A View More Troubling Than Pro-Choice

Most people are familiar with the two traditional positions on abortion: pro-life and pro-choice (I’m not comfortable with these terms, but let’s go with them now for the sake of simplicity). There’s a somewhat in-between view, however, that is troubling. I call it the modified pro-choice position. The person who holds this view believes the unborn is a valuable human being, so they are pro-life in that sense. They still feel, however, that the law should permit women the right to choose an abortion. Their view is expressed by the statement, “I’m personally against abortion, but I don’t think we should make it illegal.”

This is a view that many politicians and, indeed, many Christians hold. When you think about it, though, it’s a disturbing view. In fact, I’d say it’s even more disturbing than the view held by the ardent pro-choice advocate who works at Planned Parenthood. Let me explain why.

When you ask people who hold this view why they are “personally against abortion,” they typically respond with some version of, “Well, I believe life begins at conception,” or “I think abortion kills a baby.” Think carefully about what they’re saying: They think abortion kills a little human baby, but they don’t want a law that makes killing little human babies illegal. Really? Why not? Creating such a law seems like the obvious response.

I know that if you are pro-choice, you’ll say there are many reasons why such a law should not exist. But I’m not talking about pro-choice people who don’t believe the unborn is a valuable human being. To them, the unborn is something else, and therefore killing it would not be tantamount to murder. Even though I vigorously disagree with such people and think they’re horribly misinformed, I can understand why they would favor abortion given their view of the unborn.

I’m talking about pro-life people who believe the unborn is a precious little child, morally equivalent to a four-year-old girl. Why would they not want a law that protects these little girls from having their limbs ripped from their bodies? To believe that such a violent act should be an option to mothers and protected by law is—to me—unfathomable. It’s a more troubling view than to be pro-choice and to defend abortion.

I’m guessing they wouldn’t think this way with any other behavior they personally object to. “I think human trafficking is abusive, exploits women and children, and wrongly treats people like property, but I don’t think we should make it illegal.” What about their objection to rape, kidnapping, and genocide? I’m guessing they wouldn’t give people the freedom to choose those behaviors, but with abortion it’s okay. That’s why the modified pro-choice view is troubling, more troubling than merely being pro-choice.

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Alan Shlemon

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