Need Help Refuting Pro-Abortion Argument


#1

Dear Catholic Answes Forum,

I am so honored that there are so many Catholics on this website who will devote themselves to the defense of the dignity of human life. A few moments ago, I was conversing with a friend on the issue of abortion, explaining why I believe abortion is wrong. He then gave a reply to which I did not know how to answer, and I was hoping that someone can please give me guidance to being able to answer his pro-choice argument.

He said, "an unborn baby is dependent upon her mother for nutrients, oxygen, body heat and so on. This comes at the expense of the mother and without the mother the baby will not be able to sustain itself naturally.

Now imagine your uncle or niece is dying and the only person who can save him is you, via bone marrow transplant; this will cause you considerable inconvenience, pain, and increase your risk of injury or death for the following nine months. Is it considered murder or should you be punished for refusing to give him or her the transplant, allowing them to die?

Let's extend the analogy further. Keeping in mind that the mother's child won't come into existence without her, imagine that your uncle is now in a coma. The only chance he has to come out of the coma is if you hook yourself up to him and use your heart and kidneys to support his body, giving him a chance to heal. And, in addition, there's the caveat that once the process is begun, disconnecting yourself will kill him outright.

Now, same question. He has no chance to exit the coma without you, but you're not sure if you can commit to all these responsibilities. The window of opportunity is limited to just a few days, so you must make the decision immediately. If you decide to give it a shot, giving him a chance to recover, should it be illegal to change your mind later and withdraw support?

The fetus is basically the mother's tenant. Again, it is taking the mother's body heat, nutrients, oxygen, and so on. It's actually an even deeper relationship that tenant and landlord, because the mother's life is actively endangered by the presence of the fetus. The risk is not huge, but it is there.

To say that the mother must carry the baby to term regardless of what she wishes is the same as saying that a landlord must house a tenant for a set period of time. The tenant is so unstable that he will die without the landlord's help - but even so, that's not the landlord's fault, so why should he be obligated to continue to provide housing and food to the tenant, especially if it causes him significant inconvenience and at least some risk of harm? The same argument applies to the mother and the fetus. Doesn't this contradict the idea of a right to life when the mother's life is at risk and legally she is unable to have an abortion?"


#2

Hi Nguyen

My reading of your friend's argument is that he is basing his entire "right to choice" argument on the premise that being pregnant will at best be an inconvenience to the pregnant mother, and at worst that there is a risk that being pregnant will damage, harm or even cause the mother to die. He almost seems to go as far as to say that the normal impact of a pregnancy on a mother's body is sufficient to justify her deciding to terminate! With respect to your friend, this is both a very feeble argument and an outrageous one.

Yes, of course there is going to be inconvenience to a mother. Of course the baby is going to be sustaining itself on the nutrients, oxygen etc of the mother. And yes, there are even cases where mother's giving birth do die (particularly in the poorer, more poverty-stricken parts of the world). But your friend's argument is a bit like saying people shouldn't ever drive cars, because there is a risk that you will be killed or injured by doing so. It really is an absurd argument.

Furthermore, you can rest assured that over the first 3 or 4 months of a pregnancy, which is when most decisions regarding abortions generally happen, it is highly unlikely that a mother will over these early stages know if their own life is at risk.

In essence though the answer to your friend is very simple - and it is this: *No human being can play God and determine who lives and who dies. *

Even in those rare cases where it is determined that a mother's life is genuinely at risk were she to give birth (and these situations are mostly only determined later in the pregnancy), no human being has the right to decide which life is more important (although many would argue that this is perhaps a more debate-worthy topic).

At the end of the day it seems your friend is following the same pretext that most right to choice campaigners argue - namely that the foetus is not a human being - therefore the foetus does not have the same rights as the mother.

I am still bamboozled by the reluctance of so many people to recognise that a foetus is indeed a human being from the moment of conception. Medical science has shown this to be the case so clearly. The simple reason that we only see that person after about 9 months is because that person is not able to develop outside it's mother for those early stages of it's life. Just because you can't see that person "on the outside" doesn't make it any less of a person. And remember - a person keeps developing from conception right through to adulthood - it is largely just an incidental step in the process that at some point in it's development it pops out of it's mom for the outside world to see. It's a person before it pops out and it is a person after it pops out. There can not possibly be any disputing that!

Nguyen, out of interest, if you were to ask your friend this: "At what point does the foetus/baby become a human being?" What does he say?"

Let us know how your discussion progresses...

God bless you

Patrick


#3

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]

Now imagine your uncle or niece is dying and the only person who can save him is you, via bone marrow transplant; this will cause you considerable inconvenience, pain, and increase your risk of injury or death for the following nine months. Is it considered murder or should you be punished for refusing to give him or her the transplant, allowing them to die?

[/quote]

The analogy is false.

While illness is an abnormal state, the dependent state of the unborn child in her mother's womb is normal.

We are responsible for our children, but not our uncles and nieces.

Abortion is not refusing the unborn child anything, it is actively killing him.

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]
Let's extend the analogy further. Keeping in mind that the mother's child won't come into existence without her, imagine that your uncle is now in a coma. The only chance he has to come out of the coma is if you hook yourself up to him and use your heart and kidneys to support his body, giving him a chance to heal. And, in addition, there's the caveat that once the process is begun, disconnecting yourself will kill him outright.

[/quote]

The analogy is false.

The child is already in existence and not in a coma.

Abortion is not disconnecting from the child, it is actively killing her.

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]
Now, same question. He has no chance to exit the coma without you, but you're not sure if you can commit to all these responsibilities. The window of opportunity is limited to just a few days, so you must make the decision immediately. If you decide to give it a shot, giving him a chance to recover, should it be illegal to change your mind later and withdraw support?

[/quote]

Abortion is not withdrawing support, it is killing the child. Parents are allowed to give up a born child for adoption, but not kill him.

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]
The fetus is basically the mother's tenant. Again, it is taking the mother's body heat, nutrients, oxygen, and so on. It's actually an even deeper relationship that tenant and landlord, because the mother's life is actively endangered by the presence of the fetus. The risk is not huge, but it is there.

[/quote]

False analogy.

A tenant has no intrinsic right to be in someone's house.

An unborn baby is naturally supposed to be in her mother's womb.

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]
To say that the mother must carry the baby to term regardless of what she wishes is the same as saying that a landlord must house a tenant for a set period of time. The tenant is so unstable that he will die without the landlord's help - but even so, that's not the landlord's fault, so why should he be obligated to continue to provide housing and food to the tenant, especially if it causes him significant inconvenience and at least some risk of harm? The same argument applies to the mother and the fetus. Doesn't this contradict the idea of a right to life when the mother's life is at risk and legally she is unable to have an abortion?"

[/quote]

False analogy.

We are not responsible for tennants, but are responsible for our children.

But let's explore these false analogies.

Abortion is not somply withdrawing life support from or evicting an unborn child. It involves killing him first, via chemical and/or mechanical means.

If the only way to unhook myself from my dying uncle would be to chop him into little pieces, would that be OK?

If the only way to evict unwanted tennants would be to poison them, would that be OK?


#4

Good replies. Another way of looking at it is:
When a couple decide to have sexual intercourse, even if they take "precautions", by that very act they are saying, with their bodies, "we want to procreate a child", even though their minds may say the opposite. And by that act they are implicitly signing, at the very least, a nine-month "tenancy agreement" for any child that is conceived to live in the mother's womb, and then that they bring him up, educate and care for him until he can care for himself.

If a landlord has signed a tenancy agreement, he must wait until the term is finished or the tenant wants to move out. And there are strict laws against just throwing him out, even when the term is finished and even if his rent is in arrears, if being thrown out would be hazardous to his health.


#5

A lot of good stuff already, but I had one additional thought on the analogies supplied.

Ask your friend this:
What if you are the one who is directly responsible for the current state and condition of your "uncle or niece"?

What if it is by your direct and voluntary action, and by absolutely no action or consent whatsoever on their part, that they now need this critical care from you?

Ask if he thinks this changes what the courts view of your responsiblity should be.
If he gives it much thought at all and is a reasonably moral person he should see how the level of responsibility excalates when this is added to his analogy.

The child, like the diseased loved one, had no say whatsoever in it's current state. The mother (and father), in by far the majority of cases, had every opportunity NOT to create the situation in the first place simply by being chaste.

He will likely trot out the old "Rape and incest' argument, but since the vast majority of abortions today do not involve rape or incest, you'll need to ask that this be set aside for the moment. After all his analogy is not perfect either.

Peace
James


#6

Randy Alcorn's book Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments is excellent and I suggest you get it. The expanded and updated edition was published in 2000.

He has repsonses to this, and so many other, pro-abortion arguments that your friend may try to make.


#7

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]
He then gave a reply to which I did not know how to answer, and I was hoping that someone can please give me guidance to being able to answer his pro-choice argument.

He said, "an unborn baby is dependent upon her mother for nutrients, oxygen, body heat and so on. This comes at the expense of the mother and without the mother the baby will not be able to sustain itself naturally.

All the responses from previous posters seem really good, especially the one making the distinction between actively killing and allowing to die.

One other thing I'd like to add is to the very first part of the argument. When he says, "An unborn baby is dependent upon her mother," you can start to talk about the dependency. Why is dependency a bad thing? Aren't we all somewhat dependent on one another? Ask him, "Since you say abortion can be justified since the baby is dependent, is it also morally acceptable to actively kill 2-year-olds who also are dependent on their mothers?"

If this seems like a long stretch to him, remind him he said, "An unborn baby is dependent upon her mother for nutrients." A 2-year-old is also dependent on her mother for nutritition as well as other basic needs (clothing, shelter, etc...).

Also, depending on the status of the newborn baby, he/she may be dependent on the mother for body heat shortly after birth (not common in developed countries due to incubation, but in many parts of the world while the baby is getting adjusted to the world outside being close to Mom can help regulate body temperature). Should we actively kill this newborn baby since she/he is dependent on others?

Hope this helps!

[/quote]


#8

First off your friends analogy totally doesn't mesh.

Try this one, "Do you like your life? Like the fact that you are alive, breathing, eating, working, your kids, wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, friends, hobbies? Do people depend on you? Do you depend on other people? Well your mother gave you all of that with her nine month sacrifice, all these other people in your life, well their mother also gave them that with her nine month sacrifice. What gives you the right to take it away from someone else."

As horrible and careless as some mothers are, the only reason that most of us are here is because of them, there are the few who survived failed abortions.

If we are to do unto others as is done onto us, then we are to give life just as we are given life. Your friend was once dependent on his mother so why now is it wrong when it wasn't wrong when his life was at stake.


#9

He said, "an unborn baby is dependent upon her mother for nutrients, oxygen, body heat and so on. This comes at the expense of the mother and without the mother the baby will not be able to sustain itself naturally.

Actually a mother sustaining an unborn baby is as natural as breathing.

Back them up a step, ask your "friend" how that person came to be dying in the first place. That person made a choice that put an individual in a helpless state, aren't they responsible for helping that person live?


#10

He's arguing that it is OK for a mother to allow her infant to die of exposure, then. If she is not responsible for the child, who is? If a mother neglects her child and the child dies, will passers-by go to jail for failing to help the child? No. It would be the parents who commit the crime, and the parents who are punished. Likewise, if a mother goes to the child's doctor and gets the child "put down", rationalizing that it is "better for the child this way", as if the child were a pet with cancer, it would be murder. Why is that?

Once the child clears the womb, for some reason no one cares whether the child is "wanted" or not. It is the responsibility of the parents to see that the child is cared for. Why is that? It is because this "right to choose" is a manufactured right that does not exist in natural law. It is because it is harder to give someone carte blanche to kill a child who can look you in the eye.

When he starts talking about the parent-child relationship as tenant-landlord, your jaw dropped, didn't it? Why? Because it is reprehensible to think that a mother might see her own child that way. Animals do better than that, unless they are in some unhealthy mental state. Our society must be in a sick mental state, too, if such an idea can pass as "rational thinking." Contary to prevalent thought among some, "rational" and "heartless" are not the same thing. Our advanced intelligence ought to make us better than the animals, not worse, more empathetic, not less, more solicitous for the vulnerable and defenseless, not less.

What he is saying is not rational, but rationalizing. That won't fly.

Oh, and by the way, tell this guy to go to Berkeley and find out what the landlord-tenant laws are there. For instance:

I am a tenant in a multi-family building, and I have been given an eviction notice or notice of a rent increase because the building is entering foreclosure. What rights do I have, and what should I do?

Foreclosure or sale of a building is not a lawful reason to evict tenants or raise the rent in the City of Berkeley. You have rights! For questions about rent increases and eviction proceedings, call the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Program at (510) 981-RENT (981-7368). Also see the referrals under Frequently Asked Question #5 above.

The City of Berkeley Good Cause for Eviction Ordinance states that a landlord must have a good cause to evict a tenant. Eviction resulting from foreclosure is not a good cause for eviction. While a bank or mortgage company becomes the new owner, the situation is no different from the situation in which a building owner sells the property to someone else. In either case, the fact that someone else owns the building is not a lawful reason to evict a tenant. (from ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=10774)

IOW, the citizens of Berkeley are more serious about protecting the rights of a tenant who will not die from sleeping on the street than what this man wants to be on behalf of a child with his or her mother. Why? Well...that is a very good question, isn't it, folks?

Ask the guy to find a place where a person who has done nothing wrong and has nowhere else to go can be put out onto the street by his or her landlord on such short notice and in such harsh elemental conditions that would kill the evicted tenant to spend the night outside. More to the point: What kind of person would ever condone that, even if it were legal? It is imaginable that a mother might feel so trapped and without help from anyone else that she might make that kind of decision...that is, because the only people willing to help her are those willing to help her abort her child. That situation is sad enough. That someone would make this argument as a "cool-headed" arm-chair calculation is beyond the pale.


#11

A simple answer has nothing to do with their argument. Naturally if the women does nothing but takes care of herself the baby will be born there is no action required of her but to give birth.

Taking care of someone else requires action to intervene in the natural process. The argument contradicts itself.

Joe


#12

I've recently decided to be Pro Choice...

Only the choice is the right to CHOOSE whether or not to have sex... Hahaha.... Got you!

Once you make that CHOICE, then you deal with the consequences. If you don't WANT a baby, then don't CHOOSE to accidently make one.

It's like robbing a bank. I can CHOOSE to walk in and try to rob a bank. I don't get to choose whether or not I get tried and go to jail.

I'm unaware how my UNCLE might have a heart problem because I choose whether or not to have sex. Please provide at least ONE case in which a person has an illness created by my CHOICE to have sex or not?

I love it when "friends" show me how brain dead they are... I can CHOOSE new friends.


#13

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:221506"]

The fetus is basically the mother's tenant. Again, it is taking the mother's body heat, nutrients, oxygen, and so on. It's actually an even deeper relationship that tenant and landlord, because the mother's life is actively endangered by the presence of the fetus. The risk is not huge, but it is there.

[/quote]

So, basically, I'd like to see a written lease agreement...

I'd say the baby is "squatting"... and possession is 9/10ths of the law. Baby wins!


#14

[quote="faithfully, post:13, topic:221506"]
So, basically, I'd like to see a written lease agreement...

I'd say the baby is "squatting"... and possession is 9/10ths of the law. Baby wins!

[/quote]

Exactly. You can't "evict" a tenant by execution.


#15

The fact of the matter is that at conception, the fetus is not an extension of the mother. It is its own person with its own distinct DNA which is separate and apart from the mother, regardless of its ability to survive outside the womb. Killing is killing whether it is 2 days post conception, 8 months gestation or 80 years old. We have laws against killing humans. Why doesn't this right extend to the unborn?


#16

[quote="Jokr, post:15, topic:221506"]
The fact of the matter is that at conception, the fetus is not an extension of the mother. It is its own person with its own distinct DNA which is separate and apart from the mother, regardless of its ability to survive outside the womb. Killing is killing whether it is 2 days post conception, 8 months gestation or 80 years old. We have laws against killing humans. Why doesn't this right extend to the unborn?

[/quote]

Because it clashes with modern western secular culture's overriding, all-powerful supposed "right" in to "perform any kind of sexual activity I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want, with absolutely no responsibility or consequences to me, which annuls and cancels out all other rights of everybody else."


#17

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