Skip to main content
Hero Image

The Weekly Digest: 2-1-17

By James Arnold posted on:
October 17, 2017
For an introduction to the Weekly Digest, read our first post here. To receive the Alliance Alert Daily Digest in your inbox every day, sign up here.

On to the news.


Bookmark These Common Pro-Life Arguments


In the last week, we've been taking a close look at various pro-life issues. We looked at in-depth arguments about ultrasounds and embryonic autonomy, we told you about the March for Life and then talked about the coverage of the march, and we also looked at the struggles of a pro-life group that had to fight to even get recognized by their college.

Today, we'd like to look at common counter-arguments that may challenge pro-life folks. 

Over at The Federalist, Daniel Payne offers up a list of counter-arguments pro-life advocates often hear and then provides a pro-life response.

Here's how he introduces his project:

"In any case, you may be wondering just what the pro-life movement is about. If you’ve gotten your information from the mainstream media, then your perception of pro-lifers may be woefully incomplete. If you’ve gotten your information from the liberal commentariat, then your perception of pro-life beliefs is likely distorted and wildly misleading.


"To keep things brief, we will assume one of the basic tenets of the pro-life position regarding abortion: the unborn are human beings from conception onward, and deserve the full protection of the law just like any other human being does. For the most part, people who identify as 'pro-life' believe this to be true.

"What are the objections to this position, and how does the pro-life movement frequently respond?"

Payne walks through multiple common objections—including arguing that the unborn are not human beings, that they aren't human persons, and that abortions will continue even if we outlaw them—but we'll focus in on one particular argument here.

The objection is often called the "bodily rights" argument, and Payne calls it the "It's Her Body, She Can Do What She Wants" argument. Here's Payne's answer:

"A woman does indeed have a right to do whatever she wants with her body—but not with someone else’s body, and the unborn child inside of her is clearly not “her body.” Embryology is very clear on this point: from the moment of conception onward there exists in a woman’s uterus a genetically distinct, fully individual human being. A pregnant woman shouldn’t be allowed to kill this human being or harm him in any way."

Over at the Equal Rights Institute, Timothy Brahm calls the original objection a "sovereign zone" argument. Brahm suggests that many folks would be willing to say that even if the unborn child is a different organism that the woman still has the right to kill the unborn child, simply because it resides inside of her body. Brahm points out five implications of this position that may not be immediately apparent to someone making the argument:

"1. There can be no restrictions on abortion at any stage or for any reason.
2. A pregnant woman can take thalidomide to treat her morning sickness even though it will deform her fetus.
3. A pregnant woman can take thalidomide to intentionally deform her fetus.
4. A woman can have multiple abortions for the sole purpose of using the results for an art project.
5. A pregnant woman can do anything to her unborn child, including having it tortured to death."

Brahm notes that many are okay with the first two implications, but the third causes a dilemma. You really ought to read his whole post for the full treatment of the subject.

And for shorter treatments of other arguments, do read Payne's full piece here.

As always, you can receive the Alliance Alert Daily Digest right in your inbox. Subscribe by clicking here.

James Arnold

James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.