I know there are heated debates and people have been wronged on both sides of the arguments. However, I want to ask one question to pro choice people that will help you understand where pro life comes from.
Put aside your beliefs/biases/experiences please for this question and answer honestly.
"If you honestly believed that a fetus is a human life, wouldn’t you do anything to save it from being killed?"
Because pro life people truly believe, based on science, religion, or personal experience, that every fetus is a human child. Therefore we feel we must do everything in our power to save that life. We don’t always get it right, and there are some people who are cruel and heartless, but at the crux of our argument is that life deserves to be saved.
A friend of mine reblogged this post with a long, ranty answer attached, and while I don’t disagree with it, I’d like to posit a stance that I find most people haven’t thought about before.
To begin with, I don’t doubt that pro-lifers believe that fetuses are people. I don’t think they’d do what they do (all ethics aside) if that wasn’t the core of their argument. Whenever abortion debates spark up, the questions all ultimately seem to lead toward whether or not a fetus is a person. The problem is, that question is all a red herring; it does not matter if it’s considered a person or not, and I’ll prove it for you right now.
For the sake of this argument, we’re going to assume that fetuses are indeed people. But we’re not going to start with fetuses. We’re going to start with someone for whom we can all agree on the personhood — let’s say a guy in his 30’s. No one in particular, just some guy. We can all agree that a 30-ish year old human is a person, yes? Good.
Let’s say this guy comes up to you one day and says his kidneys are failing, and he can’t afford a transplant. He read up recently that you’re not only in very good health, but that your blood types are compatible, so he’s decided that he needs you to clean his blood for him. He’s going to take you to the hospital with him, right then and there, to have surgery that will connect the two of you so that you share a circulatory system, and his blood will be cleaned by your kidneys. This is not a question or request, this IS what’s going to happen, right now. Does he have the right to force you to maintain his body for him, against your will and regardless of what this might do to your own physical well-being?
Of course he doesn’t. That would violate the concept of bodily integrity. As worded by Wikipedia, bodily integrity is, “the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. It considers the violation of bodily integrity as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and possibly criminal.” This means that you have the ultimate say over what happens to your own body. You could choose to let this guy hook himself up to your body so that he can keep surviving, but he cannot force you to do so. You have to agree, because you have the foremost authority over what happens to your own body.
But wait, the guy says, you have to clean his blood for him because he’ll die if you don’t! While that is sad, that still doesn’t change the fact that you have to agree to the arrangement. He cannot hold your own body hostage from you, even if his life depends on it.
Bodily integrity doesn’t stop there, however. Your body cannot be violated against your will even after you have died. For example, let’s say you and your best friend get into a car accident, and you survive but your friend doesn’t make it. While you’re in the hospital, you hear that there’s a child whose liver is about to fail, and it turns out that your friend’s liver is perfectly compatible with the child that needs it — but your friend never registered as an organ donor. Because your friend never specified that it’s okay to harvest viable tissues from their body after their death, it is illegal to take out their liver and give it to the dying child in the other room. Yes, it would save the child’s life, but bodily integrity dictates that no one but you can decide what happens to your body, even if another person will die if you don’t agree.
We can agree that the guy that approached you on the street was a person. We can agree that the child at the hospital is a person. They are by all definitions full-fledged, full-privileged human beings, and yet they still do not have the right to use another person’s body against that person’s will. With that in mind, it doesn’t matter whether a fetus is a person or not. Even if a fetus is a person, it too cannot force a person — in this case, the woman carrying it — to sustain its life unless she chooses to do so. She is the only one with the authority over her own body, and if she wants or needs the pregnancy to end, she has the power to pull that plug. One person’s desire to live does not trump another person’s bodily autonomy. When one considers what exactly happens to a woman’s body during a pregnancy, it’s only all the more important that a pregnant woman’s autonomy not be violated.
Yes, it’s sad if a pregnancy ends with a fetus dying, but not all fetuses die as a result of abortion; after all, the word “abortion” doesn’t mean “killing a fetus,” it just means “ending a pregnancy.” There are abortions that result in a live fetus, but we don’t refer to them as abortions; we call them C-sections. It’s still an abortion, because it’s ending the pregnancy, but the fetus is able to survive once it’s been disconnected from its host.
And so, to the user that originally posted this question, I hope this response has helped to clarify where pro-choice advocates are coming from. We are literally fighting for exactly what it says on the tin: A choice. We all have the right to choose what does and doesn’t happen to our bodies, and even if our noncompliance will result in the death of another individual, we still have the right to abstain. This is just as much the right of a woman in the midst of a pregnancy as it is anyone else. It’s unfortunate that most fetuses aren’t able to survive an abortion, but even when given the full rights and privileges of any other person, they still cannot force their host to carry them if the host doesn’t want to.