. . . Opponents of abortion commonly spend most of their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly any time explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion. Perhaps they think the step too simple and obvious to require much comment. Or perhaps instead they are simply being

about her mental health. By the same token, we would feel squeamish about flushing a seven-month-old fetus down the toilet—something we would normally do with an early miscarriage. There are no prayers for the matter of a miscarriage, nor do we feel there should be. Even a Catholic priest would not baptize the issue of an early miscarriage” (80).

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

c. “We must make decisions on abortion based on an understanding of how people really do live. We must be able to say that poverty is worse than not being poor, that having dignified and meaningful work is bet- ter than working in conditions of degradation, that raising a child one loves and has desired is better than raising a child in resentment and rage, that it is better for a twelve-year-old not to endure the trauma of having a child when she is herself a child” (81–82).

d. “It is possible for a woman to have a sexual life unriddled by fear only if she can be confident that she need not pay for a failure of technology or judgment (and who among us has never once been swept away in the heat of a sexual moment?) by taking upon herself the crushing burden of unchosen motherhood” (82).

e. “There are some undeniable bad consequences of a woman’s being forced to bear a child against her will. First is the trauma of going through a pregnancy and giving birth to a child who is not desired, a trauma more long-lasting than that experienced by some (only some) women who experience an early abortion. The grief of giving up a child at its birth—and at nine months it is a child one has felt move inside one’s body—is underestimated both by anti-choice partisans and by those for whom access to adoptable children is important. This grief should not be forced on any woman—or, indeed, encouraged by public policy” (84).

f. “We must be realistic about the impact on society of millions of un- wanted children in an overpopulated world” (84).

g. “Making abortion illegal will result in the deaths of women, as it has al- ways done. Is our historical memory so short that none of us remember aunts, sisters, friends, or mothers who were killed or rendered sterile by septic abortions? . . . Can anyone genuinely say that it would be a moral good for us as a society to return to those conditions?” (84).

* I am very much indebted to James Thomson for discussion, criticism, and many helpful suggestions.