Why I Am Against Abortions

Writing an article about "Why I Am Against Abortion" is like writing about "Why I Am Against Killing High School Students." How do I explain that one group of people is indistinguishable from any other group of people, and so should enjoy the same basic rights?

I oppose abortion just as I oppose killing people generally; the potential of a human being, to appreciate the world and freely respond to it awes me. Since I oppose killing people, the task of explaining why I am against killing very young people strikes me as conceding something before I begin: that there is a relevant distinction between a fetus and a newborn, or between a newborn and an adult.

Abortion involves a lot of pain. In the United States, one abortion is performed every 30 seconds. The three major abortion procedures--dilation and curettage, suction, and use of a saline-solution--correspond to slicing, crushing, and burning the fetus to death. The saline solution, usually used after the twelfth week, is comparable to napalm in its effect on fetal skin tissue (and on the fetus' internal tissues, because the fetus drinks the amniotic fluid). Almost all abortions occur after the sixth week of pregnancy. Electroencepholographs reveal a fetal brainwave pattern at 42 days, and this date probably represents the current limit of EEG technology, not the beginning of brain activity.

The argument over abortions really centers on whether we are sure that a fetus is human. There is no totally satisfactory answer to this. But does the burdon of proof rest on pro-lifers at all? To say that abortion is all right until somebody proves the humanity of the unborn is like saying that it is okay to do test bombing in an area, so long as there might not be people there. The area might be desert, it might be a city of 1.5 million people-- how can it be enough to say that abortion might not be violent?

Even if some "pro-choice" advocates might concede that abortion is murder, many might argue that under some circumstances inflicting pain on one person in order to lessen the pain of others is the lesser of two evils. In particular, many people feel that the right to abortion is vital to the liberation of women from oppression and the liberation of men from the role of oppressors. But if the women's movement claims to be an alternative to the politics of power and violence, of the strong asserting themselves at the expense of the weak, then it must either abandon the defense of abortion rights or develop a coherent response to the charge that abortion is just more of the same. Pro-choicers have merely raised a new structure of dehumanizing violence to replace the old.