On Abortion and Bodily Autonomy

I found the below graphic floating around on social media recently and I think it really does a good job of describing the pro-choice arguments. As much as I dislike abortions, I understand that bodily autonomy demands that we allow women the freedom to choose. I don’t want the state to dictate how my body is used for others as that is a choice for me alone to make.

I don’t know where this originated, but here it is.

Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read: ‘Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote become a “human life” – that’s a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn’t obligate a mother to sacrifice her bodily autonomy for another, innocent or not.

Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v Connecticut (1965), McFall v Shimp (1778), and of course Roe v Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child’s life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn’t matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else – the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person’s body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save. That’s the law.

Use of a woman’s uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life – it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one’s uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. This is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman’s choice to carry out the pregnancy. She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.


Please excuse any typo’s I made in transcribing the text of the image.

3 thoughts on “On Abortion and Bodily Autonomy”

  1. Of course I agree … but we both know the anti-abortion idiots … whoops! … individuals will dismiss this reasoning and replace it with their own unmerited, unscientific, unjustified, and blatantly WRONG perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It absolutely is..same with being against gay marriage and women’s rights of all sorts. And being suspicious and disliking minorities. If you think about it, it’s all religion…all the negativity, all the fear and hate..

        Liked by 1 person

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