Okay, so here's the 'pro-life' premise:
A foetus is a person, and abortion is therefore murder.
Which doesn't really get us very far, as it doesn't address the pro-choice premise, which is:
Even if we were to consider the foetus to be a person, no person has the right to the use of another person's body, even in cases where they need it in order to survive.
So in order to balance this, we need to add the unspoken but implied clause into the 'pro-life' argument:
A foetus is a person whose right to life trumps the right to bodily autonomy of its host. Killing this person is murder, therefore, even if the host cites her own right to bodily autonomy.
Now both statements are addressing the same problem. But here's where we hit a snag…
Most 'pro-lifers' will add an exception in cases where the pregnancy is the outcome of rape. So:
A foetus is a person whose right to life trumps the right to bodily autonomy of its host. Killing this person is murder, therefore, even if the host cites her own right to bodily autonomy unless the foetus is the result of rape.
Which is as hypocritical as all hell, unless we hold the foetus to blame for the circumstances of its own conception. No one would consider it fair or just to kill, say, a five-year-old on the grounds that they were conceived in rape. If a foetus has, as is claimed, the same right to life which that five-year-old has, then killing a rape-conceived foetus should be equally abhorrent.
If you want to know someone's actual priorities, you don't look at the title at the top of the page. You look at their argument, and see where it leads you. And, as shown, the 'pro-life' argument doesn't, no matter what heading they put up-top, lead you to believe that they want, above all else, to safeguard the lives of foetuses. So what possible priority does their argument fit?
Again, their willingness to allow abortion in the case of rape gives us the clue. Because a rape-victim cannot be held to blame for having become pregnant (except to the most fundamentalist of fundies), no matter how sinful you feel sex to be. A woman who's had voluntary intercourse, on the other hand, can.
It begins to look, Gentle Reader, as if the main problem 'pro-lifers' have with abortion isn't with the 'holocaust,' as they so charmingly term it. It seems what they're interested in is, at best, telling women 'You made your bed, now lie in it,' and at worst actively using children to punish their mother for having chosen to have sex. Because that does, very neatly, fit with the rape-exemption in their argument.
It can be dangerous to generalise too much. There are people who are genuinely pro-life, as they see it. They do feel, however mistakenly, that abortion is the killing of a person, and that a woman's loss of autonomy is a regrettable least-bad scenario. How they square this with the rape-exemption—if they even allow such exemption—I don't know; though I would guess that most such people simply haven't thought it through very well. To them, I would say 'Think it through.' If it is justifiable to abort an 'innocent foetal person' for being the result of a violation of the host-person's bodily autonomy (that's 'rape,' to you), then why should it not be justifiable to abort said 'innocent person' when they themselves are violating the host's autonomy?
When talking of the larger groups and organisations, though, the picture is much more clear-cut. They're almost invariably religious in nature and, tellingly, they're becoming more and more open about not only being anti-abortion, but also anti-contraception and anti-sex-education—two very obvious methods of avoiding the need for abortion in the first place.
And if you wanted a check on my conclusion above, well that's it right there.
Sex, to them, is a moral issue; it is inherently sinful and should have consequences. Consequences which, when teenagers know 'the facts of life,' and when contraception and abortion are available, become avoidable. There is, to any reasonable person, no harm done by, and therefore no immorality inherent in, safely practiced consensual sex. When the dangers of STDs and unwanted pregnancy are removed, 'promiscuity' becomes a dead issue, unless you believe that the act itself is inherently 'sinful' if done for any reason but procreation, because a god told you it is.
So, no, it's not at all about saving the dear little foetal people. It's about punishing actual real fully-formed people, especially women, for the sin of having sex.
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