Abortion Supporters Admit They Are Losing Argument


It’s easy to get discouraged in the pro-life movement. After all, we’ve been very actively waging this battle for four decades in the United States since abortion was made legal. And, still, millions of babies are aborted every year in our country. And it’s still a dangerous topic to bring up in mixed company, while popular opinion (although moving in a pro-life direction) remains fairly split. Sometimes it seems like things will never change.

But the truth is – we are winning. We just have to keep it up. Even honest abortion supporters are coming around to this reality. The truth can only be ignored for so long.

There was a surprisingly honest piece in the Washington Post last weekend that confirms all of this. It’s by a pro-choice woman (former president of Catholics for Choice – which is not Catholic at all) who basically admits that the pro-life argument is a winner and the pro-choice one is failing:

Opposition to legal abortion has increased dramatically. Opponents use increasingly sophisticated arguments – focusing on advances in fetal medicine, stressing the rights of parents to have a say in their minor children’s health care, linking opposition to abortion with opposition to war and capital punishment, seeking to make abortion not illegal but increasingly unavailable – and have succeeded in swinging public opinion toward their side.

Meanwhile, those of us in the abortion-rights movement have barely changed our approach. We cling to the arguments that led to victory in Roe v. Wade. Abortion is a private decision, we say, and the state has no power over a woman’s body. Those arguments may have worked in the 1970s, but today, they are failing us, and focusing on them only risks all the gains we’ve made.

She goes on to later admit, “We can no longer pretend the fetus is invisible” and that “ending the life of a fetus is not a morally insignificant event.”

This is a huge step. While it does give the pro-choice argument a new level of intellectual merit from the old “clump of cells – it’s not a baby, it’s my body you misogynist pig” argument, it will – in the end – help the pro-life cause tremendously. Anymore, anyone honestly engaging in the debate must inevitably face the scientific fact that a new human life begins at fertilization. And the closer the argument centers around the actual truth, the more complex and nuanced the excuses and justifications for abortion will necessarily become.

Complex, nuanced excuses don’t travel well in popular opinion. Which is why we continue to see more and more people coming around to the pro-life side and less and less people willing to defend this very real and morally dubious “choice.”

Instead, the author of this article suggests the pro-choice position should be argued based upon this:

Very few people would argue that there is no difference between the decision to abort at 6 weeks and the decision to do so when the fetus would be viable outside of the womb, which today is generally at 24 to 26 weeks.

She also claims that:

The public is ambivalent about abortion. It wants it to be legal, but will support almost any restriction that indicates society takes the act of abortion seriously.

In other words, she is saying we need to admit the obvious – “Abortion is a morally significant event that should be taken seriously. So we’d better stop down-playing it and pretending it’s no big deal or else people are going to stop taking us seriously.” And all of that is true.

That this realization is becoming more and more publicly widespread in the “pro-choice” crowd is great news for the pro-life movement. All of these new excuses beg more questions that ultimately can not be answered well by the pro-choice argument.

If an abortion is not morally insignificant, why?

If a baby being aborted at 24 weeks is more morally significant than one occurring at 6 weeks, why? What about 21 weeks? Or 16 weeks? Or 2 weeks? Where is the line?

Why would somebody’s age or their capability allow you to make a judgment over how more or less morally significant their life is?

Why would whether or not a human life needs the help of his or her mother (viability) make killing them more or less morally significant?

Why would somebody’s personal opinion/decision/choice make an unborn baby’s life more or less significant?

Pro-lifers have been waiting to have this debate. We welcome it. The reason many pro-choicers have historically held their hard line despite it’s ignorance of science and lack of rationality is because they don’t want to answer these questions. Because they know that they don’t have good answers for them.

They are beginning to realize they are in a lose-lose situation. And they are scrambling to find ways to lose more slowly. Let’s keep up the hard and necessary work. And do so with hope, love and joy.

12 comments Add comment

Perica Bosan?i? February 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Once upon a time we blundered (somewhat similar to this) thinking that people of different races are less human, that slavery is normal framework for modern society etc… who today dares, other than those labeled as fanatical few, to pass such ideas. Let us hope that this debate will soon end with a conclusion and legislative that is along the same lines of morality and conscience.

Jason February 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Good Article Matt. As Bernard Nathanson (may he rest in peace) pointed out that through the years of science and technology showing us exactly what is going on in the womb, those that still hold the “it’s a clump of cells” argument are still stuck in the 1970’s. May we always remember to be open to the debate for Life in an open and honest way with Faith, Hope, and Love for everyone, even those that are “Pro-Choice”.

ProChoiceGal February 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm
Matthew Warner February 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm

“Fetus worship”? This is not a serious argument. Pro-lifers don’t worship a fetus. We just want to protect both the men and women who begin their lives at conception in the womb of their mother. ALL women. And ALL men. I’m not sure why this is so hard to grasp by abortion advocates. Resorting to calling it “fetus worship” (as they do in the link you posted) is a sure sign that they either don’t take the argument seriously or are living in their own fantasy world. These are the kinds of arguments that Kissling is rightly recognizing for what they are: weak and not taken seriously by anybody who takes this debate seriously.

Matthew A. Siekierski February 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I figured it wouldn’t have a serious argument based on the domain name. But I looked, and sure enough…”misogynistic society”. Thus the person penning that article is stuck on the clump-of-cells failed argument.

lozen December 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Of course you would pick one phrase from one person out of this article and use it to back up your war on women’s rights. Women have the right to decide when they want to become mothers, or even if they never want to become mothers. No one else should have anything to do with it. We don’t care about your religious beliefs about when life begins. You do not have the right to force your religious beliefs on others. No woman should ever be forced to become a mother. It is not good for the woman; it is not good for a child to be unwanted.

Homer January 28, 2013 at 12:48 am

Women aren’t forced to have children. That is why there is birth control. She can choose not to have sex. Having an abortion that kills what will become a life outside the womb after 9 months shouldn’t be a choice. The fetus is as much part of the man as the woman. It isn’t part of a womans body. It is a seperate entity. Fetuses have no voice which is why they need protection. Parents can have children, but that doesn’t give them the right to mistreat them. They live in their house, but parents don’t own them. Just because a fetus is in a womans body doesn’t give her the right to do what she wants with it. That isn’t part of her body.

lozen March 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Homer, you are wrong! Just because a fetus is in a woman’s body DOES give her the right to do what she wants. I don’t know how to make this more plain: A woman should never be forced to give birth when she doesn’t want to give birth. No woman is free when she is forced to give birth when she doesn’t want to give birth. Women are entitled to freedom just as men are. That means the freedom to enjoy sex without the fear of pregnancy. What is so hard to understand about that? When you are a woman, and know what you are talking about, you can have an opinion on this. Until then, STFU!

Matthew Warner March 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Lozen – saying women have the right to enjoy sex without pregnancy is like saying I should have the freedom to jump off buildings with no parachute and not be smashed on the pavement below. It’s a denial of natural law.

And you seem to be all about women’s rights. But you don’t seem to care about the rights of the girls (and boys) in the womb – who happen to be growing and fully alive inside their mother. They have rights, too. Fight for those as much as others and you’ll start to see where the pro-life movement is coming from.

Dave July 9, 2013 at 10:18 am

The “pro-choice” arguments have always been weak. Lozen demonstrates that quite well, but they can be powerful, because they really play to human selfishness (which we all have) Notice he “if we don’t want to…we don’t have to…” Imagine if we thought that way about everything? “I shouldn’t have to go to work today if I don’t want to..quite infringing on my freedom!” “I don’t want to pay for this car, so I shouldn’t have to..let me just take it.” “Whattya mean I can’t use my hands to strangle this 9 year old? My hands are part of my body, I can do whatever I want with them.” Now they’re trying to say Ultra-sounds are invasive (I guess they think x-rays are also?) When your arguments start to sinking that low, you’ll have no new converts. All you’ll have is anger. It is an exciting time to be pro-life. Like it took time to end slavery, (because many people could think only of themselves, and not another person.) this has taken time as well. I hope I am alive to see Roe v Wade over-turned, it’s downfall is inevitable

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