The body autonomy argument

Here is an argument some pro-choicers make:

“A fetus is a completely dependent organism that feeds on the mother without benefiting her (in a biological sense). Pro-Lifers will say it is wrong to kill the fetus even though it does this.”

“What about this situation? A perfectly healthy woman with all her organs is locked in a room forever with an ill person who needs her organs to live. The ill person, without the woman’s consent, begins to put her healthy organs in his body to replace the nonfunctional ones. Shouldn’t the woman not stop him from doing that because he is violating her bodily rights?”

“Isn’t that what abortion basically is? Not allowing another person to feed off or use your body without your consent.”


How would we answer that?

God how I hate the Bodily Anatomy argument! It might as well be called “the selfish argument” because it sounds so utterly selfish when people seriously say it.

One thing about this scenario is that it in no way matches a pregnancy. To start with pregnancy is not “forever”; it only lasts nine months and after that the mother/host can give the child up for adoption and never look back. Additionally, while taking a healthy persons organs will kill that person, pregnancies are now ridiculously due to advances in modern medicine. Finally, an unborn baby does not take organs or body parts from the mother/host: it only takes nutritional resources which are renewable.

But in any case, the right to live and exist must always come first. If you wish to do something to your body that will hurt or kill another person than I think society can and should prevent you. For instance I think vaccination against infectious diseases can and should be mandatory, and I would fully support it if a doctor held someone down and injected that person with a vaccine without consent.

And so what if the child can’t give anything back in return? To live into society is to take from others without offering anything in return. One day the people who use the bodily anatomy arguments to justify their abortions will be elderly and diseased and will be dying in a hospices, and they’ll be dependent upon people they can not pay back.

First of all, it’s bodily autonomy not anatomy!

Anatomy, the structure of the body, is not at issue.

Second, we are not autonomous in our bodies. Society regulates our bodies in a number of ways.

So why should a woman wishing to abort be given a “right” that is given in no other context?


Ah, my mistake. I meant “autonomy”, but must have mis-typed.

But I certainly agree that it is right and proper for society to tell us what to do with our bodies when it effects others.

That it’s a stupid argument.

Sorry, I lose patience with all this nonsense. Whoever came up with that idea must have never had children, parents, or known anyone who did.

Children benefit their parents in innumerable ways, not least of which is helping them mature out of selfishness.


Human nature is such that a mother’s offspring, in the course of his/her development, “requires” attachment to the mother. At later stages, they require other forms of support from an adult. All of this may be regarded as imposition on the parent/caregiver. The particular form of care and support required is part of what it is to be human.

One adult demanding use of another’s body / body parts is not in the nature of human development, so the comparison strikes me as offering no insight or alternative perspective on the nature of abortion.

God LOANED us our bodies. It doesn’t matter if it is locked in a room, or any of that other stuff. The body is ours to use while we are here on Earth, the end. We are not to use it for evil, or for anything outside of God’s plan for us. When we are done, the body goes back to the Earth and we go to our final destination.

Women qua women exist in part for the sake of pregnancy and giving birth. The body does not intrinsically exist for someone else’s health (or violin playing, as whatserface’s argument goes). So the analogy does not hold.

But these folks don’t believe in teleology, so…

The “bodily autonomy” argument is self-contradicting.

Before the baby gets into her body, she has to consent to sex (rape excluded). So the baby didn’t get in there without her consent.

In addition, the “bodily autonomy” argument denies the bodily autonomy of the baby.

Interesting how a woman can tell a baby that she can do what she wants with his/her body. But nobody can tell the woman what to do with her body.

When the baby has the same “bodily autonomy” as the woman, then the argument can actually have some merit.

I can do anything with my body I want, until another body comes into the equation. My right to swing a fist ends at someone else’s face. The same principle applies to the issue of abortion: A woman’s right to do with her body ends at the body of the baby.

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