Abortion! Is a very politically charged issue. Pro-lifers claim that they simply want to protect human life by banning abortion. They focus on banning what some call “partial-birth abortions” because it is a graphically and morally gruesome procedure. Pro-choicers know that banning “partial-birth”, a medical procedure that is used very rarely, will not end the attempt to ban all abortions. Their concern is with the health of the mother, the reason why doctors engage in post-20 week abortions. They make the correct argument that pro-lifers will protect a fetus, that is not able to survive on its own, but are casual about the health of the mother both during pregnancy and, more generally, in life. Each side is making a moral claim… about life and about priorities. Pro-lifers will preserve life, even if the fetus is not viable and the mother’s life is a risk. Pro-choicers will preserve a woman’s right to choose, even though this sometimes means abortions of fetuses that look viable.
What I see is that banning abortions will not end abortions. They have always existed. If legally banned, women will pursue illegal abortions with risky doctors and procedures that will put their lives at risk. The vast majority of women do not pursue abortions and are tormented by a decision to pursue one. There need be no legislation to ban what most women will not pursue. Even “partial birth” abortions were done very very rarely, when it was legal. And they were done because of the health of the mother or the fetus. As it stands right now, furthermore, we don’t view anencephalics, those small number of babies tragically born with only a brain stem and not the rest of the brain, as living humans. Even for viable anencephalics, there’s no purpose to providing treatment. We let them die.
Pro-choice people want to protect abortion rights because they are concerned with banning what will take place anyway and because they know that illegal abortions are a lot worse for everyone. They are also insistent that life is precious after birth too and chide pro-life advocates for not doing enough to provide for those already born. Pro-choice advocates have compromised by permitting the ban on “partial-birth” even though it takes away a possibly necessary procedure from doctors. So, the onus is on pro-lifers to make the case for banning all abortions. They do not have to agree with abortions if their moral code tells them it is wrong. But they cannot take away the right to abortion from those who do not have the luxury of a moral standard that limits and endangers the life of the mother and her already existing family.