments are trivial.  If life begins at conception, and the taking of a life is murder then…

Protecting life shouldn’t be regulated to just personal belief.  Nunez asks, “Would you be personally against committing murder but in favor of allowing others to do so?  No of course not.”

With the second argument – it is about the child, not the mother’s body.  If life begins at conception then the government can tell a woman not to murder her child.

The third argument – again if life begins at conception it doesn’t matter who is making the argument.

The fourth argument – Nunez points out, “so we’d allow safe murder?”

Again all arguments related to abortion need to be brought back to the fundamental question – when does life begin?  If life begins at conception then any argument I can bring for abortion simply does not matter.  That includes an argument for federalism since the right to life is foundational.  There is nothing we can say or do that would justify abortion.

HT: Wintery Knight

Modified from the original post at Caffeinated Theology

9 comments
  1. Those four are really only used by sloganeering parrots who cannot and don’t want to debate the issue. And to be honest, similar mindless sloganeering is equally rampant on the other side. You say the only question is “when life begins”. Life began several billion years ago on this planet. So the question is irrelevant. What you could say is relevant might be when a life becomes unique, which is at conception. But that hardly relates to the abortion issue because we only know when that is when it’s done in petri dishes, and most of those are never implanted to result in a pregnancy. Also, a large number of pregnancies are never known because of spontaneous abortions before the pregnancy is even discovered. From a legal standpoint, we can only ask when we should recognizes the rights of a life as a “person” under the constitution.

    But let’s address the moral question, which generally (but not always) has a distinct religious connotation. If we take the position that a fertilized egg is a person with constitutional rights, then no abortions could ever be allowed. A pregnant 10 year old rape victim would be forced to carry it to term. Rape and incest would be no excuse. Is that moral and civilized? I think not. But if you make exceptions for those, then you have entirely surrenders your moral argument unless you’d allow the product of rape or incest to be killed at any age and denied all rights for life.

    So the only real question is whether you want to let women make their own medical decisions regarding their own pregnancies, or instead butt in with one or more forms of uncivilized and illogical savagery?

    1. Because a woman was raped she has the right to murder? That’s moral and civilized? By the way that argument represents a miniscule number of actual pregnancies. Why is it that no one talks about adoption under those circumstances?

      1. Adoption is a good choice, I agree completely. But is your point that “murder” is ok and should be legal, and doesn’t offend your values if it’s only a small number of “murders”? I think you missed my point while demonstrating it. Either extreme on the abortion issue is at least logically consistent, but the middle is illogical and savage. IF your position is that a fertilized egg is the same as a post born person, then making any exception to allow abortion entirely negates your position. And the result of that is, in my opinion, uncivilized and savage and immoral. On the other extreme, allowing abortion for any reason at any time prior to birth, seems also savage and uncivilized, and immoral. And also because of rare cases since few abortions are late term anyway. My point is that the antiabortion crowd negates their own arguments and so should be ignored due to their lack of logic and consistency. The exception to that are the absolute fanatic nut cases who are logically consistent but who would force children and rape victims to carry their molester’s offspring to term, amounting to a 9 month sentence of slavery for the crime of having been raped. How is this different from Sharia law?

        Actually, I am pro-choice because I don’t want government or religions making medical decisions for individuals and I do not trust government or religion to make wise choices anyway. But I think anyone with any respect for the constitution has to admit that Rowe vs Wade should be overturned. There is nothing in the constitution giving the federal government ANY authority regarding medical issues, including abortion. Until one side or the other amends the constitution, it is a state issue according the the constitution.

        BTW Shane, calling it “murder” make you sound like a parrot. Murder is an unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse. Being legal alone makes the term false.

  2. The question is not “When does life begin?” Rather, frame the whole debate with these two questions and always bring the pro-abort individual back to them:
    “What is/are the unborn?”
    “What is abortion?”
    The argument for abortion does not necessarily ignore “life”, but it qualifies it and effectively quantifies it with worth all on a relative, sliding scale. It’s a mass of cells… it’s a life form. Hey, a single-celled paramecium is alive and a lifeform. However, we as pro-life individuals, as people who value the sanctity of life see that life, that lifeform as having value from the moment of its inception as a specific life because it is a human. The unborn are humans and they cannot be anything else. And just as an acorn will become an oak tree, the size, shape and appearance of one stage from the other does not change the fact that both acorn and oak tree are the same thing, an oak plant. An oak tree is not about to bear pecans and neither will an acorn turn into a walnut tree.

    The second question rests on the first one for importance. Abortion specifically ends a life. Since that life is a human life, abortion is murder.

    By taking a non-religious, medical, ethical and completely logical point of view based on those two questions, a pro-life individual can take a pro-abortion individual to the cleaners every debate and discussion. I recommend Stand To Reason’s information, Making Abortion Unthinkable on this topic. A Christian website, they teach people how to think logically and without having to resort to faith and the Bible to soundly rebut the pro-choice arguments. If the person you’re debating does not believe in Christianity to begin with, then arguing for pro-life from the Bible is pointless.

    1. Actually it is Greg Koukl who says the foundational question is “when does life begin?” I did get that from STR. They do have some great resources. I don’t think your questions are bad. I just think there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    2. Actually it is Greg Koukl who says the foundational question is “when does life begin?” I did get that from STR. They do have some great resources. I don’t think your questions are bad. I just think there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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