By Angela Erickson, Northern Regional Coordinator
Originally posted at: www.loveasintended.blogspot.com/2014/03/bodily-autonomy-i-dont-think-so.html
Yesterday I read a blog post titled “How to refute anti-choice arguments”by a young blogger. I find her post to be insufficient in its use of definitive terms and logic. This author claims that she has found a fool-proof way to defend the pro-choice position using the standard argument of bodily autonomy. I couldn’t help but call into question her assertions and presuppositions so I feel compelled to go through every. single. point she made and debunk it from the pro-life perspective.
The first point she makes is that we as pro-lifers assert that “Embryos are babies and therefore have a right to life.” Right from the get-go she’s not really accurate. So let’s clarify some things. Pro-lifers reasonably argue that because embryos conceived in the human person are human, they are deserving of having rights that all humans have such as the right to life. We recognize that the scientific term ‘embryo’ is a term used to describe a stage of development of the human person. She is correct however in pointing out that the term ‘baby’ is an idiomatic term but that still does nothing to disprove the pro-life position. In order to cohesively construct a fluid argument asserting that bodily autonomy is the supreme reasoning of supporting abortion, she must assume that the distinct, whole, living, and unique embryo is in fact not human. This is scientifically false, and she has not done this probably because she knows that embryos are human beings.
Now she goes further to state that embryos don’t have the ‘right’ to use another person’s body to survive. First she uses a false analogy– she states that just as parents aren’t required to donate blood for their children, they are not required to let their embryos thrive in the uterus. This is clearly the foundation of the discussion of autonomy but there is a large problem (well, there are several problems…) with this assumption—it assumes that the relationship between the mother and the embryo is unnatural. In line with such thinking, I would also expect those who believe in sole bodily autonomy to then also support infanticide because let’s be honest—newborns need nourishment, shelter and touch to develop properly and typically these things naturally come from the loving care of a mother. The mother-embryo relationship is not like the relationship between a person and a parasite where the relationship is unnatural (although some pro-choice advocates so vehemently, and fallaciously, believe this is somehow comparable). We should also consider, as Matt Walsh points out in his article refuting the notion of bodily autonomy, that with the ideology of complete bodily autonomy, we have no obligations what-so-ever to any other person in this world.
That’s a scary thought, and when we construct our world around some ideological thought, we must consider the implications of such thinking.
The second anti-choice argument she claims to have perfectly refuted is basically the following: Abortion is like slavery or the Holocaust. She claims that embryos shouldn’t be treated like humans because they require another human to survive. I must point out that again makes the assumption that embryos are not human and she still has yet to establish a reasonable grounding for why embryos are not human… Ultimately her argument is silly. She correctly addresses that pro-lifers compare abortion to slavery or the holocaust. We can all agree that African Americans and Jews/Catholics/the disabled/the elderly etc. were entire groups of people who were denied their rights. We must also acknowledge that many people are dependent on others for their survival e.g. the disabled, those in nursing homes, those who are sick etc… So should we kill them too because they are inconvenient and require the aid of others? She has yet to prove why a pregnant woman’s body is in fact more important than the body within her. To do this, again, she would have to dehumanize the human embryo.
This may seem redundant, but let’s look at the facts: The embryo within a woman is human. Fact. Naturally embryos require shelter and nourishment like all other human beings. Fact. An embryo is a stage of human development. Fact. Do any of these facts make embryos less human? No. Do my rights as a woman end where the rights of another human being begin? Yes.
The slavery/Holocaust comparison used by the pro-life moment is used because let’s be honest—it’s pro-choice ideology like the one she is implementing that ultimately dehumanizes and marginalizes entire groups of HUMAN BEINGS. It allows people like herself to declare her life more important than the life of another. That’s what slave owners did. That’s what the Nazis did.
Next point: Gendercide. Yes, the pro-life movement recognizes that gendercide is a reality. However, this doesn’t bother our intellectual blogger because she suggests that the fact that abortion is a legal ‘right’ means the reason for obtaining the abortion is irrelevant. Really? That’s not relevant? How so…? I think the reason women abort is very important. Some women are coerced into abortion, some fear lack of financial resources, some fear their education or career is jeopardy, and the list goes on. That’s important. But in the instance of gendercide we see discrimination among a group of people. Ironic that those on the left tout the battle against discrimination and yet, we see complete ambivalence when it comes to discrimination within abortion procedures.
The final pro-life argument she discusses: “If abortion is detrimental to the health of women, pregnancy must be healthy!” Well yes, pro-lifers tell people about the negative side effects of abortion. We do this because most women often are not formally told the negative side effects of abortion. I think she has her argument wrong again however, because we rarely argue that pregnancy is healthy, rather, we argue that abortion is unhealthy. These are two different arguments. But she goes on, not to refute that abortion is detrimental to the health of women, rather, to list all the complications and side-effects of pregnancy. So rather than address the actual argument that is presented by the pro-life community, she skirts around it! Instead we see a comprehensive list of what does and or can happen to a woman during pregnancy, meanwhile she still neglects to refute that abortion can and does harm women. I think she does this, because she knows it is indeed harmful for women.
So here are some things she may have left out:
Frequent anticipated side effects post-abortion:
- Abdominal pain
- Spotting and bleeding
More serious potential complications include:
- Heavy bleeding that persists
- Permanent damage to the cervix
- Scarring of the uterine lining
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to other organs
- Possible infection
- Incomplete abortion
Although some women are relieved after their abortions some women experience
- Suicidal tendencies
- Sense of loneliness
Other things to consider:
- New research suggests that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer.
- Some post-abortive women find it difficult to form proper relationships with the children they have after the abortion.
- Hyperkalemic Paralysis can occur with improper use of Digoxin or other abortifacients used in induced abortions.
- The risk of complications during future pregnancy increase with every abortion including preterm delivery (PTD).
- Post-abortive women have been shown to run a higher risk of substance abuse.
Although abortion is glorified by the pro-choice as being “safe, legal and rare” we know that there is still a risk for death due to abortion despite it being legal. Oh yeah, and it’s far from rare considering that one woman out of ten will have an abortion by the age of 20 and that number only increases with time.
Lastly, I would also like to point out that our lovely blogger brings up the pro-life campaign begun called Silent No More as they often carry signs saying, “I regret my abortion.” She implies that these women (and men) are shaming abortion-minded women. How absurd! Shame on her or anyone else that has the audacity to scoff at these courageous men and women by downplaying the pain they have endured! Many of them were just like this blogger— pro-choice and proud. Anyone who regrets their abortion is shamed by the pro-choice community. Pro-choice advocates scream to the world that abortion is wonderful, but what happens when post-abortive women find themselves disagreeing? They are ignored, devalued, and left to bear their misery in silence so as to escape the wrath of pro-aborts.
Now men and women are coming out of hiding and devoting their lives to preventing others from making the same ‘choice’ they did. They do this by reliving the pain of their abortions over and over and over again through telling their personal stories. Why? Because they were just like this blogger.
So as for her “bullet proof case”…. she might want to reconsider some things. I would say that there are some serious gaps in her logic, and it just so happens her case for bodily autonomy may not be as air-tight as she would have you believe. But go ahead– see for yourself.