As a physician who provides abortion care, I wholeheartedly agree with Tanner Davies that those on opposing sides of abortion are not addressing the same arguments. In Davies’ piece, he posits that “pro-choice” folks do not address the central issue of when life begins. True: We do not address “when life begins.” However, “when life begins” is not central to the argument. That is an unanswerable philosophical question that no one, not even those on the same side of the issue, can agree on.
When having discussions surrounding abortion, it is important to establish agreement on basic facts and definitions. If performing an abortion is “murder,” as Davies asserts, then a miscarriage is “involuntary manslaughter”; not preventing a stillbirth is “manslaughter”; smoking in pregnancy is “child abuse.”
No one has the authority to decide when another dies (I oppose the death penalty). However, equating a pregnancy to the pregnant person is itself a moralistic fallacy employed by those against abortion, and in direct opposition of facts.
Facts can be either accepted or denied:
• Pregnancy is a possible outcome of sex, not a matter of will.
• Pregnancy alters the physiology of the pregnant person and risks their life.
• Risks of pregnancy increase with time. Giving birth can be deadly.
• A pregnancy (embryo, fetus, etc.) is human, attached to the pregnant person, existing only by utilizing the organs and resources of the pregnant person. They cannot be equal to each other.
• I, and I alone, decide who uses my body, has access to my body, and what happens to my body in medical decision-making.
Facts may be denied, but denying the fact that our sun is a star does not transform the sun into something else.
Leah Torres, Salt Lake City