This article is the first part in a series on abortion and abortion policy. Check back in with TCC for future articles in this series!
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Abortion is the great societal sin of our time. Support for abortion has largely become an issue to protect people from what they view as the “inconvenient” consequences of sexual laxity, namely unwanted pregnancies.
Why Women Have Abortions
NARAL, one of many groups supporting “women’s health,” lobbies for abortion rights in Washington. Its website tells the stories of several women who have undergone the abortion procedure. Out of the ten testimonials on NARAL’s page, six women aborted because of serious health concerns, three because of the inconvenience of pregnancy, and one because of rape. This evidence suggests that NARAL fights primarily for women faced with health crises, but it is misleading.
Reading the stories of women facing life-or-death situations during pregnancy is difficult. Reading of a 13-year-old rape victim faced with pregnancy is exponentially moreso. But these are hardly the types of abortion procedures for which pro-choicers advocate, even though NARAL wants us to believe otherwise.
Abortion advocates, rather, fight for procedures to end unwanted or inconvenient pregnancies, not at-risk pregnancies–and the numbers prove it.
What The Numbers Tell Us
The Guttmacher Institute, another pro-choice advocacy center, researches issues of reproduction thoroughly, and it provides some analysis regarding why women get abortions.
The numbers are overwhelming: 74% of the women surveyed had abortions because having a baby would dramatically change their lives. 38% said a baby would have interfered with careers or educations. Other high-percentage answers were related to relationship statuses, and many of the women provided more than one answer.
By contrast, health and rape scenarios were vastly in the minority. The Guttermacher Institute found that only 12% of the women had abortions for personal health reasons, and only 1% aborted because they were victims of rape.
These numbers are from 2004, but the Guttermacher Institute notes that they have stayed consistent since 1987. Further, these numbers have been supported elsewhere in more recent years.
The women that Guttermacher surveyed simply didn’t want to have a baby because it would have changed their lives, not because their lives were threatened or they had been assaulted.
The Philosophy Behind Abortion Advocacy
Subjectivism, as a philosophy, suggests that there is no objective truth apart from a person’s own experiences. This philosophy manifests itself in few things more obviously than abortion. A mother, couple, or family decides whether a new life should be disposed of or kept and cherished. The fetus has no value in itself, but only that which the mother, couple, or family ascribes to it. If a child will change the norms of life in some way that is unwanted, then its life must be terminated.
The pro-abortion movement also operates off of the premise that freedom is the end of man. This finds its philosophical roots in figures such as Bertrand Russell and Ayn Rand, and is one of the most tragic conclusions to come out the Enlightenment. Freedom is not the end of man, but virtue. Freedom is the primary means to that end, but not the end itself.
Virtue cherishes life in all circumstances–not only those for which it’s desired or planned.