The Main Issue of Abortion (& Some Bad Pro-Choice Arguments)

I never thought I would see it, but Roe has been destroyed and for that I praise God!

This provides a good opportunity to refresh ourselves on what the issue of abortion is really about and answer some poor, but popular, pro-choice arguments.

What Is the Abortion Debate About?

Scott Klusendorf, one of the most articulate proponents of the pro-life position, summarizes it this way:

The abortion debate is about one question: What is the unborn?

Men and women have an equal right to weigh in on that question. Religious and non-religious people do as well. A tolerant society will welcome a free exchange of ideas and judge arguments according to their merits, not the gender or religion of those advancing them.

The pro-life argument can be summed up this way.

Premise #1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.

Premise #2: Abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.

Therefore,

Conclusion: Abortion is morally wrong.

Pro-life advocates defend their essential argument with science and philosophy. They argue from science that the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. You didn’t come from an embryo; you once were an embryo.

They argue from philosophy that there is no relevant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that justifies killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you could be killed then but not now.

So, the main issue that decides the morality of abortion is found in answering this one question: What is the unborn? If a non-human, then pro-choice position has a moral case. If the unborn is a human being, then the pro-choice position is nothing more than justifying the killing of an entire sector of humanity.

Answering a Few Popular Pro-Choice Claims

Here are a few responses to some of the most common claims I hear from pro-choice advocates.

Banning Abortions Won’t Reduce Abortions, Just Safe Abortions

First, abortion is never safe for the unborn because it always ends in their death by dismemberment, suction, or poisoning. Second, it ignores the status of the unborn person. If some humans will die attempting to kill other humans, should the state make it safe and legal for them to do so? No, it is wrong to legalize killing in order to make it safer for those participating in it. Third, evidence suggests that banning abortions does indeed reduce them. Fourth, the statistics of women dying from from illegal abortions prior to Roe were admittedly inflated because the majority of them (90%) were done by doctors. Fifth, legal abortions are unsafe.

Human Life Beginning at Conception Is Only a Religious View

Human life beginning at conception is undeniably a Christian belief from Scripture (other religions believe it too), but it believed by secular folks from science. Scott Klusendorf explains:

There’s really no debate right now in the scientific community about when human life begins… The science of embryology says, and you can find this in embryology textbooks worldwide: from the earliest stages of development, you were a distinct, living, and whole human being. By distinct, I mean that you were separate from your mother. You had a separate DNA. You likely had a separate blood type. And at least half the time, you’ve got a separate gender. You’re living, because dead things don’t grow. And you’re a whole human being meaning the kind of thing you are is not in question, even though you have yet to mature.

Pro-Life Folks Want to Control Women’s Bodies

No, Pro-Life advocates want to protect babies’ lives. The baby’s body is not the mother’s body. Randy Alcorn gives four reasons why:

(1) A body part is defined by the common genetic code it shares with the rest of its body; the unborn’s genetic code differs from his mother’s.

(2) The child may die and the mother live, or the mother may die and the child live, proving they are two separate individuals.

(3) The unborn child takes an active role in his own development, controlling the course of the pregnancy and the time of birth.

(4) Being inside something is not the same as being part of something. Human beings should not be discriminated against because of their place of residence.

Or, as Klusendorf points out, “If (the unborn is a part of a woman’s body), that means the pregnant mother has four arms, four eyes, four legs, and other things that make it really interesting.”

If You’re a Man, You Don’t Get to Argue About Abortion

This is a logical fallacy called “The Genetic Fallacy,” which, bases an argument solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. In this case, the “Pro-Choice Genetic Fallacy” says that a any pro-life argument coming from a man is to be dismissed, not because of its own logic, truthfulness, or force, but because a man is giving it. The gender of a person has nothing to do with the truthfulness of their argument.

Klusendorf humorously responds this claim: “If no man can speak on abortion, we need to reverse Roe v. Wade because it was decided by nine men. But that aside, arguments don’t have gender. People do. The pro-life arguments that are advanced by men are identical to the pro-life arguments advanced by women. You have to argue your case. You have to refute an argument.”

Christians Aren’t Pro-Life, Only Pro-Birth

Pastor Josh Howerton responds well:

Christians are sometimes accused of being pro-birth more than pro-life. They pretend to be passionate about the lives of the unborn as a political weapon, the argument goes, but they don’t really care about children once they’re born. But the data tells a different story.

In addition to establishing almost every Pregnancy Resource Center you’ve ever seen to care for vulnerable women, as well as countless child-sponsorship programs, the adoption rate among practicing Christians more than doubles that of the average U.S. household. Christian groups have a proven track record of providing safe alternatives to abortion.

Sometimes Abortion Is Needed to Save the Mother’s Life

Live Action helpfully points out, “Abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life. The Dublin Declaration, which has more than one thousand signatures from obstetricians, neonatologists, pediatricians, midwives, and other medical professionals, states the following:

As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.

We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.

This is reinforced by the testimony of former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino who describes a typical “life of the mother” case:

I was faculty at the hospital for nine years, and I saw hundreds of cases of really severe pregnancy complications — cancers, heart disease, intractable diabetes out of control, toxemia of pregnancy out of control. And I saved — in those nine years — I saved hundreds of women from life-threatening pregnancies. And I did that by delivering them — by ending their pregnancy by delivery, either induction of labor or caesarean section. Delivering the baby. And I always tell people: in all those years, the number of babies that I had to — that I was obligated to deliberately kill in the process — was zero. None.

Is There Grace for Those Who’ve Aborted?

If you’ve participated in an abortion and you’re reading this, you may ask, “Is there any hope for me?” Yes, beloved, there is an infinite amount of grace ready for you in Jesus.

I love the way Melissa Kruger put it:

Many women who have had abortions and men who have encouraged abortions find it difficult to walk in the freedom Christ has secured. If this is you, then you may hear the father of lies speak words of condemnation, fear, and doubt as fiery arrows to assault your faith. You may feel tempted to self-incarcerate, declaring yourself unworthy of ministry, service, and joy because of a past abortion.

Yet the good news is truly good news. Jesus can bring complete healing to the heart broken by abortion. If you long to walk in newness of life, he invites you, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). By seeking Jesus, the community of the church, and ministry to others, you can come out of the shadows into his marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).

Like Jesus said, “He will never cast away those who come to him” (John 6:37). If you come, he only has grace for you.

Helpful Websites

There are a lot more pro-choice claims. If you would like to see them, along with informed and thoughtful responses to them, check the following websites:

About Dana Dill

I am a happy slave to Jesus, thankful husband to Chawna, delighted daddy to Daisy Jane, Penny Lane, and Lottie Jo. I teach at Capo Valley Christian School & Biola University. I'm here on assignment (Acts 20:24).
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