The Argument Against Abortion from Metaphysics

I think it would be useful to look at the philosophical basis for defending the right to life of unborn babies from the branch of philosophy called metaphysics. Metaphysics isn’t actually as abstract as it sounds. Essentially it’s just the thinking of being, of existence. Everyone is really capable of metaphysics; whenever we consider the existence of things, how things exist, whenever we know some thing and consider what is – we’re doing metaphysics. It’s actually impossible for any thinking person not to do metaphysics. If we never considered things with being, we would never consider anything. My point is: anybody can do metaphysics, this isn’t just something for intellectual high brows with PhD’s.

Let us begin with the facts that nobody disputes, the basic data that is not controversial, that is accepted by those against abortion and those who aren’t, and which forms the basis for any further discussion.

Indisputable Fact No. 1: When a woman is pregnant, there is something in her. It has existence. It has being. That is in fact why there is any discussion on this whatsoever. If nothing existed inside the womb, what would be the point of an abortion?

Indisputable Fact No. 2: We all come from this something when we are born. When this something comes out of her, it is what we call a “baby”. It looks like the picture left. This fact naturally implies…

Indisputable Fact No. 3: At some point, whether sometime before birth, at birth, or after birth this is considered a “person”, a “somebody”, and has basic rights. This eventually becomes a toddler, teenager, adult, etc. All of us used to be that baby. We are all humans. So at some point this thing becomes or always was a human. Since I don’t know how you can say that human beings (all of us) aren’t actually human, I trust that this fact is not disputed.

So of course the question is: is the something a human being, a kind of being that exists as a human? If so, at what point in the history of its existence should it be considered as such? Conception, birth, sometime in the pregnancy, sometime after birth? Everyone agrees that it is at least a potential human being, and that if allowed to continue its existence will become a being that nobody would dispute is human. Let us examine the case if the being is only a potential human being, but not actually a human being.

At some point in its existence, the being in the womb must change. That is: it must move from potency to act. After that point, it will no longer be merely a potential human being but actually a human being. It is at this point, of course, that we must consider it as such (and consequently award it all the rights of humans). There are two kinds of changes: accidental changes and substantial changes.

In an accidental change, the accidents of a thing change. A thing’s accidents are “that which are able to exist only in another”. They’re qualities that can’t stand alone. For example: I have various accidental qualities. I’m tall-ish, I have blond hair, white skin, etc. An example of an accidental change would be, say, I decide to paint my face blue. I would still be me, but my facial color has changed. I still remain me. My essence, the underlying identity or nature of me, has not changed. A thing like blue-ness can’t stand by itself. You can’t go to the store and buy blue-ness.

In a substantial change, the substance of a thing changes. Here is when the essence of a thing changes, that underlying identity that can stand alone (that’s actually what substance means: sub(under)+stance(referring to ‘standing’). The substantial form, what makes it be the kind of thing that it is, experiences a change. So an example would be… say I take a piece of wood. I would change it accidentally if I did things like inscribed my name on it, sawed it in half, painted it, nailed it to another piece of wood, etc. But I would change it substantially if I were to burn it. After it burns, its substance is different. It’s no longer wood, it’s ash or charcoal. Its underlying identity has changed. Its substantial form has changed. It is no longer wood, it is a completely different substance than wood.

So, obviously, the kind of change we’re looking for is not an accidental change but a substantial change. When does the being in the womb’s substance change? In fact, when do any humans experience substantial change? If I set myself on fire, but I’m still alive afterward, I may look like a hideously grotesque non-human. But if I’m alive, I’m still me, and I’m still human. All that’s changed are my accidents. But if I were to die as a result of being set on fire, I would no longer be me. Thus I would have changed substantially. My substantial form (which is, incidentally, what I believe the soul to be) is no longer there. What’s there is a corpse. It’s not me anymore. A corpse is not a human being.

Now, there is an event in this being’s existential history that is a substantial change. It is called conception. After this event it begins to exist as the kind of thing that it is. Before, there was sperm and egg, and then after there was this new thing that’s causing all the trouble. This is the point at which the being begins to exist. The potency of a thing’s existence is actualized, a thing’s essence exists in the world of actual things. St. Thomas Aquinas claimed that this, existence, is the essence of a thing’s first or primary act. The essence has gone from potency to act, and it’s first act is existence. Make sense?

Could there be a candidate after this, aside from death itself? When does the essence of this being ever change, except when it begins to exist and when it ceases to exist as that being (i.e. conception and death)? When does it become a completely and totally different being?

Now, I could just stop here and say: ok, everybody, look at this website and come back and tell me when you’ve found another substantial change. Because, scientifically, this thing is human from this particular moment. But advocates of abortion provide several points where they might consider the being in the womb to be a human, so I’m going to address some popular ones and demonstrate how they are not substantial changes.

Birth: So the big things that happen at birth are really a change in location/environment and the cutting of the umbilical cord. A change in environment is not a substantial change. I’m in my basement right now. If I go outside, where it’s all cold and snowy, I’ve changed my environment. I’ve experienced a number of accidental changes, but the me-in-the-basement is still me when I’m outside. So merely being in or out of the mother’s womb does not effect the essence of the fetus. Cutting the umbilical cord certainly doesn’t either. If I were even to cut off my arms and legs, as long as I was still living I would still be me. The fetus is not an accidental quality of the mother. So: birth is not a substantial change.

Viability: Viability really doesn’t even have a whole lot to do with the fetus but is more about advances in medical technology. If I am a victim of a very serious disease that currently does not have a cure, I do not experience a substantial change when they find a cure. Even if the cure is administered to me, this is still an accidental change. So: Viability is not a substantial change.

Growth/Size: The growth of any particular organs or body parts or growing in size are not substantial changes, but accidental ones. Again, removing any particular organs does not make me not me. You could even swap out my organs for other people’s organs, but that doesn’t change my being. I am still myself. But this leads us to a specific point often referenced…

Growth of Brain/Consciousness: Now, most people assume this happens later… but actually the embryo has brain waves by 6 weeks two days. Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant by then. But anyway, the growth of a brain is once again an accidental change. And here let’s just think about it from the standpoint of causality: only a human could grow a human brain. A non-human can’t grow a human brain. A non-person can’t grow a personal brain. The effect cannot be greater than the cause. The only fruit of non-existence as a human being is non-existence as a human being. As the saying goes “you can’t give what you don’t have”. The same thing applies to consciousness. I am less conscious when I’m asleep, but I’m not experiencing a substantial change there. If someone knocks me unconscious, I’m still the same person. Even, in fact, if all my memories were to be gone. Bits of me have changed, but these are accidental qualities. So: growth, brain development, and consciousness are not substantial changes.

It doesn’t look like a human: This is similar to growth, of course. A clump of microscopic cells may not look like a human, but if it were to look like a human that would once again be… an accidental change. Refer back to my analogy of setting myself on fire. So: Looking like a human being is not a substantial change.

It doesn’t act like a human: Human beings think, ask questions, choose things, reason, communicate, etc. But. Identity, essence, substance are not limited to actions. Aristotle said: action follows upon being. The actions of a thing depend first upon its existence. And as we’ve shown above, the first act, the primary act is of existence. And that happens at conception. Plus, I don’t ask questions, choose, reason or communicate in my sleep usually, or at least when I’m in a “dreamless sleep”. But going to sleep is not a substantial change. So: performance of personal actions are not substantial changes.

There may be other examples pro-abortionists might provide, but in all of these cases the changes they are speaking of are accidental ones and not substantial ones. And the only substantial changes we can pinpoint in the history of our existence as beings are: conception and death. Unborn babies are just as human as we are. Therefore: human existence begins at conception. And thus any being existing past that point should be awarded all basic and fundamental human rights, the most fundamental of all being life itself, the most powerful reason against abortion. 

140 thoughts on “The Argument Against Abortion from Metaphysics

  1. Powerful arguments, convincingly stated.  Ethicist Francis Beckwith has also argued convincingly that to all but the conscience-deadened sophists, the unborn baby at every stage of its existence is indeed human.

    . . . “Bioethicist Andrew Varga points out a number of problems with the viability criterion. First, “how does viability transform the nature of the fetus so that the non-human being then turns into a human being?” That is to say, viability is a measure of the sophistication of our neonatal life-support systems. Humanity remains the same, but viability changes. Viability measures medical technology, not one’s humanity.

    “Second, “is viability not just an extrinsic criterion imposed upon the fetus by some members of society who simply declare that the fetus will be accepted at that moment as a human being?” In other words, the viability criterion seems to be arbitrary and not applicable to the question of whether the unborn is fully human, since it relates more to the location and dependency of the unborn than to any essential change in her state of being. This criterion only tells us when certain members of our society want to accept the humanity of the unborn.”  — “When Does a Human Become a Person?

    “. . .  organisms, including human beings, are ontologically prior to their parts, which means that the organism as a whole maintains absolute identity through time while it grows, develops, and undergoes numerous changes, largely as a result of the organism’s nature that directs and informs these changes and their limits. The organs and parts of the organism, and their role in actualizing the intrinsic, basic capacities of the whole, acquire their purpose and function because of their roles in maintaining, sustaining, and perfecting the being as a whole.”  —  “The Explanatory Power of the Substance View of Persons”


  2. “And here let’s just think about it from the standpoint of causality: only a human could grow a human brain. A non-human can’t grow a human brain. A non-person can’t grow a personal brain. The effect cannot be greater than the cause. The only fruit of non-existence as a human being is non-existence as a human being. As the saying goes “you can’t give what you don’t have”. The same thing applies to consciousness.”

    The same thing applies to consciousness, really? Let’s substitute the talk about “brains” in this excerpt for talk about consciousness: “Something that isn’t conscious can’t become conscious. A non-conscious entity can’t grow consciousness. The effect cannot be greater than the cause. The only fruit of non-existence as a conscious being is non-existence as a conscious being.” Does any of this ring true?

    If you are a dualist – and you don’t have to be familiar with Descartes, William Hasker, Charles Taliaffero, David Chalmers, or anyone else in order to know that you are one; you just have to know you believe in a soul and/or an afterlife – then you already identify the “person” with his conscious mind, and not his body – or his brain.  If you believe that my body can die and my brain can even be irrevocably destroyed, and “I” can nonetheless wake up in some new afterlife either disembodied or in some new body, then you are identifying “I” not with my body or brain but with my conscious mind. It is, in fact, materialists, who deny that the survival of consciousness past the death of the brain is even a conceptual possibility, who usually attempt to identify a “person” with his brain (or body). But if you believe that consciousness can survive the death of not just a body but even the brain itself, then you recognize that a “person” is wherever his conscious mind is, because the conscious mind is just literally the referent of the word “person.” A body “dies;” that is, ceases to be a “person,” at the very moment when his consciousness ceases. It would stand to fairly simple reasoning that that same body begins to be a “person” at the moment when consciousness begins. 

    “If someone knocks me unconscious, I’m still the same person. Even, in fact, if all my memories were to be gone. Bits of me have changed, but these are accidental qualities. So: growth, brain development, and consciousness are not substantial changes.” – The reasoning around this point is unfortunately very shallow. A conscious mind can be knocked temporarily “off-line,” so to speak, but an “off-line” mind is not the same thing as a non-existent one. If we suppose  that your consciousness really is obliterated forever at the moment of death, I think we would indeed say that you are no longer the same person after the moment you died, even if your body and brain were still there fully intact. 

    For these two significant reasons, many would fairly suggest that consciousness (not the shift from wakefulness to unawareness, but from /being a conscious mind/ to /not being one/) is the most substantial change possible. In fact, that is exactly why Descartes’ position (which you must accept, in some form, in order to believe that any afterlife exists at all) is called “substance” dualism. It treats the mind as a “substance” distinct from the brain and everything physical – the “substance” which the “person” who comes to own that body and brain is identical to. 


    1. Suppose we accept, for instance, that it is possible that in the afterlife we will inhabit heavenly, non–human bodies. From the mere fact that this is possible, it follows that what we are essentially is not ‘human beings,’ but rather ‘conscious beings’ — who just so happen, for now, to inhabit human bodies; but could possibly inhabit any kind of body at all. The same conclusion would follow from the fact that reincarnation is conceivable, as well. If either of these is conceivable, then the move from one type of body to the other would be an accidental, and *not* a substantial, change. 


    2.  Hi. I think you misunderstand my point there. What I was saying in reference to causality was that only a human could become humanly conscious. A non-human can’t develop human consciousness. Does that make sense? I don’t mean to imply that the soul “inhabits” the body like Descartes thought, or identify human existence with merely consciousness. I think that is rather poor reasoning, and bad theology too. Personhood is not identifiable with consciousness, and in fact that was the point I was making. Not that the embryo is necessarily conscious, even without a developed brain.


  3. If a fetus has the right to commandeer another person’s body then should we also not require by law that mothers donate kidneys to their children? Make it unlawful for a woman to smoke or drink in case her grown child should ever need a liver or a lung? At what point does the mother regain rights over her own body?


    1. “Kidneys exist in a body, for that body. The uterus exists around a body (the unborn’s), for that body. The fact that a woman can live without her uterus but a fetus cannot, illustrates that the uterus exists more for the unborn child than for the mother.Furthermore, mothers (and fathers) have a responsibility to their offspring that they don’t have to strangers.3 And while that responsibility doesn’t obligate them to do extraordinary things such as trips to Disneyland or donating kidneys, it does obligate them to do ordinary things, such as feeding, clothing, and sheltering one’s offspring. To do otherwise is parental neglect.
      In fact, western countries make it illegal for parents to neglect their children. Parents have been convicted and jailed for “not providing the necessities of life” when they chose to not provide their children essential care.4
      Therefore, maintaining pregnancy is simply doing for the unborn what parents must do for the born—provide the shelter and nourishment a child needs. It is what is required in the normal course of the reproduction of our species.
      Furthermore, abortion cannot be compared with refusing to donate one’s kidney because with abortion, the unborn are directly and intentionally killed in the environment made for them. In contrast, the kidney-disease patient dies directly as a result of the kidney disease—not because of the choice of another person. As a physician once pointed out, “In the renal analogy if nothing is done, one person dies. In the pregnancy case, if nothing is done, no one dies.” The unborn, as members of the human family, must not then be denied the environment that regularly waits in great expectation for them.”
      -Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform


      1. Just because the womb is inside of my body, and there to house another human, doesn’t mean I lose the right to decide what happens within it. It’s still my body, and the womb is a part of my body, so if I don’t want to allow another person to reside inside of it and use my bodily resources, that’s my decision.


        1. There is a very simple and obvious solution. You have the choice of not engaging in activities that will result in another person residing in your body. But after it is residing there, you are dealing with another human being. No amount of reasoning will change that.


          1. Your argument is not pro-baby, it’s anti-sex.

            Like it or not, there are plenty of reasons beyond procreation that people have sex. I have sex with my significant other as an expression of love and commitment, engaging in the closest act that two people possibly can. Just because I am choosing to have sex with my significant other does not mean that I am granting another person the right to occupy my body.

            I agree that people should be as careful as they can. We should educate people about their bodies and how to protect themselves so that we can have as few unintended pregnancies as possible. But the fact of the matter is that, like it or not, why, when, and how I have sex is none of your business — nor the government’s.

            If I have sex and wind up pregnant, it’s still my body, and still my choice. And, yes, it’s my choice to have sex without the intent to procreate.

          2. No-no-no-no-no! Once it’s been done, it’s done. You cannot undo a life. You can only kill it. As Pogo said, “But after it is residing there, you are dealing with another human being. No amount of reasoning will change that.”
            Your baby DOES have the right to reside in your body for the nine months he or she needs to. Just as your baby has the right to receive nourishment and care from you after he or she is born.

            If you have sex and wind up pregnant, it’s NOT your body you are talking about. It should NOT be your choice.

            Sex is amazingly like ‘going exploring’ with your loved one. You go out hiking in the bush … together … alone … and then God (or nature, if you like) drops on you a little person, hungy, naked and cold. TOO LATE! You either kill the baby, or you keep her. You can’t give her back! But *you went exploring, knowing that little baby could be dropped on you, unawares, at any time*. You knew that responsibility could come without warning. It’s your choice to go exploring. It should not be your choice to kill the child. No matter what his needs, it’s too late, and his needs are your needs.

            Our care for your sex life doesn’t extend very far. I mean, I don’t even know you. If you choose to hang out with a guy, that’s your life. But when another little life comes up, and you want to kill it, I AM concerned.

            Do you or do you not admit that we are talking about a *baby*?

          3.  Yes. You kill the baby. But that is the woman’s right, seeing as how it’s her body this being is trying to use.

            Regardless of how moral or immoral you see that choice, it’s always going to be the woman’s choice.

          4. How does that sound right to you??? No person on this earth should have the right to take a life, no matter how young that life is.

            If you admit that it is killing a baby, how can you not see what is wrong with that?

          5. *insert a Despicable Me minion* Whaaaaaaaaaaa?

            You admit abortion is killing a baby and you are still okay with it? No one ever should have a choice to kill someone else. 

            Say a baby suddenly appears at my house. I may not have “consented” to it but I have the responsibility to take care of it. I may not have asked for it but I can’t just leave it outside alone. Even though I could say the baby was tresspassing I couldn’t kill it to get it off my property. Not unless it was attacking me and I defending myself. Once the baby is there I have responsibility to do something. Do I have to take care of it forever? Do I have to raise it and make sure the baby has a home? No, absolutely not, but I do have the responsibility to make sure the baby is safe and taken care of for the time it is at my house. Yeah, I can take it to the police station, fire station, hospital or any other place that is considered a “Safe Haven” But until I drop the baby off at a safe haven it is still my responsibility to care for the child. If I saw the child and let the child die because I didn’t consent to it being on my property I would most likely be convicted of neglect and maybe involuntary manslaughter. If I killed it for tresspassing I would be convicted of murder.

            Now that is kind of a far fetched story but it gets the point across. Just because you FEEL you didn’t consent to a baby in your womb doesn’t give you the right to kill the child.

            However, no matter your reasoning for sex, there is no 100% way of being sure not to get pregnant other than abstinence or getting a hysterectomy (even permanent sterilization has failed some people). I am all for having fun, loving and intimate sex. When I get married, God knows I will have lots of it, But if you engage in the act of sex and you know the risks (pregnancy) , you are by your actions, saying that you accept that risk. Whether you feel like it or not, through your actions, you are consenting to the possibility of getting pregnant. Do I think sex is all about procreation? No. Like I said, I plan of having lots of recreational sex when I am married. Do I plan on having kids right away? No. But will I accept it if I do end up pregnant even though I wasn’t necessarily planning it? Yes. Why? Because even though I didn’t set out to make a baby, I was willing to do the action that makes a baby, thus I consented via my actions to the possibility of getting pregnant.

            Many of us feel that it’s okay to plan a family and many of us believe that sex is supposed to be fun and loving and not just for procreation. (Though sex is definitely for that too) But we do realize that it is always a possibility and we ask that if that possibility becomes a reality, that the woman chooses to take responsibility for her actions instead of sentencing the baby to death for something they had no part in.

            There are three people involved in a pregnancy. Two of those people are the people responsible and somehow it’s the one person who is not responsible at all whose life is ended if the pregnancy is unwanted. 

          6. I just don’t know what to say. You have very nearly made me cry.

          7. It is not anti-sex, it is pro-responsibility and knowledge.

            The easy way of saying it: If you are adult enough to be having sex, you should be adult enough to accept the possibility that what you are doing (no matter how hard you try to prevent it) may bring another life into being.

            There is nothing wrong with enjoying sex for being sex, without the intent of procreation. But, if you are “ready” to be having sex, you should be ready for the possible outcomes of that decision.

            The only sure-fire way of not creating an unintended child, don’t engage in the act that creates that separate life. If you are engaging in that life-creating act without the intent of making a baby, use protection. But, if the protection fails, you should be adult enough to accept that your choices brought that life into being and you should be adult enough to not see the destruction of that life as the obvious way of “correcting” the situation.

            And, in regards to the “It’s still my body, and still my choice,” argument:

            Yes, you have a choice in the matter, as I said above. But once that choice to have sex has been made (no matter how hard you tried to prevent the pregnancy), it is no longer in your realm of choices to take away the life that you have created.

            It is not your body. At that point, it is the body of your child that is in question. It should not be a woman’s right to tear apart the body of her unborn child just because it is a bad time in her life to be pregnant.

          8.  What you’re saying is that the only people who should ever have sex are those who are ready for or want a baby. I disagree.

            But you’re right that we should make sure everyone has the proper sex and body education to protect themselves. That’s a fundamental truth.

            Regardless of how the baby got inside of a woman’s body, and regardless of how you personally see her responsibility in the matter, it’s still her body, and still her choice if the baby stays or not. Regardless of how you see the situation, or how you view sex, you cannot force anyone through legislation to donate their body to another person.

          9. I’m not saying that only those that are prepared should be having sex. In an ideal world, yes, sex would only be between consenting adults who are ready to bring a life into the world.

            What I’m saying is that, if you are supposedly adult enough to be having sex, you should be adult enough to accept the responsibility for your actions.  It is a fact that sex creates babies. No matter how hard you try to keep conception from happening, the only 100% effective way to not make a baby is to abstain from sex.

            And you clearly missed the point that, once the baby is created, it is no longer just the woman’s body that is in question. There is another body in there, which she is trying to destroy, that is outside her “rights.”

            No person should have the right to decide when another’s life ends. No matter the circumstances.

        2. You are right. Don’t have sex and put anyone there. 99% of the time it’s your decision whether anyone ends up there in the first place. 


          1.  See my reply to Pogo. I have a right to have sex and still say no to a fetus that might want to use my body. It’s my decision to have sex — AND my decision to allow another person to reside within my body or not.

          2. See my response to you above. You had a say in the matter. But once your actions have created the child, you should not have a say in taking that life out of existence because it is inconvenient.

          3.  And, again, my body will always be my body. I have sex for many reasons, not necessarily to procreate.

            We’re talking about more than inconvenience. Have you ever been pregnant? I have (and carried the child to term, mind you, and am raising a seven-year-old now). I came out of pregnancy with two incurable diseases.

            Some women die. Some lose their jobs. Some never get their bodies back the way they were.

            Again, it doesn’t matter how you view the issues of sex and responsibility. Sex is an expression of love, commitment, and an act of bonding between two people. A child might be the result of that, but because I consent to sex does not, in any way, mean that I consent to someone else occupying my body.

          4. As an adult, responsibility always matters. Saying that you can choose to have sex without any of the subsequent responsibilities that may result, is just like a child wanting to eat all the candy they want without having to worry about cavities or upset stomachs.

            You can’t just expect to excape responsibility.

        3. That is the reason you have a choice before you create another human being in your body.  After you have put that baby in your womb then why should you have a choice to kill this little baby?


          1.  Because it’s my body, and I get to decide who does and does not dwell within it, who does and does not use its resources, and who does and does not have a physical effect on it and change it for the next nine months. If I don’t want that, I have every right to remove that life from my body.

      2. And by the way, taking a life to protect your bodily autonomy isn’t somehow worse than allowing a person to die when you could save them to protect your bodily autonomy.


        1. Actually, it is. You don’t have a responsibility to give the person the kidney. I’m not saying that it is a good thing to refuse someone a life-saving transplant, but how is it not worse to flat-out make the decision to kill someone?

          Giving the okay to have a life destroyed is definitely worse than making a selfish decision to not give an organ. Neither is good, but only one guarantees death.


          1.  And if withholding the kidney meant death for that other person? Would that change your mind?

            And who said that I have a responsibility to give life to a fetus just because I’m pregnant? Is it because I had sex? Because it happens to be there? You are assuming that a pregnant mother has a responsibility that other people don’t have to children who have been born, and that is a subjective response. I do not agree.

          2. It wouldn’t be any different than what I was saying before. You don’t have a responsibility to give an organ. In most people’s mind, there would be a moral responsibility, but nobody is going to physically force you.

            But, because you created that life, it is your responsibility to let it live and to give it the basic necessities until it is born and can be cared for by someone else.

            It is not subjective. If you create a life, that life is your responsibility until it can be cared for by another.

    2.  I’d hardly say the fetus is “commandeering” another person’s body…


      1. If you’re saying that another person has a legal right to reside within my body and use its resources against my will, it certainly is comandeering. Bodily autonomy is much easier to dismiss when you’re speaking of a situation you will never have to face.


        1. How is it against your will, when your will was what put it there to begin with?? When a woman gets pregnant, no one is commandeering her body. She put that person in there through her actions. How on earth do you think that child had a choice where it was put??


          1.  Because (see my replies above) my choice to have sex doesn’t automatically mean I’m granting anyone else the right to reside in my body. I have sex for reasons other than procreating, and, in the end, if I become pregnant it’s still my body and still my right to terminate. The child didn’t have a choice in being created, but also doesn’t have a right to demand usage of my body just because my actions created it.

            If you cause a car accident and someone needs blood or an organ from you, are you obligated to donate it to them? They didn’t have a choice in the matter. You caused the situation.

            Bodily autonomy is important.

          2. “The child didn’t have a choice in being created, but also doesn’t have a
            right to demand usage of my body just because my actions created it.”

            So is that where the “I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it” saying came into being. I know we’ve all heard that from a mom at some point or another.

            How does it sound right to say that, “yeah, I created the life by my own actions, but I still have the right to wipe it off the face of the earth.”

            And, yes, bodily autonomy is important, but so is life. It’s a life that was created and it is a life that is being destroyed in the name of “choice.”

        2. When you “invite” someone to reside in your womb, you do not have the right to murder them any more than  you may murder a guest  your home.  You unlocked the door and invited them in.   If you don’t want “guests” don’t invite any.  There are permanent ways to prevent this without murdering anyone.  “Guests” do not spontaneously generate.


          1.  See my replies above. I have sex for plenty of other reasons besides procreating. That’s my right. Just because I choose to have sex with someone, I’m not, by default, granting another person the right to occupy my body. I have sex for plenty of reasons, and still maintain my right to deny an embryo/fetus/baby residence within my body.

          2. I like the analogy. It’s not necessarily akin to creating a child, but it still makes sense.

            I would say that it is more accurate, I think, to say that you put an “Open House” sign in front of your house and then, because you didn’t want guests, decided to eliminate any that showed up and walked through the door.

        3. Totally not “comandeering”. Mom is still in control of the ship. She just has to share a little.


    3. The mother has rights over her own body the entire pregnancy. However, her decision to accept or not accept the HUMAN BABY inside of her’s rights doesn’t override the fact that the HUMAN BABY inside of her does in fact have life. And one HUMAN LIFE doesn’t have more worth than another, according to your arguement.


      1. Yes, my rights to my own body are more important than protecting that new life. We always have a right to take a life in an act of self-defense, and if a woman doesn’t want her body used by another, invading person, it’s her right. It doesn’t matter that it’s a baby, or a human. It doesn’t have rights that other people don’t – namely, to force a person to donate their body for someone else’s survival.


        1. You take on the obligation to provide for the survival of the infant in your womb when you make the conscious choice to engage in an action (namely, sexual intercourse) that directly leads to the creation of this new human life. The human life conceived in your womb doesn’t just magically appear there without you and a partner making the decision to have sexual relations. You always take on the possibility of conceiving new human life when you choose to have sex with your partner, so the responsibility for any new human life that is created is implied in the sexual act between you and your partner. Thus, the responsibility for that human life falls on you and your partner. It is no fault of the infant in your womb that your sexual relations led to the creation of this new human life. It’s no longer about your body at that point, it becomes about a parental obligation to provide for a human life that you and your partner freely conceived.


          1.  No, not true. I engage in sex for plenty of reasons other than procreation. I have sex for intimacy, to express love and commitment, and to experience the closest act possible between my significant other and myself.

            Just because I choose sex does NOT mean that I am, by default, granting an embryo/fetus the right to occupy my body. My choice to have sex does not make me responsible for a human life that might result. It’s still my body, and I still have the right to say no to any invading person, regardless of if I’ve consented to sex.

            When you become a parent, do you then have a bodily obligation to that child after birth? Should you have to donate body parts or blood if that child needs it? Should the government step in and say that you absolutely have to in order to save such an innocent life?

            Of course not. Logical people realize that others’ bodies are not ours to use just because we need them for survival. But perhaps we should advocate sex education and a better understanding of our bodies and how to protect ourselves so that we can avoid as many unintended pregnancies as possible. That, ultimately, is the best solution.

        2. You seem to think that carrying a pregnancy means that the mom must always die, like the fetus is some kind of a leech. Yet, you even call it a human. Let me see if I follow…

          So *some* humans have rights, but some don’t… and you get to pick because you’re the parent? Well let’s drop every charge against a parent who’s killed or abused an infant or toddler. That kid must have been way too demanding and inconvenient!It doesn’t matter that it’s a baby, or a human, cause really it was just annoying and stressful. That’s a completely understandable reason to kill that baby/human then. It just boils down to the fact that it was just sooooo dang dependent on it’s parents, but wasn’t really doing anything for the parent in return. How awful.Am I on the same page as you now? 


          1.  No, you’re not on the same page. You’re epically missing my point. I get to choose who USES my body and who doesn’t. A toddler or infant isn’t forcing anyone else to donate their bodies to them.

            Let’s see if you can follow: an embryo or fetus needs a woman’s body to survive. It doesn’t get to demand that of her.

          2. It’s not demanding anything. The mother created it. By a choice. And, because she was responsible enough to engage in the act that created it, she should be responsible enough to provide it with the basic tenets of life. At least until birth. Then she can give it over to someone who actually wants it and can raise it with love and compassion.

          3. Do you mean that the sex that created the pregnancy may not be from choice? Rape is a legitimate reason, but it is nowhere near the majority of abortion cases.

    4. A mother has no right to poison or tear her offsping’s body to pieces or ask anyone else to do so at any stage of its life except for the rare instance of self-defense from being killed herself. Nothing you listed involves active killing so they aren’t comparable.


      1.  You’re trying to say that there is a huge difference between allowing someone else to die when you could save them in order to protect your bodily autonomy, and actively taking a life to protect your bodily autonomy.

        They’re not different. The end result is death. The reason is to protect bodily autonomy. Like it or not, no fetus has a right to use its mother’s body without her consent.

        Let me ask you this: if a woman was giving birth, and the doctor said that it could not be done vaginally — the baby would die — but she refused to have a c-section, what would you say then? Should the government still be able to step in and force her to do something with her body she doesn’t want to? This wouldn’t involve “active killing,” as you put it, but simply allowing the child to die.

        See how comparable the situations can actually be?


        1. “Like it or not, no fetus has a right to use its mother’s body without her consent.”

          Again, she gave her consent when she consented to the act that created the child. Once that choice has been made and a life has been created, adult responsibility takes over. Taking a life is not a just choice, nor should it be a legal choice, to resolve the situation.


          1.  But most pro-lifers think abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape. So this logic isn’t what pro-lifers are using.

          2. Again, as I said above, rape is nowhere near tha majority of cases. I was remarking on the majority of abortion cases, where the woman consented to sex.

  4. Indisputable fact No. 4: No person, animal, or thing EVER has the right to lay claim to someone else’s body.


    1.  Correct, but the owner of the body is the one who allowed the other person (baby) to inhabit her body. She had the control before conception, she thus punished the inhabitant to death, at no fault of it’s own. It did not ask to be conceived, but once life begins, it is a life cut short.


      1. What if a child needed an organ transplant and the parent was the only suitable donor. If the parent decided against donating, would that be murder? Would it be acceptable to strap the parent down and forcibly remove the needed organ simply because they were the one who “allowed the child’s life to begin”? Of course not.

        And what if the mother became pregnant against her wishes (either by accident, rape, etc.)? Does your position change? If not, then your argument is hollow.


        1. If a child needs an organ transplant, and the parent cannot or does not want to donate, then that is not murder, there are other options.

          Before legalization, many states believed it was okay in the case of rape and incest. Due to the fact that rape is a traumatic experience, and that stress is a substantial risk factor for miscarriage, most women don’t become pregnant from rape. Those that do are very strong women. In one study of 2,190 victims, only 0.6 percent became pregnant as a result of rape (Krason, Stephen M., “Abortion: Politics, Morality and the Constitution”, University Press of America, 1984). The Guttmacher Institute (the research affiliate of Planned Parenthood), reports that about 1% of women who
          have an abortion list rape as a reason, and less than half a percent of women list incest as a reason (Finer LB, Frohwirth LF, et al., “Reasons
          U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives,”
          Guttmacher Institute, 2005. Online:
 One point five percent is not a statistically significant number, and should not be a basis for making child butchering legal. Besides, in what other situation in US law is a child punished for the sins of her/his father?

          Several years ago, a study was done on women who were raped, became pregnant, and subsequently had an abortion. It showed that many were further psychologically scarred by the abortion, being that it was a masked man who they didn’t know sticking something into their vagina, and scraping out their insides. They called it “medical rape”. In this study, 70% of the women had their babies, and none regretted it. Of those who did have an abortion 78% regretted their abortions, and said that abortion was the wrong solution. Many said that they only had the abortion done because they were pressured by others, and it only increased their trauma.

          I invite you to read the book Victims and Victors (Acorn Books, 2000), the book in which the above mentioned study is published. The book also includes the testimony of various women pregnant by rape, who tell of how they were glad they didn’t choose abortion, or tell of their reactions to having an abortion. One woman in the book, Kathleen DeZeeuw, was quoted as saying, “I feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that
          abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re
          being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to
          tell our side of the story.”

          The Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault agree with Ms. DeZeeuw, and wrote to Congress in complaint that they were being used to further the political agenda of abortion supporters. Therefore, these women have specifically asked for abortion proponents to stop using them as a legal crutch for your pro-abortion campaigns. They want nothing to do with your political agenda or ideology.

          Here’s the link to where you can get more information on them:


        2.  Consider this situation then.  What if a grown person “A” is on respirator due to an life-threatening accident.  But the prognosis of eventual total successful recovery is more than 90%.  And another person “B” willfully detaches the respirator so person “B” who owns the hospital can save a few dollars on electrical bills.  Would that be considered a murder?

          Abortion is the same case here.  And these arguments don’t even take into the logics presented in this article.  What you are presenting is merely a separate argument for abortion but is not a rebuttal to the argument in this article which I think is pretty “indisputable”.

          The article clearly list out the logics that leads to the conclusion that the time a human is defined as a human is at conception.  And even if you refuse to agree with the argument, you would still have to concede that an unborn is a “potential” human being and the answer cannot depend merely on each person’s “opinions”.  So then abortion would at least be a “potential” murder.

          As for the “rape” argument, does a disaster (earthquake, flood) give any human rights to kill another human for convenience or even survival?  If not, then why should disasters like “accidents” or rapes grant a person rights to end the life of another?


      2.  Having sex is one choice, and being pregnant is another choice. People have sex for many different reasons (including intimacy and love for each other), but a woman having sex does not automatically equate with her giving consent for a baby to inhabit her body. She made a choice to have sex, but still has a right to deny a fertilized egg (or embryo or fetus) the right to inhabit her body.


          1.  My opinion is that if you don’t want father a baby, get a vasectomy.

    2. You’re crazy if you think that the baby is “laying claim” to the mother’s body.  It didn’t even have a brain when it was conceived.  How can someone who can’t even think “lay claim” to anything?

      However, you are right in the sense that the mother and the abortionist have no right to claim the baby’s body as their property and dispose of it.


      1. If the embryo/fetus has no right to the mother’s body, then why is removing it wrong? Regardless of the status of the “being”, that being’s rights to a woman’s body do not supercede the woman’s right to her own person.


    3.  Thank you Scott for being the voice of reason.  The woman has absolutely NO RIGHT to claim the child’s body, to murder that child in the act we know as abortion.

      Thank you for your continued support of the right to life of the unborn child, and the right of the woman to be loved, respected and assisted when she faces an unplanned pregnancy.


        1.  you’re silly? how old are you? like three years old? Are you running home to mummy cry about how your very own logic has backfired in such a bad way? Come on really.


      1.  That was either a monumental missing of the point, or a wholly unsuccessful attempt at sarcasm.

        A woman’s body is her own. A fetus is an invading body. Regardless of how it got there, or what choices she made, it does not have the right to use her body if she doesn’t want it there. It was, is, and always will be her body — AND her choice to give her body or not.

        The ability to grow within a woman’s body is not a guarantee upon conception. It is a gift from the woman herself.


        1. Let’s say that I am a mother to a 1 day old newborn baby boy. I bring the baby home with me from the hospital. But before entering my house with the baby I decide that I don’t want the baby in my house for many reasons (I’m too young, I’m poor, I won’t be able to take care of him, etc.). So since its my house I can decide whether the baby stays or not. So since I don’t want the baby, I put him in a basket outside my house and leave him there. About a day later the baby is dead. Since it was my house it was my choice to not allow the baby in my house and so I should face no legal charges. After all, the baby had no right to be in my house if I don’t want him there. I simply chose not to give the baby the “gift” of staying in my house.

          Obviously my logic for why I didn’t want the baby in my house is completely unreasonable. And with all due respect, so is your logic. Just because it’s my house does not mean that I can just take my baby out of it and let him die. The way I see it, the right of the baby to live supersedes the right of the woman to her house because it is another life she would be affecting. In regards to the baby in her womb, yes it is the woman’s body and yes the baby is in her body, but the woman does not have the right to kill the baby by aborting him by removing him from her body. It is another life that she is affecting and the baby’s right to life supersedes her right to her body. The only time that the baby’s right to live does not supersede the mother’s right to her body is when the mother’s life is in danger. This is the only time when abortions are acceptable


          1. I think your logical retort isn’t really comparable. Using your house vs using your body are two completely different things; and obviously using another person’s body against their will is the much greater offence. 

          2. I think that they are very similar. The mother owns both and can decide who gets to stay in there. And I think that both would be a great “offense” to the mother, although I don’t see why the mother should be offended when the baby didn’t do anything wrong. 

          3. It doesn’t matter that she owns both, it matters that someone using your body is much much worse than someone using your house. 

          4. Above, I asked “What if a child needed an organ transplant and the parent was the only suitable donor. If the parent decided against donating, would that be murder? Would it be acceptable to strap the parent down and forcibly remove the needed organ simply because they were the one who ‘allowed the child’s life to begin’?”

            What is your take on that?

            What if it weren’t the parent that was the unwilling donor, but a stranger? Does my right to live supercede your right to YOUR body?

          5. Let’s say that the child needed a heart transplant and only the parent (or stranger) could donate the heart. Obviously in such a case the parent cannot be FORCED to donate their heart because they need the heart to live so no it would not be murder. The child’s life is NOT more important that the parent’s life and so the parent cannot be forced to give their life for the child.

            Now let’s say that it was a kidney transplant. A person can live without one of their kidneys. However, there may be health issues involved for that person and so the person would still be making a big sacrifice in donating their kidney. So no I don’t think that the person should be FORCED to give their kidney to save someone’s life. So not it would not be murder if they decided not to donate for the sake of protecting their own life.

            However Scott, in both of these situations the donor’s life is being affected in a very negative way. There are health issues involed in donating an organ, even if you can live without it. So the donor would still be affecting their lives in a negative way because they would be putting themselves at risk. Since the donor’s life is being negatively affected then in both cases of organ transplant above it is NOT a matter of the child’s right to life superceding the parent’s right to their body; it is a matter of the child’s right to life superceding the parent’s right to live a normal, healthy life. The two are completely different.

            However, this is VERY different from an abortion. In most cases of abortion it is  In almost all cases of abortion, the mother who is choosing to have an abortion is a healthy woman who would be giving birth to a healthy baby if she would have chosen to keep the baby. There are almost never any health issues for the mother or her child. The mother’s life would not be affected in a negative way by carrying out the pregnancy for 9 months. Adoption is ALWAYS a choice that she can make if she can’t take care of her baby. I know that it must be very difficult for someone to give their baby up for adoption, especially since she would have met the baby, even if just briefly. But shouldn’t it be even harder for a woman to abort her baby and never give him or her the chance to live a happy life? I’ve never understood how it’s more difficult for some women to give their babies up for adoption that it is for them to kill the developing baby by abortion.

          6. if the child needs that organ transplant because his parent directly and knowingly took an unreasonable chance that caused the illness, it is not murder but manslaughter. Still a crime you can go to jail for.

        2.  well i guess she had that choice before she had sex right? In like every case except for rape. The woman has granted this right when she engaged in a sexual relationship. You cannot build a bridge over a chasm on your land and then blow it up after inviting someone to go over it before this someone has reached the other side.


          1. Eh, I think if the couple is taking a type of contraceptives then it’s more like they built a bridge so that one day people can enter; but currently they have put “warning: do not enter,” signs in the front, gated off the entrance, and “turn back now!” signs plastered all over it. However if they are not taking any sort of preventative measures then yes, I like your bridge analogy.

          2.  so you would blow up the bridge if someone crossed it even though you put up warning signs?

          3. I did not say what I would or would not do, just pointed out what was a closer example. And it’s not blowing up the bridge by the way, it’s removing the individual. 

    4. So following your logic, Scott, the mother has no claim on her offspring’s body, right? Then why is it moral to kill it?

      Please really think your position though. If you cannot make it logical maybe that is because what you are arguing is wrong and in conflict with moral law.


    5. You’re right, Scott… for most situations.  

      Differences — if the person cannot “fend” for themselves. (Unconscious, coma, mentally “disabled”, and other mental situations where they cannot make choices for themselves — minors, those with mental trauma, alzheimers, etc.)  
      However, fetus’s aren’t “laying claim” since they did not put themselves into a woman’s womb.  

      As a woman, what makes the argument for woman’s rights to their bodies sound ridiculous, shallow, and without “real” reasons.  

      The things is, the choice comes in the act that created the fetus.  
      So, if the woman engaged in the act (sex) that would “cause” a pregnancy, she’s responsible for any possible outcomes.  (Pregnancy, stds…)  
      Even taking preventative measures (birth control methods) everyone knows it’s not 100%.  The choice is whether or not to take the risk (or reward, if it’s wanted).  

      Now, if she were forced into the act…  now there’s where the argument begins.  


    6. well, we are in a stale mate there as the baby can alway say the same thing about his or her body right. One could argue that the Baby’s right supercedes the mothers right as practically it costs the mother 9 months while it would be the entire life for the Baby.
      If having a big belly for 9 months, would be what is needed to save someones life, not agreeing to have it would be kind of selfish wouldn’t it?


      1. Well Tony, unfortunately women have to go through a lot more than just “a big belly.” I hope you were kidding, I mean you have to give women a lot more credit than that. They go through a lot when their pregnant; some obviously have a more difficult time than others. 


        1.  i was not kidding, but stating the fact that it is 9 months vs a life. I know from experiencing my wife being pregnant that there is more to it than a big belly. But all of it doesn’t add up to a life.


  5. Indisputable facts are funny things. The leap from them to conclusions are VERY disputable.


  6. The viability issue is one of the greatest issues with regard to abortion.  25 yrs ago a baby wasn’t considered viable/savable until 30 weeks.  They use the term viable really only to describe what they CAN do medically, not what they SHOULD do (or would do if they could)  I lost a baby boy in 96 at 21 weeks. Back then they told me they wouldn’t even TRY to save him because he wasn’t viable or savable til 24 weeks. Why wasn’t he viable/savable I asked? Because their medical equipment (IV’s, tubes etc) were too big for his tiny veins. NOW days they are saving tiny babies as young as 18 weeks because their equipment is getting smaller and smaller. So my baby wasn’t NOT viable, the EQUIPMENT was simply insufficient.  That didn’t make my son any less a human being than a full term infant though in my opinion.  Just think, in 20 or 50 yrs, they’ll be able to save pre-term babies at what… 16 weeks? 12 weeks.. not because the babies will be any more viable than they ever were, but because medical equipment will continue to advance.  Medical advances are what help save tiny babies.  I wonder if there’s somewhere we could donate to HELP medical advances with pre-term babies? I’d love to donate.


    1. Problem with the viable argument is that even “viable” babies need constant care to survive.  Even full term infants will die if their caregiver refuses to care for them adequately.  So if a newly formed human who has only just begun to grow can be called “not viable” then so can full term babies who are born can be classified as “not viable” up until they are able to care for themselves.  Just something to ponder while we debate if it is right or wrong.  


      1. In that case children the world over, in some cases into their teenage years should watch over their shouler.  They may be the next target…
        Many young people would be hoplessly unable to care for themelves.


    2. I use this one too!

      ‘In the Middle Ages, an almost-full-term baby was not viable. Does that mean that a baby at almost-full-term in 1200 AD was not a person, but a baby at almost-full-term in 2012 is a person?’

      And you can connect it with many other things in analogies, ie. when people with mental illnesses were not considered people, whereas now they are, Gypsies weren’t considered people, in some tribes babies weren’t considered alive until they had sneezed, etc.


    3. Children born so prematurely almost (note I say ALMOST as there are RARE exceptions) always have developmental delays/disorders, often life-long disabilities. People with disabilities ARE valuable people worthy of all love and respect!  However, consider that, as we try to push the age of viability earlier and earlier, are we trying to be God?  Sometimes, miscarriages happen because there is something significant, such as a genetic mutation, and it would not survive anyway. What do we do next? Grow a baby from 10 weeks in a lab?


  7. Thank you for sharing this exquisite piece of clear reasoning.   I have been TRYING to say this very thing for years and years….but have never had a good logic or rhetoric course to get my “thoughts” into words and on paper. 

    Excellently done.  I am pinning this to my Pinterest board AND saving this on my computer, just in case a time every comes that we’re not allowed to express such logical rhetoric!


  8. So, I did quite a bit of reading this weekend regarding the use of fetus parts for making immunizations and cokes…ikk. Anyway, it took me to some very dark places that i really don’t think i needed to go. but i did. and now my brain is disgusted by the whole thing. i read transcripts on abortions and more intelligent talk that i think i want to hear in my whole life. if it looks like a baby, and it does, if its can make actions that look like defensive actions…hell, if it can scream take that scissor away from my head, we are killing babies. Who can argue. If all we need to argue about right now is that a baby in the early stages is maybe not a baby, i would go there. but really, that is not how we kill them. And for medical research…and food…really, we are just too far gone. I would be happy right now to stop abortion on demand…can we agree on a weight limit. maybe we pro-lifers are making this argument too hard. And babies, babies that are viable and old are being used for parts. I am sick…


    1. Holly, I’m horrified by the idea that innocent baies that are aborted are used for parts…I had not heard this before.  It isdisturbing enough that they are discarted like trash so to hear this is beyond sad and disturbing.


  9. There are some people on this blog that are quie disturbing…”my right to my own body is more important than protecting that new life”.  Wow, talk about selfish…it is simple, if you don’t want babies just stop sleeping around having unprotected sex and then use abortion as birth control.  The argument that poor women or victims of rape and incest are the reason our society has performed over 50 million abortions in the last few decades is an insult to the victims of rape and incest. Even in those cases I believe abortion is wrong.  If you have been a victim of rape please go to the emergency room where they will take care of you and ensure that pregnancy is avoided but ALSO ensure you don’t get infected with HIV and/or STDs.  If you are a victim of incest please speak up and seek help, don’t wait till you are pregnat to get the courage to seek “help” via an abortion.  Prevent, prevent, prevent…


    1. There are good reasons to go to the hospital after a rape, but they cannot, as you put it, “take care of you and ensure that pregnancy is avoided but ALSO ensure you don’t get infected with HIV and/or STDs.”  First off, yes, you can take the “morning after pill” and it can prevent the sperm from fertilizing an egg, if it hadn’t at that point already.  However, they cannot ensure you don’t get infected with HIV and/or STDs.  You either did or didn’t, they can’t “prevent” that.  They could help treat you down the road, should you test positive.   

      Prevention could be birth control methods — like the pill and/or condoms.  This would most likely not factor into cases of incest/rape, unless the victim already was taking “the pill” or the attacker used a condom. (But as everyone knows these aren’t 100% guaranteed of preventing pregnancy or the transmission of STDs.)


      1. Prevention could be keeping your pants on.  The percentage of abortions in the name of anything other than convienience is pitifully small.


    2.  I’ve argued here before that it’s about “subordination”. You’d subordinate the woman’s body to the protection of an embryo. Many of us, rather, would subordinate the embryo to the autonomy of a woman to manage her own family planning. We realize there’s a moral trade-off in our position. We just wish you’d admit there’s a moral trade-off in your position, too. But it’s all absolutism and moralism from here unto the horizon.


      1. Saying there are no absolute is a useless statement that negates itself.  “There are no absolutes” is an absolute statement.  Your logic is completely flawed. 


    3. Unfortunately, doctors cannot ensure that a rape victim hasn’t been infected with HIV or STDs as there is currently no “cure” for HIV and most STDs. The person will have already been infected by the time they go to the emergency room. In fact they will already have it while they are being raped. Now, the person can go to the emergency room and get a morning after pill, but I think most pro life people on this site (“think” is the key word) don’t think that they should (take the pill that is, not go to the emergency room). 


  10. Just because you are in someone else’s body, doesn’t make you any less of a person!


    1.  No, but just because you’re a baby doesn’t give you the right to occupy someone else’s body and use their bodily resources without their consent.


      1. Except in the case of rape, consent has already been given.
        That’s like saying that just because you’re in a infant doesn’t give you the right to have milk every 3 hours!
        The baby didn’t ask to be put there. But your offspring has every right to stay there until he or she is ready to be born.


      2. And mothers have no responsibility to care for their dependent newborns?


        1.  Again, giving consent to sex does not mean giving consent to pregnancy! Those are two different choices!

          And LoveTheLeast, the fundamental difference between a newborn and a fetus is that a newborn doesn’t require its mother’s body to survive. The mother has no obligation to surrender her body to anyone, including a fetus.


          1. How are they two different choices? The biological reason for sexual intercourse is reproduction. The pleasure aspect of intercourse evolved as behavior modification in the form of positive reinforcement for proliferation of the human species, because, without pleasure, our species would get bored with procreation, and subsequently die out. Pleasure also strengthens the relationship bond between the couple, reinforcing the family structure, and creating a stable environment for the nurturing of children.

            (I cannot remember the reference from which to quote, but I think I read it in a paper by Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin or some other Victorian scientist/biologist/philosopher)

            Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy is not a disease. It is a completely natural process. Since the vehicle through which procreation happens is intercourse, then it should stand that one should not have sex until they are prepared for the body’s natural processes to take place.

            Abortion is taking a human life, and taking a human life is always wrong, unless that other person is killing you. Pregnancy doesn’t kill a person, otherwise none of us would have mothers. Due to advances in medical science, there is always another way to deal with whatever problem is plaguing you. Therefore, insisting on the fact that you’re going to fight your body from doing what it naturally does when you were the one who triggered that reaction is completely nonsensical. It’s like doing tricks on a skateboard without practice and without any pads or a helmet, and ending up in the hospital, then killing the doctor in the emergency room for keeping you there, or even insisting that you pay the bill. Unless you are ready to take responsibility for your own actions, you should not be engaging in behavior where the outcome is contrary to your preferences.

          2. Only a person without the ability to reason would think that.  We learn in grade school what happens when probe a is inserted into slot b.  Honestly.  When did we take leave of our senses and turn to such hedonism.  Life is not just about what feels good.  It’s about taking RESPONSIBILITY for our actions.  I think that is starting to become a swear word by the way some people react to it.  Ridiculous.

          3. A married couple who do not want children/any more children are not giving in to “hedonism”. 
            You might consider that many women who seek abortions are married. Perhaps they are being RESPONSIBLE by not having children who they can not afford.

            The only other option to be 100% certain is to stop having physical intimacy in marriage. 

            Please do not contribute to the poor reputation that pro-lifers already have – that they are harsh and judge or name-call.

          4. The new born babe does not require the mother body, but it sure does require her 24/7 care.  Did you read the article?  Birth is not a substantial change.  Death is.

      3.  “just because you’re a baby doesn’t give you the right to occupy someone else’s body and use their bodily resources without their consent.”

        Why not?  The “my body my choice” argument is an extreme anarchist position, whether you realize it or not.  Please let me explain.  Surely you would agree that in a human and humane society we all have both rights and responsibilities.  Furthermore our responsibilities are not optional things we can do just when we feel like it – who ever feels like paying their taxes?  And if our society is even somewhat just, then we have a responsibility to see that members of our society don’t for example die on the streets for lack of food, clothing and basic medical care.

        Please note – a society doesn’t take care of the needy out of compassion, or again, just because it happens to feel like it that day.  It is a duty and an obligation we *owe* out of justice to those who have no way to take care of their basic needs on their own.  And the more needy and helpless a human being, the stronger this obligation necessarily is.

        Here’s a second idea to take hold of.  A woman’s uterus is absolutely unique among all the other parts of human anatomy in that it has absolutely no function and serves absolutely no purpose for the woman who possesses it, unlike a hand, heart, or kidney.  

        Third idea.  A fetus is the most innocent, helpless and defenseless of all human beings, and cannot survive anywhere *except* in a woman’s uterus.

        Bringing these ideas together, surely we owe it to a fetus, the most defenseless and needy human in existence, to give it what it needs to live, and what it needs and what there is *no* substitute for is the uterus of a woman in which it finds itself through *no choice* of its own – a uterus which is by its nature only useful to the fetus and not the woman herself.

        In light of all this I hope you’ll come to see that the kind of radical dog-eat-dog autonomy which is fundamental to the “my body, my choice” argument is in fact anarchist and really has no place in a just or humane society.


  11. Wonderful article.  All the things I believe have been nicely explained in a coherent fashion, very convincingly, and very logically .  I wish I had the gift to have written this.  


  12. The construction of the argument is good, and has some interesting points. But ultimately it breaks down at the establishment of conception as the last moment of substantial change. Because 2 undifferentiated cells must go through a substantial change to become a human, as must 4, 8, 16, and 32. A fetus is not human. You might want to give it certain human rights, or you might not. But to argue that there is no substantial change between a clump of undifferentiated, or partially-differentiated tissue and a human being is wrong medically as well as metaphysically. I agree with one side of the argument that birth itself is a locational change, not a substantial one, which is why very few rational people advocate legality of abortion at 8 or 9 months. But to turn that around and insist that anything from the moment of conception is not substantial change is an appeal to emotion disguised as an appeal to logic, and not internally consistent with the rest of the argument. The metaphysical argument ultimately becomes more a case for the status quo, that abortion is morally/logically acceptable up through some point after conception but before birth. The argument for people approaching the issue from reason and logic thus continues to be where between the two that point lies. For people approaching the issue from faith or instinct, the answer remains what they have decided it to be, or have been told it is.


    1. There is a difficulty I am seeing here.  Guest’s argument is a petitio principii, it assumes the principle it seeks to prove.  The assumption happens here: “Because 2 undifferentiated cells must go through a substantial change to become a human, as must 4, 8, 16, and 32. A fetus is not human.”  The claim that those two undifferentiated cells must go through a substantial change in order to become a human presumes, first, that they are not virtually present under the one substantial form of a human being.  Or, to put it another way: Those two cells, guest claims, are not human, and at no point in the process of the 4, the 8, the 16 and the 32 cells are they part of a human organism.

      But this is to claim that he knows already when humanity begins.  Where, precisely, does it occur?  Because after all you are not critiquing the original argument, but you are assuming a claim “A fetus is not human” based on an unstated belief of your own (that at some point after initial cell division the organism becomes human,) and then saying that his claims are not “internally consistent”, and only serve to back up the “status quo.”  That is not an argument, unless it is an ad hominem accusation of Matthias.  You then make another ad hominem in claiming that those placing life’s beginning at conception are irrational and illogical (and I assure you, some of us certainly are not, thanks) and lastly a third ad hominem against those of faith by claiming they trust faith owing to their having no reason.

      You know the philosophical vocabulary, but you lack the content that writing with it actually demands.


  13.  I DO agree that there are many other options available – adoption, birth control, abstinence for those who believe in it, etc. However, It’d be pretty easy to dispute indisputable fact number 3. If, as this
    article states “at some point, whether sometime before birth, at birth,
    or after birth
    this is considered a “person”, a “somebody”, and has basic rights”, then
    a woman, who also has basic rights and who is facing unexpected
    pregnancy should have the choice regarding her own body.

    I am not personally advocating for or against abortion; I’m simply stating that we all have basic rights regarding our own bodies, in various circumstances, whether male or female. For those who HAVE been personally faced with this issue, then I believe that your point of view is extremely important and valid on this matter. However, until someone (be it an expectant mother, her partner, etc.) is placed in the position of having tho choose, they aren’t really in a position to preach. It’s always a different view when you’re on the other end of the situation…

    I know this is a whole other argument, but I’m sure there are more than handful of individuals who are ardently against abortion who have had an animal put down/euthanized. They might not be human, but they too are living creatures who can’t communicate a desire to live or to die and often have that decision made for them. At the end of the day, it’s almost impossible to make a philosophical argument about abortion and/or euthanasia. 


  14. “Indisputable Fact No. 1: When a woman is pregnant, there is something in her. It has existence. It has being. That is in fact why there is any discussion on this whatsoever. If nothing existed inside the womb, what would be the point of an abortion?”

    WRONG!!!! I have had 2 pregnancies where nothing but empty sacs have existed inside of me.  No fetus, no fetal pole, no nothing.  An empty sack is not a friggin baby people.  As much as I hoped that these pregnancies would have been real they were not.  This article is erroneous and so is this argument.  Get the facts straight.  A blighted ovum is a medical term, look it up. 


    1. I’m sorry to hear about that. It must hurt a great deal.

      However, an Anembryonic gestation (another term for blighted ovum) was a baby. It means that there was a miscarriage at the earliest stages of the pregnancy, usually during the blastocyst stage, and the pregnancy never terminated properly. The body sometimes continues a pregnancy for a period of time before stopping altogether. The reason no image is seen is because the blastocyst never developed into an embryo, and is therefore too small for any ultrasound to see.

      When a woman is pregnant, there is someone in her who has existence. However, having existence doesn’t always mean living. For instance, my computer exists, but it’s not living. In some pregnancies, a being is present in the woman, but not living. In most cases, though, a pregnancy means a living being is present in the woman. That is most likely what Matthias meant in his Indisputable Fact No. 1. I’m sure that he meant no ill will toward you or anyone else.

      I hope that you will find some peace. A website with resources that may help you in your grief can be found here:
      I will pray for you.


  15. Any time a position is on the side of what is right, it always embraces information since the truth only strengthens a righteous position. Any time a position is on the side of being wrong, it prefers to control the truth and limit information, since evil always prefers the darkness over light. A “trocar” is the name of the metal spike that is shoved into the base of a little baby’s skull to murder it during a partial birth abortion. The baby’s wiggles like crazy, sometimes hanging onto a physician’s finger before going still. “Dilation and Extraction” is a medical procedure whereby a little baby is “dismembered with plier-like forceps” by twisting and tearing limbs off one at a time. Why doesn’t anyone discuss these things over cups of coffee? Why does Planned Parenthood put tall, razor-wired fences around its dumpsters? Pro-choicers, may I suggest that humans are very selfish creatures, especially when it comes to the hedonistic pursuit of sexual freedoms. Incredibly, as I write these very words, the latest news headline reads “Ethicists Argue for Post Birth Abortion”. Sometimes, when we want something to be true badly enough, we do the most despicable and unjust thing. We actually begin to believe it.


    1. “may I suggest that humans are very selfish creatures, especially when it comes to the hedonistic pursuit of sexual freedoms”

      May I suggest that the more your side makes it about your own hang-ups surrounding sex (see Rick Santorum), the more provincial and backwards your cause seems to contemporary Americans.


      1. There is nothing provincial and backwards about sexual resposibility and abstinance.  It is the ONLY way to truely prevent std’s an unwanted pregnancy.  The unfortuate misunderstanding that most contemporary Americans have is that pregnancy is not the worst that can happen because of premarital sex.  I feel sorry for contemporary Americans like you who apparently have no understanding of how great sex is when it’s within the safety of a committed marriage, not to mention being the only partner.


  16. This is an unaccaptable abuse of philosophy.  The above isn’t a philisophical, metaphysical argument.  It’s a political argument, with some philosophical words sprinkled into make things look fancy.  Plato’s cave.  Schrödingers cat.  Nihilism.  Adding those words apparently just made this comment philisophical!


    1. So are you ready to come out of Plato’s cave yet and make yourself aware of the humanity of the unborn? Do you believe an unborn child of Schrodinger would be both alive and dead, and would not become truly in an alive state until observed by the mother of the child outside the womb? Is there really any point to me saying this, since nothing can be truly communicated?

      FYI, politics derive from philosophy, this is why they call someone who is a doctorate in Political Science a Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy).


    2. So are you ready to come out of Plato’s cave yet and make yourself aware of the humanity of the unborn? Do you believe an unborn child of Schrodinger would be both alive and dead, and would not become truly in an alive state until observed by the mother of the child outside the womb? Is there really any point to me saying this, since nothing can be truly communicated?

      FYI, politics derive from philosophy, this is why they call someone who is a doctorate in Political Science a Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy).


  17. Please be responsible of your own actions.Two people that are in love and married have sex not before.If this would take place we would not need to worry and be concerned about babies being killed every day.


  18. As far as viability is concerned, if I for some accidental reason was no longer to care for myself, I am still who I am, though left alone, I would die… I am still human though unable to provide for myself… Kill the unborn? Kill the infirm, the elderly, the mentally and physically retarded, the overweight, the sick, the bald, the short… Getting the point?


  19. This article really bugs me for some reason… I can’t say why. I wish people would stop arguing about this and move on with their lives already. Abortion is legal so deal with it. If it really bugs you that much than fine dwell on the past, and present, but leave everyone else out of it. Not a whole lot of you really understand how difficult the decision to have an abortion must be, I don’t even understand. Whether a fetus is human or not does not matter, it is sad when a mother decides to give up/ kill her unborn child but nobody has the right to tell her off for it. All you people who think that women who have abortions are terrible, heartless people should be ashamed of yourselves. I am so tired of hearing people complain about things they don’t truly understand. Before all of you haters start cursing me out I would like to admit that yes I am also complaining about something I don’t truly understand and I don’t expect any of you to change your viewpoint because of this. The point of the comments page is for people to post their opinions as I am now doing. Please don’t waste any time thinking up some comment to throw in my face just because you are angry with me. I believe what I believe and nothing you guys say will change that, and nothing I say should change what you beleive. My logic doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but me, so don’t waste your breathe telling me all the faults in my reasoning. I am perfectly aware that my argument makes no sense.


    1. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    2. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    3. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    4. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    5. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    6. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    7. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    8. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    9. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    10. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


    11. Go to youtube and type in “Silent Scream HD”, and watch.
      Slavery was legal, but it is time to make things right.
      This has nothing to do with anger, as I used to be Pro-Choice.


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