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The Vermont Cynic

The pro-choice vs. pro-life argument


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Believe me, I grasp the irony that two men are debating abortion.

Pro-lifers take the philosophical stance that life is sacred. Pro-choice advocates argue that women should have control over their own bodies, empowering them socially and economically.

In a sense, these are both moral arguments. But the pro-life argument is essentially a religious one that breaks down under the test of reason. It is a religious assumption that life begins at conception.

Even though conservatives are against abortion, they are prudish when it comes to contraception and sex ed: two things that reduce unwanted pregnancies, especially in teenagers.

It is baffling that most pro-lifers are also pro-death penalty. That’s because the abortion issue is not about the sanctity of life; it’s about controlling women socially and economically.

Conservatives should be clear on their position: if they are truly pro-life, why are they so pro-war?

The war in Iraq resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi civilians, 200,000 in violent deaths caused by coalition forces, according to the Huffington Post’s World Post. Where were the pro-lifers then?

Abortion is murder, they say. I say murder is murder.

Over 13,000 people were killed by guns in 2015 in the U.S. That’s excluding accidents and suicides.

There were 15,000 in 2016 according to the Gun Violence Archive. Almost 700 kids under 12 and over 3,000 teenagers were killed or injured by guns last year. Clearly common sense gun control would have prevented at least some of these deaths.

But the very same people who are pro-life are also pro-gun.

Conservatives want to control women’s bodies, but if that vagina is toting a glock 40 they will respect its right to keep and bear arms.

The pro-life movement was a cynical maneuver by conservatives to bring voters living outside of the deep South to their side after Lyndon B. Johnson won in a landslide against Barry Goldwater in 1964.

By creating the abortion issue, Republicans were able to bamboozle poor and working class white Americans into voting against their own economic interests.


The abortion debate is almost always incorrectly framed as a solely religious issue. However, there is a strong secular case against abortion.

The beginning of human life is not a matter of opinion or belief. It is settled science.

Dr. Keith Moore’s “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology” states, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization.”

One does not need to be religious to oppose the termination of innocent lives.

Before I address the generalizations that pro-lifers support the death penalty, war and gun rights, I would like to state that pro-lifers hold a wide array of beliefs.

One cannot take the position of generalizing the beliefs of the 46 percent of Americans who identify as pro-life, according to a 2016 Gallup poll.

Abortion and the death penalty are incomparable.

A convicted murderer has violated the social contract by which he and all members of a society live. Death is the punishment for this violation. Unborn babies have done nothing to justify being deprived of life.

The issue of war brings another matter into play: whether war is justified.

A justified war can be an act of national self-defense or a defense of brutalized citizens abroad.

It is not hypocritical for pro-lifers to support the Second Amendment.

There is no connection between the pro-life community and the actions of violent criminals.

Furthermore, one of the most compelling arguments in favor of gun ownership is self-defense from those who wish to inflict harm.

Finally, I wish to address the “irony” of two men discussing abortion.

Gender has no bearing on the moral obligation of preventing people from harming other people, whether it be via abortion or through other means.

The right of women to control their bodies is a compelling argument. However, the right of unborn babies to live comes first. 


President Trump has ordered missile strikes on Syria which killed and injured dozens of civilians, including several children.

One must perform mental gymnastics to get their heads around the idea of an airstrike launched in reprisal for the killing of civilians that in turn killed more civilians.

But we don’t care about the lives of Syrians. Just fetuses, apparently.

When does life start? The combination of an egg and a sperm — a zygote — does not constitute a baby.

A zygote is living in the sense that any bacterial, brain or blood cell is living.

A zygote has no capacity to suffer. It does not have a brain or a mind. Nor does a fetus until very late in a pregnancy. The question that arises is where we draw the line.

Should we say that every sperm is precious because it holds the potential for human life?

If so, then I and a great many men are guilty of committing mass murder on a regular basis.

There’s a reason we celebrate the day we are born and not the day we’re conceived. But this isn’t about when life starts. As I’ve said: conservatives don’t care about the sanctity of life.

George Carlin summed it up best: “They’re not pro-life. They’re anti-woman.”

As Carlin said, conservatives want to protect unborn babies, but once that baby is born they don’t care about it.

“If you’re pre-born you’re fine. If you’re preschool, you’re fucked,” he said. “Conservatives want live babies so they can grow up to be dead soldiers.”

If conservatives want to truly address the issue of unwanted pregnancy, they should ensure that every child grows up free of want by raising the minimum wage.

They should ensure the health of every child by creating a universal healthcare system.

They should seek to give every child the opportunity to live up to their potential by increasing funding for public schools and making public universities tuition free. They do none of these things.


There is no connection between the pro-life movement and Syrian airstrikes.

Furthermore, those airstrikes were meant to defend innocent civilians from being gassed by their own president, a brutal war criminal.

Any civilian life lost during those strikes is a tragedy, but the goal is to prevent even more life from being lost.

Regarding when life begins, I quoted an embryology textbook written by med- ical doctors in my previous response to answer this question. Additionally, “Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia” states, “At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum [zygote], a new life has begun.”

Whether or not a zygote can be considered a baby is a matter of semantics.

The fact of the matter is that human life begins at the moment of fertilization. Opening an embryology textbook will confirm this indisputable fact.

While you are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts.

The inflammatory statements made by comedian George Carlin are unequivocally false. Being pro-life encompasses care for the child both before and after birth.

The Catholic Church, which opposes abortion as well as the death penalty and unjust wars, spends billions of dollars annually on charity in the U.S. alone, which includes funding centers that assist women facing unintended pregnancies.

Pro-lifers, especially Catholics and other religious adherents, are not just talking the talk. They are walking the walk.

While there are steps that can be taken to decrease unintended pregnancies, the solution is not to kill the unborn.

Abortion is one of the greatest human rights violations facing this country today. It is crucial that this stain on the moral fabric of the U.S. be outlawed.

1 Comment

One Response to “The pro-choice vs. pro-life argument”

  1. stephen on April 15th, 2017 4:43 pm

    What’s wrong with two dudes debating abortion? Nothing really, not to me anyway. But the ten women that are murdered every week by their husbands, boyfriends, or dating partners, they might have something to say about gun laws or the sanctity of life, if they lived. Eight-year-old Jonathan Martinez who was murdered this week as he hid behind his teacher while she was being murdered by her husband might have something to say on the subject, if he lived. The husband, a convicted domestic abuser, was simply exercising his “constitutional rights” which clearly are superior to the rights of an innocent child.

    The hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty of anti-abortion activists is absolutely staggering. To begin with, there is no such thing as an ‘unborn child.’ This term does not exist in medicine. The correct terminology is fetus, but since this does not sufficiently illustrate, infuriate, or incite the Antis they stoop to made up terms like partial-birth abortion, baby-killers, or infanticide.

    The Antis love their guns, and when they get a baby-killing doctor in their sights, they pull the trigger in the name of god. Ask women’s health providers Dr. Barnett Slepian or Dr. George Tiller about the sanctity of life, if they were alive enough to speak; both were shot with high powered rifles.

    The intellectual dishonesty can better be viewed from the perspective of the cause for someone to seek an abortion, unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. The best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy, education, and birth control. But what do the Antis want to do? Close down family planning clinics.

    The Antis don’t realize that Americans don’t want abortion banned. They are not majority pro-life, that is another phony made-up statistic. Sure, when you ask in an intellectually dishonest way, “Should we allow ‘Abortion on demand?’ then throw in, ‘Paid for by the Government?’ of course a majority of people are against that. But that does not reflect the true sentiment of the populace. The Antis are nothing but pawns in a political game. They don’t realize they are being played like a fiddle, manipulated by their own naivete, and it’s working like a charm.

    The famously pro-choice Trumpster is singing the ‘ban Planned Parenthood’ anthem now and he has become the ‘Pied Piper’ to the poorly educated voter that loves their bibles and their guns and their military and their bombs.
    The Trumpsters, or as he calls them ‘My poorly educated voters’ or as the pollsters politely prefer ‘low information voters’ the one thing they do understand is bombs, big bombs, big explosions. OK, who cares if these bombs kill civilians? Couple hundred Iraqi civilians a week or two ago. A few dozen Yemenis last month. Who cares, they’re not white and Christian like me so their life is worthless, not sanctified. But the unborn babies must be saved!

    The death penalty is great for blacks and poor whites, even if you’ve been exonerated by DNA evidence. Who cares? Bible thumping Arkansas wants to execute eight men in a few days’ time. Damien Echols spent 18 years on Death Row in Arkansas before DNA was found that was not consistent with the evidence presented in court. He served with two of those scheduled to be executed. One inmate is described as mentally retarded and the other a paranoid schizophrenic who exists in a catatonic state. Who cares? Their life is worthless anyway.

    Of course, the words in the bible are inviolate, the earth was created in six days, science be damned.
    The life and teachings of Jesus exemplified peace, love, compassion, humility, forgiveness, and sacrificial love. Where is that in those who subscribe to the Anti-abortion zealotry of today?


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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
The pro-choice vs. pro-life argument