Abortion Choice Killer Argument

Claim: It is morally permissible for a pregnant woman to abort her fetus.

Definitions (using a made-up word to avoid semantic quibbles):
depoxipotle (noun)
the condition of dependency on another for survival
depoxipotler (noun)
a person dependent on another for survival
depoxipot (verb)
force another person to contribute to a depoxipotler

The Anti-Depoxipot Argument

Premise 1:   A fetus is a person.
Premise 2:   A pregnant woman is a person.
Premise 3:   It is immoral for one person to depoxipot another person.
Conclusion 1:   It is immoral for a fetus to depoxipot its host.
Premise 4:   It is morally permissible for a victim of depoxipot to free herself.
Conclusion 2:   It is morally permissible for the woman to abort the fetus.

Unlike most pro-choice arguments, this grants anti-choicers the premise that a fetus is a person. If the fetus is not a person, then the mother's right to abort follows immediately. This argument, like Judith Thomson's violinist scenario, shows that whether the fetus is a person or not is moot - we get the same pro-choice result even if we assume personhood.

The main challenges to this argument:

  1. Premise 4. Some will deny that one has a right to free oneself from depoxipot. They may claim that one may not harm or kill others, even to free oneself. Here, one can cite other cases where harming or killing others is permissible, such as self-defense or defense of others. Also an innocent shield argument can be used to show that innocents may be harmed under certain circumstances.
  2. Consent to sex implies consent to depoxipot for nine months. This is a non sequitur. Consent to risk X is not the same as consent to X. One good example of this is a woman who takes a walk in a city at night. She is risking rape. No one would conclude that she consents to rape by taking a walk! Similar anecdotes about hiking in the woods and getting a tape worm, or rock climbing and breaking a leg, work, too. No one would say that one has to live with the tapeworm, or should not get your broken bone set, because you consented to the risky activity.
  3. Having sex is a depoxipot contract. This is an amazingly stupid argument, but it comes up often. Anti-choicers will claim that fucking is a solemn enforceable contract to serve a depoxipotler for nine months. This has many problems. There was no contract, verbal or otherwise. At the time of the alleged contract, there was no one to contract with - the fetus did not exist. The terms of the contract are assumed without evidence. If a contract exists at all, maybe it promises to get an abortion rather than to serve a depoxipotler. Maybe "taking responsibility" for the sex means getting an abortion. Fucking is for fun. It is not a solemn contract! Are the people who cite this all virgins or something?

It is interesting that the slavery analogy, usually invoked by anti-choicers, has been turned around in this argument to favor the pro-choice position. Anti-choicers generally refuse to acknowledge that the pregnant woman is in a condition of involuntary servitude, and thus has a right to emancipate herself regardless of whether a fetus (or a concert violinist) is killed in the process. The right to life is not a right to enslave another person. The argument above avoids any reference to slavery, since experience has shown that Christians and other anti-choicers almost always resort to semantic diversions - definitional red herrings - when they hear the word "slavery." The original argument, using "slavery," was:

Definitions (using a made-up word to avoid semantics quibbles):

slavery (noun) - the condition of involuntary servitude

[Note: This definition does not require intention or force on the part of an enslaver.]

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The Anti-Slavery Argument

Premise 1:   A fetus is a person.
Premise 2:   A pregnant woman is a person.
Premise 3:   It is immoral for one person to enslave another person.
Conclusion 1:   It is immoral for a fetus to enslave its host.
Premise 4:   It is morally permissible for a slave to free herself.
Conclusion 2:   It is morally permissible for the woman to abort the fetus.

This anti-slavery argument is straightforward and sound, but rhetorically it generally fails in practice. This argument will have people endlessly whining about the word “slave,” and/or denying the possibility of an innocent enslaver. One could bring up Little Eva, the owner of Uncle Tom in the famous book, to illustrate an innocent slaver, but I recommend avoiding the word "slavery" altogether.

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