Abortion Q&A

This page is an ongoing project to provide answers to all the questions you might have about the pro-life position. You can skip below to the questions that interest you, or if you are wanting to seriously understand the pro-life position from scratch, you can read this introduction to the pro-life view. My hope is that it helps us to understand each other better, so we can treat each other with more dignity and sincerity. These answers will be (relatively) short, rather than comprehensive, so please get in touch with challenges or more objections and I will do my best to answer. Or else, wait for my book!

Why be pro-life?

A basic introduction to the pro-life position and why it makes sense

Debating abortion

Can men speak about abortion?

“Abortion shouldn’t even be debated”

Are there other arguments for the pro-life position?

“Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one”

Embryology and the beginning of life

When does life begin?

“No one knows when life begins”

What about foetal development?

When is the first heartbeat?

When does consciousness begin?

When can babies feel pain?

When is viability?

Which terminology is most accurate?

Is the foetus a parasite?

Does twinning suggest life doesn’t begin at fertilisation?

Abortion in practice

How many abortions are there per year?

Why do abortions occur?

What proportion of women aborting are married?

What proportion of abortions are repeat abortions?

What proportion of abortions occur among women with children?

What proportion of abortions occur among ethnic minority women?

At what gestation do abortions occur?

What does abortion involve?

Is abortion killing?

Is medical abortion just a heavy period?

Which disabilities are abortions performed for?

Is sex-selective abortion a serious problem?

Is abortion on demand legal?

The ethics of choice

What about women’s choice?

Judith Jarvis Thomson, the violinist argument, and bodily autonomy

“No one should be forced to be pregnant/give birth”

“No one should be forced to be a mother”

Is abortion self-defence?

The ethics of foetal moral status

Is the pro-life view speciesist?

Why is being human morally relevant?

Is personhood based on viability?

Is personhood based on sentience or consciousness?

Is personhood based on birth?

Is infanticide permissible?

How can killing an early embryo be seriously wrong?

Would you save a 5 year old or a frozen embryo?

Why prioritise abortion over miscarriage?

“Most embryos are miscarried”

“Skin cells are human life”

“Potential is morally irrelevant”

“Acorns are not oak trees, and embryos are not humans”

“Sperm have the potential to become a human”

Are all abortions equally wrong?

Other ethical and metaphysical questions

Abortion and politics

What does international human rights law say?

Should abortion be illegal?

Should women having abortions go to jail?

Should women having miscarriages be investigated for murder?

Is it reasonable vote based on abortion alone?

How to reduce the abortion rate

Do pro-life laws work?

How many abortions occur when abortion is illegal?

Does welfare reduce abortion?

Does sex education reduce abortion?

Does contraception reduce abortion?

Democrat Presidents reduce abortion rates more than Republican Presidents

Abortion and mental health

What are the major studies?

Does abortion improve mental health?

Does abortion harm mental health?

Is it because of the stigma?

“Women having abortions have worse mental health to begin with”

Is the link causal?

“95% of women having abortions feel they made the right decision”

“Women suffer emotionally if they don’t get abortions”

What about the APA review?

What about the NCCMH review?

What about Gilchrist’s study?

What did Fergusson’s meta-analysis show?

What about the Turnaway study?

What about Steinberg’s Lancet study on suicide?

How common is ambivalence before an abortion?

Summary of abortion and mental health

What are the policy implications?

Physical consequences of abortion

Immediate complications of abortion

Does abortion cause breast cancer?

Does abortion cause preterm birth?

Does abortion cause infertility?

Does abortion cause sexually transmitted disease?

New abortion technology

Is telemedicine abortion safe?

Does abortion pill reversal work?

Abortion and maternal mortality

“Abortion is 14 times safer than childbirth”: abortion and mortality risk

Do women die from not receiving abortions?: Savita and Izabela

Does legalising abortion prevent women dying from backstreet abortions?

Hard cases

What about abortion in cases of rape?

What about abortion in the case of disability?

What about life-limiting conditions, or fatal foetal anomaly/abnormality?

What about abortion to save the mother’s life?

Economics and the environment

Is unsafe abortion economically burdensome?

“Abortion is cheaper for society than raising a child”

Is the world overpopulated?

What about the environment?

The impact of unwanted children

Does restricting abortion lead to more unwanted births?

Who will adopt all the extra children?

“Pro-lifers are hypocrites and pro-birthers”

Unwanted children lead to educational and career problems

“Unwanted children lead to poverty”

Unwanted children and child abuse

Does abortion reduce crime rates?

How abortion harms women

The effect of abortion on women

How common is coercion?

Are abortion providers linked to eugenics?

Abortion and religion

“Being pro-life is just a religious view”

“Religious views shouldn’t be imposed on others”

Does Christianity prohibit abortion?

Does Judaism prohibit abortion?

Does Islam prohibit abortion?

Does Hinduism prohibit abortion?

Does Sikhism prohibit abortion?

Does Buddhism prohibit abortion?

Do any Biblical passages support abortion?