Choice. It is a great slogan to use for marketing or for politics because everyone supports having one. No one wants to be accused of being anti-choice.
It’s no surprise, then, that to justify legal abortion, abortion advocates have used the word as their mantra. They argue that abortion is a personal decision that women make about their bodies, and that we should not take away that choice. Yet when examining these arguments, it’s clear that they’ve made important assumptions that need to be explained.
For example, it’s undeniable that everyone is pro-choice and anti-choice—depending on what is being chosen. We can generally be pro-choice about what beverage people drink, but anti-choice about drinking alcohol and then driving. Not only are we anti-choice about drinking and driving, we expect the law to force this anti-choice belief on everyone in society.
In the same way, we can all agree that abortion is a choice, but why assume that this justifies legal abortion? Don’t we need to know what kind of choice it is first before we support it?
Now abortion advocates may say abortion deals with a personal decision a woman makes about her body, and therefore it should be a private choice. But laws already limit what we can choose to do with our bodies, especially if what we do hurts someone else’s body. This is why you won’t be arrested for having an intoxicated body when you’re home alone, but you will be arrested if you use your intoxicated body to drive—because in doing so you could hurt someone else’s body.
And so, abortion advocates need to prove the pre-born child is part of the woman's body and not simply assume it. After all, if the pre-born are separate human beings just like us— and biology says they are—then a pregnant woman may control her own body only to the extent that she doesn’t hurt that child’s body.
We just don’t have unlimited rights to do anything with our bodies that we want. Consider that even a woman (or man) can’t choose to have sex with whoever they want: In 2007, a Toronto man successfully sued his estranged wife because she had sex with him without telling him she was HIV positive. The woman was convicted of assault for making a choice that hurt someone else's body.1
Pro-lifers need to make abortion advocates provide good reasons for their arguments and not just make rash assumptions.
Here are some common examples of how abortion advocates make unproven assumptions1 and how pro-lifers can reveal these assumptions:
"Unlike anti-choice groups, the pro-choice movement also promotes sexual health education, contraception and services for mothers, such as public accessible childcare. Because of this, pro-choice and anti-choice are not two opposite sides of the abortion debate; anti-choice promotes forced pregnancy, the opposite of which is forced abortion. The pro-choice movement opposes both extremes, instead it holds the position that women should have the right to choose what is best for them."
When the debate is about whether or not abortion should be legal, is your position "neutral" if it advocates for legal abortion? If abortion kills a human child, is it neutral to say that women should have a right to choose to kill children?
"According to the WHO, tens of thousands of women around the world suffer long-term health consequences resulting from unsafe abortions. With the legal right to choose safe abortion, women can better ensure their ability to have a healthy pregnancy in the future."
That’s interesting. Tell me, how do you accurately count a procedure that is illegal? How do they know these numbers?
Furthermore, when you refer to illegal abortions as being unsafe, thus implying legal ones are safe, you’re assuming a pre-born child isn't human. After all, if she is human, and abortion kills her, then there's no such thing as a safe abortion for her.
Also, did you know that pro-life groups work in those countries too? Wouldn't it be fair to say that pro-lifers oppose abortions whether they are performed legally or illegally because both kill pre-born children? And if abortion does kill pre-born children, then should we make it legal so that others can kill them safer?
Finally, if illegal abortions are unsafe and dangerous, would you agree with me, then, that we should punish people who perform illegal abortions? For example, did you know that Henry Morgentaler performed thousands of illegal abortions—should we then arrest him?
"Anti-choice groups advocate for the legal restriction and criminalisation of abortion and other sexual and reproductive rights. This political agenda is often based on subjective moral or religious beliefs held by its proponents."
You're assuming that the pre-born aren't human. After all, just as we have legal restrictions for killing born people, it would make sense to have legal restrictions for killing pre-born people, right? Since religious people are against killing toddlers, will you dismiss that legitimate view of theirs simply because they happen to be religious?
Furthermore, are you saying that it is wrong to be anti-choice on abortion? But isn't that your moral belief? Aren't you insisting that all Canadians adopt your moral point of view on abortion? If it is wrong to impose subjective moral beliefs on Canadians, then why do you have a right to impose your subjective moral ideas on Canadians while pro-lifers don’t have that right?
Isn't it fair to say that all law forces someone's morals on someone else? Then shouldn't the question be which morals should make the law, not that we should make laws based on morals?
Abortion advocates have no qualms about being anti-choice when it comes to pro-lifers and, frankly, all Canadians if it furthers their agenda. They don’t mind limiting what pro-lifers, including pro-life women, can do with their bodies.
For example, Canadians are not allowed to exercise their free speech in front of abortion clinics.1 Pro-lifers, including pro-life women, cannot choose to put their bodies in front of clinics to provide information that would protect pre-born children from being aborted. Abortion advocates not only supported removing this choice, but helped make these anti-choice laws possible.2
Canadians also have no choice when it comes to funding abortions in Canada. They are forced to cover costs for abortions.3 If certain late-term abortions are not available in Canada, Canadians can get abortions in the US and their trips and their abortions are covered by provincial health care programs.4
Abortion advocates are even upset if the federal government does not fund abortions in developing countries. Yet, nothing prevents these advocates from personally donating to abortion providers in these mostly pro-life nations.
They also do not respect the choice of these pro-life countries to ban abortion. Abortion advocates argue that their anti-choice stance is justifiable because women’s lives are endangered through illegal abortions. Click here to see our response to this claim. In other words, choice is justifiably limited if someone’s life is in danger.
By making this argument of course, they don’t realize that they are making the same point pro-lifers have always made: that when someone’s choice endangers someone’s life, then we should all be anti-choice.