Secular Argument Against Abortion (SC Heartbeat Law)
A friendly pro-life discussion
“The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” is an enormous human rights triumph. Passed this week, the law prohibits most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for rape, incest, and threat to the mother’s life.
For pro-life advocates, this is great news! Fetal heartbeats usually develop around the sixth week of pregnancy, and most women don’t realize they’re pregnant before then. That means the law is set to block 97% of all South Carolina abortions (only about 3% of abortions are directly linked to rape, incest, or threat to the mother’s life).
Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood has already filed a lawsuit against the Heartbeat Law. In the meantime, the organization has succeeded in obtaining a two-week restraining order. If Planned Parenthood prevails in court, the Heartbeat Law may never take effect.
As you might have guessed, I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen. However, I realize that most students probably don’t agree with me. That’s why I’m taking this opportunity to challenge some common pro-choice arguments.
1. A fetus is not alive.
A fetus is composed of living cells. It is, by definition, alive.
2. A fetus is not human.
Every fetus is composed of human cells with its own unique set of human DNA. It’s human.
3. A fetus is not sentient.
A sentient being is someone who is able to perceive or feel things. A fetus responds to stimulus as early as eight weeks.
4. The fetal brain is not fully developed.
Neither is any newborn’s. In fact, the male brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. By that logic, it’d be fine if I beat up on my brothers. Hmm… maybe not such a bad idea after all.
5. My body, my choice
Every fetus has its own set of DNA. It’s a separate being. It’s not your body.
6. What if the fetus isn’t viable?
Again, neither is any newborn. Though babies are not physically dependent on their mothers, the effect is the same; they would die on their own.
7. A fetus can’t breath on its own.
What about people on ventilators? What about people with sleep apnea? My grandpa needs a machine to help him breath at night. Does that mean he’s no longer a human being?
8. I’m a guy, so I don’t have the right to speak on this issue.
I’ve noticed that a lot of men feel really uncomfortable speaking about abortion. Don’t be! The idea that only women can talk about abortion is solely a pro-choice argument. If you believe abortion is murder, It makes no sense to sit by and let it happen. Little boys are victims too.
9. I would never get an abortion, but I should let others decide for themselves.
Abortion all comes down to whether the fetus is a person with rights or just a blob of cells. It’s either a person or it’s not. There is no in-between. It cannot be both. If it’s a person, then abortion is killing an individual, and no one should have an abortion.
I think most of us can agree that a fetus does not magically become a person when it pops out of the womb, but if you are unsure when it does, isn’t it better to err on the side of caution? The death of a human being isn’t something to be taken lightly.
10. Women will get abortions anyway.
It’s true that some women will always get abortions, but making it illegal is a strong incentive. Many women won’t risk of an unsafe medical procedure. Additionally, pregnant women in need can get support from a growing number of organizations that provide resources before and after pregnancy. Many pro-lifers actively volunteer or donate to make this happen. It’s a great opportunity to support both women and unborn people. We can still support women while choosing life.
11. The fetus would probably have a horrible life.
Abortion advocates consistently cite evidence that aborted children are more prone to grow up in poverty and turn to crime. The idea is that abortion is a mercy. This argument contradicts the idea of my body, my choice. The fetus is not your body. Who are you to decide for the fetus?
There you have it. Will my argument change any minds? Probably not. Do I hope it will? Absolutely.
What’s Wrong with South Carolina’s Heartbeat Bill
A logical fallacy of immeasurable proportions.
A fetal heartbeat is typically detectable between 6 ½ to 7 weeks gestation.
Most women find out they are pregnant between 6 to 8 weeks gestation.
Henry McMaster couldn’t care less.
On February 17th, 2021 governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, signed the “Heartbeat Bill” prohibiting abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detectable unless the pregnancy is deemed a medical emergency or a result of rape/incest. There are many things wrong with this.
First off, it’s federally unconstitutional.
In 1973, US Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade set the precedent that “a state cannot ban abortion before viability.,” which is generally between 24-28 weeks. In fact, the day after McMaster celebrated the bill’s passing, an emergency lawsuit by Planned Parenthood caused a federal judge to place a temporary block on abortion ban. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, a “Heartbeat Bill” is not a protection of life, it’s a challenge of the constitution and federal precedent.
Secondly, there is no ultimate decision on when life begins.
There is much debate over whether or not life begins at conception. However, there is no universally accepted definition of the beginning of life. If we’re speaking scientifically, the egg and sperm were already alive prior to conception, so the real question should be: When does personhood begin? If one individual believes a baby is alive the moment an egg is fertilized, great! don’t get an abortion. But the individuality of the belief must be acknowledged. Just because you think chocolate cake is gross doesn’t mean everyone does or it actually is.
Third, and this is an important one, separation of church and state.
While I recognize not everyone is “pro-life” or “pro-choice” based on religious standards, Christianity is justification for many “pro-lifers,” (although there is no direct reference to the topic in the Bible). Constitutionality seems to be a common occurrence with this issue. The very first amendment in the Bill of Rights, the Establishment Clause, clearly states “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Personally, I respect your religion acting as justification for you to not get an abortion, but factually, not every American citizen is a Christian.
Finally, how can you be pro-life AND pro-death penalty?
These two political positions typically, not always, go hand in hand with the Republican party, but it seems to be a logical fallacy. If life is precious, why do we allow the American government to legally commit murder every year? I understand the question of innocence, but if Christianity is a large contender in development of beliefs, it should be acknowledged that in Matthew 5 the bible does address “eye for an eye” logic, “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” ³⁹But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Again, religion should be kept out of government; however, the basis on which some beliefs are formed is interesting.
Overall, the “Heartbeat Bill” is unconstitutional and illogical, and this is without even addressing the feminist issue of a woman’s right to her own body, but facts over feelings. Right, guys?