Pro-Life, Anti-Choice Inconsistencies: What Do Abortion Opponents Believe?

Do Anti-Choice Activists Believe What They Say?

The rhetoric coming from anti-choice activists can be very heated and aggressive. They insist that abortion is murder — that aborting a pregnancy is morally equivalent to infanticide or killing an adult human being. Do they really believe this? This is implausible at best. As heated as their rhetoric is, there is little evidence that anti-choice activists, leaders, or organizations believe what they say because they simply don’t act like they believe it.

This is good for the rest of society.


Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs) and Abortion:

An IUD is a contraceptive device which prevents fertilized ova from implanting in the uterus. This prevents rather than terminates pregnancy because pregnancy doesn’t begin until implantation. Anti-choice activists argue that life begins at conception, though, so IUDs kill a living person, no less immoral than infanticide. Anti-choice activists do not campaign against IUDs or picket their manufactuers, even though they probably destroy more fertilized ova than fetuses killed in abortions.


Emergency Contraception:

Emergency contraceptives, also known as Plan B or Morning After Pills, are taken after sex to prevent pregnancy. They can also prevent a fertilized ovum from implanting and thus, from the perspective of anti-choice activists, are a form of murder. There is a growing movement to limit access to emergency contraception, which is inconsistent with how IUDs are treated.

Perhaps emergency contraception is simply an easier target, which means that it isn’t a principled choice to attack.


Funerals for Aborted Fetuses:

If a fetus is the moral equivalent of an adult human being, why don’t anti-choice activists (especially those in religious organizations) hold funeral services of some sort for all of them as well as all miscarriages?

Some Catholic churches do this occasionally, but it’s a rare exception rather than the rule. If large numbers of some racial minority were being killed in anything like a similar manner, it’s inconceivable that funeral and memorial services wouldn’t be held by religious opponents.


Treating Abortion like Murder:

If abortion really is murder, then the doctor performing the abortion should be treated like a murderer while the nurses, assistants, secretaries, and of course the mother herself should be treated like accomplices to murder. In some states, capital punishment should be applied. How many anti-choice activists support such a policy, though? How many anti-choice activists call abortion murder, but when confronted with the issue are willing to actually treat abortion as murder? Very, very few.


Peaceful Protests against Abortion:

Anti-choice activists are frequently seen protesting abortion outside abortion clinics. The protests might be loud and confrontational, but in general they are peaceful. Why are anti-choice activists so peaceful if they believe that babies are being murdered inside? If adult or infant members of a minority were being taken into be killed, protests would not be so peaceful.

Opponents would takes all kinds of risks in order to protect the innocent victims.


Exceptions for Rape and Incest:

People make exceptions for rape or incest because it is assumed that a woman would be justified in not wanting to give birth to, much less raise, the product of such acts. To adopt this position, though, requires accepting that a woman’s feelings about the pregnancy are relevant — it is to assume that it’s her body and she should get to decide whether it will be used in such a manner. A fetus conceived via rape or incest is no less innocent than any other fetus, so isn’t this murder, too?


Exceptions for the Health of the Mother:

Making an exception in abortion prohibitions in order to protect the life of the mother is a bit more reasonable than other exceptions because one can argue that, in such cases, abortion is a form of self-defense.

Killing in self-defense is not murder, but only when you kill someone who is attacking you. The fetus is not guilty, though — the fetus may be threatening the life of the mother, but it’s not out of malice. Even with adults, killing in such a situation is difficult to defend.


Anti-Choice Activism and Moral Seriousness:

Activists who seek the criminalization of abortion give the appearance of taking abortion seriously as a moral issue. Perhaps some of them do, but it’s difficult to believe this on the part of those who use dramatic, over-the-top rhetoric when their actions demonstrate that they don’t believe what they are saying. If they don’t believe what they say, how can anyone else? Indeed, how can anyone take them and their views seriously?

Obviously the failure of anti-choice activists to believe their own claims doesn’t mean that their claims aren’t true. It is, however, an indication that even they, committed believers, are unwilling to take the steps necessary to put their beliefs into action. It suggests that they recognize flaws in their arguments, perhaps only using those arguments because of their emotional and psychological value rather than because of their logical force.

We should all be thankful that anti-choice activists don’t really believe what they say and aren’t willing to follow their rhetoric to its logical conclusions. If they really did believe that abortion were murder and actually treated abortion clinics like the murder factories they label them, there would be a lot more violence in America today.