atheist pro life, reasons why abortion is wrong

Acknowledging Abortion

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When I was in university, I had a debate with a classmate over abortion. I argued that killing an unborn child is very different from killing a full grown person because the child has no relationships, no memories, no personality; it’s basically a clean slate, making it less than human. He then posed me the following thought experiment: imagine a 30-year-old man. One day he gets into an accident and goes into a coma. He looses his memories, his sense of self, his ability to speak or walk; he becomes a clean slate. He’s got no family and is given a nurse who he’s fully dependent on. In 9 months time he’ll wake up and begin to re-learn all he knew of the world, building new memories, which will form his personhood. Now this nurse has to work extra hard with her new patient. She catches the flu, having to work while she’s ill. The man is very heavy so it’s difficult to give him care. The nurse it burdened but she has no way out of this situation until he wakes up. Is it ok for her to kill him? Being pro-choice, I had to say yes.

This scenereo is just as ludicrous as the pro-choice violinist argument. Yet it has never left my mind. It only refutes one of many arguments in favor of abortion, but I've been partial to it since. I bring it up because it's what reintroduced me to the debate. 

Abortion – in essence – is wrong. But we cannot dismiss the scope of circumstantial and personal factors that so often make it a grey issue. Unfortunately, the mainstream – fueled by egos, agendas and ignorance – has simplified the debate down to two labels: pro-choice and pro-life. These classifications have boiled things down to a black and white presidential debate topic. Such an approach is detrimentally narrow-minded. It forces those who’ve given little thought to abortion to choose between two extremes, both of which have heinous implications for society.

Let’s start at the very beginning: conception. We cannot argue whether or not human life begins at conception, as it plainly does. What we can debate is the value of that life, how that value changes as the life grows, becoming more complex, and the moral implications of killing that life in its different stages. Clearly, this is not a black and white issue.

“As a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did used to argue) a growth on or in the female body.  There used to be feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even this was seriously maintained a tumor. That nonsense seems to have stopped.  Of the considerations that have stopped it, one is the fascinating and moving view provided by the sonogram, and another is the survival of ‘premature’ babies of feather-like weight, who have achieved ‘viability’ outside the womb. … The words ‘unborn child,’ even when used in a politicized manner, describe a material reality.” -Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great (pp. 220-21)

First we need to address the language surrounding abortion, as there is nothing more powerful. Like with most touchy subjects, the language changes depending on certain factors. A happy expectant mother embraces terms like “baby” and “miracle.” But if the pregnancy is unwanted, terms such as “fetus,” “cluster of cells” –­ and the most venomous –“parasite” are used. In the name of complete accuracy, I’ll use the term “developing human.”

According to pro-choicers, the fact that the developing human feeds off its mother – needing her to survive – negates its humanity. Sustaining its life becomes the woman’s burden, therefore it can justifiably be rid of. By this logic we can classify nursing children as parasites, as they too feed off their mother, needing her to survive. Aren’t three-year-olds a burden on the mother? They too must be parasites. Maybe it only counts if the baby is inside the womb? What about inside the birthing canal? What about halfway out of the mother? What about born but still attached at the umbilical cord? The distinction is laughable.

With the ‘pro-choice’ movement taking over in most of Western society, we are starting to see our respect for human life deteriorate in a very public manner. Abortion is first and foremost a moral issue. The problem is, morals are derived from ethics, something our current society lacks. Do we want to live in a world where having an abortion is a procedure equated to getting an appendix removed? Hitchens considered this attitude long gone; unfortunately we are seeing it re-emerge.

There’s Kasey Locksworth, flippantly boasting about her looks after getting the procedure. There’s Sarah Catt, self-aborting her baby at 8 months, with public opinion deeming her sentencing “too harsh.” There’s Corinne from the Dr. Phil show, who admitted to having 7 abortions (2 of which were late term), without a second thought from the audience or any guilt from Corinne.


Getting an abortion at any stage and for any reason has been justified in the name of women’s rights. Being pro-choice has become the trendy liberal stance because it's associated with female empowerment. Supporting the pro-choice movement is now some kind of democratic duty; if you’re not pro-choice, you’re a bible hugging hater of women. But abortion is not a woman’s rights issue; it’s a human rights issue. In reality, being pro-choice doesn’t make you a feminist on the voyage to ensure reproductive rights for all; it makes you just as inconsiderate as the people who picket abortion clinics.

Unless it’s necessary to preserve the life of the mother, or in the rare instances of being forced by the father, there’s only one reason abortions occur: the mother doesn’t want to have the child. This might sound a little unfair, after all, isn’t there a huge difference between getting an abortion because one was raped verses just because one isn’t ready? Morally there is not. Killing an innocent life is always morally wrong. But that is not to say that we cannot empathize and understand women in harsh circumstances. A rape victim should not have to face scrutiny for terminating their pregnancy at an early stage, yet she should still go through a mourning process, understanding that abortion was a choice, not a right. The reason for abortion doesn’t change the action of abortion, so it’s morally irrelevant. What is relevant is at what point of gestation abortion occurs and with what attitude.

What is an abortion? Is it murder? Murder is committed for only three reasons: profit, passion, compulsion. These are not the reasons for abortion so it seems unfair to classify it so. When abortion is done in the late term, and/or flippantly and without remorse, it’s butchery; it’s like killing an animal, a life you value less than a human’s. When an abortion is done early on, with careful consideration, emotional weight, remorse, and empathy, there’s no word for it. It’s a complex issue that often touches many lives. Unfortunately, because of our distain for grey areas, we took reality out of the debate, embracing extreme points of view that are now paving a road to our devolution.

We condone killing human life today because of a court decision made in the 70’s.

“When it made that declaration, it rejected dozens of decisions of other courts, in America and in Great Britain, holding that the baby in the womb is a person. This is reminiscent of the Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 in which it ruled that blacks were not persons” -Andrew P. Napolitano 

We are of course talking about Roe v. Wade. Please consider this logic for a moment. A woman that carries a human life for 9 months and gets an abortion the day before delivery has done nothing wrong. A woman that gives birth to a pre-mature baby, and then stabs it shortly after delivery, has committed murder. This does not compute.

Since Roe v. Wade, the majority of countries legalized abortion with restrictions such as term, health, mental health, and risk to the mother. Most of these countries have deemed third trimester abortions illegal, and the majority of women do not abort after the second trimester. Yet there are three countries (Canada, North Korea and China), as well as the state of New Jersey, that have no legal restriction on abortion, allowing termination up to the moment of birth. Tens of thousands of late term abortions (after the 20th week of gestation) are performed in America alone (11,874 in 2003). Our casual attitude towards this is numbing.

How do we identify the point at which abortion becomes wrong? Perhaps it’s when the developing human attains consciousness? Unfortunately science is behind on that one. Some say consciousness begins as early as 24 weeks, yet does not actualize until months after the child is born. Perhaps we judge it by when it can feel pain, which can be as early as 8 weeks. What about brain activity? 6 weeks. Heartbeat? 5 weeks. The truth is, it’s always wrong, but the farther developed, the more wrong it becomes. Abortion starts off as a personal, moral issue, slowly turning into a legal one as the child grows. At some point, it has to be deemed criminal. Unfortunately, we have legally denied the baby in the womb personhood. Because of this, late term abortions are rarely punished and go one to be performed with general apathy.

We have not found the answer to what it means to be a person, yet we legally deny a developing human personhood based on arbitrary factors. This denial is a slippery slope. Is a 25 year old is more of a person than a 2 year old? Is a developmentally delayed man not a person? Is someone in a coma not a person? Is a woman with Alzheimer's less of a person than she used to be? On what basis is the distinction of personhood?

We must acknowledge that although it’s easier to empathize with a full-grown woman than her unborn child, abortion is still morally wrong. Each one should be met with a heavy heart and followed by a mourning process. Termination of any pregnancy should be seen as a critical choice, and to quote Naomi Wolfe, as a “lesser of two evils.” Once we accept this, then we can seriously consider determining a grace period where a choice can be made; if not, we will go back to the times of home hanger abortions. Currently we accept termination as late as up to the day of birth, which makes us no more moral than a dog that eats its young. Society needs to reconsider its attitude towards abortion without taking to extremes.

It’s easy to pick a side and never reconsider it; it’s hard to mull over something for years, only to admit you don’t have all the answers. Most prefer the former. We like distinct labels. We leave grey areas for the indecisive, the un-opinionated, the soft. Pick a side and stick to it or else you’re weak. This kind of thinking is a disgrace to logic and is unforgivable in the case of abortion. My hope is to begin to change this attitude; we should not live in a world where conception is labeled as a miracle, nor should we continue to devolve into a society that calls it a consequence.


– Julia Tourianski

23 Responses to “Acknowledging Abortion”
  1. GALE ROUTH says:

    first of all, learn what an appeal to emotion fallacy is; a 3 year old doesn’t live inside and OFF another person’s body, using chemical sneak attacks to invade her body and hijack the woman’s immune system to avoid detection

    “HUMAN FETUS IS NOT A BABY (HUMAN DEVELOPMENT CHART), but a parasite because of the biological relationship that’s based on the behavior of one organism (fetus) & how it relates to the woman’s body:
    As a zygote, it invaded the woman’s uterus using its TROPHOBLAST cells, hijacked her immune system by using NEUROKININ B, HCG and ‘INDOLEAMINE 2, 3-DIOXYGENASE’ – so her body doesn’t kill it, continue stealing her nutrients to survive & causing her harm or potential death.”
    galerouth blogspot com

    second, how is a non-sentient-developing human is INNOCENT?

    “A woman that gives birth to a pre-mature baby, and then stabs it shortly after delivery, has committed murder. This does not compute.”

    “NO HUMAN (FETUS, too) has a right to life or any due process rights by the 14th amendment to use another human’s body or body parts AGAINST their will, civil and constitutional rights: that’s why you are not forced to donate your kidney—the human fetus is no exception; this is supported by the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment AND 13th amendment, which makes reproductive slavery unconstitutional.”
    galerouth blogspot com


    ABORTIONS ARE GOOD FOR SOCIETY… GOOGLE: abortion and freakonomics

    • bravetheworld says:

      I read freakonomics, thanks, and used to believe what you believe. A note on their conclusion; it i highly debated amongst economists.

      Just as I say in my article, you are using arbitrary distinctions. Tell me the difference between a 1 day old baby and a 9 month old “fetus”? Not the biological or legal difference, but the philosophical, and moral difference. There is none. It’s a fully functional living human being that can survive outside the body.

      Also, how is the fetus using the woman’s body against her will? She bloody chose to have sex, and sex always has a risk of pregnancy involved, in fact, biologically, that’s it’s only function. In the case of rape I do make the exception. Sure mistakes occur, so take the morning after pill before you are actually pregnant. This should not be an issue in western civilization.

      And saying abortion is good for society is pretty racist considering that the majority of abortions in America are african american terminations.

      • Jodi says:

        Actually, biologically, sex acts on the brain to release a variety of chemicals that lead to empathy, compassion and trust. Oxytocin, the chemical for attachment that has nothing to do with reproduction, is only release in 2 of the 9 great apes, bonobos and human beings. Both bonobos and human beings have sex for a variety of reasons that do not involve reproduction, and many evolutionary psychologists have argued that a primary reason for humans having sex is social bonding. Saying sex is just for reproduction is a dangerous argument, because the same argument is used to argue against any birth control and to call homosexuals perverts.

        And no one is arguing that a 9 month old unborn baby should be aborted. You article suggests that there are no restrictions on abortion in Canada, but late-term abortions are only done if completing pregnancy puts the mother or baby at risk of death or the baby is seriously malformed (late term being past 20 weeks, no clinic will do them past 24 weeks)… so here is your moral/ethical distinction. From the standpoint of utilitarianism, an adult dying is worse than an unborn child dying, and having an unborn child born with serious complications that will prevent it from having any standard of life of a normal human is worse than aborting it. That being said, 9 month old fetuses are not aborted in Canada.

        Knowing when you ovulate really doesn’t help, as you are at risk of pregnancy on the weeks surrounding ovulation… so most of the time. Also, risk of stroke is becoming more of a concern with birth control pills. 5 years ago I went on one. This year I wanted to go back on one and was told that I could not because of my health history (migraines, which are pretty common), and that studies are suggesting it is more dangerous than they once thought for at risk individuals. I am also allergic to latex and spermicides, and have a heavy period (which would be increased if I got an IUD leading to a possibility of anemia). Other forms of hormone therapy (implantation and the microdot) have led to me bleeding 3/4 weeks, which is not unusual in the women I have talked to trying these forms of therapy. I have taken the morning after pill multiple times, but it is very expensive ($35 a pop) and with frequent use is linked to infertility. The assumption that birth control is easy for all women, and that an unwanted pregnancy is a simple “woops abortion” is very ignorant of the realities for a lot of women.

        The vast majority of pregnancies are done at an earlier stage, with less than one percent of abortions applying to those at 20 weeks, and over 90% at less than 13 weeks (when your baby is about 3 inches). Brain scans of developing infants suggest levels of activities that indicate consciousness at about 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. So, if you attribute consciousness to being a human life, then it is illegal to abort a human life in Canada and all abortions apply to foetuses, which are not human. If you do not think consciousness is necessary for it to be a human life, then this moral would apply to other areas in medicine: It would be illegal to pull the life support on people in vegetative states. If you think it is about a “potential human life”, then using birth control could be argued as morally wrong (which is what Bob was talking about in his reference to condoms), since killing the semen and allowing the egg to go unfertilized impedes on the potential human life that would have formed. If you just think it is because there is a heart beat, well why would you have a problem with stopping a heart beat of a shrimp sized creature and not a cow’s?

        I have no problem with you saying that you think abortion is morally wrong. That is up to you to decide. But saying it is always morally wrong assumes a set of objective morals that match your own, and as you can see that this is more complicated than that.

        • bravetheworld says:

          1. Knowing when you ovulate can be a 99% effective way of birth control as well as attaining pregnancy.Obviously you counter in the days surrounding ovulation as danger zones for unprotected sex Women in many tribal cultures still avoid pregnancy this way and it’s sad we women don;t know our bodies at all anymore. . For you personal stuggles read this book:

          I was on the pill for 7 years and recently went off because of the dangers you mentioned. To put it simply, I totally feel you girl 😉 But I disagree that avoiding pregnancy is extremely difficult. My point is, women cannot think of abortion as birth control method.

          2. I do say that most abortions do not occur in the late term. But you are wrong that 0 do. In Canada, a woman can legally abort up to the day of birth for no medical reason. Just having such a law is insulting to human life

          3. No, birth control is not wrong. The true potential for human life is only when there is a fertilized egg. Pretty simple.

          4. A shrimp or a cow? This is getting into animal right etc. Different topic. I am talking about specifically human life.

          5. Yes, it is a complicated issue. My personal feeling is that it’s morally wrong. As stated in the article, this does not mean I support banning it in early stages, or that I judge anyone who gets an abortion for medical reasons or at an early stage. I have friends and family members who have, and I do not judge them and have full understanding of their choice. My intention with this stance is to get people talking. It is shameful that people have stopped caring about the issue and feel Canada’s law is a-ok.

          6. “No one is arguing that a 9 month old unborn baby should be aborted.” did I claim someone was?

          7. You have it backwards. Sex helps us bond so that a child has two protectors instead of just one. Sex helps us feel good and evolves relationships so that we have more babies. Biology is an smart force.

          8. It’s great that most abortions are done early. So the few that are not should be excused? What? Most people don’t rape kids, so the ones that do are a ok? what kind of logic is this?

          9. Hope I covered most of your points. Fantastic to have people talking 🙂

          • Beauregard says:

             the philosophical, and moral difference – do you consider terminating a non functional non-conscious human fetus to be ethically worse than subjecting an animal to days, months or years of slavery, rape, and/or chemical/genetic/hormonal modification for your convenience and/or pleasure?

            Anybody who commits these acts does not have any moral ground to criticize people for choosing to abort for their own convenience, in my opinion.

            I personally would draw a line at human consciousness, but then again I am a strict vegan and although veganism isn't perfect and there are many unknowns surrounding issues such as efficiency and environmental destruction, I also try to draw a line as much as is possible at terminating any conscious animal life.

          • Beauregard says:

            Speaking as an anarchist, I actually kind of have a problem with moral frameworks that tread on the boundaries of practicality, especially when they tread as much as pro-life arguments which put already stressed out people who have a short amount of time to make a seriously life impacting decision (ie. pregnant women who are considering abortion) under much more emotional stress.

            The connection to anarchism is that I feel that the construction of these types of moral frameworks ultimately lead to the formation of states in order to enforce them.

            Of course, I am a vegan as I said below, and from what I understand, there have been religious power structures in certain regions and eras of history that have forced vegetarianism on their subjects (the buddhists and jains), and also parents who have ignorantly forced the diet on children who couldn't physiologically handle it. But I feel like veganism/vegetarianism is far more practical to pull off than trying to preserve every unborn child's life in a large industrial societ, and also the violence and suffering associated with animal exploitation is far more obvious.

        • Steph says:

          Do you realise the hormones released during sex, the ones that make you feel good, the ones that make sex desirable, are what we call “bonding hormones”. Do you know why we have those hormones? In terms of survival of the fittest, the couples that had a stronger bond were more likely to work together to raise and protect their young, therefore their young were more likely to survive and pass on the genes.

          It is also the same hormone released at birth, and also whilst breastfeeding and even just hugging. Without that hormone men would have abandoned pregnant women, putting their lives at risk, and women would’ve abandoned their children, which meant no ones genes would be passed on.

          So Julie is right, the sole evolutionary purpose of sex is for procreation.

          • Byrne says:

            I think Gale Routh completely made your case for you. The venom for humanity practically leaks off the page. All that seems to matter is the self, not the other. BraveThe World thanks for the interesting line of argumentation.

  2. bob says:

    Hi Julia. First of all, I can totally see the passion you have for this topic in your writing; you write some very articulate points in a perspective I have not explored in depth. For that, I give you big kudos!

    What I have an issue with is your retort to the comment that was posted on this page. Firstly, the difference between a one-day old fetus and a 9-month old fetus is biologically quite drastic, which in turn has a direct effect on the way the fetus will be perceived both philosophically and morally. For example, a human that would have the same moral dilemma in seeing someone euthanize a freshly hatched baby bird, dying on the ground (having fallen from its nest), versus someone swatting and killing a common house fly buzzing around their head? Do you believe those two organisms to be equal? If so, do you condone the ‘murder’ of thousands of house flies that die everyday from humans?

    I understand that my argument above is slightly farfetched, but I simply used it to articulate that although an organism can be defined as living and functional, there is very much a socially constructed hierarchy on which we categorize the livelihood of every creature on earth (with ourselves at the top, of course). That being said, discussions of human lives (and deaths), especially those that are prenatal, are always interesting, as there are so many intersecting facets that come into play!

    My personal opinion on abortion is quite liberal (or sexually progressive for all my gender studies people!) meaning I am in favour of healthy abortion practices. While I definitely hear what you’re saying about the potential for negative empowerment in females as a result of pro-abortion policies; however, I truly feel as though it is a ‘grass is always greener’-type situation. What I mean by this is that if abortion was in fact illegal and punishable by law, could you imagine the way that would transcend further into women’s rights and their ability to socially progress? I can read it now…”How can women make political decisions when they can’t even decide what happens to their own body!” – it truly is a double-edged sword.

    Personally, I believe that in the developed world, sex is no longer first and foremost a biological process, as sex (and sexuality) has been and will remain a staple social institution. During periods of religion and conservative values, sex represents a regulated activity that is meant solely for the purpose of recreation. However, during times of sexualization and, for lack of a better word, ‘raunch culture’, sex becomes much more of a routine process that is meant to be explored and tested. With that in mind, how can the same activity (sex) be defined in such different ways, relative the mouth/era they are attached to? Because sex (just like everything else for that matter) is socially constructed, and therefore can evolve in accordance to the sociocultural factors that it intersects with (which is pretty much everything).

    What does this have to do with abortions? Simple…if sex is an act that is specifically designed to bring a new organism into the world, then an abortion is a deviant act, as it fundamentally destroys the intention of the sexual activity, in addition to murdering a ‘living’ creature (quotations used because many argue that an organism is not living until it has a functional CNS). If, however, sex is regarded as a recreational activity that induces pleasure and exercise, abortion can be used as a tool to eliminate a potentially negative side-effect associated with sex: pregnancy. Bottom line (for me at least) is, context is everything, and it truly is all about your perspective.

    Finally, your quip to the previous commenter that a positive perspective on abortion is racist is quite fanatical in my opinion. Regardless of statistical differences in abortion rates among races, classes, creeds, ages, etc., being pro-abortion and stating that is good for society is not a racist comment, unless the comment is being said in discussions of abortion as a way to manage birth rates of racial minorities – something he/she clearly was not implying. That being said, I will play devil’s advocate even more, and say that his/her pro-abortion comment was actually quite the opposite of being racist, as he/she was supporting the right for an African American woman to decide whether or not she is ready to have a baby.

    To conclude, in my opinion at least, the question truly surrounds an individual’s perspective towards sex and sexuality. If you put sex up on the social pedestal that so many of us North Americans do, regarding it as a biological phenomenon that leads to procreation, then abortion is definitely a questionable practice. Contrastingly, if you see sex as a recreational activity that has associated risks and dangers, then an abortion is simply another technological advancement that has been socially presented as an avenue for the empowerment of a historically marginalized demographic (women).

    Finally, if you really want to go farfetched with this topic, I would take your stance and turn it back onto you and say, “well if abortions are the act of killing a human being, regardless of whether they are pre or postnatal, than what do condoms represent?

    • bravetheworld says:

      Thanks Bob, thank you for reading 🙂

      “Tell me the difference between a 1 day old baby and a 9 month old “fetus”?” -you misunderstood!

      I mean 1 day old baby as in a child that was born and is 1 day old, vs. a 9 month old “fetus.” I agree there is a large difference with a 1 day old “fetus” and 9 month old “fetus.”

      “well if abortions are the act of killing a human being, regardless of whether they are pre or postnatal, than what do condoms represent?

      I am not sure what you mean? I don’t see this being relative.

      Regarding my reply to the first comment…they seem insanely pro-choice with 0 perpective on the value of human life. I think holding an opinion that abortion is great for society is a very slippery slope. Eugenics may too be good for society but it’s wrong.

      I think the way to improve society to to teach and empower both men and women regarding their own bodies. I remember learning next to nothing in school about my reproductive health…why am I paying taxes to an educational system that can’t even guide girls to know when and how they ovulate? Is this not better than going “whoops, abortion!”

      Anyways, I do not hold an extreme view whatsoever. I think abort is a necessary evil, and I would never judge a woman that gets an early abortion. My issue lies with how flippant the issue has become for women. I think late abortions should not be legal (except for medial reasons) and those who have them and the doctors that do them should go to jail.

  3. Ardashes says:

    Absolutely amazing article…. I'm very torn when it comes to this subject. My libertarian side is very much against making more laws to say "Hey Women you can't do that" but at the same time every cell in my body says it's just plain wrong. But then you made a great argument when you said….

    "A woman that carries a human life for 9 months and gets an abortion the day before delivery has done nothing wrong. A woman that gives birth to a pre-mature baby, and then stabs it shortly after delivery, has committed murder. This does not compute. "

    So after years of listening to both sides with reading and research…. my humble opinion from a regular shmo is I think we should keep it legal. But have a huge push (campaign) to keep the baby. If they can’t for financial reasons then ADOPTION. People are dying to adopt a baby.
    The mind set of abortion needs to change.
    Instead of talking a women into an abortion procedure, what’s wrong with telling her that there are couples in this country that are killing themselves to have a child and they would love to give your baby a life and home….. There’s no shame in that, no matter the circumstance of the pregnancy.
    Imagine the joy of that woman when she finds out she has brought a new life/baby to this world and changed the lives of a husband and wife forever in a way that the wealth of all the super powers on earth would seem miniscule in comparison.
    I think if we win their hearts we won’t need a law banning abortion.
    It will eventually be illogical to kill a baby.

    This maybe a simplistic look at it but there are a lot of thing that are legal and are being practiced less and less. Cigarettes are legal but smoking in the US has gone down tremendously…. Why?
    We tell each other Hey man It’s not healthy, you’ll get heart disease and bla bla bla and you die earlier. It’s just not logical to smoke. Yes I do smoke.
    In Schools do they hand out packs of Marlboros to 10 year olds and tell them hey it’s your choice….
    Of course not…. We tell them the truth, it’s bad for you, and there are very bad consequences.

    Great article Looking to read more of your stuff
    Saw you on the Anarchast on YouTube
    You Rock


    • bravetheworld says:

      You’re right, changing laws won;t do too much, it’s about changing attitudes, just like with smoking. I hope these attitudes do change soon 🙁

  4. anatheiris says:

    I followed the link from your "Declare War on Feminism" video because, while i felt that the arguments you were making against feminism were rational and constructive, it seemed you and i shared different perspectives on the topic of birth control and abortion. So here I am, trying to understand you better. 🙂 After reading your article, i only had a few concerns:

    First, birth control: Historically, birth control has been a means for women to empower themselves. All of a sudden, it was in the woman's control whether or not she had to commit herself to the very difficult job of tending to a child, which at times (most times, historically) necessitated external assistance (husband, family, government, etc) in order to procure resources. This would limit her opportunities for social mobility. In the 19th-20th century this would have been her chances of procuring a modern job that required her to leave the home, allowing her to be self sustainable. The science behind the ovulation cycles as we know it (correct me if i'm wrong) have only until recently been reliable forms of birth control. 

    Now, to tend to the question of abortion:I agree that contemporary discussions on abortion do retain a seemingly flippant attitude. I also concur that the decisions being made with the act of abortion should not be a light one, but this is based purely on my own ideal moral grounds. Unfortunately, circumstances are rarely ideal for the individuals who have found themselves deciding between life and abortion, and it is my opinion that society cannot trangress on a person's power to choose based on simply moral contentions (i.e, the christian/religious approach). At times, we may think the reasons and circumstances for an abortion are distateful, flippant, disconnected, etc The Kasey scenario you mentioned is an excellent example of this,but we need to tread carefully when we let our subjective morals potentially effect legal policy. 

    I can see that you're a believer in indivual freedom. So am I. That means that we need to permit what we might see as "flippant" for the sake of maintaining the individual freedoms of people. Because it is still hotly debated, and until more time and money is dedicated to the study of pregnancy, romanticizing the importance and significance of a "developing human" will remain subjective. Any concerted effort to change attitudes will be, in my opinion, treading too closely along the lines of sentimentality and subjective morality to be tenable in logical discussions of choice. 

    That said, you're still free to share your views on abortion and human rights in the hopes of affecting attitudes. The best of luck to you. 



    • bravetheworld says:

      The reliable birth control thing is a bit of a misconception. Women in amazonian tribes control their population through natural means of birth control…it’s not that hard. But we are disconected from ourselves. I was on the pill for years. It destroys you. go to and watch the video of me on my home page to get my full perspective. 

      Individual freedom yes….but what about the “fetus?” Where is their individual freedom? And when do they get a choice? They don’t. Well a 1 month old baby can’t make a choice either. Is it ok to kill? Things to think about. 

  5. bravetheworld says:

    Thank you for writing. My stance is really this: overall it’s not a legal issue, it’s a moral issue. But our morality has degraded maybe due to these laws. When abortion is made legal to such an extent, our morals seems to echo this. 

    Anyways. Rape, danger to the mother etc. Very tricky. I would not hold it against anyone. I would not judge. It’s a choice. But when you are raped and you kill the child, that is punishing a 3 party that has nothing to do with the act. Having said that, I would not want to raise a child which was the product of such an act. Terminating the pregnancy would still be immoral. But that is why I would too, not make it 100% illegal in our current system. That immoral choice should be critical but I myself, would think of making it if I was raped. 

    I just want people to think. Legality is secondary.

  6. Jacob says:

    For years I've been trying to explain my position on abortion, but I could never put my thoughts into words. This article does it. This is what I've been trying to say forever. Everytime I try to explain my position to pro-choicers I immediately get labeled as someone who wants to take away women's rights (which I don't), and it's so annoying that people make the issue so black and white when it isn't. Thanks for this article Julia, it's truly brilliant. 

  7. SRV says:

    Great discussion on the moral dilemma of personal positions on the subject!

    I’ve concluded (after a similar journey) the answer is not really so complicated…

    Legal, safe, and unregulated abortion (meaning no restrictions outside the decisions of the woman and her doctor) is the only answer, and all of the moral dilemma arguments simply serve either side, leading to the only possible outcome… intellectual gridlock!

    Clearly, (the act of) abortion is a tragedy when viewed through the potential of loss of life. However, perhaps those on either side of the issue would do well to focus on the history of the decriminalization of abortion, and the horrors of the situation under societal prohibition… coat hangers, back room butchers, suicides, shame, death, and far too often… poverty and despair!

    Like alcohol and drugs, abortion will continue irrespective of society’s laws, and as counterintuitive as it sounds, making the procedure as safe and humane as possible is unfortunately the best we can do ;-(


    * One final ‘moral’ observation if I may… why is it that ‘so many’ who take the anti abortion position to the most extreme levels seem to have the least empathy for the living conditions (and utter contempt for those who dare seek financial support) of those forced by law (actually most often by fanatical policies directed at subverting current law) to bring unwanted children into a world of “poverty and despair?”

  8. Mary says:

    I really appreciate this article and the way that you have carefully considered and represented all of the grey areas of this issue.  Too often abortion rights are used as a tool by politicians to polorize us, when, in fact, we may be closer to agreement than we thought, if we would only listen to one another.  I am pro-choice, but I agree with much of what you've written. 

    As one example, we can stand together in opposition of 3rd trimester abotions.  Personally, I feel by that point in pregnancy the only legitamate reason for abortion is serious health risk to the mothers life.  And even in that case, there is no reason that an emergency c-section shouldn't be performed and premie care given to the child. When I had my son I learned that the miracles of modern medicine allows viability at 27 weeks gestation and in many cases up to as early as 22 weeks. In my opinion, there is absolutly no moral or medical reason to abort a child after 20 weeks.

    But that's me off my soap box.  I just wanted to say I found your article well written and well considered.


  9. a Texas libertarian says:

    Very interesting article, and comments as well, on one of the most controversial subjects yet known to the human experience. It is one of the only ones which even hard core anarchist libertarians can vehemently disagree on. Since libertarianism can be viewed as the science of freedom, let's try to examine this from a scientific and rational state of mind.

    I'm convinced the whole argument whether life begins at what stage or at what value is totally irrelevant as any distinction made can only be arbitrary and thus irrational. Also comparing unborn human children to animals as a means of justifying their murder is irrational. After all we must compare apples to apples if we are to maintain any semblence of scientific rigor. Human life is life at the moment of conception. Sperm cells are not human life and unfertilized eggs are not human life, therefore the birth control and condom arguments are also irrelevant.

    I also think the rape argument or the argument based on intentions is equally irrelevant. Murder is murder no matter the motive or any circumstances leading up to the act in question. A crime of passion is such an illegitimate excuse for getting away with a crime and a hate crime is no different than any other comparable crime committed that doesn't fit into a particular social agenda. In other words, rape is terrible, but it should not obscure the relevant fact that it doesn't justify killing the resultant unborn child.

    Now at this point you may think I'm against a woman's right to control the functions of her own body, but you'd be wrong. I hold that a woman has the total unreserved right to control her body and property against the whole world as long as she does not use it to aggress against another's right to their body or property. Whether or not a woman chose to be pregnant is not relevant. What is relevant is that she has a new human life inside her and this life must be respected, but not necessarily nurtured. This brings us to the first libertarian principle in question.

    Natural rights theory puts forward that no right is legitimate if it requires the services of another. This means no one, not even a child born or unborn, has the right to the sustainment of their life by another. They do, however, have a right to not be abused or killed, and certainly have the right to run away and the right to be rescued should a rescuer volunteer (by this I mean there should be no laws preventing rescue). Just as voluntary slavery cannot exist under a natural rights based libertarian society, even if substantiated by contract, due to the violation of self ownership, forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term is also a violation of her self ownership. Therefore, no woman should be forced to carry a pregancy to term.

    The second libertarian principle is question is the non-aggression principle, which should be familiar to anyone who claims the libertarian handle. Since it forms the bedrock of the entire political theory, it should not come as a surprise that it is relevant in the case of abortion. Since the baby did not choose to come into existence, and thus survive parasitically off of the mother for a gestation period of roughly 9 months, the baby has not violated the NAP. I think we can all agree the unborn baby is innocent of any conceivable crime. This means the unwilling imminent and ethical mother faces a dilemma. She does not want the child, but she cannot violate the NAP and terminate her unborn child by an act of violence, whether chemical or physical.

    The solution is that she may terminate the pregnancy instead of the unborn child, and this is a big philosophical and moral distinction. For by terminating the nutrient supply to the child, or by delivering the premature unborn child to willing adoptive parents, or by any other method consistent with both NAP and natural rights as outlined above, she is allowing the child a chance at life, however small it may be. In the future, machines, in service to willing adoptive parents, may be able to carry a baby to term after the first month of pregnancy, which is usually when a pregnancy is first discovered, and surgeries to remove unwanted children will get safer and safer as technology and medical science advance in the absence of government protectionism (different discussion).

    The taking of life is never justified unless in self defense, and under normal pregnancy the woman's life is not in danger (I'm sure this can be debated), therefore a woman who has an abortion where the unborn child's life is purposefully terminated has committed the murder or contracted the murder of the child. We all feel deep down that killing unborn children is wrong, but we cling to accepting abortion due to our love of individual liberty. I think the path I have examined above needs to be considered, since it is consistent with the two dominant ethical traditions of libertarianism. 

    It is also consistent with both the violinist pro-choice argument and the nurse's coma patient pro-life dilemma. The principles of self ownership and non-aggression apply to both. The nurse does not kill the coma patient, she simply allows him to die (if she wishes), since he has no right to her services, and the involuntary slave of the violinist simply cuts the chord depriving the aggressor of the use of his own violated circulatory system.

    • a Texas libertarian says:

      As a follow up to above.

      Libertarian political ethics, as I understand them, grant the right in each of the cases of the pro-choice violinist argument and the pro-life coma patient argument to the independent person to allow the dependent person to die, though not to actively kill them. However, morally, I would argue that in the case of the coma patient, the nurse given guardianship rights should try to find a new guardian to watch over this person, before letting them die. The moral case for preserving the violinist is much less strong, since the independent person has been abducted against their will by the actors on behalf of the violinist. I would argue that, in this case, it would be both moral and ethical to allow the violinist to die without consideration of finding an alternate life support substitute, since the abductee was taken and used without his or her permission as though they had no right of self ownership.

      In the case of aborting a pregnancy, in a manner consistent with the principle of self ownership and the principle of non-aggression, it should be clear that allowing an unborn child to die inside the womb after cutting the umbilical chord is wrong, unless there is absolutely no other choice. However, in a society where parents do not have a legal obligation to children and no state subsidies exist to encourage having children without a partner, women will be more selective with their sexual encounters and partners, thus reducing the demand for abortions. Also finding potential adoptive parents at any stage of the unwanted pregnancy will become easier as technology advances and where a free market in guardianship rights over children exists. Potential adoptive parents may offer to pay for the medical procedures involved with delivering a premature baby along with buying the guardianship rights. Under these circumstances we can rely on economics to discourage bad moral behavior. Why let your unborn baby die when you can make money from selling the guardianship rights?

      It is important to note the difference between political ethics and morals. Both govern human behavior, except political ethics indicates what you should not do (lower bound), and morals indicate an ideal which should be strived for (upper bound). Our society today is confusing morals and political ethics by trying to enforce morals on society. The result has been fairly terrible and sadly predictable. If you take away the choice to be moral, then morals will cease to exist. Only political ethics will remain, swollen to include all manner of quasi moral transgressions, and thus people will act without morals unless they are forced to behave.

  10. Iggy says:

    You are spot on, as usual.

    Definitely not the "it's my body" stupid argument some people are trying to make. There's no excuse to abort a 4 months foetus. Why on Earth do you wait 4 months? so the thing is sentient enough to feel pain and try to defend itself? Past week 5 when the neural system is complete enough for motion I'd say why did you wait so much?

    It's terrible that people think killing is fine because you can get away with it.

  11. Murder is committed for only three reasons: profit, passion, compulsion.

    What does the reason matter? Murder is unrighteous killling. There are such things as righteous killings, like that of a murderer or adulterer. But even if I were to accept your classification, I'd then point out that the woman who chooses abortion does so for exactly the reasons you have enumerated. What is her profit? You know the saying "a penny saved is a penny earned" ? It's not free to carry a child to term, nor to raise it. What is her passion? For her girly non-motherly lifestyle. What is her compulsion? To remain forever young as per the typical and completely banal sentiment of every failed person ever. 

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