I combed through the most popular pictures from the past month on the r/pics section of Reddit. After the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, people flooded the site with pictures from protests. Let’s take these short messages from pro-choice protestors and think them through. I’m going to be responding to pro-choice protest pictures from Reddit.
I am not here to call these people evil or mock them. I think they have been swept up by the confusion and lies of our culture, though, and are making some very poor arguments to support their side. They went to a public protest to make their point heard, so rebuttals seem only fair.
#1: “If You’re Against Abortion, Don’t Have One”
This picture from a Chicago protest gained over 20,000 upvotes and proclaims one of the most popular pro-choice slogans. For decades, people have been sharing some version of, “I do not like abortion, but I think it should be left to the woman and her doctor.” That seems reasonable, right? Americans hold personal freedom and autonomy as core values.
This comparison may offend or trigger some readers, but please hear me out. American slave owners used the same argument, “if you’re against slavery, don’t own one.” The logic does not work there because we both agree that people deserve human rights regardless of skin color. Slavery was not a private matter because there was another person being harmed.
We do not restrict people’s appendectomies or tonsillectomies because everyone agrees that no life is at stake. The question, as always with abortion, is what is the unborn? Is the unborn a fully unique human being deserving of human rights, like the slave? If so, this statement is absurd and ethically twisted.
#2: “Pro-Life is a Lie. They Don’t Care if We Die”
It’s amazing how much of the debate hinges on the title “pro-life.” This post gained over 32,000 upvotes. The argument is that because women will die, either from unsafe “back-alley abortions” or birth complications, pro-life people are causing death.
First, even if a “safe” and legal abortion takes place, that still takes the life of an innocent human being. Nobody wants to see the mother die here, but someone dies every time if the unborn are human. I addressed the “back-alley abortions” concern in a previous post.
Lastly, as much as people push the narrative that women are dying because doctors won’t perform abortions, the laws are generally straightforward. The states banning abortions leave many exceptions in any circumstance that may harm the mother. Perhaps more than ever, we need to be aware of the details of our own state laws on this issue.
#3: “Not Yet a Human”
You may have already seen this one. Despite the 49,000 upvotes, I will give credit where it is due. Most Reddit comments were just as critical and uncomfortable as the pro-life community. It’s the classic argument that the unborn are not human. The woman pictured gave an interview where she explained that she was nine months pregnant, but according to her Jewish views, her baby was not a human until it was born and took its first breath.
This argument does not work. First, if it is not human, what is it? Whatever term you want to apply, like baby, fetus, embryo, or unborn, it is undeniably human. She, ironically, had to make a religious appeal because her claim goes against any scientific evidence. Even if you want to argue that bodily autonomy trumps the child’s right to life, you cannot deny that there is a human life in there without being willfully ignorant.
Religiously, the claim makes another mistake. Unborn babies are still breathing. Yes, they do so through their mother, but would you say that someone breathing through a ventilator or an oxygen machine is not human? Even if you make the highly debatable claim that Judaism teaches that life begins at first breath, the unborn are still human.
4: “You Wouldn’t Try to Regulate My Vagina If It Fired Bullets”
This one only gained about 350 upvotes, but I see versions of this all the time. They appeal to the alleged contradiction that many conservatives favor restricting abortion but not guns. To be honest, I would not die on the hill of gun control. I am not terribly passionate about the gun control debate either way. This is ultimately another version of, “You’re not actually pro-life.” Whether it’s gun control, the death penalty, welfare, or socialized medicine, pro-choice people love to bring in other social and political topics to discredit pro-life people and distract from the abortion issue.
Here is the thing on all of these issues. Nobody wants death. Where we disagree most of the time is what is the best way to prevent death. If gun control or socialized medicine ultimately results in more saved lives, sign me up. But if overturning Roe v. Wade and ending abortion led to more saved lives, would you stand with me against abortion? Once again, if the unborn are human, thousands of lives are lost every day. That’s far more than even the most pessimistic gun violence statistic, even in America.
#5: What About the Separation of Church and State?
Lastly, one with only about 100 upvotes expresses my biggest pet peeve of the abortion debate. Yes, what about the separation of church and state? The overturning of Roe v. Wade was not a religious decision. It may have been influenced by religion, but what isn’t? Maybe you think that because several of the SCOTUS justices are Catholic, this was a biased decision. Are Catholics not allowed to be politicians? Did their arguments quote the Bible or the Pope?
None of my responses today have quoted Bible verses to make my point. The case for the unborn and against abortion stems from the science of embryology and ethical philosophy. Men, women, Christian, atheist, black, white, gay, straight, or any other demographic you want to pick from, you can find pro-life people there making the same arguments for the unborn. Yes, a lot of Christians are pro-life. Can we please dispense with the strawman that only Christians are pro-life or that our case relies on religious rhetoric?
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