Ethical Certainties: Why Pro-Life Supporters Cannot Morally Abandon Their Cause

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor


The issue of abortion is at the very least highly contentious. Decades of heated arguments are not likely to end this discussion soon even in light of various statutory and common law mandates laying out a legal framework for which it is permitted or denied. The matter is a perennial source of political maneuvering, and litmus tests that can in some areas make or break the careers of politicians. This article will not discuss the ethical or legal aspects of abortion but rather the perspective and moral position of those who support pro-life, and why they cannot abandon their cause. It is an exercise in empathy that is applicable to other subjects in ethical studies.

A common tenet of the pro-life movement is that life begins at conception or at some embryonic or cellular evolvement during pregnancy. By extension, supporters consider this to be a person and that the destruction thereof is tantamount to killing in the same light as perhaps a pro-choice advocate would react to the infanticide of a newborn baby.

In somewhat of a contrast to this, the pro-choice movement generally assigns greater value to the freedom of the mother to choose her reproductive planning without interference from government or anti-abortion advocates. Certainly the Supreme Court declared that the government cannot establish a compelling state interest in a non-viable fetus. The pro-choice movement differs in that the early stage of fetal development, the life form is considered a “person”. As time draws closer to the point of birth this movement, and in many respects the courts, ascribe personhood to the fetus. As such the two sides do in-fact become better aligned in their respective beliefs.

As an aside, Pro-choice advocates do not generally consider conception to be the beginning of life, while most pro-life supporters do. Scientifically, or at least philosophically, neither are completely correct. In actuality life never ended and was therefore created. Prior to conception both sperm and egg are living as evidenced by motility and the ability to effect changes of events–as is the case with all forms of known life. They have cellular activity. The question can however be more correctly attributed as to when “human life” begins.

As stated previously, all reasonable persons, even if aligned in the abortion controversy, will agree that the killing of an infant is morally repugnant. But since Pro-Life supporters consider the unborn to be natural persons even at what others might consider just clusters of cells, without thought or attribution to persons, by their believes and values they cannot consent to the destruction of a fetus any more than a pro-life advocate can give deference to the killing of a child or baby.

It is for this reason that pro-life supporters cannot morally or ethically abandon their cause. Because in doing so they abandon striving for the protection of children or unborn persons. For unaligned, third parties, or even in some respects the pro-choice movement, each cannot ethically (or practically) expect the pro-lifers to suddenly switch to allowing the killing of those they consider to be humans/persons because it is asking another adult to accept murder.

It is for this basic tenet, that the pro-choice supporter then generates their higher level arguments to their cause, examples of such include: advocacy; protests; politics; organization; and religious morality; among others. This is of the same moral standard of supporting life and equality for the born, which should be a moral standard of all humanity.

There have been politicians who claim to be pro-life who make exceptions to a ban on abortions based upon the conditions of rape or incest. From the point of view of a fully invested pro-life advocate this is unethical and immoral. Why? In the pro-choice analogue it is akin to saying that babies born as the result of rape or incest are un-persons who might be legally subjected to life sanctions, namely death, due to their status of which they are blameless. The pro-life movement in the true sense considers life, as a whole, to be sacred regardless of class or any other type of label or disadvantage. That is a moral position for which they also cannot ethically abandon, again any more than a pro-life person would for the newborn.

There exists much fear and affront by advocates of pro-choice applicable to the pro-life movement. But for these individuals and those granting less importance to the matter it really becomes paramount to provide a level of empathy as to what the pro-life frame of mind believes and holds dear. It does not mean that pro-choice supporters must change their position, but it is unfair to label their opponents as immoral or threatening, for the pro-life position cannot abandon their cause ethically.

Because of pro-life’s position, they MUST continue their advocacy just as others MUST continue to advocate child welfare and life. If they begin deference or making conditions for supporting the personhood of the unborn, they are lowering the moral bar and creating a class of person who is not subject to protection. Those of us who support the notion of pro-choice have to recognize these moral convictions of pro-life supporters if we are to understand where they are coming from, and to be more successful in living with each other as rational and moral beings.

Like it or not, the pro-life movement has its moral and ethical mandate. It is also equally not ethical to demand they change their beliefs to comport to pro-choice’s either. This is something pro-life cannot do.

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

503 thoughts on “Ethical Certainties: Why Pro-Life Supporters Cannot Morally Abandon Their Cause”

  1. There is a professor Singer who I believe teaches at Princeton. He once said that he feels children could be aborted up to the age of 2.

    1. Independent Bob – George Bernard Shaw said all children should be locked in a closet until age 18.

  2. Josseph Jones wrote: “I would challenge anyone reading this to clearly elucidate exactly, from a scientific view, what about the humanity of a zygote differentiates it from their humanity. A zygote comprises the 46 chromosomes common only to a human being, and given normal food and shelter the normal course of a zygote comprises the life cycle of a human being.”

    Not necessarily. What about monozygotic twinning? You say this is a one celled human being upon conception, but if it splits into two as in the case of identical twins, now you have two human beings. So it is not logical to claim that it was one human being before the zygote split in two and developed into two unique human beings.

  3. Amadeus,

    You sound like Charles Manson admonishing the Sherriff to stop meddling in Charles Manson’s choices.

    Do you mind if I say that your statement is completely wrong and the only person you deceive is yourself?

    Murder is when one human being kills another.

    Abortion occurs when the process or sequence of life is deliberately terminated.

    It resembles the termination of life when a murderer is given the death penalty and he receives a lethal

    injection – his life process is deliberately terminated.

    Laws against murder don’t constitute “meddling,” they constitute saving the life of a victim.

    Laws against murder protect the victims. Aborted babies are the victims of their mothers.

    There is nothing innocent about deliberately murdering a baby by “aborting” its life process.

    How about we don’t meddle in women’s lives, if women don’t meddle in babies’ lives?

    Leave the women alone and leave the babies alone.

    A mother does not obtain a right to murder a baby simply because it is in her womb.


    Abort – early termination of some process, e.g.


    Since they can’t “abort” but only remove an “unviable tissue mass,”

    what do mothers abort?


  4. I’ve often thought if we men were to be the ones to get pregnant, we would be singing a different tune. It’s not our business, stop meddling meddling in women’s choices.

  5. Abortion?

    What do mothers abort?

    When mothers execute an abortion, what exactly are they aborting?


    If the object of the abortion is not alive, what exactly is being aborted?


    Mothers cannot abort an “unviable tissue mass.”

    Unviable tissue masses don’t need to have a process aborted, by definition they’re not alive.

    “Abortion” should be retitled “removal.”

    Mothers “remove” unviable tissue masses.

    Abortion is the interruption of the self-perpetuating sequence of life. To repeat, LIFE.

    Mothers are not removing unviable tissue masses, they are aborting the process of life of a human being.

    1. Well said.

      The video I posted is by a woman who survived a late term saline abortion. Her twin didn’t make it. She’s on a crusade… Her story is shocking. I don’t think even a hardened abortion cheer leader could be unaffected. Seeing it will make many women regret their abortions and stats say 1 in 3 women will have at least one. It’s time for people to remember their find it again. It’s pretty horrific that so many people have lost their natural conscience and instead only feel guilt after the fact; a cheap substitute..

  6. Whatever is your definition of a human being, it applies to a zygote, which is a one celled human being. I would challenge anyone reading this to clearly elucidate exactly, from a scientific view, what about the humanity of a zygote differentiates it from their humanity. A zygote comprises the 46 chromosomes common only to a human being, and given normal food and shelter the normal course of a zygote comprises the life cycle of a human being.

    Human beings require food and shelter to survive, both pre and post uterine birth. The food and shelter required pre-birth is the mother’s womb. Suppose a person admits the truth, that a zygote is indeed a one-celled human being, but then they argue the mother has the right to an abortion because she is solely responsible to biologically provide this particular human being’s food and shelter, and she rejects this responsibility. A mother caring for a one year could argue the same thing: she has the right to a post-birth abortion because she is ethically, morally, and legally the only person responsible to provide the child’s food, shelter, and emotional care.

    BTW, I outright reject the almost universal evangelical hypocrisy of rejecting abortion but then supporting war and so-called “self defense.” I outright reject the belief in personal self-defense. So I’m 100% consistent in my defense of the unborn. I’m not saying anyone else has to agree with me about self defense, but I am saying that man has no “right” to take a life regardless his alleged sense of righteousness.

  7. The list is endless but there is another difference between Nick and me.

    My kid tells me he’s been an auto accident. He’ looks shaken but nothing too bad. I think banged up fenders and $700.

    Nick hears auto accident and he thinks involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.

    Now who is the emotional one?

  8. Sandy Hook, et al resulted in, what, 20, 40, 50 dead people because a liberal whack-job went nuts?

    50 million babies murdered since 1973 in abortions and their bodies disarticulated for marketing.

    We still have the right to KEEP AND BEAR BABIES.

    10,000 drunk driving deaths last year.

    We still have the right to KEEP AND BEAR ALCOHOL.

    35,000 people died on highways last year.

    We still have the right to KEEP AND BEAR CARS. How’s about that?

    About 300 people die every time a plane crashes.

    We still have the right to KEEP AND BEAR AIRPLANES.

    6 people died in floods in South Carolina.

    We still have the right to KEEP AND BEAR HURRICANES.

    Look at the fallacy of the fraudulent “global warming” and “climate change.”

    Newsflash – the climate is changing. Oops. Ben doin’ that for 4 billion years.

    Just like enviro-whackos there are general wackos who do bad things.

    How ’bout that pilot that flew directly into a mountain as he was leaning on the throttle.

    Jet planes as a weapon. Where have we heard that before.

    Last week a woman working 2nd shift in a fiberglass factory won $110 million in the lottery.

    She has the right to KEEP AND BEAR DOLLARS.

    Life treats everyone differently. Some gotta win. Some gotta lose.

    And Americans have the right to keep and bear arms and that right shall not be infringed.

    Your inane and frivolous non-arguments and positions are the whining of the babies you so hate.

    The ones you’ve murdered or the ones whose murders you’ve condoned through brutal acts of omission.

  9. When do I get my prize for being bookmarked? Will I get my picture taken?

    But whatever does he DO with those bookmarks?

  10. Karen

    My description of the carnage at Sandy Hook was in response to someone who said bullets do not slice and dice.

    I think he means they only leave neat little holes.

    I thought he might reconsider that idea.

  11. LOL! I thought Earl Mott was a fictional character in Ruthless People, but he is alive and commenting here.

  12. I doubt that “And automatic weapons ARE ALREADY banned.” You should research that or challenge it in court.

    That would clearly be unconstitutional, even to the corrupt Extreme Court. If the corrupt SCOTUS can’t read that the right “shall not be infringed,” Congress should immediately open impeachment proceedings under Article 2, Section 4.

    The 2nd Amendment admonishes Americans to keep and bear arms and to join a strong militia to be ready to assure the nation’s security at a moment’s notice.

    The arms must be sufficient to oppose the arms of a tyrannical, oppressive government. Reason tells us that arms can’t be restricted to BB guns or bows and arrows and can’t include WMD. If you can’t keep automatic weapons and assault rifles, you won’t be successful in a militia charged with assuring national security.


    2nd Amendment

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    1. forgotwhoiam: ““A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      You’re making a big assumption here and that is that a “free State” is something that the average American can even imagine any more. Forgive the sarcasm because I truly hope we can reclaim our lost freedoms if necessary through the exercise of our 2nd amendment right.

      Anti-gun people are so incredibly naive. They rail against Big Government, Corporate Government. Corrupt Criminal Government, Bought media, yet trust them completely to have only the most highly honorable intentions when it comes to disarming American citizens. They have no idea what these people are capable of and Yes, Dorothy they have even stooped so low as to STAGE fake shooting to take our guns!! Oh gasp, they wouldn’t! They couldn’t possibly stoop that low! That’s a “conspiracy theory” ! As though in our entire history there has never been a conspiracy or they’ve been so few and far between. Conspiracies mainly exist in the minds of Hollywood because they make such good movies!

      Maybe you’re not into the whole staged event thing, but if you ever get into it, it’s the most morbidly entertaining thing you’ll eve experience.

  13. The carnage at any murder scene is a reflection on the depraved criminal, not the tool he used. For instance, the car that was purposely plowed into the crowd in Santa Barbara. Or, ask any homicide detective about the crime scenes where the weapon is a knife or blunt force object. It’s all horrible all the time.

    This has been explained before that it is a logical fallacy, and hence not an intelligent debate tool, to falsely equate one situation with another.

    For instance, if you don’t want to repeal the 2nd Amendment you cannot want medical necessity to be defined.

  14. Karen requests a definition of terms. Maybe she would start by defining ‘accident’.

  15. No one even mentioned the Second Amendment Karen. Why include it? Emotional appeal to the 2nd Amendment nuts?

  16. I recall pimply faced boys at recess who would yell, “oh that’s so immature!”‘I always thought they were stupid.

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