Anti-abortion arguments are flawed for a number of reasons. Admittedly, some of them sound convincing at first glance. However, it’s helpful to examine specifically why they don’t hold water.

A common defense I hear from anti-choicers is that the fetus can feel pain….well, 98%+ of abortions happen before 21 weeks and fetuses don’t feel pain until 24 weeks. The less than 2% that happen after that time frame, are due to health risks to either the pregnant person, or the fetus.

That less than 2% of abortions? They are of WANTED fetuses. No one carries a fetus for several months with the intention of aborting, it simply defies logic and unnecessarily vilifies people seeking abortions.

“A recent, now-retracted paper suggested that doctors having a public stance on abortion was ‘controversial’ and ‘unprofessional’ . We profoundly disagree: abortion is a common, normal and essential part of reproductive healthcare.”

Life begins at conception

Another common argument I hear is that life begins at conception…well the egg and sperm connect many times. In fact, almost 15% of pregnancies result in first trimester miscarriages and that’s of the people who KNEW they were pregnant.

Studies have stated time and time again that the majority of people don’t know they’re pregnant early on and assume a miscarriage is an early, or late, period (depending on the person’s cycle regularity).

So are we going to hold people who miscarry accountable for losing those fetuses? Or just the people who *choose* not to carry the fetus to term? This is exactly why dictating parameters around bodily autonomy is a slippery slope.

If we adopt this moral justification for denying abortion, we also need to consider IVF. IVF results in the destruction of all undesirable embryos. The practice also requires medical professionals to destroy unused embryos that are unwanted. How is it possible for anti-choicers to support IVF and not abortion?

“#DYK: Abortion rates are actually 4x higher in low-income countries where abortion is prohibited than high-income countries where it’s legal? Bans don’t stop abortion—they simply drive this critical health service underground.”

Don’t have sex if you don’t want a baby

One of the weakest arguments anti-choicers use is “if you don’t want to have a baby, don’t have sex.” This is an interesting angle because it shows the lack of research the individual has done on the subject.

On the face of it, it seems like a solid argument, but once you start looking into the facts of the issue of abortion, it simply falls apart. Let’s take a closer look at how to navigate this talking point.

Personally, because it’s an emotional topic, I always stick to logic, science and research with abortion debates, because they’re fool proof. Trying to control someone else’s body is striping them of human rights.

How is telling someone not to have sex, practical advice in any applicable way? If the person you’re speaking to advises you to do so, I’d first ask them why they’re against abortion.

“Let’s talk about the kids in cages. Let’s talk about the kids that are hungry. Let’s talk about y’all pretending to give a shit about these lives that haven’t even started yet, while you do nothing for those alive and suffering.”

Abstinence and birth control

In my experience, anyone who prescribes abstinence is usually young enough to likely not have had sex yet, as most of us realize this is not a realistic expectation. Sex is a part of life.

As a side point: the more effective solution to this proposition would be for men to get vasectomies, but I’ll get to that later.

People who recommend abstinence tend to not have a firm grasp on the abortion debate-obviously, because their solution is proven to not work. In fact, there’s a strong correlation between abstinence-only education and high teen pregnancy. I’d ask them if they have looked into this research as it’s been proven multiple times. Be sure to ask, not tell.

A more common solution I hear from anti-choicers is to use birth control. Well, many people try to have safe sex to avoid pregnancies, but 54% of abortions are due to properly used contraceptives failing.

“They were the heroes! “In May 1970, seventeen women set out on a cross-country trek from Vancouver to Ottawa to reject Canada’s criminal abortion law and demand legal reform…””

Cis men and reproductive rights

To grant a cis man an audience when it comes to abortion is akin to asking doctors how to rebuild an engine. They have no experience with engines, how would they know how to rebuild one?

To allow a cis man to participate in abortion discussions in any meaningful way is to put the wants of that cis man above the wants of the pregnant person when it comes to their own body.

There are some people who feel cis men should have a say in abortion because there’s a chance they could be the father. Along this line of thinking, there’s concern with “killing their baby.”

Let’s think about that for a moment. When it comes to birth control, although most forms are made for women, men have an empowering degree of control.

If the true concern was with “killing fetuses,” cis men have four options. All of which permit them complete control over the “life” of their fetus.

“If anti choicers really wanted to prevent abortion, they would focus on mandatory sex education and free and accessible birth control. Most are against birth control and want to teach abstinence in schools which leads to the highest rates of teenage pregnancy.”

The options for cis men

First, they could have a vasectomy. This is day surgery and also reversible. Thus ensuring they could have kids whenever they choose by reversing the procedure. In the meantime, not cause any unwanted fetuses; therefore, creating nothing to be aborted.

Second, these cis men should learn to be more discerning. They should take care to only have sex with women who are ready to bear their offspring at any time. This eliminates the risk of accidental pregnancies and also guarantees abortion won’t be an issue.

The third option, and perhaps the easiest, is to abstain. This is the best way for the cis man to be confident none of his fetuses will be aborted.

Fourth, cis men really need to take responsibility for their sperm. It seems reckless to leave one’s reproductive rights in the hands of someone else. Instead of ejaculating irresponsibly they should consider birth control medication.

“Reminder: You have no right to use someone else’s organs even if your own life is at risk without their consent.
You have no right to be inside someone else’s body without their active consent. In short, abortion is not a human rights violation.”

Trans exclusion

Something often overlooked by anti-choicers is the reality that trans men exist. When we insist on úsing a cisgendered lens through which to view the issue, we ignore an entire group of individuals.

For some trans men, they run the risk of pregnancy. And yet their reproductive rights rarely come up in the abortion debate. It does give the impression that misogyny fuels for the opinions of anti-choicers.

“Another anti choicer talking point which is utter nonsense: inconvenience. You’re bad at this.”

The Next Step

Yet again we find ourselves in a position where cis -and predominantly white- men are determined to gate keep the rights of others. This exercise is simply another demonstration of their privilege.

The best way to protect human rights is by getting involved. Take the time to vote for people who will defend and expand these rights. Educate your friends and family on the issues. Challenge anti-choicers on their world view to expose the myriad of flaws in their perspective.

I’d love to know…

What’s the most outlandish argument you’ve heard from an antichoicer?

What’s the most oblivious display of privilege you’ve ever seen?

“I cry sometimes when I think about how men want to take away my reproductive rights.”