Bodily autonomy is the primary defense used to justify the murder of the preborn. “You cannot tell a woman what to do with her own body,” they shout from every street march, internet blog, talk show, and bastardized pulpit. To the abortion militant, bodily autonomy is the pinnacle of all natural rights. Absolute, all other rights are secondary. Even the right to live must bow before it. A woman’s desire to be autonomous at all costs, whenever she wants, at any cost she wants.
Parts of the pro-life and abolition movements have been hesitant to challenge bodily autonomy. Nobody wants to be that guy (or gal) guilty of telling a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body.
“The baby in her is not her body,” some might respond back. While true, it doesn’t address the core issue: Does bodily autonomy endow a mother an inherent right to kill her dependent child? “But it’s in her body!” will come the response. Then what? What do we have to respond to this? The issues of choice, free will, and bodily autonomy are ones which the average American is unprepared to engage — even us who are dealing with it daily.
While we have no intentions on dictating the vast majority of a woman’s choices, when it comes to the executing of her child, we as a society have every obligation to intercede on the child’s behalf. Yes, sometimes, it is okay to tell someone what they can and can’t do with their own body. It’s okay to say some people shouldn’t have certain choices, and this is why.
Ninety-five percent of women consent to becoming pregnant
A child does not enter their mother’s womb by their own actions or choice. They are not a person until they are present. Until the moment of conception, it is cells from the father acting upon cells of the mother. The child is created by the reproductive act of two other human beings. Over 95 percent of babies conceived are conceived through consensual sex. We address the other five percent in a moment.
If you have sex, the sole act of human reproduction, you are consenting to get pregnant. You may not want to get pregnant. You may not plan to get pregnant. But sex is first and foremost intended as as the exclusive means of human reproduction.
Less than five percent of women conceive by rape
Care must be taken in addressing this subject, but also in how our argument is interpreted. We’re aware of the very emotionally charged and volatile issue of rape. We are not downplaying sexual assault. It is a serious sin against God. We believe rapists deserve the death penalty under most circumstances. This, and the issue of rape, is addressed in greater detail in this article.
While a small percentage of cases is still too many, the infrequency is important. Rape doesn’t even reach the top five list of reasons women get abortions by the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research wing. Of the women who do conceive by rape, the majority of them do not want to kill their babies. For sources, again, check out our article dedicated to the subject of rape and the pro-life position.
What are we not saying: We are not say a woman who is raped wants to become pregnant. This is a myth which unfortunately some people believe and repeat. This is wrong. That’s not how reproduction works.
The woman may not have chosen of her own will to engage in an act which conceived a child, however, her body performed its natural function in conceiving the child. While what happened to her was an evil violation of her autonomy. The child conceived is not a foreign invader to her body. It is her natural offspring, her son or daughter — formed in part from her own egg. The baby is not alien to her. Her body conceived the child as her body was designed to do. While what happened to her was inarguably wrong and a gross injustice against her, the baby conceived is not a perpetrator of any wrongful act.
Fetus’ natural right to dependency and protection
Nowhere else in nature can the unborn child develop other than inside his mother. The right to life is a natural right. If the child leaves his mother’s womb too early, he dies. From this, on account of observable nature, we discern it is a natural right that the preborn child live and develop inside his mother, of whom he came into being, and now relies on for nourishment and protection. Whether the intercourse was consensual or not, the mother’s body conceived the child as a result of a natural process which infers certain obligations.
For the record, we believe it is also a divine command a man care for his child and the mother of his child. But that is for a different article.
The child, conceived within the mother, now a unique individual, is inferred certain inalienable rights by account of it being a unique human being. The mother’s obligations include the responsibility to protect the natural rights of the offspring inside of her. Not only because it is her child, but because Creator God who created her, her child, and the universe demands it.
Other bad bodily autonomy arguments: Self-defense & the violinists
As previously stated, the unborn baby is not a foreign invader. An argument of self-defense doesn’t apply. If you invite the child in, which analogously you do, you cannot then murder the child because they are unable to leave without dying. If you expel someone from your home who is dependent on you, knowing they are incapable of protecting or caring for themselves, that is at best, criminal negligence, at worst homicide.
The analogy of the violinist is another one often used in defending bodily autonomy. While popular, it’s a bad argument on several grounds. For those who aren’t aware, the analogy goes something like this:
A woman is out jogging when she is knocked unconscious and kidnapped. She awakes to find herself connected by a strange medical machine to a world famous violinist. After recovering from the shock, she's informed he needs a special medical treatment. The only way for him to survive is to be connected to the woman for 9 months. The one telling the analogy then asks, "Is she obligated to stay connected to the machine for 9 months?" Most people answer "No. It's not right for her to be forced to be connected to someone against her will." They then are asked, "If this is true, why then is a woman forced to care for the body of a fetus for 9 months against her will?"
Hopefully, the error in this argument should be obvious from what we’ve addressed thus far. This is a false analogy wrought with category errors. The violinist is not conceived by the woman, and even if it is her child, that child no longer exists inside of her. Kidnapping a woman to force her to support a person is a crime punishable by death according to God’s law.
If a man is found stealing one of his brothers of the people of Israel, and if he treats him as a slave or sells him, then that thief shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.Deuteronomy 24:7 ESV
It is not the same as a mother conceiving her own child within her body and that child being dependent on her because of biology and the laws of nature.
Furthermore, a woman’s unborn baby isn’t sick, it’s developing naturally. It is not being treated, it is being nourished and grown through the natural function of the woman’s body. A woman’s body is intended to create, carry, and birth new life.
This is a bad argument and doesn’t hold up to cross examination.
Right to life supersedes bodily autonomy
Men and women, both created in the image of God, are of equal value and worth. Both have innate dignity and value extrinsically bestowed upon them by their Creator. A preborn baby is a human being, male or female, also made in God’s image, and possess the same dignity and value as a grown adult.
We agree, women and men should be free from the tyranny of overreaching government. Individual liberty should be protected with vigor. However, individual liberty ends where another’s begins.
A woman’s bodily autonomy does not include the right to choose murder. As the preborn baby is a human being, deliberately ending the life of the preborn child is, by definition, murder.
Society has an obligation to intercede on behalf of the weak and the powerless, for those who have no voice and cannot defend themselves. We must draw the line in the sand: murder is not an individual liberty a woman, or anyone, should have. A society which says it is okay to dispose of its most vulnerable individuals exactly because they are unable to protect themselves, is a society in great moral decline.
Bodily autonomy does not guarantee freedom to choose any option. A man does not have the bodily autonomy to rape. To do so is to violate the bodily autonomy of another. We have no reservations telling who think this is a right they should have: No. We call these men evil, we hunt them down, and we lock them up.
With this standard in mind, we have no problem being called “anti-choice” when the choice we’re opposing is the murder of babies. Abolitionists should have no qualms in expressing their desire to tell a woman what they can do with their own body, when what they want to do with their own body involves murder another body inside them. The woman who wants to kill her baby desires something evil and it should be opposed by all of society.
Last Updated 2023-04-13 – Featured image generated by Gab.com/AI for Nullify Abortion
Revised 2023-01-18 / Originally published 2014-06-09