Would banning abortion lead to infanticide?


A few moments ago, I was relating to my husband a tragic story I’d read on the Internet. Without getting into the grisly details, it involved the recent discovery of the body of a newborn boy, dead since 1957, yet disposed of (not buried) in a manner that suggested infanticide. My husband and I are both devout Catholics, and so imagine my shock when his only comment was, “I guess there’ll be a lot more of those if abortion is banned.”

Knowing him as I do, I can’t imagine that this comment was meant to support abortion, but I couldn’t think of a calm, charitable way of asking him to clarify. But it got me thinking: What are some rebuttals to the argument that if abortion is made illegal it will only lead to more infanticide? If you could, please include secular as well as religious arguments, as most of the people I know who are pro-abortion are not religious and wouldn’t be swayed by religious reasoning.


Here are some possibilities:
*]Infanticide is the murder of infants. Abortion is the murder of infants. Therefore, abortion is infanticide. The only difference between abortion and the homicide of the baby boy in the news account is that abortion is committed against preborn infants. Birth, however, does not determine humanity; humanity is determined at conception.
*]Societies in which abortion is tolerated – indeed even legalized – are more likely to have cases of infanticide, not less. This is because the morals of a society in which abortion is legal suggest that is okay to “dispose” of unwanted children. Although laws do not determine morality, they can influence how people understand morality. There is a story told of President Lyndon Johnson, in which the President was warned against signing the Civil Rights Act; the naysayers telling the President that most Americans didn’t agree that discrimination should be against the law. Didn’t matter, he was said to have barked, Americans would go along with it once discrimination was against the law and even begin to see it as immoral. Analogously, if abortion were again illegalized, most people soon enough would again understand abortion to be immoral as well.
*]Simply because some people will break the law does not mean that a criminal action should be made legal. For example, on the basis of the argument that abortion prevents infanticide, shall we say that embezzlement should be legal so that people do not go out and rob banks? Just as embezzlement and robbery are both forms of stealing and laws must be in place to protect personal property, so abortion and infanticide are both forms of murder and both should be illegal in order to protect human life.[/LIST]Recommended Reading:

Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.