Pregnant? How’d That Happen?

...says the baby

Having spent a great deal of time in discussion with abortion advocates and defenders, I have noticed a recurring meme that seems to be a foundational flaw in the reasoning of many of their pro-choice arguments.  Where many pro-choice arguments trade on a false understanding on what the fetus is ontologically (See: Get A Life, Part 1), this flaw trades on a glitch in the foundational premise of why it is morally permissible to have an elective abortion. Though it seems to be a minor discrepancy, I have come to realize how many pro-choice arguments rely on this small but persistent error in thinking on the issue.

The question abortion advocates and defenders subconsciously (or consciously as it may be) answer incorrectly is: How does a woman become pregnant?  A rather rudimentary middle-schoolesque sex-ed question I know.  But it is surprising how many defenses for abortion work from the idea that the implanted fertilized ovum/embryo/fetus is responsible for pregnancy, and not the coital activities which instigated the genesis of the fertilized ovum.

It may seem like definitional hair-splitting, but I think the splitting is warranted.  The difference between the two is that of who is responsible for the woman’s pregnant condition which “requires” elective abortion.

In reality the genesis of pregnancy is sexual intercourse.  The implanted fertilized ovum is pregnancy, not the cause.  This conflates the cause of the condition and the condition itself.  This is important because the bulk of pro-choice argumentation stems from the perspective that the fetus is “responsible” for the woman being pregnant.  If this is true (that the baby causes the pregnancy) then the abortion defender — in his or her own mind — is justified in seeking an elective abortion based on responsibility.  I don’t think it’s so much “it’s the baby’s fault I’m pregnant” as much as it is “I’m not (totally) responsible for this pregnancy”.  It is looked upon as a condition that “happened to me” rather than “because of my decisions”, therefore there is a justification, however frivolous, to not be pregnant anymore.

I think this partial shifting of responsibility — however seemingly uninfluential — makes a woman that much more open to elective abortion as a viable option to not be pregnant anymore.

I have always try to avoid discussing abortion in terms of responsibility.  Honestly, I think it carries the connotation that pregnancy is a negative condition, especially when the child in the womb is compared in negative analogies.  For example, consenting to drive but not consenting to the car accident you caused; however the other driver’s losses are still your responsibility.  These analogies which draw parallels between the baby and some negative only serve to reenforce the urge to pass off responsibility.

It’s important to have clarity when discussing abortion.  Among the more common misconceptions the pro-choice advocates (what the fetus actually is, when life begins, personhood, etc.) this is probably the least contributory to holding pro-choice views, but it is important to chip away at all the angles abortion defenders levy against the unborn.

Comments

  1. Terrance H. says:

    John,

    You speak of a common pro-choice argument, but oftentimes it’s taken to a new level of absurdity: the child is called a “parasite.” I brought this up once to a pro-choicer and he had the gall to suggest it doesn’t happen; that he has “never heard a pro-choicer say that.”

    • Well, the parasite defense is an argument more often than not employed by younger more militant pro-abortion activists. Usually college students and professors. Luckily it isn’t a mainstream argument…yet.

  2. The mother is responsible for carrying and caring for the child. That’s why, sometimes, the responsible decision is to end the pregnancy. The anti-abortion advocates are the ones that seem to think no one has responsibility and that everything will take care of itself.
    And I’m glad you support middle school sex education.

    • I know what you mean Jason, my 5 year old is pretty expensive now that my oldest is costing more. I was thinking of killing her and chopping her up because her quality of life won’t be quite ideal according to most. Killing her then dismembering her is the most responsible thing I can think of, thanks for your support.

  3. But your 5-year old doesn’t want you to kill her because she has a developed brain and personal consciousness, as opposed to an early-stage fetus which has no consciousness or ability to appreciate itself as an entity. So that would be murder as opposed to ending a pregnancy. Comparing the two is nonsense.

    • Who cares what she wants, its my life. If it helps I’ll just induce her into a coma so she’ll have no conciousness or appreciations so she doesn’t qualify as a person anymore and kill her then. She doesn’t have a fully developed brain, (and neither does a fetus) so it’s fine. She is too expensive, and besides, I want to go back to school and further my career, she’s just getting in the way. My right to not be a father trumps her right to be a leech.

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