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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



Sunday, 14 April 2013

Why the abortion debate is still not about bodily rights

Most pro-lifers agree that the strongest argument for the legality of abortion is the bodily rights argument. In fact, there's been recent chatter in the pro-life blogosphere that bodily rights is what the abortion debate boils down to, and that we should be focusing on these arguments in order to win public opinion to the pro-life side.

But while I agree that bodily rights are an important part of the pro-choice philosophy (and are, in fact, the only "good" - though not necessarily strong - argument in favour of abortion in my opinion), we Canadian pro-lifers should not make that our only focus.


Because abortion is not about bodily rights.

If it was, late term abortions would be illegal across the board. After all, birth can be induced, and with proper treatment, the baby would survive. But in Canada, there are no laws restricting the availability of abortions, regardless of the age of the baby.

Instead, we find that bodily autonomy is not the real reason that pro-choice advocates are in favour of abortion. If it was, we would not have the average abortion advocate:

At a time when there is a chance that a 21-week-old (~5-and-a-quarter-month-old) baby can survive birth with almost no developmental complications, this kind of sentiment is so tragic. And it demonstrates how the debate is still not about about bodily autonomy. However, it is about personhood. It is about what the unborn baby truly is. It is about the value of a life.

If you want to know how to talk about abortion with a pro-choicer who believes that aborting a baby in the womb at any time, for any reason, is a moral choice, go to Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform's website, and get educated.

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