[updated December 6th, 2017]
Some say the issue of abortion is "impossible to answer," and/or "both sides are right." But is this really an insolvable "gray area," a conundrum that humanity can never solve? The issue of abortion being an infinite abyss of moral confusion? Some say abortion is an acceptable medical procedure, others say it is infanticide (i.e. baby-killing). Who is right? They can't both be right, can they? Perhaps they can both be right in that abortion is acceptable up to a certain point of embryonic development, perhaps before the first trimester of pregnancy is over (the first trimester = from time of conception to about the third month of pregnancy), but not after, after being infanticide?
Shouldn't we be able to come to a clear answer of whether it is morally defensible at some point or not, when enough facts are combined with solid moral principles?
Up until very recently, I had not given much thought to the issue of abortion. My position was that "As long as it's before the point that the fetus can live on it's own outside the woman's body, cared for by other people, it's a part of the woman's body, and so it's her choice what to do with it." If you had asked me "When exactly is that point?" I would not have been able to give you a clear answer (and after extensive research, I still can't). I would have also had no answers for the questions "When can the fetus begin to feel pain?" or "Why is the fetus not an individual just because she or he is dependent on someone else?" No one ever asked me those questions though, so I never thought about it, until recently, after the issue was brought to my attention via some reading I was doing. I then realized I should being thinking more critically about the issue, realizing that I never sought out the truth as I should have about such an important issue, namely the question of whether abortion is equivalent with baby-killing, or not. Like with other ethical issues that involve the question of massive violence, e.g. eating animal products, and supporting politics, when a very destructive activity is normal in the society you're born into, it can be easy to just accept it without much or any thought, as I did with those issues as well for most of my life, trusting in the "wisdom" of the collective. One thing I have been learning repeatedly over the years is that the collective is often very wrong, on issues that are very important (e.g. Veganism, Anarchism, and Human Origins). I doubt this is a coincidence; I believe it's the devil's spirit of confusion, or in secular terms, it's toxic propaganda, at work in the world. Toxic propaganda that is purposely focused on the issues of the greatest moral consequence (and also the most empowering or disempowering), because the nefarious powers-that-be (spiritual and/or human) want people to be morally corrupted and disempowered, because people are more easily controlled when they are disempowered and morally corrupted.
Waking up from the collective confusion concerning abortion can happen once you have a strong handle on some key truths; that's when it happened for me. These truths stand on the other side of the main moral defenses to abortion, defenses that turn out to be based on lies.
Lie #1: "The in-utero baby is not really a baby, it's just part of the woman's body."
The reason I say this is a lie is because of the technical biological facts, and also because even if it was just uncertain whether we are talking about an individual or not, that uncertainty means that to claim certainty by saying "It is not an individual," or "it is just a part of the woman's body" is still untrue as well, it's still a lie.
I've heard abortion described as "somewhere between a woman washing her hands, killing some skin cells while doing so, and a woman killing her three year-old child." Somewhere? The spirit of confusion is strong concerning this facet of the abortion issue, and it takes some hard critical thinking to try and sort through it. Is this skin-cell vs. embryo conundrum insolvable, or is it an example of an association fallacy? Because an embryo has cells and skin is composed of cells, are they basically the same thing? Is the embryo really just a part of the woman's body, just protoplasm, just an unconscious cluster of cells, up until a certain point? If so, at what point exactly? At about 12 weeks of development the in-utero baby certainly looks like a baby, is clearly a girl or boy, and can start to make fists, etc., so is it scientific to say when the baby does that, then it's really a baby? But the baby's heart begins to beat at about 8 weeks, so maybe that's when they are an individual?
And on a spiritual level, if we are fundamentally spirits, it's true that we can't see a spirit/soul entering the womb at some point, but there is much we can't see with our eyes that happens nonetheless.
First, in the interest of clarity, here are dictionary definitions of terms that come up in discussions concerning abortion, starting with the term abortion itself:
abortion: the intentional killing of an in-utero (i..e. in the womb) human being, at any stage of her/his development.
protoplasm: a jellylike substance that forms the living matter in all plant and animal cells.
zygote: the very first stage of human development, the genetically distinct cell that forms at the moment of conception (when the female's egg is fertilized by the male's sperm).
embryo: the second stage of human development, usually defined as continuing to the point of eight weeks.
fetus: an unborn human baby after her/his eighth week of development.
baby/infant: the terms baby and infant are synonymous, referring to the period of life of a child up to about two years of age.
So right away one thing that is cleared up by understanding what protoplasm is, and what a zygote is, is that they are not equivalent; it is not biologically accurate to call a zygote "just protoplasm" or "just a cluster of cells." The second thing discovered is that there is no clear time period differentiating a zygote and an embryo, and this points to an important fact concerning all these terms: they are not exact (because there is no scientific way to make them exact), they are somewhat loose designations for different stages of human development. Each stage does not have a clear beginning or end, accept for the beginning of the zygote stage, which begins at conception, and the end of the fetus stage, which ends at birth (which is generally around nine months, but of course many babies are born prematurely too; so the difference between a "fetus" and a "baby" is really just a matter of whether the baby is still inside the mother's womb or not, it's not a matter of the actual point of development of the fetus/baby). So it's important to keep in mind that these are just terms to help understand around what time of human development is being referred to, they are not distinct entities, but rather speak to the same entity at different periods of her/his development.
Here's a relevant quote from an article I also recommend reading in full.
"It is a well-established fact that a genetically distinct human being is brought into existence at conception. Once fertilization takes place, the zygote is its own entity, genetically distinct from both mother and father. The newly conceived individual possesses all the necessary information for a self-directed development and will proceed to grow in the usual human fashion, given time and nourishment. It is simply untrue that the unborn child is merely “part of the mother’s body.” ...
A Chinese zygote implanted in a Swedish woman will always be Chinese, not Swedish, because his identity is based on his genetic code, not that of the body in which he resides. ... It is a clear scientific fact that the mother is one distinctive and self-contained person, and the child is another.
The child may die and the mother live, or the mother may die and the child live, proving they are two separate individuals. The child-guest is a temporary resident of the mother-host. He will leave on his own as long as he is not prematurely evicted. There are many cases where a mother has been fatally injured, after which a doctor has delivered her child safely. The mother’s body dies, the baby lives. Unmistakably, the baby was not merely a part of his mother’s body, or he would have died with her. ... Obviously they must be two distinct individuals prior to the child’s birth, or one could not die while the other goes on living."
Are babies that are born very prematurely (and many surviving, like my cousin Liam), not real babies? At what point is the baby supposedly not a baby, and "just a cluster of cells"? There is no way to adequately say some post-conception time, like two months, is the time when the early human begins to "really" be a human. The question of when a baby is really a baby/individual, I now see, is flawed from the start, it's another moral fallacy, this time a false dilemma, in this case creating a false dilemma about when a human is really a human, when in fact she or he always was one, just at different stages of development. After conception, there is a new human individual right away, it's a new human in development (called a zygote/embryo), a separate biological entity with her or his own distinct genetic code, biologically distinct from the woman who is carrying her/him in her womb. So this clears up the confusion as to when the human is really a human, it's technically a human from day one. When a fetus is birthed and "becomes a baby," she/he hasn't changed physically in any way, it's the same human, going from inside to outside the mother's womb. Saying that the baby is not a developing human one second before birth, but she/he is one second after birth, doesn't make biological sense, it's not a scientific perspective. The same is true for one minute before birth, or one month, or nine months; she or he is a developing human individual from the moment of conception on. To pick some post-conception time as the moment when the developing human "really" exists is, ultimately, arbitrary and inaccurate.
Turning to the definition of abortion, for a moment, since even this is something people react negatively to, it's important to recognize that yes, irrespective of whatever stage at which the killing may possibly be done, from zygote to 8-month old unborn baby, the verb "to kill" is accurate, because it's a life-form having her/his life terminated, so we can't accurately say "it's not really killing" at some early point, like at the zygote/embryo stage. That does not answer the question of whether the killing is justifiable or not, just that the use of the word "killing" is technically appropriate.
So with the issues of what killing is, and the capacities and type of an in-utero human being cleared up (the former being irrelevant and the latter being fundamentally uniform), the next question is: "Does a human only have the right to not be killed after a certain point of their in-utero development, or instead, only after birth?" It's clearly wrong to kill a baby after she or he is born. Yet, a six month-old in-utero baby is also clearly a baby girl or boy, since if they are born prematurely at that point they are recognized as a baby. So, killing a baby at six months or later of development is clearly wrong too. But what about at five months? 4? 2? 1? When can we be certain that the killing is not of another individual? In other words. when does a developing human (i.e. zygote/embryo/fetus) become an individual, and when, if ever, is the woman justified in making the choice to kill that developing human?
I know for many of you of a progressive/liberal mindset taking such a "hard-line" perspective on abortion will seem unreasonable at first. Perhaps you agree that abortion past the first trimester of development is wrong, but that if it's done more quickly, say in the first 2 - 4 weeks, then "it's just a tiny bunch of cells," so it's not really hurting anyone. I understand that perspective, I really do, and it has been very tempting for me to revert back to that perspective. But if we are going to have a completely rational and consistent morality, then this perspective does not work; there is no way to show without a doubt that even very early stage abortion is not the murder of a human being. And so, a sound and consistent morality errs in favor of not committing murder when that is a possibility, rather than going ahead with it because of concerns of a lesser moral value than the right to life. I admit the conclusion can seem harsh, but it's not really harsh, it's overall compassionate.
Now, if a women is certain that prior to some point in time, e.g. one month, the embryo is definitely not a person, then I can see why that could be a reasonable choice to make if the woman does not want to be pregnant, but I don't see what that certainty is based on, even pro-abortion people say it is uncertain. So I am forced to follow the principle that uncertainty is not a sound basis for the action of potential murder. But again if you are certain, then okay, but I have yet to hear a good explanation of that certainty. I don't see the specific facts and reasoning that can lead to such certainty, and it doesn't seem like it can ever be scientifically verified. Therefore I find that such certainty, expressed as "The zygote/embryo is just a bunch of cells," as more a guess than a scientific fact. And so that forces me as a moral agent to err on the side of caution. If somehow someday someone proves without any doubt that at a certain point a developing human is definitely not an individual, then I suppose I would then revert to my past position on abortion, adding specific orientation around that scientifically exact information. But again, I don't see how that will ever be possible.
This leads us to Lie #2.
Lie #2: "Abortions are a matter of the personal choice of the woman."
In order for a choice to be just "personal," as the word personal is meant in the above statement, it can't involve the life or death of someone else. So the question is when, if ever, during the unborn baby's development, is the choice to "terminate the pregnancy" a personal choice, and when is it not. A "woman's right to choose" is concerning the right to choose to abort/kill a human zygote/fetus/embryo/baby, so the moral question is about when this killing, if ever, is morally acceptable. Feminism is about equal rights, but men don't have the right to kill people (unless out of self-defense), so abortion really isn't about equal rights with men, since a woman can't equally have a right that men don't also have; so, in fact one could argue instead that not having the moral right to have an abortion is actually maintaining equality of the sexes in that respect. This is not just a theoretical point; there have been fathers that wanted to raise the baby, but the mother decided to abort/kill the baby anyway, she had a right to do something that he didn't, she had a "license to kill" that he didn't have, and he also didn't have any legal means to stop its use; the system is actually granting the woman more rights than the man in this case.
Also concerning women, we can consider the fact that pregnancy and childbirth are what she will have to deal with, not the man, and I know it can be easy to think that a new human at the zygote stage is not really a person yet, so killing that zygote is harmless. But how can we be certain that it is? In fact, as doctors, scientists and activists on both side of the issue agree, we can't ever be certain. And so, if there is no certainty about when consciousness/individuality really begins, then picking any moment after conception is actually an arbitrary choice. If we really think about it carefully, saying "Well, the first few weeks is fine," doesn't have any scientific basis. And if it doesn't have a scientific basis, and is concerning possible homicide, then we shouldn't be flippant with our moral conclusions, as I used to be. Doing so is a "slippery slope" that, because of the ambiguity, will inevitably be misused (and expanded, as it has with the practice of euthanasia). If it's unclear when killing an embryo is really killing an individual, isn't it very likely that those that kill embryos of various ages will certainly guess wrong at times? Wouldn't then the rational moral stance be to not take that chance in the first place?
I've heard pro-abortion advocates say that "we must give the benefit of the doubt to women, who are indisputable human beings with rights." Yet how does this logic work? Because the baby may or not be a baby, the benefit of the doubt goes to the person that wants to kill who may be a baby? This pro-abortion argument says that because it is uncertain, then the choice should go to the woman, who is certainly a human being, but this argument doesn't make sense to me. A premise is an idea on which an argument is based, and the premise here is that an undisputed human can do whatever they like to another human of disputed or unclear existence. But if this premise were acceptable, then it would be okay for a person to bomb a house that may have people in it, if it would be convenient for the person doing the demolition. That's clearly wrong. Uncertainty does not weigh in the favor of the person wishing to destroy, it weighs in favor of those who may be killed in that destruction. The uncertainty of when an individual is really an individual, in the context of abortion, should logically go in favor of the baby; the idea that the uncertainty of life's presence is a valid justification for violence that may kill someone, is not a sound premise. What is a sound premise, or more accurately to say here now, a sound principle, is that when it is unclear as to whether you might kill someone or not, you should err on the side of caution and not do what might kill someone; I will hereafter refer to that sound principle concerning uncertainty in this essay as the Uncertainty Principle (UP), of course not to be confused here with the Uncertainty Principle of quantum physics. The UP is fundamentally the same as the Non-Aggression Principle, a principle used in a lot of writing and discussion concerning personal and social ethics, and is central to my own philosophical world-view.
The most basic human right is the Right to Life, i.e. the right to not be murdered. The question of whether abortion is acceptable or not is fundamentally a question of whether, after we accept the UP, there are any other possible justifications to kill that would override the UP. Now let's look at scenarios that may override the UP; to do so they would have to have more moral weight than the UP itself.
Of course, pregnancy and childbirth can be very difficult (the latter especially in western hospitals with their insane birth protocols that unnecessarily stress and harm both mother and baby). The developing baby is of course dependent on the mother's body for survival (at least during the through the first and second trimesters, if not into the third), through the automatic (and incredible) processes designed into human biology.
Addressing each of these possible excuses/justifications in turn, firstly the baby can not be blamed for being initially dependent on the woman's body, and there are many cases wherein a non-voluntary dependency may manifest between two individuals, but in none of those scenarios is the murder of the dependent justifiable just because of their dependency. Being unplanned because lack of caution during sex or because of birth control that didn't work, does not have moral power to override the UP. As for the possible discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth, those again are not the fault of the baby, and again can't be said to have more moral weight than the possible killing an innocent human being. As for poverty, if the woman can find no support to help raise the baby (though support does exist for this very thing in many places), she could still put the baby up for adoption, so that doesn't override the UP either. Uncompromising reasoning like this can seem "harsh," but that is that uncompromising nature is actually very beneficial, it cuts through emotions, lies, and irrationality, and gives us sound rational truth, for those that really want to know. And concerning such a morally heavy issue as abortion, we should want to know, even if the conclusions go against our previous position on the issue, even if it will result in many negative reactions from others.
The final possible excuse/justification in the group, rape, is more complicated, and needs deeper analysis. I know bringing up rape is very "triggering;" of course rape is horrible and wrong, and so just the word alone can incite very strong negative emotions, especially by women who get upset and say it is inappropriate for a man to even discuss the issue in the first place (as if moral issues that involve women are somehow wrong for men to even contemplate or write about). The problem with negative emotions is that they diminish critical thinking ability. It's easy to just say "Well abortion should be allowed in the case of rape," as I used to say too, but what is the reasoning behind that exactly? Why, exactly, is that a valid statement? When someone gives more explanation, they usually say something like "The woman shouldn't be forced to go through with a pregnancy that she doesn't want to have, especially if it was the result of a rape." I agree that the woman shouldn't be forced to do anything, it's her choice as to what to do. But I am saying we should investigate the morality of that choice, to make sure it really is sound, to make sure that the choice is based on truth, rationality and kindness, rather than lies, irrationality and unkindness. To follow my reasoning here you have to have already understood my previous reasoning on the issue of uncertainty of person-hood concerning the in-utero zygote/embryo/fetus/baby. So not suddenly ignoring the UP in the context of rape, but maintaining it as a part of the moral investigation, we can then move forward to whether abortion is morally justifiable in the context of rape. Please try to follow this reasoning, I imagine negative thoughts and emotions may be distracting you at this point. If it's not okay to kill a possible human (the UP), does the UP have an exception in the context of a rape? If we are to say that it is okay to kill a possible human if the woman was harmed by another human, what is the new premise in operation there? That new premise would be: "The right to life of a possible human is overridden by the violent act of another person." But that is not a sound moral premise. I can't blow up a house that may or may not have humans within it (the UP), because someone else did something violent to me. The violence of someone else does not make for a valid exception to the UP. Two wrongs do not make a right; if abortion is immoral, then the immoral act of rape doesn't somehow make the former moral. This is actually the same perspective of women who were raped and decided to not have an abortion. In fact, as that article I just linked to states: "Statistics about rape victims and abortion are surprising to many people. There have been two studies done about pregnant rape victims. In each study, 70% of the women chose to keep their babies. This defies the stereotype that all raped women want abortions." Here is another good quote on the topic from a different article:
"Nobody should minimize or ignore the pain of a rape victim. We want to show her love. Will an abortion help her? First of all, the abortion will not un-rape the woman. The tragedy has happened and nothing can change the past. Second, abortion brings a trauma of its own. To see abortion as a magic wand that brings relief but no pain is to ignore the pain of countless women who suffer for years and decades after abortion. Such groups as WEBA (Women Exploited By Abortion), American Victims of Abortion, and Victims of Choice provide ample proof that abortion hurts women. I know of women who have been raped and then had abortions, and are in counseling not for the rape but for the abortion! In rape, the trauma is "Someone hurt me." In abortion, the trauma is "I hurt and killed someone else -- my child." That brings even more grief.
Why is rape wrong? Because someone attacks the body of an innocent person. Why is abortion wrong? Because someone attacks the body of an innocent person. That is why both rape and abortion should be rejected.
... Furthermore, most rape victims who become pregnant want to keep their babies. The pressure to abort often comes from someone else. Of all the abortions performed in America, fewer than 1% are because of rape."
Abortion can be, and often is (as is well documented), a very traumatic experience for women, if not immediately, then afterward. So adding another possible trauma to the trauma of rape would be doubly harmful to the woman, yet the trauma of abortion is something I've never heard pro-abortion "pro-women" people talk about, as if it doesn't happen a lot, when it definitely does. So this is certainly not just an issue that involves harming/killing the developing human, it can and does harm the woman in severe ways too. The idea that abortion is "empowering" to women is oftentimes (if not always) untrue, as the many women in counseling for their abortions can testify, and it is probably not empowering at all on a spiritual level either; I believe it is always the complete opposite on that level. Although the knee-jerk visceral emotional reaction would have us agree that rape should be an exception for abortion, after analyzing all the details, I can no longer concur. As usual, the devil can be in the details that are ignored.
It's really important to understand what the premise is behind a statement, because if you accept the statement you also accept the premise, and if that premise is irrational and immoral, it can be (and undoubtedly will be) utilized in other destructive ways, on a personal and global scale (the "slippery slope" we should be careful to avoid). Slippery slopes, i.e. an exception that leads to more and more exceptions that are increasingly destructive, is a phenomenon that happens often, despite those that absurdly discount it as a "fallacy." For an example of this phenomenon occurring, you can listen to this excellent podcast episode on what happened recently concerning the acceptance of euthanasia in the USA. On a different level, an anecdote that I find relevant as well is that wherein someone is asking the devil about his "toolbox" that he uses against humanity, and discovers that his most used tool was actually an innocuous seeming wedge.
The wedge of an exception to a rule, including the fundamental rule "Thou shall not kill," will undoubtedly be exploited by dishonest or misguided people, and expanded over time, so that it occurs more and more. For example, this is what we observe with the supposed exceptions to the rule that preemptive attack is wrong, as I talked about in my post on police brutality.
Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, was actually centered on the rape argument. Norma McCorvey, the real name of "Jane Roe," claimed that she had been raped and so wanted an abortion, but it was illegal then in Texas, and so district attorney Wade was defending that law. Years later she actually admitted that the rape story was false, made up in order to garner sympathy for the pro-abortion cause. (But she never actually had the abortion, she gave the baby up for adoption).
The justification of rape was the original wedge that was used for abortion to be acceptable, but immediately the door of acceptable justifications opened much wider, actually it became wide-open, a woman didn't have to justify the abortion at all. Since then, in a survey of women who had an abortion, most gave the reasons of "I wasn't ready," "I couldn't afford to raise a baby," and "I'm done having children." So the wedge of one reason, seemingly justifiable, served as the opening for other reasons that are not as persuasive at all. As I explained in police brutality post, this is the same problem with the premise of justifiable preemptive attack: when we accept the seemingly reasonable (e.g. a ticket for jaywalking) then we open the door for more and more preemptive attacks, less and less reasonable (e.g. military operations that kill thousands of innocent people). And like with the impossible quest to find a type of justifiable preemptive attack, trying to find a justifiable abortion turns up morally empty, because they are ultimately all unreasonable/immoral justifications, there are in fact no sound exceptions whatsoever. Life and ethics are made to be more complicated than they are sometimes; slavery is always wrong, as is aggression. The problem is people accept exceptions for slavery and aggression, and/or irrationally exclude the act they're condoning from those categories. Preemptive attack is really just aggression, and aggression is always wrong. Abortion advocates say that abortion is not an act of aggression, even though it clearly is past the first trimester of pregnancy, and before that time, can't be conclusively said to not still be aggression/violence.
So to return to Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey later became an outspoken opponent of abortion and actually tried to get her case reversed, but was ignored by the court. "I'm 100 percent pro-life. I don't believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it's still a child. You're not to act as your own God," she told The Associated Press in 1998. She deeply regretted the consequences of her participation in that trial, though the details of her involvement, and lack thereof, show that she was more being used to push forward an agenda than to be helped personally, in what could rightly be called a "show trial." In her own words, she said they "were looking for somebody, anybody, to use to further their own agenda. I was their most willing dupe."
Let's focus on a specific real-life consequence of that trial based on a lie about being raped: abortions well past the first trimester were said to be acceptable, and so as a consequence countless indisputable babies were killed in horrific ways. That's not my opinion, that's what happened, and is still happening. Five to seven month in-utero babies were killed because of ambiguity over right and wrong on a "wedge" scenario. Also there is the disturbing possibility that abortion can actually be utilized as a method of racist genocide, as "3 out of every 4 abortions in America are black babies — more than double that of whites."
This is the same fundamental problem humanity has faced from the beginning, namely people following seemingly reasonable lies about what's good and evil, and then "fall" into wickedness, even to the extent of killing babies, of supporting infanticide.
Again I'm not advocating forcing a woman to do anything, but I am advocating sound critical thinking, I am advocating consistent and rational ethics, because without that we just keep putting wedges in the door for the devil to wreck more and more havoc in the world. In fact, the acceptance of abortion has probably already acted as such a wedge, beyond the harm done to countless millions of unborn babies. It's likely been a factor in other acts of violence, seemingly completely unrelated; the lack of respect for the right to life of the baby being an influence, whether consciously or subconsciously, on the violent person's own lack of respect for the life others they take away. (The same has occurred with the acceptance of the Darwinian "pond-scum" theory on human origins, as I documented in my Front-Line Thought post on the topic, the theory directly influencing people to kill others because of the lack of respect that theory engendered in their minds toward others).
Returning to Lie #2, another reason abortion is not a "personal choice" is because it involves taking away the future of another individual. A murder of a child or an adult is wrong because you're taking away their future life as a human. The same holds true for the killing of an zygote/embryo/fetus/unborn baby. This "future-like-ours" argument holds true post-birth and pre-birth. The fact that an in-utero human being in an early stage of development has a future ahead is not debatable like the issue of personhood is. So even if you don't find the issue of possible personhood to be a problem for abortion, then this problem of eliminating a human being's future remains as a moral problem. I will now give another quote that discusses this particular argument, explains the severity of the act of taking away a human's future, and that points to what few justifications for it might possibly exist:
"[T]his value of a future-like-ours argument, if sound, shows only that abortion is prima facie wrong, not that it is wrong in any and all circumstances. Since the loss of the future to a standard fetus, if killed, is, however, at least as great a loss as the of the future to a standard adult human being who is killed, abortion, like ordinary killing, could be justified only by the most compelling reasons. The loss of one's life is almost the greatest misfortune that could happen to one. Presumably abortion could be justified in some circumstances, only if the loss consequent on failing to abort would be at least as great. Accordingly, morally permissible abortions will be rare indeed, unless, perhaps, they occur so early in pregnancy that a fetus is not yet definitely an individual. Hence this argument should be taken as showing that abortion is presumptively very seriously wrong, where the presumption is very strong--as strong as the presumption that killing another adult human being is wrong." - "Why Abortion is Immoral," by Don Marquis, (The Journal of Philosophy, vol 86, 1989).
The article actually ends there with those last words, the author leaving the question of these possible morally permissible abortions unanswered. So I will complete the analysis that he came close to completing but did not. For the consequence to not abort to be at least as great as taking away a human future, this would have to involve someone else losing their life, namely the mother. But as I've already covered, abortion is never actually necessary in order to preserve the life of the mother. This leaves the other possibility left by that author, that if perhaps the abortion occurs so early in pregnancy that a fetus is not yet definitely an individual. But this too I have analyzed, and after doing so concluded that this certainty of when a zygote/embryo/fetus/baby is "definitely" an individual does not exist, so it can't be used as a justification for abortion either (the UP). So once again, there are no other possibilities left; through a process of elimination we are left with abortion being an immoral act.
Lie #3: "Abortions are necessary to protect the health and safety of women."
I am grateful to have discovered an excellent article by Matt Walsh that explains exactly why that's never actually true, and since I can't say it better, I'll quote from the article here, but I highly recommend reading the entire article.
"[A]bortion has never saved a life. It has only destroyed lives. Abortion is, by definition, the destruction of human life. Despite the propaganda you hear from the abortion industry, Abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life. Abortion is the direct killing of an unborn child. There is never a scenario, and never could be a scenario, where a woman’s life will be saved by directly killing her child. In an abortion, a child is stabbed, poisoned, decapitated, or ripped to shreds. No mother has ever derived a physical benefit from her unborn son or daughter being torn apart or stabbed in the skull. Many women — in fact, all — have suffered physical, emotional, or psychological trauma because of abortion, but none have ever been spared such trauma through it.
As the over 1,000 obstetricians, neonatologists, pediatricians, and midwives who signed the DublinDeclaration have testified, there is never any medical justification for abortion. Now, it may indeed be necessary in some rare circumstances to deliver a baby early in order to save the mother. But the additional step of killing the child is not necessary, even if the child ultimately does not survive outside the womb. ... Unfortunately, there are cases where an unborn child has to be delivered so early that he most likely will not survive. This is tragic and terrible, but it’s not an abortion. If labor is induced because both mother and child will die otherwise, and the child dies anyway despite every effort to save him, an abortion has not occurred. The intention was not to directly take life but to save it. If those efforts fail, the doctors no more “aborted” the child than they abort a patient who dies during emergency heart surgery. Abortion has never saved a life. It is not designed to. It is designed, instead, to preserve the lifestyle of the mother."
Additionally, pro-abortion advocates say if there weren't doctors to do abortions, then more women would die from non-professional procedure; this argument is once again skipping past the UP, and says that if women couldn't pay doctors to kill the zygote/embryo/fetus/baby in their womb, then they might get hurt or die for paying someone else to kill, or get hurt if they killed the baby themselves. I know this is another emotionally triggering scenario, but once again we have to know what premise is in operation behind a statement, rather than just blurt out "Doctor access is a right!" without keeping the debate within the context of abortion (Doctor access to what, exactly?), and without unearthing what that underlying premise is, just looking at the situation at a surface level. The problem with the doctor-access to abortion argument is, that by that logic, one could argue that it's okay to hire a professional hit-man to kill someone (or possibly someone, e.g. "I'm not sure if that's him or not, but shoot anyway"), because if you had to do it yourself, you might hurt yourself in the attempt. If you're killing someone and get hurt in the process, the latter is not the main issue at hand; you shouldn't ever be killing anyone, or possibly anyone, in the first place (unless it's completely unavoidable in self-defense).
So, these final possible justifications for abortion concerning health and well-being, don't hold up to scrutiny either.
Pro-abortion advocates like to divert from the above facts and reasoning, and instead focus on religious fundamentalism, "zealots," "extremism." [Not coincidentally, those that say we shouldn't murder animals unnecessarily are also regularly called "zealots" and "extremists."] Going on about the religious beliefs of people is a distraction from the issue at hand, the killing of babies. If the topic is the morality of abortion, one should stay on that issue rather than diverting from it constantly. Rather than diversion, we need to zero-in on some key logic, the logic based on an understanding of the aforementioned three main lies.
In conclusion, what it comes down to for me is the Non-Aggression Principle (and the related UP), coupled with the moral weight of taking away a human's future. I now don't think it is right to think, as I used to, that pregnancy is "no big deal" because there's this "fix" of abortion that we can turn to without batting an eyelash. I think this is part of the reason why some conservative Christians promote having no sex until marriage so much, to avoid the possibility of a woman ever having an unwanted pregnancy in the first place; but I don't agree that marriage (especially State-sanctioned marriage) is the only acceptable time for a man and woman to have consensual sex, nor do I agree that State laws against abortion are the answer. I do agree with the conservatives though that abortion is morally wrong, not because of what a church told me, but because of what the truth of the matter is, especially the truth on the other side of the main three lies I highlight in this essay. The devil, as usual, is in the details, details that should not be overlooked no matter how unpopular or non-"progressive" it is to point them out.
Again, I am not advocating a woman be forced to do anything, especially by the State, because statism is an ideology of coercion and slavery that is not legitimate. The answer is not with State laws against abortion (relying on an evil institution as our defense against evil in the world), the answer is in individuals knowing the truth and making moral choices based on that truth. Most people wouldn't make evil choices if they knew the choice was evil, and that's why, I believe, the aforementioned spirit of confusion has come so strong on people concerning this issue (and human carnism), because lack of moral clarity on it will lead to extreme harm being committed, it will lead to a more evil world, and the devil is certainly pleased with that. Lies and propaganda remain the devil's main tool for misleading humanity, because if we all had a solid morality and understanding of the truth he couldn't maintain his dominant influence. Whether someone thinks talk of the devil is just superstition or not, people that do want to do the right thing need to get their ethical reasoning straight and consistent, in order to move away from lies that will mislead them into supporting and committing immoral actions.