Abortion Is Not The Problem
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on 2/4/96.)
As with most issues of similar moral consequences, the abortion controversy elicits a wide range of opinions and emotions. At one extreme, it is argued that pregnancy should never be terminated; at the other, abortion is seen as a convenient method of birth control. Most views are somewhere between the two.
When debating abortion, or anything else, conclusions should be based on a logically constructed argument whose premises are based on objective evaluation and valid inference. An otherwise valid conclusion could be discarded or ignored because it is not logically supported by the premises and inferences that are supplied.
In "All of our choices have consequences," (Review 1/21/96) Danille Turissini argues against abortion. She provides multiple arguments, several of which are logically flawed. My intent is not to deride Ms. Turissini or her opinions, but to point out the flaws that weaken her argument so that they may be corrected or at least addressed in the future. If the flaws in her arguments can not be corrected, then either her conclusions must be discarded or her logic changed.
In one argument, she states that our population would be 30 million higher if no abortions were performed, and then describes a dubious economic scenario because of the shortfall. Historically, it has been documented that the unavailability of abortion has no effect on population growth. In the 1970's, Nicolae Ceausescu unsuccessfully attempted to increase Romania's population by outlawing abortion. After 14 years, the documented effects were that Romania outranked virtually all other European countries in abortion rates and maternal mortality rates from illegal abortions. The availability of abortion has little effect on the number of children a woman bears if she desires to control the number of her children. Because the population growth would be unchanged, the questionable economic effects need not be discussed.
Another argument states that abortion may have killed, or prevented from being born, the equivalents of Albert Einstein and Ben Franklin, and possibly delayed or prevented the cure for AIDS or cancer. Consistent logic would posit that abortions may have prevented the births of the equivalents of Adolf Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson, and may prevent the creation of poisons and toxins not yet known. An objective evaluation shows that this argument also has little merit.
Her argument about adoption is also flawed because one's desire to adopt does not require another to fulfill that desire. It would be preferable to replace abortion with adoption, but it must ultimately remain the choice of the pregnant individual.
Abortion is not the problem; it is a symptom of the problem. The problem is unintended pregnancy, and the solutions are sex education and birth control. Our goal should be to minimize the number of unintended pregnancies which would also minimize the number of abortions. We can then continue the debate, but at least we would have made some progress.
John L. Ferri