Last year, Feminists for Life did a series on pro-woman answers to pro-choice questions. In that same vein, this blog will feature an analysis of the problems with common pro-choice arguments, one at a time.
If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?
Sounds like a good point, right? If women aren’t moral enough to decide whether or not to plan out their families, do we really want them raising their kids?
“Choice” always implies a choice between two or more actions or to perform an action. The action here is to kill her child. We trust all parents with children, but do not trust them with the choice to not kill, molest, starve, or neglect their children, which is why we have laws against it. We assume that there are some acts which no moral person would choose – some acts which are so anti-social that we simply cannot permit them. Incest and statutory rape laws prevent fathers from molesting their daughters, but we still trust dads with kids.
That aside, the internal logic of this argument is lacking. It says, essentially, “If you can’t trust me with a child, how ’bout I kill it?” This, of course, is analogous to the problems with the next pro-choice argument:
It’s wrong to bring an unwanted child into the world.
Very true. It’s also really sad when a kid isn’t popular in school or gets teased because of his acne, but we don’t decide to kill the teenager to spare him that pain. We also don’t kill the children of neglectful parents: we put them into foster care, adoption, or, when we see it personally, step in to help that child.
The solution to this problem – killing the child – is worse than the problem itself. It is, quite simply, the wrong remedy. The correct remedy is to provide all children with loving, stable homes, and to have a little faith that even kids with bad parents can lead incredibly fulfilling lives. The other remedy is to prevent pregnancy in the first place, either via abstinence or reliable and redundant methods of birth control.
Both of these pro-choice arguments leave something out in their elliptical language: the idea that the “choice” at stake is to slaughter a child. We trust people with lots of choices, but some of them are beyond the pale and not part of any civilised society. We want children to have loving homes, but we don’t kill them because their parents happen to be poor, unmarried, or young.
- Part I: If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child? And, It’s wrong to bring unwanted children into the world.
- Part II: Why should a blob of tissue have more rights than a woman?
- Part III: If you don’t support abortion, you don’t support women.
- Part IV: Pro-lifers want to legislate morality; you can’t be pro-life and libertarian.
- Part V: Since so many babies die of spontaneous abortion, how can you be pro-life unless you want to save them first?
- Part VI: What about this violinist? If we don’t force people to donate organs, why do you want to force people to remain pregnant?
- Part VII: If abortion is murder, pro-lifers should want to imprison women
- Part VIII: Sherry Colb on abortion.