Is it a ‘life’ or ‘choice’?

Preview: A look at both sides of the contentious issue

“Pro-choice” arguments

“‘Fetal tissue’ is no more a human being, than a bolt is a Buick.”

Those who argue that abortion does not kill human life must have skipped high school biology, never picked up a medical book, or else are deliberately lying. Virtually every secular medical book and even a senate hearing declare human life begins the instant of conception.

A report from Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 1981 reads: “Physicians, biologists and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being—a being is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”

A split second after conception, this one-celled forty-six-chromosomed human being possesses everything it needs to grow into an adult human except time.

It’s not a blueprint of a human being. It’s not a part of a human being. It is a human being. Never has a bolt grown into a Buick!

Because words are so important in this debate, Dr. Jack Wilke, the former director of “National Right to Life,” warns pro-lifers to avoid emotion-laden words like “murder” and “baby.” He urges the use of “kill” and “human life.” Pro-choicers can engage in wordplay arguing that a “baby” is not “murdered,” but cannot refute–with any scientific credibility–that abortions do indeed kill human life.

A close cousin to the “it’s not human life” argument is . . .

“A woman has a right to choose what she will with her own body.”

Again, this pro-choice/pro-abortion argument reveals ignorance of human physiology or, again, the perpetuation of a deliberate lie.

The life growing within the mother is not her body.

It has a very different chromosome structure with a separate circulatory system and often a different blood type. There’s even a fifty-fifty chance it’s a different gender!

“A woman should be able to choose life in her medical care”

Only 2 percent of the one and a half million abortions performed each year in the United State were for the express purpose of saving the mother’s life. The overwhelming number of abortions performed do not “save” anyone’s life.

“An abortion is less dangerous than childbirth for very young girls.”

The New York Times quotes The Journal of Youth and Adolescence‘s fndings “that teenage mothers, given proper care, have the least complications in childbirth. The younger the mother, the better the birth. [If there are more problems,] society makes it so.”

In my book The Why Files: When Can I Start Dating?, I list twelve studies from medical journals that list such complications from abortion as pelvic inflammatory disease, problems with next pregnancy, damage to cervix, and severe blood loss to name a few.

I also note that a University of Minnesota study, tracking the psychological effects five to ten years after an abortion, revealed that 81 percent of women having an abortion became preoccupied with the aborted child, 75 percent had flashbacks of the actual operation, 54 percent had nightmares, 33 percent reported visions of aborted child visiting them and 25 percent experienced hallucinations related to the abortion.

Contrary to the pro-choice/pro-abortion rhetoric, abortions are not always “simple and safe” operations.”

“Abortion should be legal because of rape and incest.”

Only a fraction of 1 percent of rape and incest victims become pregnant. That means that for every abortion for rape or incest, there are 25,000 for convenience.

And, we must consider what is best for the rape or incest victim. It’s the vicious attack and violation that causes emotional damage—not the pregnancy itself. Will additional physical and mental health threats noted earlier result by subjecting her to an abortion?

“Abortion reduces child abuse by making each child a ‘wanted child.'”

If that is the case, we should see a reduction in reported cases after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. In 1960, before the Supreme Court decision, five thousand child abuse cases were reported in New York City. Fifteen years following Roe v. Wade, twenty-five thousand cases were reported in New York City–a 500 percent increase!

National statistics reveal that child abuse is sky-rocketing across the United States as well. Over 167 thousand cases were reported in 1973, 711 thousand in 1979, and 929 thousand in 1982, and in 1989 nearly two and a half million!

To be fair, there are many possible explanations for the incredible statistical increase: more people willing to report abuse, more accurate reporting of abuse, stress of economic conditions, increase in drug use in adults, the pressures of single parenting, etc.

But one possible cause could be that abortion creates the mentality of “disposable children.” If children are viewed as having no value in the womb, it follows they may be viewed with little value outside the womb.

However complex the causes of child abuse, pro-abortionists cannot argue that abortion on demand has reduced child abuse when there has been a 1,400 percent statistical increase since 1973!

“Pro-life” strategies

So, what can pro-lifers do?

Pro-lifers mustn’t let people hide behind a “pro-choice” position

“I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I think everyone has a right to choose,” is a dangerous use of words. After all, who in a pluralistic democracy could possibly oppose “choice.”

But those who embrace this particular “pro-choice” position are guilty of ignoring their own conscience (“I’m personally opposed”) by allowing for the killing of human life (“but everyone has a right to choose”).

Pro-lifers must calmly and compassionately refute the medical myths

It’s not a woman’s body: It’s a unique, separate human being.

Pro-lifers must use the truth to refute the careless use of words by the pro-abortion camp.

For while the pen may be mightier than the sword, words are more powerful than both.

© Copyright 1992 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

Related material
Are you pro-pro life?
The Ultimate Guide to Why Abortion Is Wrong, and How to Argue in Favor of Life: Randy Alcorn


Author and speaker

2 thoughts on “Is it a ‘life’ or ‘choice’?

  • July 2, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    Well apparently I was all about myself in high school because I can’t recall too many classmates!
    Such a well written article …
    I was never really pro choice though others tried to sway my opinion that way..
    Having lost the most important person in my life( my husband) I can recall the many conversations we had about abortions and neither one of us were about it even in cases of rape . To this day I am still of the same thought ! Call it Catholic guilt or whatever you want I cannot understand the uproar being voiced about this going back to where it should be.. within the states. Nowadays do kids even study the judicial system? I think
    Not ! But we sure have a federal holiday on June or whatever they call it now!
    Thanks so much for this article .. enjoyed it!
    Debbie ( Grande) Pappas

  • February 25, 2023 at 12:55 am

    In an abortion the goal is in almost all cases not to save the life of the mother but to end the pregnancy. In ending the pregnancy, a human life is always ended. The human life that is ended is the weaker and more vulnerable and so can not defend or advocate for itself. This is stronger over a weaker life. The societal support of this devalues the life of everyone in society due to the acceptance of the strong over the weak. Abortions over time have been traumatic to the life that has it and to the fabric of the society of all lives. Abortion is evil done in the name of good and requires life to give up reason to accept.


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