Debunking the Debunker – 4

More from Seth Millstein:

Common Argument #6: When abortion is legal, women just use it as a form of birth control.

Your Response: Do you have evidence of this? Considering that contraceptives are cheaper, easier, less painful, less time-consuming, less emotionally taxing, and more readily available than abortions, it seems odd to suggest that women who’ve already decided to use birth control would select abortion as their preferred method. It’s more likely the opposite: Historical and contemporary data suggests that women will seek abortions regardless of whether or not they’re legal, but that when birth control and contraceptives are more widely accessible, abortion rates go down.


Common Argument #7: Abortions are dangerous.

Your Response: When performed by trained professionals, abortions are one of the safest procedures in medicine, with a death rate of less than .01 percent. The risk of dying while giving birth is roughly 13 times higher. Abortions performed by people without the requisite skills and training, however, are extremely unsafe. An estimated 68,000 women die every year from back alley abortions, which are generally most common when abortion is illegal and/or inaccessible.

If you’d like to examine the health impact of banning abortion, consider Romania, which banned abortions in 1966. That policy remained in place for just under fifteen years, during which time over 9,000 women died from unsafe abortions, and countless others were permanently injured. That’s around two women dying every day. When the policy was reversed, maternal mortality rate plummeted to one-eighth of what it was at its peak under the no-abortion policy.

The negative health effects of prohibiting abortion don’t end with the mothers. Romania’s abortion ban sparked a nationwide orphan crisis, as roughly 150,000 unwanted newborns were placed in nightmarish state-run orphanages. Many of those orphans now suffer from sever mental and physical health problems, including autism, reduced brain size, schizoaffective disorder, and sociopathy.

When abortion is illegal, it becomes exponentially more unsafe for both women and their children. You may not like the fact that women will seek abortions even when they’re illegal, but it is undeniably a fact nonetheless.


Let’s do something unusual, and grant him everything he’s said here.  What of it?

Abortion is still wrong, because it is the taking of innocent life.

In a link Millstein provided, there is heavy emphasis on “unintended” pregnancies.  Again, this is merely a confession of foolishness:  Pregnancy is always possible when sex occurs.  Whether intended or not, one should understand the possibility of pregnancy.  (Millstein and others speak as though people might die if they don’t have sex.  Obviously, it’s quite the opposite).

Now, we can distill these two sets of objections – which are both off-point, but we will take them anyway – to the notion that, given pregnancy, a significant percentage of women will seek abortion, regardless of laws.  And when abortion is illegal, those who nevertheless procure abortions are at greater risk of death.

In the first case, it seems to me that this will always be the case, to the extent that there will always be a non-zero murder rate in the world.  We don’t have to like it, but there appears to be nothing we can do about it.

Now, if the fetus is a human life, I still see no reason to legalize taking that life.  Just because it is bound to happen anyway, does not mean we should just let it happen.  No more than we would just let another person be mugged.

Take the mugging example further, as pro-choicers are wont to do:  Imagine the mugger has a family to feed, and they are starving.  Not only is he out to take some wallets, but he will even do so recklessly.  He just will; there is no preventing him.

Do we then grant him the legal right to mug innocent people, simply because, otherwise, it might be dangerous for him?

(And if you are a Liberal, you might be saying that this is a good case for government assistance.  This is where I say, “Is that so?”  Reflect and grieve – you should be pro-life.  Liberals should own this cause, the cause of the unborn, but you’ve let your hearts be hardened).

No, neither of these arguments has the least effect against the cause of the unborn, because they completely lose sight of the point.  And even if we agree to squint along with him, Millstein’s arguments aren’t consistent with other universally accepted ethical principles.

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