Is abortion a choice, or a medical necessity?

Since Andrea asked us to say it with her (in response to abortion coverage in current American health care reform bills): Abortion is not medical care.

North of the border, we manage to maintain the spectacular inconsistency that abortion is a woman’s choice, and that at the same time, it is medically necessary. (Abortion is medically necessary when the woman says it is medically necessary.)

I can see abortion advocates arguing that sometimes it’s medically necessary, but otherwise it’s a woman’s choice. The notion that late-term abortion is ever necessary is questionable enough, but that line of argument would fall squarely into one of the five bad ways to argue about abortion: disguising your true position by appealing to the hard cases.

That is, pro-choice advocates tend to appeal to hard cases, which are rare, and then extrapolate to all abortions. “What if a woman was raped? What if a woman’s life is in danger?” These are serious and complex issues — but they account for a small percentage of all abortions. These are bad arguments for all abortions being legal, ethical, or “medically necessary,” and honest pro-choicers know it.

Blaise Alleyne is Education Coordinator with UTSFL. He has been a member of the club since 2005, serving as Technology officer from 2006-2010, and is now focused on education, activism and strategy. Blaise is a part-time student in the Master of Theological Studies program at Regis College, U of T. He completed a B. Sc. at the University of Toronto in 2009 with a major in Computer Science, and minors in English and Philosophy. Blaise's posts on this website are available under a libre Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

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  1. […] Unfortunately, Canada already subscribes to the incredible inconsistency that abortion is both a woman’s choice and a medical necessity. […]

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