‘Abortion Restrictions Don’t Work’: A Dubious Claim

Signs outside the Supreme Court during the March for Life rally, January 27, 2017. (Aaron O. Bernstein/Reuters)A comforting thought for moderate pro-choicers is not supported by the available data.

Some pro-choice advocates argue that having an abortion is perfectly morally acceptable, either because a fetus has little to no moral significance, or because a woman’s right to bodily autonomy always prevails over whatever rights a fetus might have. Some even go so far as to celebrate the act of having an abortion as a manifestation of female empowerment — the ultimate middle finger to the patriarchy. They hold that any and all abortion restrictions would amount to a violation of female bodily autonomy.

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But many pro-choice advocates, especially among the rank-and-file, have a more moderate view. They concede that abortion is (at least usually) morally wrong or bad, perhaps even seriously so — even if women are often not blameworthy for having them. And yet they still believe that abortion should be legal. I would venture to say that this is the most common pro-choice position.

Pro-lifers are often baffled by this combination of beliefs, but some moderate pro-choicers have an explanation at the ready:

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