Persuasive Essay Guide

Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Caleb S.

Crafting a Convincing Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Persuasive Essay About Abortion

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Are you about to write a persuasive essay on abortion but wondering how to begin?

Writing an effective persuasive essay on the topic of abortion can be a difficult task for many students. 

It is important to understand both sides of the issue and form an argument based on facts and logical reasoning. This requires research and understanding, which takes time and effort.

In this blog, we will provide you with some easy steps to craft a persuasive essay about abortion that is compelling and convincing. Moreover, we have included some example essays and interesting facts to read and get inspired by. 

So let's start!

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  • 1. How To Write a Persuasive Essay About Abortion?
  • 2. Persuasive Essay About Abortion Examples
  • 3. Examples of Argumentative Essay About Abortion
  • 4. Abortion Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 5. Facts About Abortion You Need to Know

How To Write a Persuasive Essay About Abortion?

Abortion is a controversial topic, with people having differing points of view and opinions on the matter. There are those who oppose abortion, while some people endorse pro-choice arguments. 

It is also an emotionally charged subject, so you need to be extra careful when crafting your persuasive essay .

Before you start writing your persuasive essay, you need to understand the following steps.

Step 1: Choose Your Position

The first step to writing a persuasive essay on abortion is to decide your position. Do you support the practice or are you against it? You need to make sure that you have a clear opinion before you begin writing. 

Once you have decided, research and find evidence that supports your position. This will help strengthen your argument. 

Check out the video below to get more insights into this topic:

Step 2: Choose Your Audience

The next step is to decide who your audience will be. Will you write for pro-life or pro-choice individuals? Or both? 

Knowing who you are writing for will guide your writing and help you include the most relevant facts and information.

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Step 3: Define Your Argument

Now that you have chosen your position and audience, it is time to craft your argument. 

Start by defining what you believe and why, making sure to use evidence to support your claims. You also need to consider the opposing arguments and come up with counter arguments. This helps make your essay more balanced and convincing.

Step 4: Format Your Essay

Once you have the argument ready, it is time to craft your persuasive essay. Follow a standard format for the essay, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. 

Make sure that each paragraph is organized and flows smoothly. Use clear and concise language, getting straight to the point.

Step 5: Proofread and Edit

The last step in writing your persuasive essay is to make sure that you proofread and edit it carefully. Look for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or factual errors and correct them. This will help make your essay more professional and convincing.

These are the steps you need to follow when writing a persuasive essay on abortion. It is a good idea to read some examples before you start so you can know how they should be written.

Continue reading to find helpful examples.

Persuasive Essay About Abortion Examples

To help you get started, here are some example persuasive essays on abortion that may be useful for your own paper.

Short Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Persuasive Essay About No To Abortion

What Is Abortion? - Essay Example

Persuasive Speech on Abortion

Legal Abortion Persuasive Essay

Persuasive Essay About Abortion in the Philippines

Persuasive Essay about legalizing abortion

You can also read m ore persuasive essay examples to imp rove your persuasive skills.

Examples of Argumentative Essay About Abortion

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that presents both sides of an argument. These essays rely heavily on logic and evidence.

Here are some examples of argumentative essay with introduction, body and conclusion that you can use as a reference in writing your own argumentative essay. 

Abortion Persuasive Essay Introduction

Argumentative Essay About Abortion Conclusion

Argumentative Essay About Abortion Pdf

Argumentative Essay About Abortion in the Philippines

Argumentative Essay About Abortion - Introduction

Abortion Persuasive Essay Topics

If you are looking for some topics to write your persuasive essay on abortion, here are some examples:

  • Should abortion be legal in the United States?
  • Is it ethical to perform abortions, considering its pros and cons?
  • What should be done to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions?
  • Is there a connection between abortion and psychological trauma?
  • What are the ethical implications of abortion on demand?
  • How has the debate over abortion changed over time?
  • Should there be legal restrictions on late-term abortions?
  • Does gender play a role in how people view abortion rights?
  • Is it possible to reduce poverty and unwanted pregnancies through better sex education?
  • How is the anti-abortion point of view affected by religious beliefs and values? 

These are just some of the potential topics that you can use for your persuasive essay on abortion. Think carefully about the topic you want to write about and make sure it is something that interests you. 

Check out m ore persuasive essay topics that will help you explore other things that you can write about!

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Facts About Abortion You Need to Know

Here are some facts about abortion that will help you formulate better arguments.

  • According to the Guttmacher Institute , 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion.
  • The majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester.
  • Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with less than a 0.5% risk of major complications.
  • In the United States, 14 states have laws that restrict or ban most forms of abortion after 20 weeks gestation.
  • Seven out of 198 nations allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • In places where abortion is illegal, more women die during childbirth and due to complications resulting from pregnancy.
  • A majority of pregnant women who opt for abortions do so for financial and social reasons.
  • According to estimates, 56 million abortions occur annually.

In conclusion, these are some of the examples, steps, and topics that you can use to write a persuasive essay. Make sure to do your research thoroughly and back up your arguments with evidence. This will make your essay more professional and convincing. 

Need the services of a professional essay writing service ? We've got your back! is a persuasive essay writing service that provides help to students in the form of professionally written essays. Our persuasive essay writer can craft quality persuasive essays on any topic, including abortion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should i talk about in an essay about abortion.

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When writing an essay about abortion, it is important to cover all the aspects of the subject. This includes discussing both sides of the argument, providing facts and evidence to support your claims, and exploring potential solutions.

What is a good argument for abortion?

A good argument for abortion could be that it is a woman’s choice to choose whether or not to have an abortion. It is also important to consider the potential risks of carrying a pregnancy to term.

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Abortion - List of Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

Abortion is a highly contentious issue with significant moral, legal, and social implications. Essays on abortion could explore the various aspects of the debate including the ethical dimensions, the legal frameworks governing abortion, and the social attitudes surrounding it. They might delve into historical changes in public opinion, the different arguments presented by pro-life and pro-choice advocates, and the impact of legal rulings on the accessibility and safety of abortion services. Discussions could also explore the intersection of abortion with issues like gender equality, religious freedom, and medical ethics. We have collected a large number of free essay examples about Abortion you can find at Papersowl. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.


Issue of Sex-Selective Abortion

Sex-selective abortion is the practice of ending a pregnancy due to the predicted gender of the baby. It has been occurring for centeriues in many countries many people believe that males are more valuable than females. This practice has been happening in many Asian countries but even in the US many Asians still hold strong to those beliefs. Due to these beleifs there is a huge shift in sex ratio in Asian countries. People are using the technology to determine […]

Abortion and Women’s Rights

In spite of women's activist desires, the matter of conceptive decision in the United States was not settled in 1973 by the important Supreme Court choice on account of Roe v. Wade. From the beginning there was animal-like restriction by the Catholic Church. Anyway, in the course of at least the last 20 years, the too early or soon birth discussion has changed into a definitely spellbound, meaningful debate between two differentiating societal talks that are moored to the problems […]

Women’s Rights in the United States in the 1970s

In the 1940’s-1960’s, there was a blurred distinction between clinical and sexual exams within the medical field (Wendy Kline, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry). For example, many male doctors would provide pelvic exams as a means to teach women sex instruction, and were taught to assert their power over their patients. This led to women instituting new training programs for proper examinations, creating a more gentle and greatly-respected method of examining women and their bodies. There was also an increase […]

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Abortion: a Woman’s Choice

Women have long been criticized in every aspect of their lives. They have even little to no choice about how to live their lives. Much like, abortion, which is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus. It has been one of the most sensitive topics, society sees it as a murderous act. On, January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled on making the availability of abortion […]

Abortion: the most Debated Topic

There is no question that abortion is one of the most debated topics of the last 50 years. Women all over the United States tend to feel passionately over one side or the other, either pro-choice or anti-abortion. Not one to shy away from controversial subjects, I chose this topic to shed light on both sides of the ethical and moral decision of this important issue surrounding a termination of pregnancy. There is no question the gravity of this decision, […]

Women’s Rights to Choose

Every person in the United States is granted inalienable rights, whether it be to practice their own religion or vote, which should include autonomy over their own bodies.  A woman should have the right to choose what she does with her own body, and in 1973 that became a possibility for American women.  In 1973 Roe v. Wade made it possible for women to legally choose to terminate unwanted pregnancies within their first two trimesters.  The government finally took into […]

Don Marquis’s View on Abortion

Don Marquis begins his argument of abortion being immoral by mentioning the pro-choice premise, which was that the statement of a fetus is never a person being too narrow. It's too narrow because if the fetus is never a person, then what would be the difference of a 9-month-old fetus and a newborn baby? That would just mean that infanticide isn't considered murder because a 9-month-old fetus and newborn weren't ever considered to be a person. Marquis further mentions that […]

Effects of Abortion on Young Women

Abortion is defined as the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. It is a controversial conversation that most people avoid having.  Abortion is different than most issues in politics, because it directly impacts women, rather than men. Young women being targeted over the last forty-five years, has changed the way the public views abortion and what it does to women. A rise in physical complications, mental health problems, and the modern wave of feminism are the effects of legalized abortion […]

The Murder of Innocence

Abortion is a new generation's way of shrugging off accountability of their action at the cost of human life agreeing to the first revision to the structure that says we have the proper way to give of discourse. Me personally for one beyond any doubt that most of us would agree to the reality that ready to say and do what we need and select. For it is our choice to control of speech our conclusions. In connection, moms at […]

The History of Abortion

The history of abortion' is more complex than most people realize. There has been a lot of debate in the past few years about abortion being murder/not murder. Abortion has become illegal in most states. There are several women who believe in "pro-choice" which means they want to have a choice taking care of the baby. I, personally, believe abortion is murder. You are killing a fetus that is going to be born within months and they don't have a […]

Abortion: Go or no Go

Premature birth ends a pregnancy by killing an actual existence yet the mother isn't accused of homicide. Is this right? Shockingly, this has happened roughly twenty million times in the previous twenty years. Tragically, in South Africa, an unborn human has been slaughtered lawfully because of the nation's insufficient laws! The enemy of a honest unprotected human is a killer, accordingly, the individual merits the discipline proportional to a killer by law. Premature birth on interest just gives a mother […]

Abotion: Right or Wrong

When does a person learn right from wrong?  Is someone that knows right from wrong, different from someone who does not? These questions bring up the topic of the difference between a "Human" and a "Person". A human would be of human genetics and have a certain build. On the other hand, a human can also not be a person at certain points in the stage of life. If you can distinguish right from wrong, and are able to make […]

Let’s Talk about my Abortion Article

Why is something that requires two people, almost always considered the woman's problem? Every answer to this question is different, more aggressive in some cases, but it narrows down to basic human rights. Now you may be asking "What the hell is she talking about?" and I can assure you, we will get to that. I'd like for you to first put yourself in a situation: You're given a puppy, yet you're allergic to dogs and absolutely do not have […]

Debates on Abortion Theme

Abortion has proved to be a highly controversial topic in religion, politics, and even ethics. Its debate has caused division between factions with some supporting and others opposing its practice. This issue has also landed in the realm of philosophy where several ethicists have tried to explain why they think the method should either be supported or opposed. This essay looks at the works of Judith Thomson and Don Marquis as a representation of both sides of arguments (advocates and […]

Abortion on Teens should be Abolished

Am sure we have all heard of the girl meets boy story, where the girl falls in love with the boy despite receiving plenty of warnings and criticism from any person who has ever mattered in the girl's life. Everything is merry and life is good for the girl until one day she realizes she has missed her period and rushes to her man's home telling herself that everything will be okay. Reality checks in, hard, when the boy declines […]

The Mother and Abortion

For Gwendolyn Brooks, writing poetry that would be considered out of the ordinary and frowned upon was a common theme for her. Her widespread knowledge on subjects like race, ethnicity, gender, and even abortion placed this African American poet apart from many others. Like many poets, Brooks based many of her works on her own life experiences. Although it's unclear whether or not Brooks had an abortion herself, she creates hints and provokes strong feelings towards the issue, revealing the […]

An Issue of Women’s Reproductive Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that men and women are created equal (Elizabeth Cady Stanton). In America this has been the basis of what our nation stands for. It is stated that every citizen has the right to equality that shall not be stripped away, in many cases that is not true. Whether man or women you should possess the same rights, but more often than not the women's rights are taken away. There are many instances in […]

What is Abortion

Every year, approximately 40-50 million abortions are conducted. That's about 125,000 little human beings being vacuumed, sucked out, and dissolved, everyday. That's 1 baby being aborted every 26 seconds. As of 58% of Americans think abortion should be legal.. Only 37% thinks it should be illegal in all, Or most cases. Abortion should be eliminated because it is murder, gives women mental health issues, and can cause high risks in the mother's future baby's health. There are two different types […]

The Complex Debate: Exploring Abortion Laws and their Implications

There has been a disputed discussion in history among religious, political, ethical, moral and practical grounds when it comes to the case about abortion. Abortion law forbids, allows, limits and governs the availability of abortion. Abortion laws alter to a high degree by country. For example, three countries in Latin America and two others in Europe ban the act of abortion altogether. In other countries like the United Kingdom contains the abortion act of 1967 that clarifies and prescribes abortion […]

My Beliefs on Abortion

Society today condones the killing of a life, they call it abortion, but I will try to show you why this is wrong.  Life begins at conception.  The Bible provides proof that God knew us before we were even formed.  This provides truth that what is inside a woman's body is a human life. I believe that when you decide to have an abortion, you are deciding to kill an innocent baby.  Whether you're doing it because the baby may […]

Research on Abortion Issues

The raging battle for women's rights can be found in almost every avenue of American culture. Whether it be in the workplace, in the government, in churches, or within families, females are fighting for their freedom to control their own lives. They want to work in whichever field they desire, to love whomever they want, and to make decisions for themselves. One of the biggest cases in the quarrel for feminism is the legalization of abortion. Women argue that it […]

Reasons the Constitution of Texas should be Rewritten

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Get Rid of Abortion or Not?

The world includes a huge variety of people who share different beliefs and morals, however, the Bible states that no one should judge others. One is supposed to respect another for whom they are as a person. The people in this world are beginning to divide because of the debate concerning if abortion is right, or if it is wrong. People identifying themselves to be pro-choice are in support of abortion because they believe a woman should be allowed to […]

Abortion Issues in Modern World

Premature birth alludes to the end of a pregnancy by evacuating or removing the baby or fetus from the uterus before it is prepared for birth. There are two noteworthy types of premature birth: unconstrained, which is regularly alluded to as an unsuccessful labor or the intentional fetus removal, which is frequently instigated fetus removal. The term fetus removal is normally used to allude to the prompted premature birth, and this is the premature birth, which has been loaded up […]

My Understanding of Abortion

Life has a beginning and an end and every individual knows this, as much as they may not want to know or understand it. An abortion, however, brings a thought to many people within our modern society: Is a baby alive before it is born? There are many ways to look at this but scientist have found out that there is an age of viability, where a baby is considered alive after a certain period of a woman's pregnancy. Before […]

Potential Factors that Influence Abortion

When it comes to women and unplanned pregnancies, there are alternatives other than abortions that a woman can use who and go for who isn't interested in having a child. Adoptions could be one of those alternatives; however, some women can't bear the thought of actually carrying a child. Therefore, they turn to their only option which is the abortion. For women, there are several reasons that may lead to them wanting to have an abortion. According to Stacey (2018), […]

The Status of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights

The consequences of sexual behaviour between women and men have driven a desire and determination of women to control their fertility, yet in an environment in which anti-choice legislators and organizations do not protect women's reproductive rights, there is an ongoing dispute on who decides the fate of such rights. The status of women's sexual and reproductive rights remains controversial and while there have been many attempts to gain such basic human right, the fight for reproductive freedoms remains intense. […]

Abortion and Fathers Rights

In this section I will be focusing on the fathers' situation before and after conception, and bring out arguments how he could effectively avoid becoming a parent in any way (biological, bearer of financial costs, emotional). The father after conception has no alternatives left, unlike the mother has. She is in a position that can terminate the pregnancy by opting for an abortion, or she can carry out (or at least try to) the pregnancy until the end. The father […]

Abstinence only Vs. Abortion Rates

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Why Abortion should be Illegal

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why abortion is legal.

Due to the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing, abortion is completely legal. In 1973, the Supreme Court's ruling on Roe vs Wade provided people legal access to abortion across the entire country. While legal, some doctors will not perform abortions.

How Abortion Affects Economy?

Women who have access to legal abortion will have the ability to continue their education and careers. Women denied an abortion because of gestational limits are more than 80% more likely to experience bankruptcy or face eviction.

Where Abortion is Illegal?

Abortion is legal in the entire country of the US, but some states have restrictions based on gestational status, fetal fatal conditions, and even rape. Other countries around the world have different laws and some have completely outlawed abortion, including Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador.

Will Abortion Affect Health?

Women who have an abortion by a medical professional are at no risk for future pregnancies and there are no risks to overall health. Abortions do not increase any risk of breast cancer or have any effect on fertility.

Is Abortion Morally Justifiable?

This will depend on the person and their beliefs. Many women find abortion to be moral and a choice they are allowed to make in regards to their own bodies. Some religions have a strict stance on abortion and deem it immoral, regardless of the reason.

How To Write an Essay About Abortion

Introduction to the topic of abortion.

Abortion is a deeply complex and often controversial topic, encompassing a range of ethical, legal, and social issues. In your essay's introduction, it is important to define abortion and the various viewpoints and ethical considerations surrounding it. This introduction should establish the scope of your essay, whether you are focusing on the moral arguments, the legal aspects, the impact on individuals and society, or a combination of these. Your introduction should set a respectful and scholarly tone, acknowledging the sensitivity of the topic and the diverse opinions held by different groups.

Developing a Balanced Argument

The body of your essay should be dedicated to presenting a balanced and well-reasoned argument. Whether your essay is persuasive, analytical, or exploratory in nature, each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the abortion debate. This could include the ethical implications of abortion, the legal history and current laws regarding abortion in different regions, the psychological and physical effects on individuals, or the societal impacts. It's crucial to back up your points with evidence, such as statistical data, legal texts, ethical theories, medical research, and sociological studies. Addressing counterarguments is also important to show that you have considered multiple viewpoints and to strengthen your own argument.

Exploring Ethical and Societal Implications

An essay on abortion should also delve into the ethical dilemmas and societal implications surrounding the topic. This might involve discussing the moral philosophies related to the right to life, bodily autonomy, and the definition of personhood. The societal perspective might include the impact of abortion laws on different socio-economic groups, public health considerations, and the role of education and family planning. This section of your essay should challenge readers to think critically about their own values and the role of societal norms and laws in shaping the abortion debate.

Concluding the Discussion

In your conclusion, bring together all the threads of your argument, emphasizing the complexity of the abortion debate. This is your final opportunity to reinforce your main points and leave a lasting impression on your readers. Reflect on the broader implications of the debate and the ongoing challenges in finding a consensus in such a polarized issue. You might also offer recommendations for future policy, research, or public discourse. Remember, a strong conclusion doesn't just restate what has been said; it provides closure and offers new insights, prompting readers to continue thinking about the topic long after they have finished reading your essay.

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Persuasive Essay Writing

Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Cathy A.

Learn How to Craft a Compelling Persuasive Essay About Abortion With Examples!

Published on: Jan 12, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

persuasive essay about abortion

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Writing an essay on abortion is a controversial and often difficult undertaking. 

But with the right approach, you can craft an effective persuasive essay that brings awareness to this complex issue. 

In this blog post, we’ll outline how to approach your research. You will also learn how to create a strong argumentative structure to support your stance. 

So without further ado, let's dig in to learn more about this.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay About Abortion?

Writing a persuasive abortion essay can be tricky. After all, abortion is an emotionally charged topic, and it can be hard to write objectively. 

But with careful planning and research, you can write an effective persuasive essay on abortion. 

Here are five steps to get you started. 

Step 1: Research Both Sides of the Issue

Before writing your essay, you should familiarize yourself with both sides.

 Read up on both pro-choice and pro-life arguments so that you have a comprehensive understanding of the debate. 

This will help ensure that your argument is well-informed and balanced.

Step 2: Choose a Stance and Develop Your Thesis Statement.

Once you've researched, decide which side of the debate you want. Construct a thesis statement that reflects this stance. 

This statement should be clear, concise, and specific enough to guide your essay.

Step 3: Support Your Argument With Evidence & Sources.

Now it's time to back up your thesis statement with evidence from credible sources such as scholarly articles or government reports. 

As much as possible, use facts rather than opinions when citing evidence to make your argument more convincing. 

Be sure to cite any sources used properly in either MLA or APA format so readers can easily find them. Check out this video explaining the importance of supporting your persuasive essays with evidence.

Step 4: Keep a Formal and Persuasive Tone Throughout Your Essay. 

When writing about such a sensitive subject, it’s important to maintain a formal tone throughout your essay.  

Avoid emotional language or personal anecdotes, as these can be biased or unprofessional.

Instead, focus on presenting logical arguments backed up by reliable evidence. 

This helps to create an argument that is compelling yet unbiased in presenting both sides of the issue.

Step 5: Make Sure You’ve Addressed Counterarguments & Objections. 

Before submitting your essay for grading or publication, take some time to reflect on potential counterarguments.

Address these issues directly, if necessary, to strengthen your argument’s validity and persuasiveness further. 

Read our extensive guide on crafting a persuasive essay , so that you know all ins and outs of crafting a perfect persuasive essay.

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Outline of a Persuasive Essay on Abortion

Here is a detailed outline of a persuasive essay about abortion. Follow this to make sure your essays stand out.

Read our extensive blog on how to create a persuasive essay outline here!

Persuasive Essay About Abortion Examples 

Having different examples and points of view on an abortion essay is a great way to learn about this controversial issue. 

Here are a  few examples of persuasive essays about abortion that you can look at for more information.

Short Persuasive Essay About Abortion

Persuasive Essay About No To Abortion

What Is Abortion? - Essay Example

Persuasive Speech on Abortion

Legal Abortion Persuasive Essay

Persuasive Essay About Abortion in the Philippines

Check out some more persuasive essay examples to learn more!

Example of Argumentative Essay About Abortion 

Reading samples of argumentative abortion essays can provide insight into different perspectives.

Argumentative essays seek to challenge existing beliefs as well as propose new ones. 

Here are a few examples of argumentative essays about abortion that you can look at for more information: 

Abortion Persuasive Essay Introduction

Argumentative Essay About Abortion Conclusion

Argumentative Essay About Abortion Pdf

Argumentative Essay About Abortion in the Philippines

Abortion Persuasive Essay Topics

Here is a list of few topics that can inspire you for your next essay. Take a look at them.

  • Should abortion remain legal? 
  • Are there any circumstances where abortion should be illegal? 
  • Is there a moral obligation to have an abortion in certain situations? 
  • Why is the debate on abortion so contentious?
  • What are the psychological effects of abortion? 
  • How can society better support pregnant women who do not wish to have a baby? 
  • Should there be stricter regulations around access to abortion services? 
  • What are the long-term effects of abortion on a woman’s reproductive health? 
  • Could pro-choice and pro-life advocates come together to compromise on abortion policies? 
  • Does a woman’s right to choose trump the potential life of a fetus? 
  • What are some of the possible medical complications related to abortion? 
  • Can men have an opinion on abortion that is just as valid as a woman’s? 
  • Are there any alternatives to abortion that can be used in cases where the baby cannot survive? 
  • How has the legality of abortion affected women’s rights over the years?
  • What is the best way to reduce abortions without denying a woman her right to choose? 

Check out our comprehensive list of  persuasive essay topics . You might find the inspiration to write your next persuasive essay!

A Few Interesting Facts About Abortion 

Abortion is a highly controversial topic, and many different viewpoints exist.

Some people believe that abortion is morally wrong, while others believe that it is a woman's right to choose what happens to her body. 

There are many facts about abortion that both sides of the debate can agree on, however. Here are some key points

1. Globally, an estimated 56 million abortions are performed each year. 

2. In the US, about 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion. 

3. Most women who have abortions (78%) are unmarried, and 25% are younger than 20. 

4. About half of all abortions performed in the US are done in the first eight weeks of pregnancy. 

5. There is a direct correlation between the legal availability of abortion and decreased infant mortality rates. 

6. In countries where abortion is illegal, women are more likely to die during childbirth due to a lack of access to safe, medical abortions. 

7. Most women (75%) who have abortions do so because they cannot afford to care for a child. 

8. The most common reasons why a woman would choose to have an abortion are financial, relationship issues, and feeling unprepared for the responsibility of parenting. 

9. Most abortions in the US occur in clinics or doctor’s offices rather than hospitals. 

10. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures available, with a low rate of complications (less than 0.3%). 

In the end, a persuasive essay is all about making your point convincingly. With the right evidence, logical reasoning, and engaging tone, you can make an argument for any topic you choose. 

If you’re still struggling to put your thoughts together or need help getting started, don’t worry. Trust our professional essay writer with your next essay. offers top essay writing service  that will take care of everything for you. We guarantee a high-quality persuasive essay writing service that will get you the grades you deserve. So what are you waiting for? 

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persuasive essay about abortion

Home — Essay Samples — Social Issues — Abortion — Persuasive Pro Choice Abortion Stance


Persuasive Pro Choice Abortion Stance

  • Categories: Abortion Women's Rights

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Words: 1127 |

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Words: 1127 | Pages: 2 | 6 min read

Table of contents

Introduction, body paragraph 1: bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, body paragraph 2: consequences of restrictive abortion laws, body paragraph 3: personal beliefs and abortion attitudes, body paragraph 4: specific abortion policies and their impact, body paragraph 5: additional consequences of restrictive abortion laws, body paragraph 6: further exploration of counterarguments related to the pro-life perspective, counterarguments: addressing the pro-life perspective.

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persuasive essay about abortion

There’s a Better Way to Debate Abortion

Caution and epistemic humility can guide our approach.

Opponents and proponents of abortion arguing outside the Supreme Court

If Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization becomes law, we will enter a post– Roe v. Wade world in which the laws governing abortion will be legislatively decided in 50 states.

In the short term, at least, the abortion debate will become even more inflamed than it has been. Overturning Roe , after all, would be a profound change not just in the law but in many people’s lives, shattering the assumption of millions of Americans that they have a constitutional right to an abortion.

This doesn’t mean Roe was correct. For the reasons Alito lays out, I believe that Roe was a terribly misguided decision, and that a wiser course would have been for the issue of abortion to have been given a democratic outlet, allowing even the losers “the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight,” in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Instead, for nearly half a century, Roe has been the law of the land. But even those who would welcome its undoing should acknowledge that its reversal could convulse the nation.

From the December 2019 issue: The dishonesty of the abortion debate

If we are going to debate abortion in every state, given how fractured and angry America is today, we need caution and epistemic humility to guide our approach.

We can start by acknowledging the inescapable ambiguities in this staggeringly complicated moral question. No matter one’s position on abortion, each of us should recognize that those who hold views different from our own have some valid points, and that the positions we embrace raise complicated issues. That realization alone should lead us to engage in this debate with a little more tolerance and a bit less certitude.

Many of those on the pro-life side exhibit a gap between the rhetoric they employ and the conclusions they actually seem to draw. In the 1990s, I had an exchange, via fax, with a pro-life thinker. During our dialogue, I pressed him on what he believed, morally speaking , should be the legal penalty for a woman who has an abortion and a doctor who performs one.

My point was a simple one: If he believed, as he claimed, that an abortion even moments after conception is the killing of an innocent child—that the fetus, from the instant of conception, is a human being deserving of all the moral and political rights granted to your neighbor next door—then the act ought to be treated, if not as murder, at least as manslaughter. Surely, given what my interlocutor considered to be the gravity of the offense, fining the doctor and taking no action against the mother would be morally incongruent. He was understandably uncomfortable with this line of questioning, unwilling to go to the places his premises led. When it comes to abortion, few people are.

Humane pro-life advocates respond that while an abortion is the taking of a human life, the woman having the abortion has been misled by our degraded culture into denying the humanity of the child. She is a victim of misinformation; she can’t be held accountable for what she doesn’t know. I’m not unsympathetic to this argument, but I think it ultimately falls short. In other contexts, insisting that people who committed atrocities because they truly believed the people against whom they were committing atrocities were less than human should be let off the hook doesn’t carry the day. I’m struggling to understand why it would in this context.

There are other complicating matters. For example, about half of all fertilized eggs are aborted spontaneously —that is, result in miscarriage—usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Focus on the Family, an influential Christian ministry, is emphatic : “Human life begins at fertilization.” Does this mean that when a fertilized egg is spontaneously aborted, it is comparable—biologically, morally, ethically, or in any other way—to when a 2-year-old child dies? If not, why not? There’s also the matter of those who are pro-life and contend that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being but allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. That is an understandable impulse but I don’t think it’s a logically sustainable one.

The pro-choice side, for its part, seldom focuses on late-term abortions. Let’s grant that late-term abortions are very rare. But the question remains: Is there any point during gestation when pro-choice advocates would say “slow down” or “stop”—and if so, on what grounds? Or do they believe, in principle, that aborting a child up to the point of delivery is a defensible and justifiable act; that an abortion procedure is, ethically speaking, the same as removing an appendix? If not, are those who are pro-choice willing to say, as do most Americans, that the procedure gets more ethically problematic the further along in a pregnancy?

Read: When a right becomes a privilege

Plenty of people who consider themselves pro-choice have over the years put on their refrigerator door sonograms of the baby they are expecting. That tells us something. So does biology. The human embryo is a human organism, with the genetic makeup of a human being. “The argument, in which thoughtful people differ, is about the moral significance and hence the proper legal status of life in its early stages,” as the columnist George Will put it.

These are not “gotcha questions”; they are ones I have struggled with for as long as I’ve thought through where I stand on abortion, and I’ve tried to remain open to corrections in my thinking. I’m not comfortable with those who are unwilling to grant any concessions to the other side or acknowledge difficulties inherent in their own position. But I’m not comfortable with my own position, either—thinking about abortion taking place on a continuum, and troubled by abortions, particularly later in pregnancy, as the child develops.

The question I can’t answer is where the moral inflection point is, when the fetus starts to have claims of its own, including the right to life. Does it depend on fetal development? If so, what aspect of fetal development? Brain waves? Feeling pain? Dreaming? The development of the spine? Viability outside the womb? Something else? Any line I might draw seems to me entirely arbitrary and capricious.

Because of that, I consider myself pro-life, but with caveats. My inability to identify a clear demarcation point—when a fetus becomes a person—argues for erring on the side of protecting the unborn. But it’s a prudential judgment, hardly a certain one.

At the same time, even if one believes that the moral needle ought to lean in the direction of protecting the unborn from abortion, that doesn’t mean one should be indifferent to the enormous burden on the woman who is carrying the child and seeks an abortion, including women who discover that their unborn child has severe birth defects. Nor does it mean that all of us who are disturbed by abortion believe it is the equivalent of killing a child after birth. In this respect, my view is similar to that of some Jewish authorities , who hold that until delivery, a fetus is considered a part of the mother’s body, although it does possess certain characteristics of a person and has value. But an early-term abortion is not equivalent to killing a young child. (Many of those who hold this position base their views in part on Exodus 21, in which a miscarriage that results from men fighting and pushing a pregnant woman is punished by a fine, but the person responsible for the miscarriage is not tried for murder.)

“There is not the slightest recognition on either side that abortion might be at the limits of our empirical and moral knowledge,” the columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in 1985. “The problem starts with an awesome mystery: the transformation of two soulless cells into a living human being. That leads to an insoluble empirical question: How and exactly when does that occur? On that, in turn, hangs the moral issue: What are the claims of the entity undergoing that transformation?”

That strikes me as right; with abortion, we’re dealing with an awesome mystery and insoluble empirical questions. Which means that rather than hurling invective at one another and caricaturing those with whom we disagree, we should try to understand their views, acknowledge our limitations, and even show a touch of grace and empathy. In this nation, riven and pulsating with hate, that’s not the direction the debate is most likely to take. But that doesn’t excuse us from trying.

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The Rhetoric That Shaped The Abortion Debate

persuasive essay about abortion

Women take part in a 1977 demonstration in New York City demanding safe and legal abortions for all women. Peter Keegan/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

Women take part in a 1977 demonstration in New York City demanding safe and legal abortions for all women.

Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling By Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel Hardcover, 352 pages Kaplan Publishing List Price: $26

Before the Supreme Court struck down many state laws restricting abortion in the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade , the Justices read briefs from both abortion-rights supporters and opponents.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse has collected the best of these briefs -- as well as important documents leading up to the decision -- in a new book, Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling.

In an interview on Fresh Air, Greenhouse explains the arguments in favor of decriminalizing abortion -- and the rhetoric used by both sides of the debate that continues to resonate more than 35 years after Roe.

After researching the book, Greenhouse says, she came away with a more nuanced understanding of how the abortion debate has affected so many other issues.

"What the research did indicate to me is how multifaceted the issue is and how the word [abortion] came over time to stand for so much more than the termination of a pregnancy," she says. "It really came to stand for a debate about the place of women in the world."

persuasive essay about abortion

Linda Greenhouse is a senior fellow at Yale Law School. She covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times for three decades. courtesy of the author hide caption

Linda Greenhouse is a senior fellow at Yale Law School. She covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times for three decades.

Interview Highlights

On why the medical community's lobbying groups shifted to support the decriminalization of abortion

"The medical impetus to start reforming the old abortion laws actually came, not from the American Medical Association but from the American Public Health Association -- from the public health profession. There is a public health doctor, Mary Calderon, who was medical director of Planned Parenthood and also very active in professional public health circles. She wrote some influential articles depicting abortion as a serious public health issue -- that is to say, illegal abortion, back-alley abortion, as a serious public health issue -- and basically started calling on the medical profession to take a new look at this old issue. Abortion could now be a very safe medical procedure when done properly and under the right conditions. And so the facts on the ground had changed: Women were having secret abortions in large numbers; there was a good deal of medical bad consequences and suffering because of this, and it was really the public health doctors who sounded the call."

On the use of the phrase 'the right to choose'

"Jimmye Kimmey was a young woman who was executive director of an organization called the Association for the Study of Abortion (ASA), which was one of the early reform groups and was migrating in the early 1970s from a position of reforming the existing abortion laws to the outright repeal of existing abortion laws, and she wrote a memorandum framing the issue of how the pro-repeal position should be described: 'Right to life is short, catchy, composed of monosyllabic words -- an important consideration in English. We need something comparable. Right to choose would seem to do the job. And ... choice has to do with action, and it's action that we're concerned with.' "

On the significance of J.C. Willke, who wrote Handbook on Abortion

"He is a key figure in the right-to-life movement. He and his wife self-published this little book called Handbook on Abortion in 1971 in the form of questions and answers about abortions from the right-to-life point of view. And it got distributed like wildfire. It now exists in many, many editions. People can go on Google and Amazon and find it easily. It's been translated in many languages, and it really became a Bible of the right-to-life movement. And we were grateful to Dr. Willke for giving us permission to republish it. The reason we wanted to have a substantial excerpt from it is because people on the pro-choice side, I'm quite certain, have never seen it. And it's a very striking document and his voice was and continues to be an important voice on that side."

On feminism's role in shaping the abortion debate

"The feminist community at that time, in the mid-'60s, was much more interested in empowering women to take a full place in the economy, in the world-place. Things like child care. Things like equal pay. Things like getting rid of sex-specific help-wanted ads. Woman wanted, man wanted -- that type of thing. And there wasn't much talk about abortion reform in feminist circles until quite late in the '60s, when Betty Friedan, in a very influential speech, drew the connection between the ability of women to participate fully in the economy and the ability of women to control their reproductive lives. That began a reframing in feminist terms of the issue of abortion reform as part of women's empowerment and of women assuming a new role in society."

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How To Write A Persuasive Essay On Abortion?

Jared Houdi

Table of Contents

persuasive essay about abortion

Both sides of the discussion provide solid arguments, and both ideas have legs. And this makes the subject matter of abortion one of the best topics for persuasive essay .

The basics of a persuasive essay on abortion

The dictionaries define abortion as the termination of a pregnancy by removing embryo or fetus from the uterus before the end of its term. Miscarriage also falls under this description, however, when we talk about abortion, the first thing that comes to mind is the intended abolition of the unwanted pregnancy.

It is a tough topic for discussion, as the audience, on the whole, has an opinion concerning it already. The main task of the persuasive essay is to argue the audience into your point of view, but how on earth you can persuade a person who has developed an opinion based on personal experience?

Or how you can convince a devout believer of the truth of your words if you write about the necessity of legalization of abortions?

As you can see, the assignment is incredibly challenging, yet, not impossible. Teachers conceive this topic as one of the best ways to evaluate your ability to ram an argument home, so you will have to make every possible effort when writing this paper.

This subject matter deals with philosophical, religious, moral, medical, and ethical points. Thus, in order to create a compelling text, you will have to address all these aspects.

Core aspects of great abortion thesis statements

Abortion thesis statements are the quintessence of the papers so, usually, writers create them after thorough research of the issue and when the direction of the thought is already defined.

You can consider it as a very condensed outline as after reading a single thesis sentence, the reader can clearly see what you discuss in the text.

Thus, sometimes, the best time to write it is when the rough draft of the paper is almost ready.

Several steps should be taken to create a well-rounded thesis statement:

  • Profound research of the subject matter.
  • Time for crafting the best thesis .
  • Search for a sufficient amount of facts that support the main idea.
  • Check if your thesis is aligned with the rest of the text .

Here are some examples of thesis statements for a paper on abortion. You can use them as a source of inspiration for your own paper or as an example of how a great thesis should look like.

  • The dangers and consequences of the backstreet abortions that can lead to woman’s death make legalization of abortions indispensable to life.
  • The religious aspect is the only reason why people conceive abortion as a pro-choice and not a pro-life decision.
  • As soon as the consensus on whether a developing embryo is equated with human life is reached, all the debates over the moral and legal aspects of abortion will be over.
  • Psychological and physiological disorders that an unwanted pregnancy can cause justify the legalization of abortions.

The arguments for the persuasive essay on abortion is wrong

You can operate these arguments in a persuasive essay on abortion should be illegal:

  • The medical procedure is a risky one. The possible immediate and long-term consequences are sterility, heavy bleeding, damage of the cervix or womb.
  • Abortion is an irretrievable action so a woman can lament till her dying days. That may result in the clinical depression with gloomy implications up to suicide.
  • Abortion increases the chances of contracting breast cancer.
  • A woman who does not want to raise a child can give it up for adoption as many couples cannot have children for some reasons.
  • For most cases, the unwanted pregnancy is the result of neglect of the contraceptives. Why should unborn children suffer because of the irresponsibility of a woman?
  • Baby feels pain during the abortion, especially during the partial-birth abortion.
  • There are no religions that justify abortion.
  • Each and every life is valuable. But abortion values human’s life next to nothing.
Tip: When you write a persuasive essay on abortion pro-life, try to operate facts, not thoughts. Thus, you will sound more convincing.

How to support a persuasive essay on abortion pro-choice?

  • The complications of pregnancy can have the same or even worse consequences rather than abortion.
  • Abortion is justified if the fetus is diagnosed with heavy genetic defects.
  • If parents are mentally disabled or carry severe heritable diseases, and it is possible to say for sure that the embryo is a carrier of a disease too, abortion has to be legal.
  • The pregnancy as the result of a rape.
  • There is still no agreement concerning the balance of a fetus and a person, so it is improper to apply laws and ethical standards to a developing life as to a human.

These arguments may help you make a persuasive essay on why abortion should be legal more convincing.

Still, do not forget that it is essential to add an argument with an opposite point of view to your text and then confute it.

How to create a neutral argument for a paper on abortion?

It may seem that such a burning issue can have only two points of view: pro or against. However, it is possible to write a neutral, unbiased, and still persuasive paper that will argue others into your point of view.

Such arguments are based on the facts and logic, they do not plead for sympathy or demand carriage of feminist postulates or the right for private life, etc.

These are the arguments that search for a sound compromise. For example:

  • If the pregnancy endangers the woman’s life, abortion is acceptable.
  • Abortion is acceptable if a fetus has a terminal sickness.

On balance…

We hope that this article helped you to figure out how such papers should be written so you won’t be scared by persuasive essay topics on abortion anymore. Once you’ve chosen the direction of thoughts, nothing will prevent you from creating a top-notch paper!

Don’t feel like being inspired by the topic of abortion? Luckily, we have trained pro’s here, who can do both, cope with any kind of essay… and fit into the deadline. Hit the button to learn more!

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The Abortion Fight Isn’t a ‘War on Women.’ It’s a War on Poor Women

An activist seen holding a placard that says Stop The War On

O n April 9, Arizona’s supreme court ruled that its 1864 almost total abortion ban remains in place. That came a week after Florida’s supreme court upheld an abortion ban, triggering an even stricter six-week ban. The onslaught of anti-abortion laws and court decisions has led liberals like California Governor Gavin Newsom to assert that the political right has declared “a war on women .”

This concept isn’t new, but it actually distorts the history of anti-abortion legislation. Abortion regulations have never applied equally to all doctors or all women. Understanding this history reveals that today — as in the past — abortion bans affect both women and providers differently depending upon factors like their race, class, and social standing. The people impacted most have changed over time, but one thing has remained consistent: abortion restrictions are less a war on women than a war on poor women.

The conditions that created these class and social dynamics began to emerge almost two centuries ago. In 1829, for example, New York State enacted a law defining abortion as second-degree manslaughter — but only if the woman was “pregnant with a quick child,” that is, if she’d felt the fetus moving inside of her, something that typically happened around 20 weeks. 

In the late 1850s, that law — and others like it — came under attack by Boston doctor Horatio R. Storer. In an 1859 essay, he argued that these laws defined the crime of abortion too leniently. “By the Moral Law, THE WILFUL KILLING OF A HUMAN BEING AT ANY STAGE OF ITS EXISTENCE IS MURDER.” He also argued, without evidence, that women could face dire medical consequences from an abortion, including, on occasion, death. 

But Storer wasn’t just worried about women as a universal class. He reserved his greatest scorn for white middle- and upper-class women, whom he claimed were seeking abortions in greater numbers than poor and immigrant women. He claimed that middle-class women boasted to each other about their successful abortions, in the same way they might brag about a new dress or a social coup. In Storer’s view, these women who sought abortions were not just victims of a purportedly dangerous medical procedure, but dangerous criminals who were outside the reach of the law.

Read More: What to Know About the Arizona Supreme Court Abortion Ban Ruling

Storer’s anti-abortion activism occurred at a time when he and other “medical men” of similar social standing were attempting to professionalize medicine by implementing rigorous educational and training standards. As part of this push, these doctors hoped to take over what would become the lucrative fields of obstetrics and gynecology from female midwives and other providers they considered untrained and dangerous — those who Storer claimed “frequently cause abortion openly and without disguise.”

In Storer’s view, white, educated “medical men” like him had to seek justice as “the physical guardians of women and their offspring.” It was their responsibility to “stand… in the breach fast making in the public morality, decency, and conscience.” Behind these righteous pronouncements, though, lurked Storer’s unspoken fear: that if men like him did not intervene, middle-class wives would shirk their childbearing duties, leaving their husbands without heirs while poor and immigrant families swelled their ranks. 

Storer spent the latter part of the 1850s, and much of the 1860s, organizing letter-writing campaigns by new professional medical societies, including state affiliates of the American Medical Association (AMA). He hoped to pressure states into passing ever-stricter abortion bans. In New York, the effort paid off in 1869 when the legislature made abortion second-degree manslaughter at any stage of pregnancy if it resulted in the death of the mother or the termination of the pregnancy.

In the fall of 1871, the new statute led to the conviction of abortion provider Jacob Rosenzweig for manslaughter in the death of Alice Bowlsby in New York City. Railway officials had found Bowlsby's body in a trunk bound for Chicago only days after the New York Times had published an exposé on abortionists, including Rosenzweig, titled “The Evil of the Age.”

The paper had described Rosenzweig as having a $40 degree, and purportedly knowing “more of the saloon business than of medicine.” Nonetheless, he did “a large business” — part of a “frightful profusion” of discreet abortions performed by untrained practitioners. 

It took less than two hours for a jury to find Rosenzweig guilty, and a judge sentenced him to seven years’ hard labor in the Albany State Penitentiary, the maximum sentence possible.

Meanwhile, just weeks after Bowlsby's death, a young Albany waitress named Margaret Campbell died from an abortion performed by “Mrs. Dr. Emma Burleigh,” a well known abortionist. After colleagues of Burleigh’s tried to cover it up — including spiriting Campbell’s body away to an unmarked grave in the local cemetery — a second autopsy revealed that the young woman’s abdomen was inflamed, her uterus was missing, and her breasts were full of milk. A laceration was found in her vagina, “occupied by a clot of blood.”

The outcome for Burleigh, however, was very different than for Rosenzweig. Under cross-examination at the coroner’s inquest, she got the doctors who performed the autopsy to admit that alternate explanations existed for all of their findings. There was no definitive proof that Campbell had been pregnant, that she’d had an abortion, or that the operation had caused her death. The jury agreed that the cause of death was simple peritonitis , and Burleigh walked free. 

The disparity between the two cases was no accident. The abortion statute really wasn’t about protecting women from unqualified practitioners, nor was it a war on women, as Storer might have hoped. Instead, it was a weapon of class warfare. 

Rosenzweig was a Jewish immigrant — a dangerous outsider. Meanwhile, Burleigh — who lied about having a medical degree in advertisements, but had taken medical classes — was an educated white woman. That made her less of a threat to the native-born doctors like Storer who were working to consolidate medical authority under their own control. 

Class also separated the two victims: Newspaper accounts of Bowlsby’s death painted her as a young lady from “respectable society,” with “relatives in the highest circles.” In other words, she was an ideal victim for the villain of the immigrant doctor. Campbell, by contrast, was, in the words of one prominent abortion opponent, an obscure Irish waitress who was “evidently…not of correct moral habits.”

Read More: How Ronald Reagan Helped Abortion Take Over the Republican Agenda

In 1872, New York toughened the law further, defining abortion as a felony with a possible sentence of 20 years in prison. Yet even under this law, wealthy, typically white women continued to seek and receive safe abortions. Often, it was trained male physicians of similar social and class standing who performed them without legal penalties. Strict enforcement of abortion laws didn’t ramp up until the mid-20th century , when medical care moved from private offices exclusive to a well-off clientele into public hospitals and clinics serving the poor along with the wealthy. 

Understanding how New York’s abortion laws functioned in the 19th century creates a new perspective on abortion bans in 2024. 

They, too, are far more of a weapon of class warfare than a war on all women.

Strict abortion bans are more likely to exist in states where a high number of women of childbearing age have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line. Of the five states with the highest levels of poverty among women of childbearing age —  Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, and New Mexico — all but New Mexico fall into the Guttmacher Institute’s  “most restrictive” abortion law category. Poverty strengthens the effects of abortion bans, since poor women can’t afford to miss work, book travel, arrange childcare, and pay out of pocket for procedures if they do not have health insurance. 

Abortion bans also exacerbate poverty. A University of California San Francisco study found that women denied an abortion saw an increase in poverty for at least four years and were more likely to see drops in their credit scores . These impacts don’t hurt poor women in isolation: abortion bans also put their children, their husbands, and their wider communities at a disadvantage by making the cycle of poverty harder to escape.

persuasive essay about abortion

By contrast, just as in the 19th century, wealthier women — those who have health insurance, who can afford a pharmaceutical or surgical copay, and who have the means to take time off work and travel to a state with more lenient regulations — are far more insulated from the most potent and cascading impacts of abortion bans. So, too, are their families and communities.  

As in the 19th century, class, hand in hand with race, provides a more useful lens of analysis for understanding abortion legislation in the U.S. In restricting abortion, “medical men” like Storer worked to consolidate medical authority among the white upper classes. Today, it is often men from a similarly high social and class standing, serving in state legislatures and on courts, who are once again pushing for abortion restrictions that most adversely impact Americans with less social and economic capital.

R.E. Fulton is an independent historian of medicine, gender, and crime whose work focuses on abortion practitioners in 19th-century New York. Their book The Abortionist of Howard Street , out May 2024 from Cornell University Press, studies the life and career of Josephine McCarty, alias Emma Burleigh.

Made by History takes readers beyond the headlines with articles written and edited by professional historians. Learn more about Made by History at TIME here . Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors .

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Write to Made by History / R.E. Fulton at [email protected]

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Key facts about the abortion debate in America

A woman receives medication to terminate her pregnancy at a reproductive health clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 23, 2022, the day before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion for nearly 50 years.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade – the decision that had guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion for nearly 50 years – has shifted the legal battle over abortion to the states, with some prohibiting the procedure and others moving to safeguard it.

As the nation’s post-Roe chapter begins, here are key facts about Americans’ views on abortion, based on two Pew Research Center polls: one conducted from June 25-July 4 , just after this year’s high court ruling, and one conducted in March , before an earlier leaked draft of the opinion became public.

This analysis primarily draws from two Pew Research Center surveys, one surveying 10,441 U.S. adults conducted March 7-13, 2022, and another surveying 6,174 U.S. adults conducted June 27-July 4, 2022. Here are the questions used for the March survey , along with responses, and the questions used for the survey from June and July , along with responses.

Everyone who took part in these surveys is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.  Read more about the ATP’s methodology .

A majority of the U.S. public disapproves of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe. About six-in-ten adults (57%) disapprove of the court’s decision that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion and that abortion laws can be set by states, including 43% who strongly disapprove, according to the summer survey. About four-in-ten (41%) approve, including 25% who strongly approve.

A bar chart showing that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade draws more strong disapproval among Democrats than strong approval among Republicans

About eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (82%) disapprove of the court’s decision, including nearly two-thirds (66%) who strongly disapprove. Most Republicans and GOP leaners (70%) approve , including 48% who strongly approve.

Most women (62%) disapprove of the decision to end the federal right to an abortion. More than twice as many women strongly disapprove of the court’s decision (47%) as strongly approve of it (21%). Opinion among men is more divided: 52% disapprove (37% strongly), while 47% approve (28% strongly).

About six-in-ten Americans (62%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the summer survey – little changed since the March survey conducted just before the ruling. That includes 29% of Americans who say it should be legal in all cases and 33% who say it should be legal in most cases. About a third of U.S. adults (36%) say abortion should be illegal in all (8%) or most (28%) cases.

A line graph showing public views of abortion from 1995-2022

Generally, Americans’ views of whether abortion should be legal remained relatively unchanged in the past few years , though support fluctuated somewhat in previous decades.

Relatively few Americans take an absolutist view on the legality of abortion – either supporting or opposing it at all times, regardless of circumstances. The March survey found that support or opposition to abortion varies substantially depending on such circumstances as when an abortion takes place during a pregnancy, whether the pregnancy is life-threatening or whether a baby would have severe health problems.

While Republicans’ and Democrats’ views on the legality of abortion have long differed, the 46 percentage point partisan gap today is considerably larger than it was in the recent past, according to the survey conducted after the court’s ruling. The wider gap has been largely driven by Democrats: Today, 84% of Democrats say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up from 72% in 2016 and 63% in 2007. Republicans’ views have shown far less change over time: Currently, 38% of Republicans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, nearly identical to the 39% who said this in 2007.

A line graph showing that the partisan gap in views of whether abortion should be legal remains wide

However, the partisan divisions over whether abortion should generally be legal tell only part of the story. According to the March survey, sizable shares of Democrats favor restrictions on abortion under certain circumstances, while majorities of Republicans favor abortion being legal in some situations , such as in cases of rape or when the pregnancy is life-threatening.

There are wide religious divides in views of whether abortion should be legal , the summer survey found. An overwhelming share of religiously unaffiliated adults (83%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do six-in-ten Catholics. Protestants are divided in their views: 48% say it should be legal in all or most cases, while 50% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Majorities of Black Protestants (71%) and White non-evangelical Protestants (61%) take the position that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while about three-quarters of White evangelicals (73%) say it should be illegal in all (20%) or most cases (53%).

A bar chart showing that there are deep religious divisions in views of abortion

In the March survey, 72% of White evangelicals said that the statement “human life begins at conception, so a fetus is a person with rights” reflected their views extremely or very well . That’s much greater than the share of White non-evangelical Protestants (32%), Black Protestants (38%) and Catholics (44%) who said the same. Overall, 38% of Americans said that statement matched their views extremely or very well.

Catholics, meanwhile, are divided along religious and political lines in their attitudes about abortion, according to the same survey. Catholics who attend Mass regularly are among the country’s strongest opponents of abortion being legal, and they are also more likely than those who attend less frequently to believe that life begins at conception and that a fetus has rights. Catholic Republicans, meanwhile, are far more conservative on a range of abortion questions than are Catholic Democrats.

Women (66%) are more likely than men (57%) to say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to the survey conducted after the court’s ruling.

More than half of U.S. adults – including 60% of women and 51% of men – said in March that women should have a greater say than men in setting abortion policy . Just 3% of U.S. adults said men should have more influence over abortion policy than women, with the remainder (39%) saying women and men should have equal say.

The March survey also found that by some measures, women report being closer to the abortion issue than men . For example, women were more likely than men to say they had given “a lot” of thought to issues around abortion prior to taking the survey (40% vs. 30%). They were also considerably more likely than men to say they personally knew someone (such as a close friend, family member or themselves) who had had an abortion (66% vs. 51%) – a gender gap that was evident across age groups, political parties and religious groups.

Relatively few Americans view the morality of abortion in stark terms , the March survey found. Overall, just 7% of all U.S. adults say having an abortion is morally acceptable in all cases, and 13% say it is morally wrong in all cases. A third say that having an abortion is morally wrong in most cases, while about a quarter (24%) say it is morally acceptable in most cases. An additional 21% do not consider having an abortion a moral issue.

A table showing that there are wide religious and partisan differences in views of the morality of abortion

Among Republicans, most (68%) say that having an abortion is morally wrong either in most (48%) or all cases (20%). Only about three-in-ten Democrats (29%) hold a similar view. Instead, about four-in-ten Democrats say having an abortion is morally  acceptable  in most (32%) or all (11%) cases, while an additional 28% say it is not a moral issue. 

White evangelical Protestants overwhelmingly say having an abortion is morally wrong in most (51%) or all cases (30%). A slim majority of Catholics (53%) also view having an abortion as morally wrong, but many also say it is morally acceptable in most (24%) or all cases (4%), or that it is not a moral issue (17%). Among religiously unaffiliated Americans, about three-quarters see having an abortion as morally acceptable (45%) or not a moral issue (32%).

  • Religion & Abortion

What the data says about abortion in the U.S.

Support for legal abortion is widespread in many countries, especially in europe, nearly a year after roe’s demise, americans’ views of abortion access increasingly vary by where they live, by more than two-to-one, americans say medication abortion should be legal in their state, most latinos say democrats care about them and work hard for their vote, far fewer say so of gop, most popular.

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Humanities LibreTexts

5.1: Arguments Against Abortion

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  • Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob
  • Morehouse College & University of South Carolina Sumter via Open Philosophy Press

We will begin with arguments for the conclusion that abortion is generally wrong , perhaps nearly always wrong . These can be seen as reasons to believe fetuses have the “right to life” or are otherwise seriously wrong to kill.

5.1.1 Fetuses are human

First, there is the claim that fetuses are “human” and so abortion is wrong. People sometimes debate whether fetuses are human , but fetuses found in (human) women clearly are biologically human : they aren’t cats or dogs. And so we have this argument, with a clearly true first premise:

Fetuses are biologically human.

All things that are biologically human are wrong to kill.

Therefore, fetuses are wrong to kill.

The second premise, however, is false, as easy counterexamples show. Consider some random living biologically human cells or tissues in a petri dish. It wouldn’t be wrong at all to wash those cells or tissues down the drain, killing them; scratching yourself or shaving might kill some biologically human skin cells, but that’s not wrong; a tumor might be biologically human, but not wrong to kill. So just because something is biologically human, that does not at all mean it’s wrong to kill that thing. We saw this same point about what’s merely biologically alive.


This suggests a deficiency in some common understandings of the important idea of “human rights.” “Human rights” are sometimes described as rights someone has just because they are human or simply in virtue of being human .

But the human cells in the petri dish above don’t have “human rights” and a human heart wouldn’t have “human rights” either. Many examples would make it clear that merely being biologically human doesn’t give something human rights. And many human rights advocates do not think that abortion is wrong, despite recognizing that (human) fetuses are biologically human.

The problem about what is often said about human rights is that people often do not think about what makes human beings have rights or why we have them, when we have them. The common explanation, that we have (human) rights just because we are (biologically) human , is incorrect, as the above discussion makes clear. This misunderstanding of the basis or foundation of human rights is problematic because it leads to a widespread, misplaced fixation on whether fetuses are merely biologically “human” and the mistaken thought that if they are, they have “human rights.” To address this problem, we need to identify better, more fundamental, explanations why we have rights, or why killing us is generally wrong, and see how those explanations might apply to fetuses, as we are doing here.

It might be that when people appeal to the importance and value of being “human,” the concern isn’t our biology itself, but the psychological characteristics that many human beings have: consciousness, awareness, feelings and so on. We will discuss this different meaning of “human” below. This meaning of “human” might be better expressed as conscious being , or “person,” or human person. This might be what people have in mind when they argue that fetuses aren’t even “human.”

Human rights are vitally important, and we would do better if we spoke in terms of “conscious-being rights” or “person-rights,” not “human rights.” This more accurate and informed understanding and terminology would help address human rights issues in general, and help us better think through ethical questions about biologically human embryos and fetuses.

5.1.2 Fetuses are human beings

Some respond to the arguments above—against the significance of being merely biologically human—by observing that fetuses aren’t just mere human cells, but are organized in ways that make them beings or organisms . (A kidney is part of a “being,” but the “being” is the whole organism.) That suggests this argument:

Fetuses are human beings or organisms .

All human beings or organisms are wrong to kill.

Therefore, fetuses are wrong to kill, so abortion is wrong.

The first premise is true: fetuses are dependent beings, but dependent beings are still beings.

The second premise, however, is the challenge, in terms of providing good reasons to accept it. Clearly many human beings or organisms are wrong to kill, or wrong to kill unless there’s a good reason that would justify that killing, e.g., self-defense. (This is often described by philosophers as us being prima facie wrong to kill, in contrast to absolutely or necessarily wrong to kill.) Why is this though? What makes us wrong to kill? And do these answers suggest that all human beings or organisms are wrong to kill?

Above it was argued that we are wrong to kill because we are conscious and feeling: we are aware of the world, have feelings and our perspectives can go better or worse for us —we can be harmed— and that’s what makes killing us wrong. It may also sometimes be not wrong to let us die, and perhaps even kill us, if we come to completely and permanently lacking consciousness, say from major brain damage or a coma, since we can’t be harmed by death anymore: we might even be described as dead in the sense of being “brain dead.” 10

So, on this explanation, human beings are wrong to kill, when they are wrong to kill, not because they are human beings (a circular explanation), but because we have psychological, mental or emotional characteristics like these. This explains why we have rights in a simple, common-sense way: it also simply explains why rocks, microorganisms and plants don’t have rights. The challenge then is explaining why fetuses that have never been conscious or had any feeling or awareness would be wrong to kill. How then can the second premise above, general to all human organisms, be supported, especially when applied to early fetuses?

One common attempt is to argue that early fetuses are wrong to kill because there is continuous development from fetuses to us, and since we are wrong to kill now , fetuses are also wrong to kill, since we’ve been the “same being” all along. 11 But this can’t be good reasoning, since we have many physical, cognitive, emotional and moral characteristics now that we lacked as fetuses (and as children). So even if we are the “same being” over time, even if we were once early fetuses, that doesn’t show that fetuses have the moral rights that babies, children and adults have: we, our bodies and our rights sometimes change.

A second attempt proposes that rights are essential to human organisms: they have them whenever they exist. This perspective sees having rights, or the characteristics that make someone have rights, as essential to living human organisms. The claim is that “having rights” is an essential property of human beings or organisms, and so whenever there’s a living human organism, there’s someone with rights, even if that organism totally lacks consciousness, like an early fetus. (In contrast, the proposal we advocate for about what makes us have rights understands rights as “accidental” to our bodies but “essential” to our minds or awareness, since our bodies haven’t always “contained” a conscious being, so to speak.)

Such a view supports the premise above; maybe it just is that premise above. But why believe that rights are essential to human organisms? Some argue this is because of what “kind” of beings we are, which is often presumed to be “rational beings.” The reasoning seems to be this: first, that rights come from being a rational being: this is part of our “nature.” Second, that all human organisms, including fetuses, are the “kind” of being that is a “rational being,” so every being of the “kind” rational being has rights. 12

In response, this explanation might seem question-begging: it might amount to just asserting that all human beings have rights. This explanation is, at least, abstract. It seems to involve some categorization and a claim that everyone who is in a certain category has some of the same moral characteristics that others in that category have, but because of a characteristic (actual rationality) that only these others have: so, these others profoundly define what everyone else is . If this makes sense, why not also categorize us all as not rational beings , if we are the same kind of beings as fetuses that are actually not rational?

This explanation might seem to involve thinking that rights somehow “trickle down” from later rationality to our embryonic origins, and so what we have later we also have earlier , because we are the same being or the same “kind” of being. But this idea is, in general, doubtful: we are now responsible beings, in part because we are rational beings, but fetuses aren’t responsible for anything. And we are now able to engage in moral reasoning since we are rational beings, but fetuses don’t have the “rights” that uniquely depend on moral reasoning abilities. So that an individual is a member of some general group or kind doesn’t tell us much about their rights: that depends on the actual details about that individual, beyond their being members of a group or kind.

To make this more concrete, return to the permanently comatose individuals mentioned above: are we the same kind of beings, of the same “essence,” as these human beings? If so, then it seems that some human beings can be not wrong to let die or kill, when they have lost consciousness. Therefore, perhaps some other human beings, like early fetuses, are also not wrong to kill before they have gained consciousness . And if we are not the same “kind” of beings, or have different essences, then perhaps we also aren’t the same kind of beings as fetuses either.

Similar questions arise concerning anencephalic babies, tragically born without most of their brains: are they the same “kind” of beings as “regular” babies or us? If so, then—since such babies are arguably morally permissible to let die, even when they could be kept alive, since being alive does them no good—then being of our “kind” doesn’t mean the individual has the same rights as us, since letting us die would be wrong. But if such babies are a different “kind” of beings than us, then pre-conscious fetuses might be of a relevantly different kind also.

So, in general, this proposal that early fetuses essentially have rights is suspect, if we evaluate the reasons given in its support. Even if fetuses and us are the same “kind” of beings (which perhaps we are not!) that doesn’t immediately tell us what rights fetuses would have, if any. And we might even reasonably think that, despite our being the same kind of beings as fetuses (e.g., the same kind of biology), we are also importantly different kinds of beings (e.g., one kind with a mental life and another kind which has never had it). This photograph of a 6-week old fetus might help bring out the ambiguity in what kinds of beings we all are:


In sum, the abstract view that all human organisms have rights essentially needs to be plausibly explained and defended. We need to understand how it really works. We need to be shown why it’s a better explanation, all things considered, than a consciousness and feelings-based theory of rights that simply explains why we, and babies, have rights, why racism, sexism and other forms of clearly wrongful discrimination are wrong, and , importantly, how we might lose rights in irreversible coma cases (if people always retained the right to life in these circumstances, presumably, it would be wrong to let anyone die), and more.

5.1.3 Fetuses are persons

Finally, we get to what some see as the core issue here, namely whether fetuses are persons , and an argument like this:

Fetuses are persons, perhaps from conception.

Persons have the right to life and are wrong to kill.

So, abortion is wrong, as it involves killing persons.

The second premise seems very plausible, but there are some important complications about it that will be discussed later. So let’s focus on the idea of personhood and whether any fetuses are persons. What is it to be a person ? One answer that everyone can agree on is that persons are beings with rights and value . That’s a fine answer, but it takes us back to the initial question: OK, who or what has the rights and value of persons? What makes someone or something a person?

Answers here are often merely asserted , but these answers need to be tested: definitions can be judged in terms of whether they fit how a word is used. We might begin by thinking about what makes us persons. Consider this:

We are persons now. Either we will always be persons or we will cease being persons. If we will cease to be persons, what can end our personhood? If we will always be persons, how could that be?

Both options yield insight into personhood. Many people think that their personhood ends at death or if they were to go into a permanent coma: their body is (biologically) alive but the person is gone: that is why other people are sad. And if we continue to exist after the death of our bodies, as some religions maintain, what continues to exist? The person , perhaps even without a body, some think! Both responses suggest that personhood is defined by a rough and vague set of psychological or mental, rational and emotional characteristics: consciousness, knowledge, memories, and ways of communicating, all psychologically unified by a unique personality.

A second activity supports this understanding:

Make a list of things that are definitely not persons . Make a list of individuals who definitely are persons . Make a list of imaginary or fictional personified beings which, if existed, would be persons: these beings that fit or display the concept of person, even if they don’t exist. What explains the patterns of the lists?

Rocks, carrots, cups and dead gnats are clearly not persons. We are persons. Science fiction gives us ideas of personified beings: to give something the traits of a person is to indicate what the traits of persons are, so personified beings give insights into what it is to be a person. Even though the non-human characters from, say, Star Wars don’t exist, they fit the concept of person: we could befriend them, work with them, and so on, and we could only do that with persons. A common idea of God is that of an immaterial person who has exceptional power, knowledge, and goodness: you couldn’t pray to a rock and hope that rock would respond: you could only pray to a person. Are conscious and feeling animals, like chimpanzees, dolphins, cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, and cows more relevantly like us, as persons, or are they more like rocks and cabbages, non-persons? Conscious and feeling animals seem to be closer to persons than not. 13 So, this classificatory and explanatory activity further supports a psychological understanding of personhood: persons are, at root, conscious, aware and feeling beings.

Concerning abortion, early fetuses would not be persons on this account: they are not yet conscious or aware since their brains and nervous systems are either non-existent or insufficiently developed. Consciousness emerges in fetuses much later in pregnancy, likely after the first trimester or a bit beyond. This is after when most abortions occur. Most abortions, then, do not involve killing a person , since the fetus has not developed the characteristics for personhood. We will briefly discuss later abortions, that potentially affect fetuses who are persons or close to it, below.

It is perhaps worthwhile to notice though that if someone believed that fetuses are persons and thought this makes abortion wrong, it’s unclear how they could coherently believe that a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest could permissibly be ended by an abortion. Some who oppose abortion argue that, since you are a person, it would be wrong to kill you now even if you were conceived because of a rape, and so it’s wrong to kill any fetus who is a person, even if they exist because of a rape: whether someone is a person or not doesn’t depend on their origins: it would make no sense to think that, for two otherwise identical fetuses, one is a person but the other isn’t, because that one was conceived by rape. Therefore, those who accept a “personhood argument” against abortion, yet think that abortions in cases of rape are acceptable, seem to have an inconsistent view.

5.1.4 Fetuses are potential persons

If fetuses aren’t persons, they are at least potential persons, meaning they could and would become persons. This is true. This, however, doesn’t mean that they currently have the rights of persons because, in general, potential things of a kind don’t have the rights of actual things of that kind : potential doctors, lawyers, judges, presidents, voters, veterans, adults, parents, spouses, graduates, moral reasoners and more don’t have the rights of actual individuals of those kinds.

Some respond that potential gives the right to at least try to become something. But that trying sometimes involves the cooperation of others: if your friend is a potential medical student, but only if you tutor her for many hours a day, are you obligated to tutor her? If my child is a potential NASCAR champion, am I obligated to buy her a race car to practice? ‘No’ to both and so it is unclear that a pregnant woman would be obligated to provide what’s necessary to bring about a fetus’s potential. (More on that below, concerning the what obligations the right to life imposes on others, in terms of obligations to assist other people.)

5.1.5 Abortion prevents fetuses from experiencing their valuable futures

The argument against abortion that is likely most-discussed by philosophers comes from philosopher Don Marquis. 14 He argues that it is wrong to kill us, typical adults and children, because it deprives us from experiencing our (expected to be) valuable futures, which is a great loss to us . He argues that since fetuses also have valuable futures (“futures like ours” he calls them), they are also wrong to kill. His argument has much to recommend it, but there are reasons to doubt it as well.

First, fetuses don’t seem to have futures like our futures , since—as they are pre-conscious—they are entirely psychologically disconnected from any future experiences: there is no (even broken) chain of experiences from the fetus to that future person’s experiences. Babies are, at least, aware of the current moment, which leads to the next moment; children and adults think about and plan for their futures, but fetuses cannot do these things, being completely unconscious and without a mind.

Second, this fact might even mean that the early fetus doesn’t literally have a future: if your future couldn’t include you being a merely physical, non-conscious object (e.g., you couldn’t be a corpse: if there’s a corpse, you are gone), then non-conscious physical objects, like a fetus, couldn’t literally be a future person. 15 If this is correct, early fetuses don’t even have futures, much less futures like ours. Something would have a future, like ours, only when there is someone there to be psychologically connected to that future: that someone arrives later in pregnancy, after when most abortions occur.

A third objection is more abstract and depends on the “metaphysics” of objects. It begins with the observation that there are single objects with parts with space between them . Indeed almost every object is like this, if you could look close enough: it’s not just single dinette sets, since there is literally some space between the parts of most physical objects. From this, it follows that there seem to be single objects such as an-egg-and-the-sperm-that-would-fertilize-it . And these would also seem to have a future of value, given how Marquis describes this concept. (It should be made clear that sperm and eggs alone do not have futures of value, and Marquis does not claim they do: this is not the objection here). The problem is that contraception, even by abstinence , prevents that thing’s future of value from materializing, and so seems to be wrong when we use Marquis’s reasoning. Since contraception is not wrong, but his general premise suggests that it is , it seems that preventing something from experiencing its valuable future isn’t always wrong and so Marquis’s argument appears to be unsound. 16

In sum, these are some of the most influential arguments against abortion. Our discussion was brief, but these arguments do not appear to be successful: they do not show that abortion is wrong, much less make it clear and obvious that abortion is wrong.

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Ross Douthat

This Is Probably Not the Deal the Pro-Life Movement Bargained for With Trump

Donald Trump’s hands, with a red tie in the background.

By Ross Douthat

Opinion Columnist

The captivity of the pro-life movement to the character of Donald Trump is a crucial aspect of contemporary abortion politics. But maybe not quite in the way suggested by Trump’s decision this week to publicly distance himself from his pro-life supporters by refusing to endorse national restrictions on late-term abortions.

That refusal was a sign of the anti-abortion movement’s political weakness but not necessarily a major blow to its cause. The contemplated legislation was unlikely to pass the Senate no matter what stance Trump took, and positioning the G.O.P. as a defender of state-based regulation usefully focuses abortion opponents on their most important challenge: defending the abortion restrictions that are already on the books in conservative states, and finding ways to win over the voters who have turned against the pro-life side in every post-Dobbs referendum — with Arizona looming as the next battleground now that its Supreme Court has upheld an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions.

The problem for pro-lifers is that these efforts at persuasion have become markedly less effective over a timeline that overlaps closely with Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. The captivity of abortion opponents, in this sense, isn’t about the specific policy stances that Trump might choose and that they might then have to reluctantly accept. It’s about the ways in which a Trumpist form of conservatism seems inherently to make Americans more pro-choice.

For most of my lifetime, public opinion on abortion was fairly stable, leaning pro-choice but with a strong pro-life minority and a lot of people in the middle expressing support for some restrictions but not others. But since the mid-2010s there has been a clear shift in favor of abortion rights: More Americans support abortion without restriction than at any other point since Roe v. Wade was handed down.

You can tell various stories about these numbers that do not implicate Trump himself. For instance, America has become notably less Christian and less socially conservative, and maybe it stands to reason that as the country turned left on issues like same-sex marriage or marijuana legalization, it would swing left on abortion as well.

Or again, it was clear that Roe was threatened well before Dobbs was issued, so maybe it was the prospect of abortion being back in the political arena that focused the minds of abortion moderates and made them more solidly pro-choice.

Or yet again, the last eight years coincide with a trend toward disconnection and depression among younger Americans, a special increase in anxiety and unhappiness among teenage girls, and the seeming alienation of the sexes from each other. In such a social and psychological environment, maybe abortion access seems more necessary, as a form of protection in a harsher social world.

I believe in versions of all these explanations; the world is a complicated place. But I also think there is a reason that if you look at the trend toward pro-choice-without-exceptions sentiment, across several different polling sources, the shift seems to accelerate right around 2016.

Before 2016 Americans had already become more liberal on issues like same-sex marriage without abortion polling changing all that radically. Before that year, Americans had also already experienced a sustained challenge to Roe v. Wade, when Ronald Reagan’s Supreme Court appointees seemed poised to overturn it — and while that threat did create a spike in pro-choice sentiment in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was smaller than the surge in the Trump era.

The trends in anxiety and alienation among young people, meanwhile, show their sharpest break earlier in the 2010s, several years before the bigger shift in abortion opinion seems to start.

So what does coincide with that bigger shift? Well, the rise of Donald Trump. And one does not need to be a monocausalist to see how the identification of the anti-abortion cause with his particular persona, his personal history and public style, might have persuaded previously wavering and ambivalent Americans to see the pro-life movement differently than they did before.

If you set out to champion the rights of the most vulnerable human beings while promising protection and support for women in their most vulnerable state, and your leader is a man famous for his playboy lifestyle who exudes brash sexism and contempt for weakness, people are going to have some legitimate questions about whether they can trust you to make good on your promises of love and care.

With that kind of standard-bearer, the accusations of your opponents — that your cause is organized more around repression than protection, more around hypocrisy than high ideals — are going to carry more weight. And some people who might have been your allies, who share your general moral worldview, are going to find reasons to disassociate themselves from your political project.

Crucially, some people might even think less of the pro-life movement in this way, or trust it less with policymaking, while still casting a vote for Trump . For instance, certain voters might like his toughness toward their enemies, his un-P.C. assault on woke and feminist politesse, without wanting that harsh style to be applied toward abortion policies that might affect them or their families. They might prefer Trump over, say, Nikki Haley on foreign policy or immigration, while also tilting more pro-choice than they would under a Haley-led G.O.P. — because you want the tough guy building the wall but not deciding on the trimester limit.

To this kind of analysis, Trump’s staunchest supporters come back with two responses: How can you say he’s been bad for the pro-life movement, when he’s the one who actually delivered the end of Roe? How can you complain about his effect on pro-life political strategy, when he’s now the one trying to find a more pragmatic and persuasive abortion stance, while activists alienate voters by championing the most absolute bans?

The answer is that many things can be true at once. Trump did deliver on his judicial promises to pro-lifers, and in his craft and cynicism he is more attuned to political reality than some anti-abortion activists and leaders. Indeed there are ways in which a pro-Trump but not pro-life conservative could reasonably complain that the pro-life movement can’t be his captive, because he’s the one who’s hostage to unpopular anti-abortion ideas.

But he is also a cause of their increased unpopularity, an instigator for the country’s pro-choice turn — because the form of conservatism that he embodies is entirely misaligned with the pro-life movement as it wants and needs to be perceived.

That’s the price of the bargain abortion opponents made. The deal worked on its own terms: Roe is gone. But now they’re trapped in a world where their image is defined more by the dealmaker’s values than by their own.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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Ross Douthat has been an Opinion columnist for The Times since 2009. He is the author, most recently, of “The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery.” @ DouthatNYT • Facebook


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