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Misconception Monday: Abortion is a Reproductive Right

  • Ryan Phillips
  • 10/26/2020

Abortion is frequently described as a “reproductive right.” This deceptive but powerful misnomer provides an immutable wall of defense for the practice.

If abortion is a “reproductive right,” then placing any restrictions on abortion would be infringing on the rights of another. Pro-life views can then then be distorted and misrepresented as trying to take away the rights of another, rather than protecting innocent life.

But is it really a right?

The supposed “right” to an abortion is traced back to the dubious Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973. The Jane Roe of the case, Norma McCorvey, was a struggling 21-year-old with an unwanted pregnancy who was preyed upon by lawyers seeking to advance the reach of the abortion industry. Despite her “victory,” McCorvey never actually had an abortion and did not even appear in court. She became a staunch pro-life advocate after the case, dedicating her life to the undoing of the law that bears her name.

The decision of the court was based in part on the viability of an unborn child depending on the trimester of the pregnancy. However, thanks to technology advancements, the age of viability has changed dramatically since 1973, and the standard this “right” is based on does not make sense legally or medically. 

Ultimately, beyond the questionable legal grounds lies the larger moral dilemma of considering abortion a “reproductive right.” People do indeed have many reproductive “rights,” or choices they can make; they can choose if and when they will engage in activities that may lead to a pregnancy, and whether they will use contraception. 

But an abortion has nothing to do with these choices or with reproductive rights. An abortion ends the life of another after reproduction has already taken place.

In the ultimate irony, this “reproductive right” takes away the most precious right of another—the right to live.

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