Globally, 25% of pregnancies are terminated via abortion. As a result, abortion is an issue that impacts a large portion of the population. Of people who have obtained abortions, they typically cite 2-4 reasons for their choice. These reasons include:

  • Not wanting any additional children
  • Not feeling ready to become a parent
  • No interest in becoming a parent
  • The timing of the pregnancy is bad
  • Wanting to finish school before becoming a parent
  • Do not want to have a baby with their current partner 
  • In an abusive relationship
  • The pregnancy is dangerous for their physical or mental health
  • The fetus will not survive

It’s easy to say that everyone should be able to use religious morals as a justification for being anti-abortion. And we’ve heard many of those reasons before. It’s also easy to approach the subject from an emotional perspective and talk about heartbeats and romanticize the fetus’ future.

However, legislation should be created on the basis of science and sound reasoning. As we decided long ago, there should be a separation of church and state. If laws were based on individual morals and beliefs there would be no objectivity in the way the country was governed.  

There are strong arguments presented by anti-choice feminists who do not lean on religion or emotional logic. Rather they leverage socioeconomics and cultural norms to propose that abortion is not female empowerment.

They also suggest that it does not align with feminist values either. Let’s take a closer look at those talking points and also counters to each of them. 

Abortion benefits men more than women

Pro-life feminists have said that men often support abortion so they can shirk parental responsibility. This is inherently anti-feminist as it prevents women from obtaining gender equality. Additionally, there is the belief that men reap the benefits of sex without the responsibility of sex.

Namely, the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. As a result, this provides them yet another avenue to avoid accountability for their actions. There’s a lot to consider within both of these claims. 

Men support abortion because they don’t want parental responsibility

I chose to tackle this one first because it is, in my opinion, nothing more than a straw man argument. But I have to admit, it is dressed up really well. On the surface it looks like men are the problem and providing abortion access simply enabled the further oppression of women, doesn’t it? 

Ok, so let’s say men do support abortion because they don’t want parental responsibility. So? Women support it for the same reason. Yes, I understand the implication is that men support abortion for only selfish reasons. And that they are not truly backing the advancement of women’s rights.

However, whatever a person’s specifically cited reason for getting an elective abortion, the underlying reality is that they do not wish to be a parent to that fetus. If someone is not ready to become a parent, why should they be forced into it? And why force a pregnant person to bear a child without a partner’s financial and emotional support if they feel they need it? 

This thinking also suggests that when we create a baby, we should automatically want to raise it. That is not the case for many people. In fact, in over 50% of abortions that were obtained, contraceptives were used. This indicates that no one involved wanted parental responsibilities and them seeking an abortion merely solidifies that desire.  

It’s also worth pointing out that just because you created a person doesn’t mean you’ll raise it anyway. In American alone there are over thirteen million single parents and only 16% of them are fathers.

To be sure, we can attribute some portion of that statistic to misogynistic family courts. It would be unreasonable to say we could explain the majority of single mothers using that reason though.

This suggests that men who don’t want to be fathers cannot be forced into doing so. Regardless of whether a woman has an abortion or carries the pregnancy to term.

Men who don’t advocate for abortion rights aren’t statistically more likely to be involved fathers. There’s exactly zero data to support that notion. The same can be said of women who choose to abort as roughly 60% of them are already mothers

Men reap the benefits of sex without the responsibility of sex

As mentioned, another argument is that men reap the benefits of sex without having to take any responsibility for the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. It’s difficult to look at this and not see the implied toxic masculinity seeping through. Toxic masculinity dictates that men are naturally sexually aggressive, have little or no sexual self-control and lack soft emotions.

All of these claims have been proven false more than once. Yet perpetuating these stereotypes is harmful as it resists holding men accountable. When people are deemed to be incapable of controlling themselves it becomes impossible to hold them responsible for their actions. 

Perhaps a more accurate sentiment would be that men are not held to the same level of responsibility. And that this is because our society is inherently misogynistic as a result of being patriarchal. What would “making men responsible for sex” look like anyway?

We’ve already discovered that people who don’t want to be parents cannot be forced to do so. No matter their sex. Not in an emotional, or nurturing sense and arguably not in a financial sense either.  

33 billion is paid in child support annually. Yet, another near 35 billion dollars is owed to custodial moms and dads. This simply illustrates the point. If someone does not want to be a parent, birthing that fetus will not change their mind. 

Perhaps a more productive solution pro life feminists should be seeking requires looking in a different direction altogether. It would be less expensive and more equitable for everyone for men to take birth control along side women. Male birth control has the same rates of effectiveness as the most effective female counterparts, 99% or higher. 

Both men and women should be responsible for their own STI protection and pregnancy prevention methods. If they were, this would support bodily autonomy and naturally reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies. 

Abortion is a symptom of other women’s issues 

A commonly pointed to reason to not permit abortion is that it is simply a by-product of other widespread and harmful women’s issues. Allowing women access to abortion is akin to treating the symptom and not the illness. The argument is that rape and incest occur because we live in a rape culture. If we are able to change the rape culture, we will naturally not have rape or incest as pervasive issues. Consequently, abortion would not be needed. The same can be said about domestic violence and poverty. As both are cited as a reason for abortion, if we treated the causes of those issues, then women would not need abortion. 

Rape and incest 

Yes rape culture needs to be eradicated. However, if the reason for denying abortions is because rape is a problem, that logic doesn’t follow. Rape cited as the reason for an abortion account for less than 2% of all abortions.

When it comes to rape culture itself, it would seem if anything it’s growing in American and Canada. A strong indication of this is the fact that rape is the only violent crime in America to have risen for six years in a row. The same holds true in Canada.

It is inaccurate to claim that we need to focus on rape, incest and rape culture as they are the root problems and abortion is merely a by product. To say that if tomorrow we woke up and the concept of rape didn’t exist that would justify the abolishment of abortion is… interesting. 

Why does a woman need to be violated in order to seek an abortion? Why is she unable to be in control of her body unless it has been violated first?

I wholeheartedly agree that we need to closely examine rape culture and work towards dissolving it. But I would be hard-pressed to say that if it was dissolved it now makes sense to remove access to a medical procedure. 

The same logic applies to cases of incest. Why must a family member of a rapist be assaulted before they are worthy of the right to bodily autonomy? This thinking is steeped in patriarchal values and moves us further away from equity, not closer to it. 

Domestic violence

The same hesitation to deny abortions because domestic abuse exists as it does for rape. It will not be possible for them to have full control over their lives if they cannot control their bodies.

And to gatekeep abortion is abhorrent. To require someone to live a traumatic experience before being permitted to seek this medical procedure is violent. That being said, there’s an undeniable correlation between domestic abuse and abortion.

In cases where a history of abuse exists, it is often the only reason cited for an abortion. It comes as no surprise that women were less likely to inform their partner of their pregnancy when they had reported a history of abuse. 

It’s true that there is value in examining the motives behind someone seeking an abortion. It’s also reasonable to question whether they would make the same choice if their circumstances were different. However, in doing so, what gives us the right to deny someone the option to have control over their body? 


49% of American abortion seekers live below the federal poverty line. But this doesn’t mean poverty is their reason for seeking an abortion. In fact, women in households below the poverty line have the highest birth rate.

Arguably, it is harder for women who are poor to obtain an abortion. We have only to look at the birth rates and poverty rates around the world to see this striking relationship. 

Abortion rates have been declining since 1980, despite poverty rates fluctuating. The more likely explanation for declining rates of abortions is the correlation between comprehensive sex ed and lower rates of unwanted pregnancy that has been proven repeatedly. 

56% of planned parenthoods are in rural areas and poverty rates in rural areas are lower than in urban locations.

A common claim is that abortions disproportionately impact Black women and other WOC and is therefore also a race issue. In reality, it is only white people who have maintained their rates of abortion, all other races have seen a decline.

I agree that abortion could be considered a racial issue. But because of the disgusting care Black women and WOC receive in medicine as an institution, not specifically treatment during abortion procedures. In that instance, the solution would be to dismantle institutional racism within medicine, not to remove access to procedures. 

Abortion allows government to not improve women’s conditions 

Following the train of thought that abortion is merely the best option in a broken system. And that having it as an option prevents us from fixing the system, many people point to the government.

The thought is that women will never have improved conditions in areas that dominantly affect them. Such as child care, paid parental leave, workplace scheduling flexibility, as long as abortion is viewed as a solution. In this way abortion provides a means of avoiding the reality of the lack of rights women have in other areas of daily life. 

Affordable childcare & maternity leave 

This subject seems to be uniquely American problems. Of the top five countries in the world with the most comprehensive paid maternity or parental leave available, four of them have higher abortion rates than America. America is the only developed country in the world not to offer parental leave to its citizens

When examining countries with the most expensive childcare in the world, New Zealand ranks first, followed by the UK, and then Australia, the US came in at fourth. It would be a challenge to prove a correlation exists between the high cost of child care and seeking an abortion.

New Zealanders and Australians spend an average of almost 38% and 36% of their income, respectively, on childcare and yet both have a lower abortion rates than America. The UK has marginally more expensive child care and abortion rates than America. 

Yes, I agree that significant improvements need to be made for American women, and largely women the world over, in the realm of affordable and accessible childcare. Arguably, parental leave could stand for further improvement in many places as well, but perhaps especially in America where it does not yet even exist

However, there is no evidence to suggest that providing these options for women would result in declining abortions. We should work to provide these things because they are basic human rights. And they are the necessary systems of support required to provide equity for everyone. Abortion, according to global behaviors, seems to be a separate choice. 

Comprehensive maternity or parental leave & workplace flexibility 

The above seems to be uniquely American problems. Of the top five countries in the world with the most comprehensive paid maternity or parental leave available, four of them have higher abortion rates than America. America is the only developed country in the world failing to offer parental leave to its citizens.

Circling back to the top five countries with the most comprehensive parental leave, two of those countries are also the highest and third-highest percentage of mothers working paid jobs. The other three countries have lower rates of maternal employment than America. 

This begs the question: while flexible workplaces would make parenting easier, is it a significant enough factor in people’s decisions to abort? Referring back to the cited reasons people provide as to why they’re seeking abortion and the data we’ve just uncovered, I suspect not. 

Of course Americans deserve workplaces that support the demands of parenting. Of course workplaces should allow people to be able to take time off to care for their children when they’re sick. 

However, there does not appear to be a link between countries failing to do this, and people choosing abortion as a result. Socioeconomics should be improved because everyone deserves the right to provide for themselves and their family. Both financially and emotionally.

They should not have to choose one or the other. Forcing them to do so is a violation of human rights. But that seems to be an issue separate from motivations to obtain an abortion. 

The Next Step

There is a lot to consider within the abortion debate from both perspectives on the issue. I have seen many pro-life feminists claiming they are anti-abortion because they value women’s rights.

Yet, I have not come across one of their arguments that actually support women’s rights. It would seem that the best course of action would be to grant and protect everyone’s right to bodily autonomy. This is the best way to ensure women have equity.