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"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." Elizabeth Cady Stanton



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Pro-Choice Hard Cases

There's been a lot of articles on multiples-reduction and sex-selection abortions lately. And it's gotten me thinking. Pro-lifers must always defend the extreme examples in the abortion debate. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - after all, the hard cases are difficult to discuss for good reason, and all good pro-lifers should have their opinions and defence of them sorted out in their mind. These cases include:

1. Abortion for the life/health of the mother (I deal with this question here)
2. Abortion in the case of rape/incest
3. Abortion in the case of fetus abnormality

Abortion in these cases are often used by pro-choicers as a defence for abortion-on-demand (i.e.: abortion for any and all reasons, at any time during pregnancy).  While the pro-life hard cases should be discussed, doesn't it strike you as odd that pro-choicers can use (and have used) extreme examples to support ALL abortions. Try using this logic against them - use the pro-choice hard cases to show that abortion isn't perhaps the great and amazing feminist accomplishment it is made out to be.

Here are some pro-choice hard cases:

1. Sex selection abortion
2. Twin/multiples reduction abortion (a post by Les Femmes discusses this)
3. Abortion for minor and fixable abnormalities such as cleft-lip
4. Abortion of viable fetuses (see this post from Shouting It Loud)
5. Partial-birth abortions
6. Forced abortion (e.g.: one-child policy)

Next time someone turns the discussion to hard cases, ask if they support abortion-on-demand (most vocal pro-choicers I know do), and then bring up these pro-choice hard cases. It will give you a much better idea of where they stand, and also hopefully force them to think hard about their opinion.


  1. Hi. Good post! I really like the idea of using hard cases to fire back when pro-choicers try to use their hard cases against you. I've been thinking about #1 & #2 and what rhetorical use could be made of them, and I think that you've come up with a good answer. I do have on quibble, though. I think that both pro-lifers & pro-choicers would object to #6. (It doesn't save lives or give women a choice.) Good work. Keep it up :)

  2. Hi! Thanks for the feedback, I only included number six because some pro-choicers (or population alarmists in disguise?) that I've read about (albeit from pro-life sources) seem to support the idea of using abortion as a way to keep the human population in check, and some quotes I've seen have spoken in support the Chinese policy.

    Also, it could be an interesting case to bring up when pro-choicers attack crisis pregnancy centres (which "force" women to choose life according to some), but really many work to give options other than abortion to mothers who have no where else to turn. Forced abortions would be an example of a woman truly having her autonomy (and her family, obviously) stolen from her. :)