This is the first entry in the Pro-Abortion series. The following master list of entries will be linked as each entry is published:
Introduction to the pro-abortion position. (this entry)
“No one is for abortion!” (01/09)
Anti-Abortion Q&A [part 1] (01/15), [part 2] (01/17), [part 3] (01/19)
Secret Confessions: How great is it to have a child? (01/25)
Can one be an anti-abortion atheist? (02/01)
The humbug of “reproductive rights”… (02/07)
The humbug of the fetal right to life… (02/13)
Body ownership is semantic gobbledygook. (02/19)
Do women have a right to make medical decisions on abortion? (02/25)
Is abortion murder?: a comedy of errors. [part 1] (03/01), [part 2] (03/03)
Pro-choice and anti-abortion: what they have in common. (03/09)
Choice-talk, if taken literally, is invalid. [part 1] (03/15), [part 2] (03/17)
Defining tyranny within the abortion issue. [part 1] (03/23), [part 2] (03/25)
The Prime Directive is not just for show… (04/01)
Why be pro-abortion? [part 1] (04/07), [part 2] (04/09)
“Childbirth is our purpose!” (04/15)
Abortion: the endgame. [part 1] (04/21), [part 2] (04/23)
Abortion is only one part of the problem: so is PIV. (04/29)
(before you complain, I did not coerce any children to wear this: it’s a virtual model from Zazzle. You may buy this, or any other design I made, at my antinatalism Zazzle store)
Antinatalism sheds a unique light on the issue of abortion. It provides the basis for the only consistent position on abortion, the pro-abortion position. Some people who are both concerned with personal freedom and with social well-being become disillusioned with the pro-choice arguments but do not know of the alternative. For this reason, I think it needs to be discussed in detail, and a series of entries, starting with this introduction, will be published addressing various facets of the abortion issue as seen from a developed pro-abortion perspective.
The pro-abortion position can be described most simply as the position that, for any given pregnancy, abortion should be the default (and, by extension, that childbirth should be the exception). This position can be derived in a number of ways, but, as far as I know, the best way to derive it has been from antinatalism, which, in all its forms, implies the duty to abort. If antinatalism is correct and it is wrong to start new lives, then pregnant women have a duty to abort. Of course, this may be false in specific cases if a more important or pressing ethical imperative presents itself, but that goes without saying for any ethical principle.
That being said, there are many reasons why a person might be, or become, pro-abortion. An obvious one (and one which I have observed) is disappointment with the pro-choice corollary that parents can choose to start defective human lives. Another might be opposition to an evil social order (as every human life born in the West entails more economic subjection of people in the Second and Third World). Another is being a Buddhist (if you believe that every part of life is permeated with suffering, then you have a strong reason not to produce new lives). There may also be many other reasons I am not aware of.
The anti-abortion1 position is, as you can imagine, pretty much the opposite of the pro-abortion position. The simplest way to define it is to say that for any given pregnancy, childbirth should be the default (and, by extension, that abortion should be the exception, although some anti-abortion people believe there are no such exceptions).
The pro-choice position is that the default should be freedom for the woman to choose between childbirth and abortion (again, with some exceptions). It can be said to be a middle ground in the sense that a person may be somewhere between anti-abortion and pro-choice (refusing abortion for more conditions, such as demanding earlier time limits), or between pro-choice and pro-abortion (demanding abortion for more conditions, such as the level of expected debilitation of the future child); however, it is not a middle ground in terms of justification.
What I mean by this is that, while the anti-abortion position argues that abortion is criminal, and the pro-abortion position argues that childbirth is criminal, the pro-choice position is not a balance of these two considerations. In fact, the pro-choice position doesn’t partake of either of them at all, or if it does, only as an exception. Rather, the pro-choice position argues on what may be called voluntaryist grounds: the woman “owns her body” (a nonsensical concept) and as such has the “reproductive right” (another nonsensical concept) to decide whether to abort or give birth.
So the pro-choice position is closer to an agnostic position, with anti-abortion being like theism (pro-imposition of harm) and pro-abortion being like atheism (anti-imposition of harm). The agnostic doesn’t claim knowledge about the existence of gods, and the pro-choice advocate doesn’t claim knowledge about what is right or wrong in abortion matters (except, of course, that anyone who makes claims about right or wrong in abortion matters is automatically wrong). The pro-choice advocate doesn’t take sides on ethics, but only puts forward the concept of choice.
My analogy does break down. Unlike the theist-agnostic-atheist concepts, where an atheist can be agnostic or not, and a theist can be agnostic or not, you can’t be pro-choice and anti-abortion, or pro-choice and pro-abortion. The three positions exclude each other.
My pro-abortion position is both opposed to the pro-choice position and to the anti-abortion position. This will be no surprise to the anti-abortion advocates, as I have made no secret of being against Christianity and its ethics (not that the Bible is on their side about abortion), but some pro-choice advocates will no doubt berate me for attacking their arguments during this series, and argue that I am really one of them; but this would be a complete misunderstanding. As I think my entries will prove, the pro-choice arguments are as fallacious as the anti-abortion arguments. The pro-choice and the anti-abortion positions are both frankly ridiculous and make no sense.
Finally, I want to clarify some potential misconceptions before they come up. The pro-abortion position is not an outgrowth of the pro-choice position, neither does it share any of its premises or arguments, so addressing pro-choice arguments is not a refutation of the pro-abortion position. The pro-choice movement may have helped structure the acceptance of abortion, but it is no longer necessary.
The pro-abortion position is also not related to the childfreedom movement. Childfreedom advocates can be anti-abortion, pro-choice or pro-abortion; there’s no correlation between not wanting children and being for or against abortion.
Another objection to this whole enterprise is that, as a man, I have no business interfering in abortion policies, which concern only women. I would agree if we were only talking about abortion, but since new children do affect society as a whole in many profound ways and puts economic and social demands on everyone, including men (and no, I am not talking about alimony or anything like that), policies which allow or demand childbirth most definitely concern everyone.
By attacking the pro-choice position, I make myself the enemy of (non-radical, fun-fem) feminists, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that I have no right to say it based on being categorized male. My primary objective is to destroy logical fallacies, not tell women what to do; the policy issues are mainly a consequence of the bad logic, not vice-versa. I think it is everyone’s business, not just women’s business, to attack logical fallacies, especially when they are used as arguments to justify policies. If I am telling people what to do, it is primarily telling people to stop using absurdly fallacious arguments to argue their position.
I hope you enjoy this series. In the meantime, also check out Sister Y’s entry Five Reasons to Have an Abortion.
1 This is a note on the label “anti-abortion.” I will not dignify the anti-abortion position by calling it the pro-life position, since it has nothing to do with protecting life and has little to do with promoting life. Besides, I don’t think anti-abortion advocates are going to complain about this, since they are, factually, against abortion, so I am not misrepresenting their position.