Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

RE: 10 Arguments Against Abortion

Posted by Michael Dickens on July 26, 2009

I found yet another anti-abortion site. Once again, there are 10 arguments. And once again, there are 0 valid arguments.

1. Cost of Abortions
This is no reason to ban abortion. The solution for this is private healthcare, not banning abortion. I can make the exact same argument to advocate for shutting down all hospitals and fire stations. And that will save a LOT more money.

2. Backstreet Abortions Increase
I fail to see how making abortion illegal will REDUCE backstreet abortions. If a woman decides to go to some unqualified guy to get an abortion instead of a doctor, that’s her fault.

3. Parallels between Abortion & Slavery
Interesting. I can see some equivocation and false analogies coming on.

Slavery in centuries past and abortions in this century were defended and promoted by the same arguments. Consider the case in the USA: In 1857, in the Dred Scott case, the US Supreme Court decided, by a 7 to 2 majority, that according to the US Constitution, black people were not legal persons. They were the property of the owner.

Oh, a straw man! How original! My arguments for defending abortion are that a fetus is not rational and that a fetus is not self-aware. The difference is that black people are actually rational and self-aware (unless they are black fetuses). By the exact same logic as this argument is using, I can say that armchairs have rights because we treat armchairs as property.

4. Indisputable Medical Evidence – the Unborn baby is a Human Being
Straw man. Being a human does not automatically grant rights. Fetuses are not rational entities.

This argument includes a series of developmental arguments, the only significant one of which is this:

At 11-12 weeks, the baby is sensative to heat, touch, light and noise.

Ants and cockroaches are sensitive to heat, touch, light, and noise.

5. Abortion Aggravates Child Abuse
They argue “among abused children, a significantly higher percentage were ‘unwanted children’ compared to the percentage of ‘wanted children’ in society at large.” I don’t see how this supports their case.

6. Even Legal Abortions are Unsafe
They still have a relatively low chance of injuring the mother. More to the point, though, it is the mother’s choice. If her own body gets injured in a procedure that she decided to do, it’s her choice.

7. Increase in Breast Cancer
Dear God, they’re misinformed.

“Every study of induced abortions performed before the first live birth is consistent with an initial increase in risk of at least 50 percent,” reports Dr Joel Brind, professor of endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York, who is also a breast cancer researcher on staff at Beth Israel Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Notice how they don’t actually cite any studies, but only cite one guy who claims the existence of these studies. This is an appeal to authority.

Induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer.

8. Most South Africans Oppose Abortion
Appeal to popularity. Really. That’s four distinct fallacies already.

9. The Overpopulation Argument

The commonly accepted ideology states that this world is overpopulated, this is the reason for poverty and oppression in the world and the way to solve these problems is to control the population.

Oops. Straw man.

10. The Bible Declares the Sanctity of Human Life
This is only a sound argument if the Bible can be shown to be absolute truth. But even then, no. According to the Bible, life comes from blood. Fetuses do not develop blood until halfway through the second trimester.


Well, that’s another round of arguments down the drain. We are one step closer to a rational world.


8 Responses to “RE: 10 Arguments Against Abortion”

  1. Martin said

    your 10th point about the the sanctity of human life is wrong. yes, the bible declares that life comes from blood.but. there are other stories from the bible that say that God killed a man for throwing his sperm out of the way just in time he ejaculated.

  2. Genny Storm said

    Dear Sir, You are the one who is misinformed, and your arguments are not rational. An unborn baby is a human being. Look at in it! It you the same in the womb, as when it comes out. To be born, doesn’t mean that it is suddenly alive. It has been alive all the time. This is not Frankenstein, in which some dead comes alive. And you talk about the choose of the mother. What about the babies choose? I mean it is the one who is getting killed, shouldn’t it have a say int his matter. And since it can’t talk yet, ask him when he can. If the mother doesn’t want to have any babies ,
    then she should have sex. The “problem” can be solved that way, and it is easier.

    • I agree that a fetus is genetically human. (How could I possibly argue that point?) However, a fetus has no conception of its own existence. It cannot make plans and it cannot conceive of itself as having a past and a future. Therefore, it cannot possibly have any interest in remaining alive, as it is not self-aware and does not conceive of itself as being “alive” in the same sense as an adult human does. If it has no interest in being alive, then killing it does not violate its interests.

      • Genny Storm said

        It is against the law to kill a baby that has been born. The baby still cannot make plans or conceive anything, or at lest we do not know about it. A baby cannot have any interests in anything (excepting eating and sleeping) in the same sense as an adult human being because it is not an adult. It is first a baby, then a child, growing and maturing into an adult. Therefore, to have the sense of an adult can only be achieved through years of experience. Also, if it is wrong to kill a baby outside the womb, why is it “ok” to kill it a few days before it leaves the womb?

        • I would argue that, as long as the parents consent, it is okay to kill a baby after it is born. (Of course, it would be horrible to kill a baby against the parents’ will.) My reasoning here is the same as my reasoning for why it’s okay to kill a fetus—namely, a baby itself has no interest in remaining alive. But the point at which a human becomes self-conscious is unclear, so at what point should it cease to be euthanasia and become murder? Six months? One year? Birth, although it’s a bit early, seems like about as good a cutoff as any other point.

        • Genny Storm said

          Have you every lived with a baby? I have lived with three. They want to live. That is why they scream for food, and for warmth. I would say that they are interested in living. Of course they don’t show it how an adult or even a child would show that they want to live. Have you every watch a baby that is just laying on a blanket. I have grown up surrounded by babies and little children, and I still know a lot of families with babies. Just seeing how a new born baby just plays with himself shows that it is self-conscious, even before it was born.

        • Taylor Davison said

          Talk about an appeal to emotion. It’s irrelevant whether or not he lived with a child. Just because it can move doesn’t mean it’s alive. Let’s say you’re working at a morgue. The coroner wheels in a fresh body. Once the documentation has been filed, you unzip the body bag and the subject sits up. Are they alive?

  3. If we assert that all humans have an inalienable right to live, it follows that the definitions of where life begins and ends must be established as well as what constitutes an individual (i.e. identity.) Michael brought up the concept of identity in another thread, predicating his argument on fear of death, the ability to understand experiences, and a generalization of self-awareness and sentience. The problem with those predicates is the subjective nature of their application. How does one scientifically prove or disprove sentience? (How can we empirically KNOW that Teri Schiavo was unaware of her surroundings? Our best guess was a flatlined EEG, which is as close as anyone ever got with the technology of the day. But the specter of doubt is what kept her alive for so long.) Do we prove it by asserting it verbally? (What about those who cannot speak?) By mimicking something outside their being? (What about those who cannot see or hear?) By reacting to stimulus of any kind? (What about the fetus that kicks when the mother’s belly is pressed upon?)

    But just as importantly, if science is the tool, and identity is the measured parameter, the yardstick by which identity is calculated becomes clearer. We can discard the sperm as it is not unique in the domain of humanity. It is simply a copy of the male would-be father. Killing the copy does not kill the original. The same is true for the female. But when combined, a new, unique combination forms, sharing some of the identity of both parents, but still a new “identity” nonetheless. To that end, at conception, a new identity is formed. (This is supported by modern day forensics using DNA as a means to establish presence [if not outright culpability,] of a suspect at a violent crime scene. Guilt is predicated on the presumption that your DNA is sufficiently unique enough in the domain of humanity to remove reasonable doubt of mistaken identity. Identity, being the operative word, is nonetheless established.)

    But if you’re predicating your argument on “conception of its own experience” and “pursuit of its interests” as a test of “humanness,” then you could expand the exclusion definition to include people knocked out from a blow to the head, people in comas, people with severe mental disabilities, people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and people simply asleep, a “heavy equipment” test, if you will. (If you’re not rational or developed enough to operate heavy equipment safely, you aren’t fully human and not protected by a natural right to life.) Interest in something is a state of mind, and acting on that interest is a conscious activity. I have no interest in remaining alive when I am sleeping. My body autonomously may do so, but I am certainly not conscious of it, even when I dream. So that test is specious, at best, fraught with subjective interpretations. Further, it ignores the transient nature of taking leave of one’s senses as well as the progressive nature of personal development, our ability to learn and grow. This point made especially cogent by the fact that I could not make this argument this clearly ten years ago or any time prior.

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