Three Reasons Why The 'Dangers of Illegal Abortions' Argument is Misleading, Deceptive, and Sexist

With the tidal wave of recent pro-life legislation coming from states like Missouri, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio, we have been hearing again all the ridiculous and repeatedly refuted pro-abortion arguments. Leading this fallacious charge is the argument that says, “abortion needs to remain legal because women will get them anyway, and criminalizing abortion will force women to obtain unsafe illegal abortions, and thousands will die like they did before Roe.”

Putting aside the fact that abortion is never safe because being killed is never safe, this argument makes several dangerous missteps in its reasoning. Assuming the crazed feticide apologists will have a rational conversation with you at all (a big assumption), here are the three reasons why this argument is misleading, deceptive, and sexist.

First, this argument commits the “begging the question” fallacy. One begs the question when one assumes the very thing that needs to be proved in order for the argument to work. This argument only works by assuming that the unborn is not a human person with rights. Otherwise, this argument is tantamount to saying, “Because some people will be harmed or killed while attempting to kill others, the state should make it safe and legal for them to do so.” Following this line of reasoning, one could argue that every time someone gets harmed or dies whilst doing something evil, the state should legalize the action in question in order to protect the safety of those engaged in that evil. For example, should we legalize gun violence in our schools since shooters who intend to harm or kill others are often harmed or killed themselves? Shouldn’t we protect the safety of school shooters by legalizing their behavior? Something tells me the Left won’t go for that. Herein lies their fallacy. When it comes to abortion, they accept the reasoning that says, “Because some people will be harmed or killed while attempting to kill others, the state should make it safe and legal for them to do so,” but they reject that same reasoning when applied to gun violence. Why? Because they accept the humanity and value of school kids who suffer at the hands of shooters but reject the humanity and value of unborn children who suffer at the hands of “physicians.” But that is the entire issue at hand: Are unborn children human persons with equal value? If so, appealing to the negative consequences of making it illegal to kill unborn children in no way justifies keeping it legal. Pro-Abortion Philosopher Mary Anne Warren admits as much:

“The fact that restricting access to abortion has tragic side effects does not, in itself, show that restrictions are unjustified, since murder is wrong regardless of the consequences of prohibiting it.”[i]

This argument begs the question again when it argues for the continued legality of abortion based on the fact that women will obtain abortions anyway. This argument only works if one assumes that the unborn is not a full person. For example, would pro-abortion advocates argue for legalizing rape because men are raping women anyway, despite the fact that rape is illegal? I think not. Why? Because rape is morally evil and ought to be kept illegal, in order to protect victims and potential victims, and to impose harsh penalties on perpetrators of rape. Likewise, if the unborn is a person, then killing that person ought to be made illegal, in order to protect victims and potential victims, and to impose harsh penalties on those who attempt or succeed in killing unborn persons.

Pro-Abortion Lies (but I repeat myself)

Second, this argument, like most arguments from the Left relies on complete lies. We have all heard the line that thousands of women died from dangerous, back-alley, coat hanger abortions. This is a complete lie. In fact, we have statistics proving that very few women died from illegal abortions. The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s statistical research branch, cites The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates “that in 1972 alone, 130,000 women obtained illegal or self-induced procedures, 39 of whom died.” You read that right. 39 women died from illegal abortions the year before Roe was passed. So why the “thousands of women died from illegal abortions” nonsense? Well, if your moral compass is so defiled that you can cheer for the suctioning off and dismembering of babies limbs, then a lie to further your agenda is almost saintly. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the co-founder of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), admits the lie in his book Aborting America:

When we spoke of the [number of deaths from illegal abortions] it was always ‘5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.’ I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too… But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted… The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”[ii]

While the servile Moloch worshippers would like you to believe that illegal abortions were viciously dangerous for women in their attempts to have their children murdered, Planned Parenthood actually disagrees. Former Planned Parenthood Medical Director Mary Calderone, in her 1960 article Illegal abortion as a public health problem, writes:

“90 per cent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians. Call them what you will, abortionists or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; and many of them are in good standing in their communities. They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is…. So remember… abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians.”[iii]

Sexism Disguised as Feminism

Third, this argument is deeply anti-feminist and sexist. To suggest that in a post-Roe world, the only option women will have when facing unwanted and unplanned pregnancies is to pursue the death of their children through illegal means is to make a judgment that women are too inherently weak to pursue anything but abortion. However, one of the fundamental claims of feminism is that women are strong and capable of everything a man is (physicality excluded). By suggesting that women will be “forced” into the dangerous back-alley clinics of America if abortion is criminalized, pro-aborts are really saying that women are too weak to choose motherhood, and that true female empowerment means choosing the dismemberment of your own baby through illegal means. What a strange version of feminism. Surely, this new “enlightened” eugenics version of feminism would be foreign to the feminist suffragettes, nearly all of whom opposed abortion.

Like most of the projectile garbage that erupts from the Left’s gaping maw, this debauched argument is based on obvious logical fallacies, blatant lies, and a highly offensive form of sexism that attempts to veil itself as feminism. But just like a dog returns to its own vomit, the Left will continue to eat from their trash heap of ideas, adding dead babies to their heap, while they lecture the country on how much they care for the “little-guy” (fetuses not included).

So the next time you hear that abortion should remain legal because the consequences of criminalizing it are unacceptable, know that the only real consequence the Left fears is fewer dead babies.

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Citations:
[i] "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion," in The Problem of Abortion, Joel Feinberg, et al, Wadsworth, 1984, p.103
[ii] Bernard N., M.D. and Richard N. Ostling, Aborting America.Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Reprinted, Toronto: Life Cycle Books. Pg. 193.
[iii] Mary S. Calderone, “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem,” American Journal of Public Health, July 1960


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Seth Gruber

Seth travels and speaks in Protestant and Catholic high schools, churches, training seminars, and for pregnancy resource center banquets, engages in academic debate, and blogs and writes as a cultural and political commentator. Seth has been published by Christian Research Journal and writes regularly for Life Training Institute and his own blog.