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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Ultimate Euphemism

This post is written as part of the Ask Them What They Mean by Choice Day, which is, itself, a response to the pro-choice event Blog for Choice Day. Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and its sister case Doe v. Bolton. On January 22nd, 1973, abortion was essentially legalized in the United States for all 40 weeks of pregnancy, for essentially any reason.

"Choice" has become a euphemism for abortion. The pro-choice movement has called themselves by that moniker because they believe that abortion is the most fundamental choice a woman should be able to make, calling them "reproductive rights." But what does "choice" really mean?

The "choice" of abortion is to have the legal right to kill a preborn human being for any reason a woman deems fit. Sometimes the reasons are understandable, such as in the case of rape. But often, it's due to a socioeconomic reason, such as she's too poor to afford another child, or she doesn't feel ready to have a child.

But if the preborn really are human beings, which is an uncontroversial fact of science, then since strong justification is needed to kill a human being outside of the womb, an equally strong justification is needed to kill a human being in the womb. "Choice" doesn't cut it. Think about it. Would we allow a parent to abuse or beat their toddler because it's the parent's "choice"? Should we allow them to abuse their own child, as long as it's in the privacy of their own home or bedroom? Of course not. So "choice" or even "privacy" does not justify abortion on demand. In fact, Planned Parenthood is even trying to distance themselves from the pro-choice label because the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are too ambiguous.

So in order to justify abortion on demand, you need another reason. More educated pro-choice advocates argue from bodily rights, which is a more plausible argument, but still fails for reasons I've discussed elsewhere. Besides, if bodily rights arguments succeeded, then you don't need to argue from choice. If a woman truly does not have to give her body as life support, then while we may not approve of her reasons to abort, the bodily rights argument would justify an abortion for any reason.

So the next time someone tells you that it's a woman's choice, ask them what they mean by "choice". Yes, it's a woman's choice to abort currently, just like it was a slave owner's choice to own slaves. But just because someone can make the choice does not mean that they should make the choice, or even that it should be legal to do so.

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