Opinion | Counters to common ‘pro-life’ arguments


Photo courtesy of Malcolm Murdoch/Wikimedia Commons

People gather in front of the Capitol in Washington D.C. during a Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017. Columnist Sanchita Teeka provides five counter arguments when it comes to pro-life claims.

By Sanchita Teeka, Columnist

As of Friday, a group of unelected officials made a decision ripping away a person’s right to choose — the right to an abortion. Albeit the fact that up to 61% of Americans support abortion in most cases, there is still around 39% of Americans who are opposed to the freedom of choice to have an abortion. 

Abortion is often misunderstood and this confusion can be reason why some call themselves “pro-life.” Pro-life people often think that they are genuinely holding the correct beliefs and that abortion is literally murder. Nonetheless, every pro-life argument has a stronger counterargument. 


1. “Abortion is plain murder.”

First, understand this is a stance that is incredibly hard to change in itself because pro-lifers  believe it to be fact. Pro-lifers fully believe that abortion is murder, so no argument about control over uterus-holding people will work to change this belief. 

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    What can be used is the argument of bodily autonomy, especially the analogy of organ donation. Most people understand that a person has the right to decide whether or not they want their organs to be donated, and this isn’t a controversial opinion. Even if someone’s organs could have been used to save another person’s life, we don’t consider that to be murder if the person has chosen not to donate organs. In a similar sense, it doesn’t make sense to force a person with a uterus to give their organs and body to a fetus. 

    2. “Life is life.”

    While many pro-lifers believe this, their actions don’t show it. For one, if they eat meat or kill bugs, they’re literally ending life on a daily basis. These actions show that they understand the complexity of life and that it is not all the same. 

    A common counterargument is the idea of “potential.” Pro-lifers might say that human fetuses are intelligent and have potential but animals don’t, which unlocks a new set of inconsistencies in their reasoning. 

    For one, studies have shown that pigs and other animals have intelligence levels comparable to young children, so in that case they shouldn’t be eating animals if “life is life.” 

    Additionally, they’re likely not advocating against the death penalty, guns or actively trying to prevent suicide. However, mentioning this would probably elicit a defensive response because nobody likes being called out on their blatant hypocrisy. 

    3. “What if the baby grew up to cure cancer, or was the next president?”

    While this is definitely possible, the same can be said of the person forced to carry to term. What if the 12 year old forced to have a baby would have grown up to do those things herself but couldn’t because they were carrying a baby? Or what if the middle-aged person was in the midst of doing these things but was halted by having a baby? Alternatively, what if that baby grew up to be the exact opposite and committed horrible crimes?

    These “what ifs” can be applied to literally anything because this line of argument rides on a logical fallacy.

    4. “There are so many people who want a child.”

    Yes, but there are already hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care. If this statement was true, this number would be zero. The people who do want to adopt overwhelmingly want an infant. They also want one that is white, seen by the fact that most adoptions are of white kids while children of color make up the most in foster care. The foster care system is entirely unsatisfactory and the last thing needed now is more children in the system.

    5. “What if your parents aborted you?”

    I wouldn’t be alive so I wouldn’t care and I wouldn’t be having another “what if” argument based on a logical fallacy. 

    Even after using all of these arguments and more, a “pro-lifer” may still not be convinced and might maintain their beliefs. Yet, having the argument or conversation means that all sides of the argument have been made clear. Only with arguments and conversation are we able to see the entire picture, and maybe in the process have one review their beliefs.


    Sanchita is a sophomore in LAS.

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