Why Do Some Pro-Lifers Want To Keep Abortion Legal?


I am not here now to wade into the ongoing abortion debate between those on the right who are staunchly pro-life or those who are staunchly pro-choice.

That specific discussion, as important and interesting as it is, will be shelved for another time.

I am instead here to address the curious position that has been taken by many who say privately that they are pro-life but publicly are pro-choice.

In other words, those who condemn abortion on moral grounds but nevertheless oppose the government restricting the right of women to have one.

I recently had the opportunity to converse with a moderate Republican who fit this description. I began by asking him for his position on abortion. He responded that as a Catholic, he was personally against it.

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I waited for the other shoe to drop and he added that even though he was personally against abortion, as a libertarian-minded individual he did not believe the government should be involved in such a choice.

I asked him why he was opposed to abortion. He told me that it was because it was the taking of a human life; an act of murder, if you will.

At this point it seemed that his position on the matter was logically inconsistent and inherently faulty, and I laid it out as such: If abortion is a form of murder, then it must be in the same category as other crimes such as rape or theft.

Therefore, if one accepts this definition (as both he and I did), abortion automatically falls under the government’s purview.

As a result, logic dictates that government can no more be left out of abortion then it can be left out of cases of sexual assault or property theft.

On the other hand, if abortion is completely morally neutral (like say the buying of one model of car over another) then it is indeed proper for the government to “stay out of it.”

As he absorbed this argument, it started to dawn on him the tenuousness of his current position.

He resolved to do some soul searching on the matter in the future because something had to give — either his libertarian mindedness or his moral objection to abortion.

I therefore urge others who hold this middling position that to remain logically sound, they will have to either throw their lot in with the pro-life or the pro-choice camps.

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This middling position — the type of stance taken by Tomi Lahren and others of her mold — is completely incoherent if they truly believe abortion to be the specific sort of moral evil and crime they profess it to be.

Ernesto Antunez is the editor of American Discourses and is currently enrolled at Florida International University majoring in political science.

A version of this article also appeared at

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