Nine Reasons Why Abortions are Legal

by Sharon Mahler
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I recently came across an article on Planned Parenthood's web site called "Nine Reasons Why Abortions are Legal". The article would really have more accurately been called, "Nine Reasons Why We Believe Abortions Should Be Legal", but maybe that was too cumbersome a title. My first reaction was to examine the statements of fact they offer -- for example, the statistics they quote are all debatable, at best. But as I read through it, it occurred to me that almost identical arguments could be given to defend positions on many other social issues. That is, let's take the arguments that Planned Parenthood gives to defend abortion, and just replace the words "abortion", "mother", "fetus", and so on with words that relate to other social issues, and see how the logic sounds. See if you find the logic convincing when applied to other issues. If not, what does this say about this logic when applied to abortion? For example ...

# Abortion
(according to Planned Parenthood)
Racism
(using Planned Parenthood's logic)
Rape
(using Planned Parenthood's logic)
Reality
(using my logic)
1 Laws against abortion kill women. To prohibit abortions does not stop them. When women feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to have abortions, even in secret, without medical care, in dangerous circumstances. In the two decades before abortion was legal in the U.S., it's been estimated that nearly a million women per year sought out illegal abortions. ... All were forced to behave as if they were criminals. Laws against racism kill whites. To prohibit racism does not stop it. When whites feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to discriminate against blacks or lynch them, even in secret, in dangerous circumstances. When racism is illegal, millions of whites still engage in racist acts. All are forced to behave as if they were criminals. Laws against rape kill men. To prohibit rape does not stop it. When men feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to rape, even in secret, in dangerous circumstances. When rape is illegal, millions of men still rape. All are forced to behave as if they were criminals. No one denies that making something illegal causes problems for people who want to do it, or that people who break the law sometimes get hurt in the process, or that breaking the law may harm someone's reputation. But these are not arguments against making something illegal. The whole point of having a law is to make life difficult for people who would break it! We do not legalize racism and rape because racists and rapists complain of the inconvenience. The rights of the victims are more important than the inconvenience to those who would exploit them.
3 A woman is more than a fetus. There's an argument these days that a fetus is a "person" that is "indistinguishable from the rest of us" and that it deserves rights equal to women's. On this question there is a tremendous spectrum of religious, philosophical, scientific, and medical opinion. It's been argued for centuries. Fortunately, our society has recognized that each woman must be able to make this decision, based on her own conscience. To impose a law defining a fetus as a "person," granting it rights equal to or superior to a woman's a thinking, feeling, conscious human being is arrogant and absurd. It only serves to diminish women. A white person is more than a negro. There's an argument these days that a negro is a "person" who is "indistinguishable from the rest of us" and that he deserves rights equal to a white's. On this question there is a tremendous spectrum of religious, philosophical, and scientific opinion. It's been argued for centuries. Unfortunately, our society has not recognized that each white person must be able to make this decision, based on his own conscience. To impose a law defining a negro as a "person," granting him rights equal to or superior to a white, is arrogant and absurd. It only serves to diminish whites. A man is more than a woman. There's an argument these days that a woman is "indistinguishable from a man" and that she deserves rights equal to men's. On this question there is a tremendous spectrum of religious, philosophical, and scientific opinion. It's been argued for centuries. Unfortunately, our society has not recognized that each man must be able to make this decision, based on his own conscience. To impose a law defining a woman as equal to a man, granting her rights equal to or superior to a man's, is arrogant and absurd. It only serves to diminish men. As I wrote the paragraphs to the left, I realize that they are highly offensive. But remember, I'm not saying this is what I think; I'm saying that this is the result of applying pro-abortion logic to other social issues. If it's so offensive to talk about black people or women that way, why isn't it equally offensive to talk about unborn babies that way?

The analogy here is particularly startling: Before the Civil War, pro-slavery people routinely argued that slavery was a complex problem, and it had existed for centuries, that many religious groups defended it, that it served important economic purposes, etc. In parts of the world today where women are subjugated, those who do it defend it on the grounds that these are practices that go back centuries, that they are part of their religion and their culture, etc.

By the way, notice that, just as sexists use demeaning terms for women like "broad", "babe", and "chick", and racists use demeaning terms for black people that I cannot even bring myself to type, Planned Parenthood has taken what used to be a perfectly good medical term, "fetus", and turned it into a slur. ("Negro" was once a perfectly good, polite word, too.)

It is only "arrogant and absurd" to suggest that all human beings should have the same basic rights that you have if you believe that it is just obvious that some human beings were placed on earth so that you can exploit them for your profit and abuse them for your amusement.

6 Compulsory pregnancy laws are incompatible with a free society. If there is any matter which is personal and private, then pregnancy is it. ... If government is permitted to compel a woman to bear a child, where will government stop? ... It violates traditional American ideas of individual rights and freedoms. Compulsory anti-discrimination laws are incompatible with a free society. If there is any matter which is personal and private, then a person's choice of friends and business associates is it. ... If government is permitted to compel a white person to work with and befriend a black person, where will government stop? ... It violates traditional American ideas of individual rights and freedoms. Compulsory marriage laws are incompatible with a free society. If there is any matter which is personal and private, then sex is it. ... If government is permitted to compel a man to get a woman's consent before he has sex with her, even forces him to marry her first, where will government stop? ... It violates traditional American ideas of individual rights and freedoms. Pro-lifers are not suggesting that women should be forced to get pregnant. We are simply saying that once she and her partner have made the decision to start a new human life, that person has basic rights. To say that sex is a "private matter" hardly means that therefore anything you do that has anything to do with sex is none of the police's business. The rape analogy I make here is a perfect example: Yes, sex is a "private matter". But I definately do not believe that therefore there should be no laws against rape, incest, or child molestation.
8 "Every child a wanted child." If women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, the result is unwanted children. Everyone knows they are among society's most tragic cases, often uncared-for, unloved, brutalized, and abandoned. When they grow up, these children are often seriously disadvantaged, and sometimes inclined toward brutal behavior to others. This is not good for children, for families, or for the country. Children need love and families who want and will care for them. "Every minority a wanted minority." If whites are forced to permit all races to live among them, the result is unwanted minorities. Everyone knows they are among society's most tragic cases, often uncared-for, unloved, brutalized, and abandoned. These minorities are often seriously disadvantaged, and sometimes inclined toward brutal behavior to others. This is not good for minorities, for whites, or for the country. Minorities need love and communities who want and will care for them. "Every relationship a wanted relationship." If men are forced to have consensual relationships with women in order to have sex, the result is unwanted relationships. Everyone knows that women in such relationships are among society's most tragic cases, often uncared-for, unloved, brutalized, and abandoned. These women are often seriously disadvantaged, and sometimes inclined toward brutal behavior to their partners or others. This is not good for women, for families, or for the country. Women need love and husbands who want and will care for them. Of course we would prefer a society in which all minorities are respected and treated with dignity. But when this ideal is not reached, is the logical response to lock all minorities up in a slum or drag them out and lynch them? Would this really be an appropriate way to protect minorities from discrimination? Of course we would prefer a society where all marriages were happy and all women were loved by their husbands or boyfriends. But when this ideal is not reached, is the logical response to say that, as men want sex but don't want a burdensome relationship, that therefore they should be allowed to rape any woman who appeals to them? Would this really protect women from bad relationships? Likewise, of course we would prefer a society in which all children were loved and wanted. But when this ideal is not reached, is the logical response to kill them? Would this really protect unwanted children? This is surely the most absurd of all Planned Parenthood's absurd arguments: being tortured to death is good for children, because it saves them from the potential danger of having parents who might possibly someday turn out to not be good parents.


Author's note: I skipped over a few of their arguments to avoid beating the subject to death, as many of their arguments really overlapped. If you read the original flyer, I think that you will see that #5 is similar to #1: making something illegal causes problems for people who want to do it anyway. #4 is somewhat similar to #6. #7 and #9 are about the problems of unwanted pregnancy, which gets back to the same basic issues as #8. #2 is about specific supposed benefits of abortion: I could certainly have spun some "benefits" that a racist or rapist could think of to their chosen "lifestyle", but the analogy would not have been as close. If you want to say that this does not fit my analogies, okay, one out of nine of Planned Parenthood's reasons why abortion should be legal does not involve justifying why one group of people should have the legal right to abuse and exploit others. Hurray for them.

Editor's note: We were a little reluctant about posting this article, because we fear that some pro-abort is going to publish something from it out of context and offer it as "proof" that pro-lifers are racist and pro-rape. But hey, they slander us all the time anyway.


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Posted 11 Sept 2002. Minor update 30 Oct 2005.

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