The Exception Argument In The Abortion Debate

The debate between a pro-abortion person and a pro-lifer often tends to be two different types of arguments. It's a case of a pro-lifer arguing for the majority or statistical approach, while the pro-abortion person usually goes for the exception or worst-case scenario argument to make the point.

The pro-lifer looks at the overall view that an unborn baby is being killed. That is a 100% certainty in abortion. The pro-abortion view focuses on how terrible life outside the womb will be for the unborn and its mother. For example, they say that the mother is single and in poverty, so that's a good enough reason not to give birth. By taking this worst-case scenario approach, they forget or ignore the fact that for most people this state is transitional. Most do not stay at poverty level, nor do women always stay single. Do they ever emphasize that there are programs of support, either financially or emotionally, from many different agencies?

Another criticism is that the woman's social, career, or school situation will be forever altered in a negative fashion. The alternative view should be that, more than likely, the new baby will change the mother's situation but just on a different temporary level. There may a bump in the road, but in a few years the woman probably will find that bump very insignificant.

Even the alternative of adoption is often criticized. The proponents of abortion may cite a remote case where adoptive parents abused their child, and completely ignore the overwhelming number of very successful adoptions. They also have used the argument that it will be too tough for the mother to give the child up for adoption. The obvious answer is that if it would be too hard on her to give up the child, then she should just keep it.

They basically have their desired result that the baby should be killed, and then they fit in a reason to do it. It is analogous to the evolution or global-warming issues where there is a desired result, and only the evidence that supports that result is accepted, and all of the evidence against that view is discarded.

Abortion proponents often will argue that rape, incest, or a woman's life in danger are reasons for abortions, but these encompass only 3% of all reasons. Of course, even if the pro-lifer capitulated on these, 97% of all babies are still killed in the name of convenience.

What if we allowed other behaviors in our society based on the exception?

Should we always allow murder because a few murders are committed in self-defense?

Should we always allow bank robbery because the robber needed money because he lost his job and had to feed his family?

Should we allow breaking and entering because someone had to break their neighbor's window to save someone in a fire?

In reality, there are different camps in the pro-life movement on how to deal with this exception factor of abortion. Do we follow our principles totally and do not try to pass any legislation unless there are no exceptions allowed? That would keep our principles of life consistent, but the odds of passing some bill with no exceptions are essentially zero. Do we propose a bill that is against our principles that states that there can be a baby killed if it is conceived under certain circumstances? We have a greater chance of passing this legislation which will save the 97% of all babies killed for convenience sake.

I believe that we have to allow for these exceptions either in the political arena or on a personal one-to-one dialogue. Almost all bills passed are a result of compromise with the proponents of that legislation using the incremental approach. For example, smoking restrictions started years ago with a warning on a pack of cigarettes to legislation now that prohibits smoking in many public facilities.

The exception argument is often used as a distraction when discussing the issue with someone favoring abortion. When they feel they can't easily justify abortion for convenience, they will resort to the rape or incest argument. We should say that we will go along with them on the exception if they will fight with us to stop all of the other abortions. Odds are they won't go along with us, because they really believe abortion should be allowed for convenience sake. They use the exception and worst-case scenario arguments because they feel it's the most effective way to battle the truth.




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