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Their Bodies, My Choice

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Despite the technology and software boom which have facilitated the widespread access to limitless information for the average person, it has failed to yield the enlightenment one might expect. As we advance, complex moral, political, and social positions are reduced to mere words and punchlines just to keep the attention of the public. Our unwillingness to properly engage with contentious issues is a symptom of a larger problem, but the most unfortunate casualty of the heavily eroded modern-day attention span is truth; what once was considered objective reality has been mercilessly hijacked and twisted into an absurd relativity.

The social media meme factory has been hard at work since Roe v. Wade was overturned. A number of popular memes assert that the decision will kill women who miscarry, suffer ectopic pregnancies, or whose pregnancies lead to life-threatening complications, claiming that abortion is the treatment for all of the above conditions. Those clearly unfamiliar with the history of Roe v. Wade and the implications of its reversal ironically consider the restoration of the democratic process on the matter of abortion to be an affront to democracy, attributing the motive of the Supreme Court decision to religious fundamentalism. They are of course, completely blind to their own religious devotion of their own political dogma. 

The maze of circular online debates is a trap that ensnares many of us at least some of the time. Usually, these discussions yield a little more than animosity and perhaps a boost to the ego. Our inability to discuss ideas and problems with each other amicably is fueled by an ignorance deep enough to rival the age of ancient tribalism; tribal loyalties are placed above all else and anyone who threatens the tribe with independent thought meets a humiliating fate. Thus, the echo chamber is preserved and safeguarded from the dangers of sincere truth seekers. 

The History of Roe v. Wade

In 1973, it was the Roe v. Wade decision that overrode the democratic process of each state, forcing elective abortion on at least thirty of them. Previously, abortion was only permitted in the aforementioned states if there was a physical threat to the life of the mother. [1] More recently, the state of Missouri passed a law that required all elective abortions to be performed before the 15th week of pregnancy. This law was challenged by abortion advocates who cited the Roe v. Wade decision along with another case that furthered the federal elective abortion protections. The basis of the Roe v. Wade reversal was that the 14th amendment that was invoked in the original case that gave the federal government the authority to regulate abortion was misapplied. The reversal of the decision simply defers the matter of legalizing or outlawing elective abortion to state law. 

In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled to allow the internment of Japanese Citizens without due process and other constitutional protections on the basis of compelling national security interests. Although understood to be unconstitutional long before it was overturned, the original decision was not formally rectified until 2018 while deciding an unrelated case.[2] The reversal of longstanding Supreme Court decisions is clearly precedented when warranted. All the legalese of these decisions and reversals is far from the point; morality and legality are two very different things that have often disagreed, and the legality of atrocious practices such as slavery are a testament to just how drastically the law can fail. 

What is Abortion?

A meaningful discussion about abortion and whether people should defend the practice requires a deeper conversation about our humanity and the basis for our human rights. It also requires considering how to mediate the competing interests of two separate human beings when the outcomes are inversely beneficial or harmful. 

The truth about abortion is as ghastly as it gets, and much of the public has willfully neglected to understand what is being justified. When matters of morality are relegated solely to statutory interpretations, the once obvious distinction between right and wrong becomes increasingly obscure. Much has been discovered and continues to be discovered about the process of human development from conception to death and the science is conclusive; human life begins at conception.[3] That means that abortion, necessarily and by definition, ends a human life. 

There are many people who believe that our rights, chief among them the right to life, are inherent to our humanity. Opponents of that view claim that the right to life, even for innocent humans, has qualifiers, which warrants the question: on which traits is the human right to life contingent? Attempts to answer this question by abortion advocates puts their position dangerously to that of eugenicists. Even when abortion advocates accept scientific consensus on the matter and concede that abortion ends a human life, there are diligent attempts to dismiss the value of dependent, disabled, poor, and unwanted people during the discussion similarly used to justify gross human rights violations such as slavery and genocide throughout human history.[4]

Common Abortion Defenses and Their Rebuttals

“Clump of Cells”

Abortion advocates often refer to unborn humans in the first trimester as “a clump of cells”. The reality of fetal development in the first trimester decisively belies that assertion. Almost immediately after implantation, cell differentiation begins and the cells for each part of the body emerge in their proper locations. Soon after, the heart, brain, nervous system, and extremities develop.[5] Unborn children are a clump of cells in the same way that all people are clumps of cells. This begs the question, what then is the magic number? How many cells before the right to life exists?

“My Body My Choice”

An unborn child located in the womb of a woman is a separate human with separate DNA. If it was truly a matter of bodily autonomy, then we wouldn’t have to contend with the consequences of women who harm their children throughout their pregnancies. The effects of drug use during pregnancy are a distressing reminder that an unborn child can be the victim of neglect and abuse.  Similarly, there are victims of failed abortions who have survived the attempts on their lives and suffer lifelong disabilities as a result.[6] Should these people, clearly victims of a heinous crime, be abortion advocates? Should they accept that unborn children have been reduced to the property of their mothers? Should we be indifferent to their mistreatment simply because it doesn’t affect us?

Pro-Life Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of individuals and the dissonance they manage to live with has no impact on the morality of a matter. It is true that much of the supposedly “pro-life” politicians are very much proponents of death and destruction in matters of war. The failures of people to act with principle has no bearing on whether it is wrong to kill the unborn.  Alternatively, the opposition of a government solution to a problem does not indicate an apathy towards solving it. Many abortion opponents are adamant about supporting women who do choose life with their time, money, and emotional support. Many of these people believe deeply that government programs have proven themselves too bureaucratic and cumbersome to be effective, but strongly support and encourage organizations taking on this important work. It is a tired point to highlight the failures of man to discredit an independent idea. 

The Mother’s Life

Elective abortion comprises over 90% of all abortions. The notion that women at non-viable gestations or carrying non-viable pregnancies will be forced to die without elective abortion protections is an egregious lie. That people are willing to believe it without question is a testament to our collective failure to think independently as a society. At non-viable gestations, the fate of the baby is inexorably tied to the fate of the mother. It should be obvious that to allow two deaths rather than prevent one is cruel and immoral. Many pro-life gynecologists insist that abortion is never medically necessary and that there is a way to ethically care for both the mother and her unborn child.[7]  When Roe v. Wade passed, the viability of an unborn child was about 28 weeks[8], as of the year 2021, the youngest pre-term child to survive was born at 21 weeks gestation.[9] Sometimes it is medically necessary to end a pregnancy to save the mother, but it can be done through an abortion with the objective of killing the child or through an induced early birth with the goal of saving it. The truth is that a lot of people are willing to discard their “defective” children even when it is medically possible to save their lives. If ending federal elective abortion protections is a slippery slope for the medically necessary termination of a pregnancy, I wonder then how steep and slippery the slope of making a person’s right to life contingent on subjective measures of their quality of life.

Genetic Defects

Many countries offer prenatal screening to predict whether a child is likely to be born with a genetic defect. In Iceland, genetic screening for expectant mothers is highly encouraged[10] and over 80% of them undergo it. Of those that are told there is an increased likelihood of an abnormality, nearly 85% go on to terminate the pregnancy.[11] When news of Iceland’s eradication of disorders like down syndrome through abortion received media attention, they quickly moved to address the accusation. Their rebuttal was that not all women choose to abort their “defective” children and that they support the mother’s choice in either case. They also boasted that they sometimes do not kill babies that have down syndrome because the screening test is only about 85% accurate. One abortion counselor at an Icelandic Hospital, after describing the sentimental prayer ceremony they hold for a child that they intend to kill, said in defense of the practice: 

“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”[12] 

What message do these practices send to people who are both born with and acquire diseases or injuries that reduce their quality of life? What impacts will it have on how we view the elderly as they age and become more dependent? Do innocent and helpless human beings have a duty to die because a large enough portion of the population considers their existence too cumbersome to society?


Although abortion due to rape comprises less than 1% of all abortions[13], it dominates the narrative pushing to keep elective abortion legal. If the matter of elective abortion outside of exceptional cases could be agreed upon, 98% of abortions would be illegal.[14] The moral dilemma of pregnancy from rape is ripe with emotion, making it difficult to address in a rational and principled manner. If abortion is wrong because it ends an innocent human life, the crimes of a separate individual against the now pregnant mother are inconsequential. Theoretical psychological trauma and claims that birthing a child of rape is unbearable for sex abuse victims are challenged by the women who have found a solution to their trauma that does not involve violence against an innocent person. If the rights of one person are violated by another, is it moral for the victim to violate the rights of a separate person not complicit in the crime? Even pro-life advocates struggle to take a principled position on abortion after rape because it is wildly unpopular and becomes the target of emotional outrage. Applied to any other situation when a person’s life is permanently altered by the crimes of another, the victim has no right to commit a crime against a separate party. Regardless of what might be considered prudent legal policy, it is important to acknowledge that pregnancy is not a reversible condition, it only ends in life or death. The abortion itself is a traumatic procedure that is often the source of deep regret and guilt for the rest of a woman’s life. The reality of abortion is most apparent to a woman who has felt or will eventually feel the undeniable feeling of independent life inside her. The act of exterminating such pure innocent is untenable. 

Where Life Matters

Malta is a country where the life of an unborn human enjoys the same protections as a human that has been born. If it is true that elective abortion protections drastically increase the risk of maternal mortality, then Malta should have a much higher maternal mortality ratio than the United States. The rate of maternal mortality per 100k live births in Malta is 6 while it is 19 in the United States.[15] 

While it is entirely possible that there are other factors responsible for the discrepancy, this information should put to rest the myth that elective abortion is essential to maternal health. Malta is a shining example that prioritizing life does not come at the expense of the mother or the child. 

The solution to ending abortion does not reside in a law or its enforcement, but the changing of laws can be an initial step towards changed attitudes. There is much to say about the chasm between the left and the right in America, but without independent introspection away from the cult-like factions that repeatedly emerge to lead us, there will be no one to hear it. 

To change attitudes about abortion, we must acknowledge that the American culture of casual sex without accountability and fragmented families is nothing to aspire to or encourage. We must then re-examine the revolution of liberation that has made the sexualization of both men and women in public the norm. We must seek pro-active solutions that both safeguard our women and elevate our men to do away with the hyper-sexualized environment that seeks to enslave us. We will never end abortion if there are still those who independently seek it, and there will always be those who seek it so long as the value of human life is diminished and the circumstances in which it forms are hostile to it.

 [1] pg. 24
 [5] pg. 7
 [8] pg. 52 
 [13] pg. 113

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