You are probably familiar with the usual pro-choice mantras: "it's my body," "freedom to choose," "reproductive health," and so-on and so-forth in the abortion debate. While we believe that any argument used to defend snuffing out the life of an unborn child is wrong, there are some that go above and beyond. Here is our list of the top 10 most ridiculous pro-choice arguments, in order of the least most ridiculous to the most most ridiculous.
10. Above My Pay Grade
People are granted certain rights in the United States. An important legal question in the abortion debate, therefore, is when do those rights begin? At what point should the law recognize a person as a person for the purpose of granting those rights?
Since this is a legal question, those without legal expertise may not be expected to have an answer. For a former law school professor, U.S. senator and candidate for the presidency of the United States, on the other hand, the question is perfectly legit.
When Rick Warren asked Barack Obama this question during the 2008 presidential campaign, he said the question was "above my pay grade."
9. Babies Are Expensive
Abortion is good because babies are expensive, Bryce Covert wrote for Think Progress, a liberal think tank. Arguing that "cutting off reproductive choices can drive up the government's costs," Covert recommends reinstating government funds for Planned Parenthood in Texas so that women can have "access to contraception" and can avoid "unplanned births."
This argument is based upon the notion that the value of a human life is based upon their contribution to society, a theme found in other ridiculous pro-choice arguments (see #3 and #2 below).
8. Pursuit of Happiness
Women have a right to abortion because of the right to "pursuit of happiness" found in the North Dakota Constitution, Judge Wickham Corwin wrote in a recent court opinion. Corwin fails to mention, though, that the N.D. Constitution also guarantees a right to life in the very same sentence that he cites.
Indeed, a person cannot pursue happiness if they are not given an opportunity to live their life in the first place, so those two "inalienable rights" mentioned in the N.D. Constitution (as well as the Declaration of Independence) are complementary.
Even if we were to ignore the primary victim of an abortion, it is difficult to imagine how having an abortion would make women happy, given that women who have an abortion have a higher risk for mental disorders.
7. Abortion Isn't Mentioned in the Bible
"The Bible says nothing whatsoever about abortion. It never mentions the subject, not once, neither in the Old Testament nor the New," Adam Lee wrote for Salon. The Bible, though, is misogynistic, he claims. Lee concludes, therefore, that "the health and well-being of women is of no concern to" pro-lifers.
If the Bible allows anything not specifically condemned, then child molestation would be OK as well. Lee also ignores the fact that pro-life arguments are not solely based upon scripture anyway. Indeed, they are more likely than pro-choicers to appeal to science (see #2 below). The morality of not killing innocent life can certainly be found in the Bible, but the question of when life begins is answered by science.
6. End of "Whiteness"
Pro-lifers are racist and acting out of fears about the end of the white race, claimed Salamishah Tillet, associate professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
In a June 15 panel discussion about a 20-week abortion ban on MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry," Tillet claimed that new abortion restrictions are being passed because of a "kind-of moral panic, a fear of the end of whiteness," because a majority of children are now non-white.
Assuming for a moment that pro-lifers really were acting out of a racist motive, how exactly would abortion restrictions reduce the number of minority children and increase the number of white children? Given that minority children are more likely to be aborted than white children, if one really wanted to increase the proportion of white to non-white children, the best way to do that would be to make abortion more easily available.
Additionally, non-whites are more likely to be pro-life than whites. Are these pro-life minorities also seeking to prevent the end of whiteness with restrictions on abortion?
5. Abortion is "Sacred Ground"
After pointing out that she is a "practicing and respectful Catholic," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in June that abortion is "sacred ground" and "shouldn't have anything to do with politics." Texas state senator Wendy Davis repeated the claim in a recent press conference.
Since Davis did not use the phrase in relation to religion, and her biography does not mention any religious affiliation, one possible interpretation is that Davis simply meant that the abortion issue is very important to her.
Pelosi, on the other hand, used the term specifically in relation to her Catholic faith. For Catholics, sacred ground is a holy place set apart to honor God. Given this, it is difficult to imagine how the abortion issue could be considered sacred ground, even for someone who is pro-choice. Does Pelosi go to abortion clinics to take communion, pray the rosary and praise God?
4. Abortion Helps Me Have Casual Sex
The 20-week abortion ban makes casual sexual encounters more difficult, self-described "bro-choicer" Ben Sherman complained in the Burnt Orange Report.
"Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion?" Sherman wrote.
Sherman also worried that the anti-abortion legislation would "drastically undercut" the joys of casual sex.
"And don't be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by," he added.
Even pro-choice women must be shaking their heads at this argument. The "Bro-Choice Campaign" was begun by Choice USA to, in part, "challenge negative stereotypes and representations of men and masculinity," and "call out sexism."
3. To Get Rid of Down Syndrome Babies
A 20-week abortion ban is too early, the editors of USA Today warned, because women may no longer be able to abort their babies with Down syndrome.
Since most diagnoses of Down syndrome occur near the time that a fetus is 20-weeks old, they point out, women who receive the diagnosis would not have the opportunity to abort them.
Those who live with Down syndrome would disagree with the notion that their lives are not worth living.
2. When Life Begins Depends on "Feeling of the Parents," Not Science
Melissa Harris-Perry admitted recently what many pro-lifers have long pointed out -- pro-choice arguments are not based upon science. Harris-Perry also deserves credit for pointing out that the question of when life begins is essential in the abortion debate. And, unlike Obama (see #10), she provides an answer to that question.
The answer of when life begins "depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents -- a powerful feeling -- but not science," Harris-Perry, a Tulane political science professor, said July 20 on her MSNBC show. (This is the same Harris-Perry who once said that "kids belong to whole communities, not parents.")
A baby that is wanted and a baby that is not wanted are "biologically the same," she helpfully admitted. "But the experience can be entirely different -- eggs are fertilized, embryos implant, cells divide and multiply, fetuses grow. But when does life begin?"
A person should only be considered a person, under the law, when they are wanted, according to Harris-Perry. Some people are unwanted, she explained, such as those conceived by rape, those with disabilities and those conceived by women who "decide they do not want a child" -- "these are different pregnancies."
1. "After-Birth" Abortions Are OK Too
If killing a baby that has survived an abortion is wrong, then killing the same baby before she has exited the womb is wrong as well, pro-lifers have effectively argued. Some pro-choicers, though, have a rebuttal -- killing babies outside the womb is OK too.
Newborn babies "do not have the same moral status as actual persons," Dr.'s Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argued in the February 2012, issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics.
Since babies are not actual persons, they continue, killing them should not be considered infanticide. Rather, they prefer the term "after-birth abortion."