I am pretty familiar with the rhetoric of abortion - you know the kind of thing:
A woman’s right to choose
Keep your rosary away from my ovaries
My body - my right to choose
Imposing your morality on me
Every child a wanted child
I’m not pro-abortion but I am pro-choice
However, I encountered a less frequently-heard one the other day, which I thought worthy of comment (I may re-visit some of the others in future posts). The one I want to look at today is that by opposing abortion, I am ‘forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term.’
I suppose I am, yes. In precisely the same way that by preventing my kids from committing suicide, I am forcing them to stay alive - and what’s worse, to die either a violent death, as the result of an accident, by illness, or by old age. How cruel of me!
We need to see beyond the rhetoric and be ready to expose the fallacious thinking that underpins it: in this case that carrying a pregnancy to term is in some sense a bad thing; and that allowing a natural process to take its course - and disallowing a deliberate intervention to change that - is in some way forcing something on someone.
But by the same token, we need to be careful of our rhetoric. We must make our case clearly, robustly and unapologetically, but rhetoric that simply demonises others (‘child murderer’, for example) will neither convince them nor third parties: and is in breach of charity, as it makes an assumption about their knowledge, free will, active intention etc that we are not entitled to make.