Pro-life arguments ignore women's rights

Abortion still controversial ... go figure

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Is abortion murder or a woman’s choice?”
Oct. 16, 2007

To the editor:
Lauren Pelley’s argument against abortion was extreme, focused solely on the rights of a fetus and failed to recognize the importance of women’s rights, which Pelley dismissed as “flippant.” Women’s rights lead not only to the permissibility of abortion, but to the right to have one.

A woman has fundamental rights that cannot be ignored. A woman has the right to liberty, and thus the right to choose.

Secondly, a woman has a right to autonomy, which guarantees self-governance and control over what happens to her body. An autonomous person makes choices reflecting her personal beliefs and values. If a woman is faced with an unwanted pregnancy and, for example, values her career, it is permissible for her to choose abortion.

Lastly, a woman has the right to self-defence. If the fetus threatens the health of the mother, she has the right to abort in defence of her own well-being.

Although a fetus does have potential, it does not follow that a fetus’ potential gives it the right to live and to become that potential person. It is logical to argue the rights of a woman, an actual person, take precedent over the rights of a fetus, a potential person.

To call abortion absolutely impermissible is to deny women their legal and moral rights, and wrongly imply that women have an obligation to sacrifice their rights, values and plans in order to carry a fetus to term.

Women have a right to abortion so long as they do not abuse it through reckless behaviour, such as failing to prevent unwanted pregnancy with available contraception or aborting a planned pregnancy after a change of mind.

Pro-life advocates do not have to endorse abortion, but they must realize that women’s rights are equally (and arguably more) important to the rights of fetuses. It is morally necessary to allow women the option of abortion so they may exercise personal choice and autonomy.
"Denise Corcoran
Philosophy III

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