Article ID: DA020-2 | By: Francis J. Beckwith
This article first appeared in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, Winter (1991). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/
In the first installment of this four‐part series we examined a number of arguments for abortion rights which can be classified as appeals to pity. In this article I will present and critique more appeals to pity, along with two additional kinds of argument: appeals to tolerance and ad hominem (literally, ʺagainst the personʺ). Of course, not every defender of abortion rights holds to all or any of the arguments presented in this article. But the truth of the matter is that a vast majority do defend at least some of these arguments. For this reason, the following critique should prove helpful to those interested in providing reasoned answers, rather than inflammatory rhetoric, to the arguments put forth by the abortion rights movement.
ARGUMENTS FROM PITY
Argument from Rape and Incest
A woman who becomes pregnant due to an act of either rape or incest is the victim of a horribly violent and morally reprehensible crime. Although pregnancy as a result of either rape or incest is extremely rare,1 there is no getting around the fact that pregnancy does occur in some instances. Bioethicist Andrew Varga summarizes the argument from rape and incest in the following way:
It is argued that in these tragic cases the great value of the mental health of a woman who becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest can best be safe‐guarded by abortion. It is also said that a pregnancy caused by rape or incest is the result of a grave injustice and that the victim should not be obliged to carry the fetus to viability. This would keep reminding her for nine months of the violence committed against her and would just increase her mental anguish. It is reasoned that the value of the womanʹs mental health is greater than the value of the fetus. In addition, it is maintained that the fetus is an aggressor against the womanʹs integrity and personal life; it is only just and morally defensible to repel an aggressor even by killing him if that is the only way to defend personal and human values. It is concluded, then, that abortion is justified in these cases.2
Despite its forceful appeal to our sympathies, there are several problems with this argument. First, it is not relevant to the case for abortion on demand, the position defended by the popular pro‐choice movement. This position states that a woman has a right to have an abortion for any reason she prefers during the entire nine months of pregnancy, whether it be for gender‐selection, convenience, or rape.3 To argue for abortion on demand from the hard cases of rape and incest is like trying to argue for the elimination of traffic laws from the fact that one might have to violate some of them in rare circumstances, such as when oneʹs spouse or child needs to be rushed to the hospital. Proving an exception does not establish a general rule.
Second, since conception does not occur immediately following intercourse, pregnancy can be eliminated in all rape cases if the rape victim receives immediate medical treatment by having all the male semen removed from her uterus.4
Third, the unborn entity is not an aggressor when its presence does not endanger its motherʹs life (as in the case of a tubal pregnancy). It is the rapist who is the aggressor. The unborn entity is just as much an innocent victim as its mother. Hence, abortion cannot be justified on the basis that the unborn is an aggressor.
Fourth, this argument begs the question by assuming that the unborn is not fully human. For if the unborn is fully human, then we must weigh the relieving of the womanʹs mental suffering against the right‐to‐life of an innocent human being. And homicide of another is never justified to relieve one of emotional distress. Although such a judgment is indeed anguishing, we must not forget that the same innocent unborn entity that the career‐oriented woman will abort in order to avoid interference with a job promotion is biologically and morally indistinguishable from the unborn entity that results from an act of rape or incest. And since abortion for career advancement cannot be justified if the unborn entity is fully human, abortion cannot be justified in the cases of rape and incest. In both cases abortion results in the death of an innocent human life. As Dr. Bernard Nathanson has written, ʺThe unwanted pregnancy flows biologically from the sexual act, but not morally from it.ʺ5 Hence, this argument, like the ones we have already covered in this series, is successful only if the unborn are not fully human.
Some pro‐choice advocates claim that the pro‐lifer lacks compassion, since the pro‐liferʹs position on rape and incest forces a woman to carry her baby against her will. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the rapist who has already forced this woman to carry a child, not the pro‐lifer. The pro‐life advocate merely wants to prevent another innocent human being (the unborn entity) from being the victim of a violent and morally reprehensible act (abortion), for two wrongs do not make a right. As theologian and ethicist Dr. Michael Bauman has observed: ʺA child does not lose its right to life simply because its father or its mother was a sexual criminal or a deviant.ʺ6
Furthermore, the anguish and psychic suffering caused by rape and incest has been treated quite effectively. Professor Stephen Krason points out that ʺpsychological studies have shown that, when given the proper support, most pregnant rape victims progressively change their attitudes about their unborn child from something repulsive to someone who is innocent and uniquely worthwhile.ʺ7 The pro‐life advocate believes that help should be given to the rape victim ʺto make it as easy as possible for her to give up her baby for adoption, if she desires. Dealing with the woman pregnant from rape, then, can be an opportunity for us — both as individuals and society — to develop true understanding and charity. Is it not better to try to develop these virtues than to countenance an ethic of destruction as the solution?ʺ8
Argument from the Unwanted Child
It is argued by many people in the pro‐choice movement that legal abortion helps eliminate unwanted children. They believe that unwanted children are indirectly responsible for a great number of family problems, such as child abuse. Hence, if a family can have the ʺcorrectʺ amount of children at the ʺproperʺ times, then these family problems will be greatly reduced, if not eliminated.9 Once again, we find several serious problems with the pro‐choice argument
First, the argument begs the question, because only by assuming that the unborn are not fully human does this argument work. For if the unborn are fully human, like the abused young children which we readily admit are fully human, then to execute the unborn is the worst sort of child abuse imaginable.
Second, it is very difficult to demonstrate that the moral and metaphysical value of a human being is dependent on whether someone wants or cares for that human being. For example, no one disputes that the homeless have value even though they are for the most part unwanted. Now, suppose the pro‐choice advocate responds to this by saying, ʺBut you are treating the unborn as if they were as human as the homeless.ʺ This is exactly my point. The question is not whether the unborn are wanted; the question is whether the unborn are fully human.
Third, an unwanted child almost never turns out to be a resented baby. This seems to be borne out statistically: (1) there is no solid evidence that a childʹs being unwanted during pregnancy produces child abuse; (2) according to one study, 90% of battered children were wanted pregnancies;10 and (3) some writers have argued that there is a higher frequency of abuse among adopted children — who were undoubtedly wanted by their adoptee parents — than among those who are unadopted.11 In his voluminous and scholarly study on the moral, political, and constitutional aspects of the abortion issue, Professor Krason summarizes his findings concerning the argument from unwantedness by pointing out that ʺthe factors causing child abuse cited most frequently by the researches are not ʹunwantedness,ʹ but parentsʹ lack of social support from family, friends and community, hostility to them by society, based on a disapproved sexual and social pattern of existence, and — most commonly — their having been abused and neglected themselves when they were children.ʺ12
Fourth, the unwantedness of children in general tells us a great deal about our psychological and moral make‐up as a people, but very little about the value of the child involved. For it is only a self‐centered, hedonistic people who do not consider it their self‐evident obligation to care for the most vulnerable and defenseless members of the human race. A lack of caring is a flaw in the one who ought to care, not in the person who ought to be cared for. Hence, whether or not abortion is morally justified depends on whether the unborn are fully human, not on their wantedness.
ARGUMENTS FROM TOLERANCE
Many people in the abortion rights movement argue that their position is more tolerant than the pro‐life position. After all, they reason, the abortion rights movement is not forcing pro‐life women to have abortions, but the pro‐life movement is trying to deny all women the option to make a choice. There are basically five arguments which the abortion rights advocate uses in order to articulate this position.
Argument from Pluralism
It is sometimes argued that the question of when protectable human life begins is a personal religious question that one must answer for oneself. Justice Blackmun writes in Roe v. Wade, ʺWe need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of manʹs knowledge, is not in a position to speculate.ʺ13 Hence, the state should not take one theory of life and force those who do not agree with that theory to subscribe to it, which is the reason why Blackmun writes in Roe, ʺIn view of all this, we do not agree that, by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake.ʺ14
In his dissenting opinion in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989), Justice Stevens goes even further than Blackmun: ʺThe Missouri Legislature [which said that life begins at conception] may not inject its endorsement of a particular religious tradition in this debate, for ʹthe Establishment Clause does not allow public bodies to foment such disagreement.ʹʺ15 Thus the pro‐life proposal that pro‐choice women be prohibited from having abortions on the basis that individual human life begins at conception is viewed, not only as a violation of their right to privacy, but as a violation of the separation of church and state as well. Such a separation is supposedly necessary to sustain tolerance in a pluralistic society. As pro‐choice advocate Virginia Mollenkott argues, ʺWomen who believe that abortion is murder may never justly be required to have an abortion.ʺ16 Put in the words of a recent bumper‐sticker: ʺDonʹt like abortion, donʹt have one.ʺ
There are several problems with this argument. First, it is self‐refuting and question‐begging. To claim, as Justices Blackmun and Stevens do, that the Court should not propose one theory of life over another, and that the decision should be left up to each individual pregnant woman as to when protectable human life begins, is to propose a theory of life which hardly has a clear consensus in this country.17 That is, it proposes the theory that the personhood of the unborn child depends on the point of view of the mother — if she thinks it is fully human, then it is, and if she thinks it is not fully human, then it is not. This is a theory of life held by a number of religious denominations and groups, whose amicus briefs Stevens oddly enough (since heʹs concerned about not injecting religious traditions into the debate) cites in a footnote in his Webster dissent.18 Hence, in attempting not to propose one theory of life, Blackmun and Stevens in fact assume a particular theory of life, and by doing so clearly beg the question and show that their opinions cannot abide by their own standard of not proposing one theory of life.
Second, the fact that a particular theory of life is consistent with a religious view does not mean that it is exclusively religious or that it is in violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. For example, many pro‐life advocates argue for their position by emphasizing that there is nontheological support for their position,19 while many pro‐choice advocates, such as Mollenkott,20 argue that their position is theologically grounded in the Bible. Hence, just because a philosophically and scientifically plausible position may also be found in religious literature such as the Bible, that does not mean such a view is exclusively ʺreligious.ʺ If it did, then our society would have to dispense with laws forbidding such crimes as murder and robbery simply because such actions are prohibited in the Hebrew‐Christian Scriptures. Furthermore, some public policies — such as civil rights legislation and elimination of nuclear testing — which are supported by many clergymen who find these policies in agreement with and supported by their doctrinal beliefs, would have to be abolished simply because they are believed by some to be supported by a particular religious theory of life. Hence, the pro‐life position is a legitimate public policy option and does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
Third, in claiming that ʺwomen who believe that abortion is murder may never justly be required to have an abortionʺ but they shouldnʹt force their pro‐life beliefs on pro‐choice women, Mollenkott is asking the pro‐life advocate to act as if the pro‐life view of human life were incorrect. Mollenkott is also demanding that the pro‐lifer accept the pro‐choice view of what constitutes a just society. I believe that this is asking much too much of the pro‐life movement. Philosopher George Mavrodes drives home this point in the following story:
Let us imagine a person who believes that Jews are human persons, and that the extermination of Jews is murder. Many of us will find that exercise fairly easy, because we are people of that sort ourselves. So we may as well take ourselves to be the people in question. And let us now go on to imagine that we live in a society in which the ʺterminationʺ of Jews is an every‐day routine procedure, a society in which public facilities are provided in every community for this operation, and one in which any citizen is free to identify and denounce Jews and to arrange for their arrest and termination. In that imaginary society, many of us will know people who have themselves participated in these procedures, many of us will drive past the termination centers daily on our way to work, we can often see the smoke rising gently in the late afternoon sky, and so on. And now imagine that someone tells us that if we happen to believe that Jews are human beings then thatʹs O.K., we neednʹt fear any coercion, nobody requires us to participate in the termination procedure ourselves. We need not work in the gas chamber, we donʹt have to denounce a Jew, and so on. We can simply mind our own business, walk quietly past the well‐trimmed lawns, and (of course) pay our taxes.
Can we get some feel for what it would be like to live in that context?…And maybe we can then have some understanding of why they [the right‐to‐lifers] are unlikely to be satisfied by being told that they donʹt have to get abortions themselves.21
Since Mollenkott is asking pro‐life advocates to act as if their fundamental view of human life is false, pro‐life advocates may legitimately view Mollenkottʹs position as a subtle and patronizing form of intolerance.
Argument from Imposing Morality
There is a more popular variation of the above argument. Some abortion‐rights advocates argue that it is simply wrong for anyone to ʺforceʺ his or her own view of what is morally right on someone else. Consequently, they argue that pro‐lifers, by attempting to forbid women from having abortions, are trying to force their morality on others. There are at least three problems with this argument.
First, it does not seem obvious that it is always wrong to impose oneʹs morality on others. For instance, laws against drunk driving, murder, smoking crack, robbery, and child molestation are all intended to impose a particular moral perspective on the free moral agency of others. Such laws are instituted because the acts they are intended to prevent often obstruct the free agency of other persons; for example, a person killed by a drunk driver is prevented from exercising his free agency. These laws seek to maintain a just and orderly society by limiting some free moral agency (e.g., choices that result in drunk driving, murder, etc.) so that in the long run free moral agency is increased for a greater number (e.g., less people will be killed by drunk drivers and murderers, and hence there will be a greater number who will be able to act as free moral agents). Therefore, a law forbidding abortion would unjustly impose oneʹs morality upon another only if the act of abortion does not limit the free agency of another. That is to say, if the unborn entity is fully human, forbidding abortions would be perfectly just, since abortion, by killing the unborn human, limits the free agency of another. Once again, unless the pro‐choice advocate assumes that the unborn are not fully human, his or her argument is not successful
Although it does not seriously damage their entire position, it is interesting to note that many abortion‐rights advocates do not hesitate to impose their moral perspective on others when they call for the use of other peopleʹs tax dollars (many of whom do not approve of this use of funds) to help pay for the abortions of poor women.
Argument Against a Public Policy Forbidding Abortion
There is another variation on the first argument from pluralism. Some people argue that it is not wise to make a public policy decision in one direction when there is wide diversity of opinion within society. This argument can be outlined in the following way:
(1) There can never be a just law requiring uniformity of behavior on any issue on which there is widespread disagreement.
(2) There is widespread disagreement on the issue of forbidding abortion on demand.
(3) Therefore, any law that forbids people to have abortions is unjust
One way to show that this argument is wrong is to show that premise (1) is false. There are several reasons to believe that it is. First, if premise (1) were true, then the pro‐choice advocate would have to admit that the United States Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, was an unjust decision, since the court ruled that the states which make up the United States, whose statutes prior to the ruling disagreed on the abortion issue, must behave uniformly in accordance with the Courtʹs decision. But since the pro‐choicer denies that Roe was an unjust decision, he or she must also concede that it is false to hold that ʺthere can never be a just law requiring uniformity of behavior on any issue on which there is widespread disagreement.ʺ
Second, if premise (1) were true, then the abolition of slavery would have to be regarded as unjust, because there was widespread disagreement of opinion among Americans in the nineteenth century. Yet no pro‐choicer would say that slavery should have remained as an institution. Third, if premise (1) were true, then much of civil rights legislation, about which there was much disagreement, would be unjust. Fourth, if premise (1) were true, then a favorite pro‐ choice public policy proposal would also be unjust. Many pro‐choicers believe that the federal government should use the tax dollars of the American people to fund the abortions of poor women. There are large numbers of Americans, however (some of whom are pro‐choice), who do not want their tax dollars used in this way. And fifth, if premise (1) were true, then laws forbidding pro‐life advocates (e.g., Operation Rescue) from preventing abortions would be unjust. One cannot deny that there is widespread disagreement concerning this issue. But these are the very laws which the pro‐choicer supports. Hence, his or her argument is self‐refuting.
Another way to show that this argument is not successful is to challenge the second premise and show that there is not widespread disagreement on the question of whether abortion on demand should be forbidden. Recent polls have shown that a great majority of Americans, although supporting a womanʹs right to an abortion in the rare ʺhard casesʺ (such as rape, incest, and severe fetal deformity), do not support the pro‐choice position of abortion on demand. In other words, they do not agree that abortion should remain legal during the entire nine months of pregnancy for any reason the woman deems fit.22
Argument from the Impossibility of Legally Stopping Abortion
Maybe the defender of the above argument is making the more subtle point that because there is widespread disagreement on the abortion issue, enforcement of any laws prohibiting abortion would be difficult. In other words, abortions are going to happen anyway, so we ought to make them safe and legal. This argument also is subject to several criticisms.
First, it totally begs the question, because it assumes that the unborn are not fully human. If the unborn are fully human, this argument is tantamount to saying that, since people will murder other people anyway, we ought to make it safe and legal for them to do so. But murder is never justified, even if there are social difficulties in forbidding it.
Second, since the vast majority of Americans are law‐abiding citizens, they will probably obey the law as they did prior to Roe v. Wade. ʺA reasonable estimate for the actual number of criminal abortions per year in the prelegalization era [prior to 1967] would be from a low of 39,000 (1950) to a high of 210,000 (1961) and a mean of 98,000 per year.ʺ23 Contrasting this with the fact that there have been an average of 1.5 million abortions per year since 1973, one can only conclude that the pre‐Roe anti‐abortion laws were quite effective in limiting the number of abortions. Now if the pro‐choice advocate claims that a law cannot stop all abortions, he or she makes a trivial claim, for this is true of all laws which forbid illegal acts. For example, even though both hiring paid assassins and purchasing child pornography are illegal, some people remain undaunted and pursue them illegally. But there is no doubt that their illegality does hinder a vast number of citizens from obtaining them. Should we then legalize child pornography and the hit‐man profession because we canʹt stop all people from obtaining such ʺgoodsʺ and ʺservicesʺ? Such reasoning is absurd.
Argument from a Womanʹs Right to Control Her Own Body
An extremely popular argument asserts that because a woman has a right to control her own body, she therefore has a right to undergo an abortion for any reason she deems fit. Although it is not obvious that either the law or sound ethical reasoning supports such a strong view of personal autonomy (e.g., laws against prostitution and suicide), this pro‐choice argument still logically fails even if we hypothetically grant that its strong view of personal autonomy is correct.
The unborn entity within the pregnant womanʹs body is not part of her body. The conceptus is a genetically distinct entity with its own unique and individual gender, blood type, bone‐structure, and genetic code.24Although the unborn entity is attached to its mother, it is not part of her. To say that the unborn entity is part of its mother is to claim that the mother possesses four legs, two heads, two noses, and — with the case of a male conceptus — a penis and two testicles. Furthermore, since scientists have been able to achieve conception in a petri dish in the case of the ʺtest‐ tubeʺ baby, and this conceptus if it has white parents can be transferred to the body of a black woman and be born white, we know conclusively that the unborn is not part of the pregnant womanʹs body. Certainly a woman has a right to control her own body, but the unborn entity, though for a time living inside her body, is not part of her body. Hence, abortion is not justified, since no oneʹs right to personal autonomy is so strong that it permits the arbitrary execution of others. In this respect this argument also begs the question, because it assumes that the unborn are not fully human.
ARGUMENTS AD HOMINEM
“Ad hominem” literally means to “attack the man” (or person). Therefore, “to attack ad hominem is to attack the man who presents an argument rather than the argument itself.”25 Instead of dealing with what a person is actually saying, one attacks the person. This is a bad form of reasoning because it ultimately does not refute the person’s argument. Hence, when the abortion rights advocate judges, ridicules, insults, or slanders the pro-lifer as a person, he or she does not attack the arguments for the pro-life position.
Why Don’t Pro-lifers Adopt the Babies They Don’t Want Aborted?
One common ad hominem argument can be distilled into the following assertion: Unless the pro-life advocate is willing to help bring up the children he or she does not want aborted, he or she has no right to prevent a woman from having an abortion. As a principle of moral action, this seems to be a rather bizarre assertion. For one reason, it begs the question by assuming that the unborn are not fully human. Wouldn’t these same pro-choicers consider the murder of a couple’s children unjustified even if they were approached by the parents with the following proposition: “Unless you adopt my three children by noon tomorrow, I will put them to death.”? Clearly, if these pro-choicers refused to adopt these children it would not justify their parents in killing them. Hence, it all depends on whether the unborn are fully human. Second, think of all the unusual precepts that could be fairly derived from such a moral principle: unless I am willing to marry my neighbor’s wife, I cannot prevent her husband from beating her; unless I am willing to adopt my neighbor’s daughter, I cannot prevent her mother from abusing her; unless I am willing to hire ex-slaves for my business, I cannot say that the slave-owner should not own slaves. Now, I believe that the pro-life movement as a whole does have a moral obligation to help those in need, especially unwed mothers (and there are enough organizations dedicated to this task to show that the pro-lifers do practice what they preach).26 But it does not logically follow from this moral obligation that abortion automatically becomes a moral good simply because individual pro-life advocates are not currently involved in such a cause.
Aren’t Pro-lifers Inconsistent if They Support Capital Punishment?
Some pro-choice (and even pro-life) advocates have pointed out that some people who believe in capital punishment are also pro-life on the abortion issue. And since capital punishment entails the killing of another human being, these pro-lifers are inconsistent. Some people assume that this inconsistency makes the pro-life position on abortion incorrect. There are several reasons why this belief cannot be justified.
First, how does this help the pro-choice position or hurt the pro-life position on abortion? Wouldn’t this argument make people who are against capital punishment and for pro-choice equally inconsistent?
Second, inconsistent people can draw good conclusions. For example, an Irish terrorist may inconsistently believe that it is all right to murder Catholics and not Protestants. But this inconsistency in his thinking would not make his correct conclusion about the wrongness of murdering Protestants automatically incorrect. Hence, this argument is a red-herring and does not deal with the ethical legitimacy of the pro-life position.
Third, there are a number of pro-life advocates who do not believe that capital punishment is morally justified.27 The pro-choice advocate can’t say that these pro-lifers are inconsistent. Why does he (or she) not then give up the pro-choice position and embrace this pro-life position, since it should seem to him even more consistent than the anti-capital punishment pro-choice position?
Fourth, I believe that one can plausibly argue that the pro-life position on abortion is consistent with capital punishment. Pro-life advocates, for the most part, do not argue that killing is never justified, for many believe that there are legitimate instances in which killing is justified, such as in the cases of self-defense and capital punishment, both of which do not entail the killing of an innocent human life. Abortion does entail such killing. Hence, the pro-life advocate who believes in capital punishment is saying, “It is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being, but the capital offender is not innocent. Therefore, capital punishment is morally justified.” Although I have not made up my own mind on the issue of capital punishment, I do not believe it is logically inconsistent with the pro-life position.
In summary, like the previous argument, this one is a blatant example of the ad hominem fallacy, since it is a direct attack upon the character of the pro-life advocate. Instead of dealing with the pro-lifer’s arguments against abortion, the pro-choice advocate attacks the pro-lifer.
Men Don’t Get Pregnant
This argument is so silly that I fear by acknowledging it I may be giving it undeserved credibility. But since I hear it so frequently in the media, I think it ought to be answered. I was confronted with this argument in a debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (December 4, 1989). One of the debate participants, Social Work professor Dr. Esther Langston of UNLV, told the audience that she thought that it was rather strange that two men (myself and my debate partner, Mr. David Day) were arguing against abortion. After all, men don’t get pregnant; abortion is a women’s issue.
I responded to Professor Langston by pointing out that arguments don’t have genders, people do. Since many pro-life women use the same arguments as we did in the debate, it was incumbent upon her to answer our arguments, which stand or fall apart from our genitalia. I pointed out that since she could not argue the same way if a woman were putting forth our arguments, therefore, our gender is totally irrelevant to whether the pro-life position is correct. In a subtle and clever way she dodged our arguments and attacked us — a clear case of the ad hominem fallacy.
Second, on the same rationale, Professor Langston would have to reject the Roe v. Wade decision, since it was arrived at by nine men (7-2).
Third, abortion is a human issue, not just a women’s issue, for it has consequences for everybody in society. It is in part from men’s salaries that tax dollars are taken to fund abortions; it is men who must help in child-rearing or pay child support if the mother chooses not to abort; and it is the man’s seed which is one of the material causes (along with the female’s ovum) of the unborn’s being (there has been only one known virginal conception).
Fourth, the appeal to the pregnant woman’s personal involvement can be used as a two-edged sword. Could not someone argue that since men don’t get pregnant, and hence are less tainted by personal involvement, their opinion concerning the morality of abortion is more objective?
- Concerning this, Dr. Stephen Krason writes: “A number of studies have shown that pregnancy resulting from rape is very uncommon. One, looking at 2190 victims, reported pregnancy in only 0.6 percent.” (Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution [Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984], 283.)
- See Andrew Varga, The Main Issues in Bioethics, rev. ed. (New York: Paulist Press, 1984), 67-68. Varga himself, however, does not believe that abortion is morally justified in the cases of rape and incest.
- On the fact that abortion on demand is legal in America, see Part One of this series in the previous (Fall 1990) CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL.
- See the results of studies of 4,800 victims of rape in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area, as cited in John F. Hillabrand, “Dealing With a Rape Case,” Heartbeat 8 (March 1975):250.
- Bernard Nathanson, M.D., Aborting America (New York: Doubleday, 1979), 238.
- Michael Bauman, “Verbal Plunder: Combatting the Feminist Encroachment on the Language of Religion and Morality,” paper presented at the 42d annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 15-17, 1990, 16.
- Krason, 284. For an overview of the research, see Sandra Kathleen Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” in David Mall and Walter F. Watts, M.D., The Psychological Aspects of Abortion (Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1979), 67-68.
- Krason, 284.
- See the arguments in the Planned Parenthood Federation of America brief (for Roe v. Wade), as cited in Krason, Abortion, 315-19.
- E. F. Lenoski, M.D., “Translating Injury Data into Preventative Health Care Services,” University of Southern California Medical School, unpublished, 1976, as cited in Krason, Abortion, 320.
- See B. D. Schmitt and C. H. Kempe, Child Abuse: Management and Prevention of the Battered Child Syndrome (Basle: Ciba-Geigy, 1975).
- Krason, 320. See Rosemary S. Hunter, M.D., et. al., “Antecedents of Child Abuse and Neglect in Premature Infants: A Prospective Study in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit,” in Pediatrics 61 (1978):629, 634; Vincent J. Fontana, M.D., and Douglas J. Besharov, The Maltreated Child, 4th ed. (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1979), 12-13, 27; Richard Gelles, “A Profile of Violence Toward Children in the United States,” in Child Abuse: An Agenda for Action, eds. George Gebner, Catherine J. Ross, and Edward Ziegler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 102-3.
- Justice Harry Blackmun, “The 1973 Supreme Court Decisions on State Abortion Laws: Excerpts from Opinion in Roe v. Wade,” in The Problem of Abortion, 2d ed., ed. Joel Feinberg (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1984),195.
- Ibid., 196.
- “Webster v. Reproductive Health Services,” United States Law Review 57 (22 July 1989): 5044-45.
- Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, “Reproductive Choice: Basic to Justice for Women,” Christian Scholar’s Review 17 (March 1988):291.
- See the results of The Boston Globe/WBZ-TV nationwide poll recently published in the Globe, which concluded that “most Americans would ban the vast majority of abortions performed in this country….While 78 percent of the nation would keep abortion legal in limited circumstances, according to the poll, these circumstances account for a tiny percentage of the reasons cited by women having abortions.” (Ethan Bronner, “Most in US Favor Ban on Majority of Abortions, Poll Finds,” The Boston Globe, 31 March 1989, 1, 12.)
- Webster, 5044, footnote 16.
- See especially the nontheological defense of the pro-life position by former abortion-rights activist Bernard Nathanson, M.D. (Aborting America).
- See Mollenkott.
- George Mavrodes, “Abortion and Imagination: Reflections on Mollenkott’s ‘Reproductive Choice,'” Christian Scholar’s Review 18 (Dec. 1988):168-69.
- Bronner, 1, 12.
- Barbara J. Syska, Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D., and Dennis O’Hare, “An Objective Model for Estimating Criminal Abortions and Its Implications for Public Policy,” in New Perspectives on Human Abortion, eds. Thomas Hilgers, M.D., Dennis J. Horan, and David Mall (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981), 178. For a summary of the scholarly dispute over the prelegalization statistics, see Daniel Callahan, Abortion: Law, Choice and Morality (New York: Macmillan, 1970), 132-36; and Krason, Abortion, 301-10.
- For more on prenatal development and the scientific evidence of the unborn’s humanness, see Part Three in this series in the (forthcoming) Spring 1991 issue of the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL.
- Nicholas Capaldi, The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical Thinking, rev. ed. (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1987), 92.
- Among the many organizations which help unwed mothers and women in crisis pregnancies are Crisis Pregnancy Centers (branches are found in many cities across North America), Pregnancy Crisis Center (Virginia), and Bethany Lifeline (1-800-234-4269). See also the interview of the administrator of an Assembly of God adoption agency in “Alternative to Abortion,” Pentecostal Evangel (11 Feb. 1990), 14-15.
- For example, see Ron Sider, Completely Pro-Life: Building a Consistent Stance (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1987).