On its head, it would appear to us that sustaining the liberty for a woman to procure an abortion constitutes simply that, further liberty. Consider now the reasons given to substantiate what has been for forty years enumerated a right; ponder their meanings and their implications.
First (1) is the freedom over ones body. For if one cannot exercise self-determination even over the physical body she possesses, how now can one count her strides free within the world outside that sphere? Even if one could sustain the personhood of a fetus from fertilization onward to a joyful birth and with it all its rights, liberties, and standings privy to free persons, we are told even such would still fail to constitute a successful response to the concern regarding bodily autonomy.
(2) Consider further the argument from equality. (2a) In a society where flourishing and success are conditioned by competition, one possessing a disadvantage in opportunity will indubitably possess a corresponding limit to her liberty. A child and prior pregnancy place demands on time and resources upon a woman in a non-elective way, whereas a man is not bound as concretely or in the same way as a woman. This creates a disparity in opportunity between the two sexes, implicitly granting greater opportunity to men and limiting the freedom of women. (2b) It is fallacious, so we are told, to appeal to alternate ways of regulating births other than abortion, including abstinence, for a number of reasons. (2b.1) The first against alternative regulation of births is the possibility of failure or misuse, to which elective abortion would put it right. (2b.2) The second is that many who oppose elective abortion also oppose the use of, proliferation of, or the education concerning contraceptives, and thus limit their effectiveness in alleviating the disparity of opportunity for women. (2b.3) The first against abstinence enumerates a further restriction on the rights of women, viz. that this leaves men free to participate in a natural, pleasurable, and emotionally relieving act unrestrictedly, whereas women must control themselves. This affords to men a luxury not afforded to women. (2b.4) The second is the possibility of rape, namely that we will cause greater psychological and emotional trauma to a victim by proscribing means to eliminate one of the more traumatic effects and burdens caused by such a horrific crime. (2b.5) Some caution us further, not that we will merely cause more trauma; nay, we ourselves would be imposing the burden initiated by the rapist's self-serving and wicked deed.
Thirdly (3), this must be enumerated among the human rights, safe even from the democratic process. Such democratic process and discussion would privy men in the discussion about laws concerning the bodies only of women. In such a way, men participate in a debate and political process where they have little or no vested interest in the implications felt heavily by their counterparts. Such inequality is favorable to men, who then can use it do dominate women and continue what has been an overt and long-held sexist political practice. This is often made clear to us in a more brusque and brute manner, viz. a man does not have a uterus, ergo he must refrain from the conversation and abstain from the decisions.
Fourthly (4) is the freedom of opinion itself, particularly where the opinions or beliefs held concern so intimately the person herself that they regard her loves, her habits, her sexual intimacy and practices (which must be free from all intrusion), her responsibilities, career, and family. One cannot force her to respond to an opinion or a belief that would bind her in all of these ways. She must be left free to take upon herself the burden of these opinions or beliefs or leave them with other bearers who find them as equally bearable as they find them sound.
Let us now consider the implications of these arguments, viz. that all four of these arguments takes a blow at the freedom of rational expression and should not for that reason at all constitute a legal basis for the proscription of abortion. When I use the phrase possibility of free rational expression, I mean all of the following are possible on a given subject:
A) Rational expression means giving reasons for a position supported by premised arguments (with grounded premises), rather than assertions.
B) Free rational expression means a rational expression is not countered or rejected except on the basis of its content, viz. there are reasons to the contrary. In other words, rational expression as such is not rejected.
And now I provide replies that both support my argument and respond to the arguments above:
(1r) This is resolved with its implications clarified in a twofold manner, each with identical implications reached in these two ways. (1r.1) expresses first the necessity of a positive definition of freedom. (1r.2) expresses the implication of continual insistence of (1) within a legal sphere granting the truth claim of (1r.1).
(1r.1) The argument (1) hinges upon the dogma that no positive definition of freedom may be imposed upon freedom, otherwise the negative definition is abridged. The negative definition of freedom consists in defining freedom as the absence of influence from an external determinate. To apply norms to the choice exercised by a kind of individual possessing freedom even through reason, viz. saying a choice is always a choice for some determinate kind when this argument holds, is to apply some sort of restriction or finitude that abridges this freedom by abridging a part of the negation. If this positive definition is not applied, even to the extreme of not assigning the universal predicate, viz. being, to the determinate kind, we are left with no rational basis for assigning freedom to the human agent. If there can be no kind that as a kind determines choice by being its object, there can be no choice (free or not), since choice as an act presupposes an object (an object can mean an action, for example). Therefore, negating the possibility of a positive definition negates also the possibility of freedom, which lies at the crux of the argument. To hold (1), then, is to hold to the simple affirmation of contraries. This eliminates the possibility of reason and ergo rational expression, though which there is no possibility of reasoned debate or real expression on any subject.
(1r.2) To accept (1r.1) then, but to continue to insist that such positive definitions should not enter the legal sphere would then imply that there are simply some topics which cannot be reasoned with or negotiated in law, for no reason. This also abridges arbitrarily the possibility of reasoned dialogue and expression.
(2ar) This argument presupposes that the equality of opportunity (EO) is not merely a norm, but is also an normative ideal that trumps our ability to to call an action evil and unlawful for other reasons. For example, as a norm EO should hinder me from passing a law that women can only receive 75% of the salary a man would make in the same profession and business. This law creates an inequality where inequality is per se the rational justification (though the rational justification is inherently false and ungrounded). EO as a norm bars inequality as a rational justification for creating laws that result in inequalities in opportunity. But suppose that fictional race y would be equal to fictional race z if theft was legal, since y are better thieves by nature than z but do not do as well in the workforce as z when theft is proscribed. By the same reasoning, theft in the fictional nation of fictional races y and z should be legal, no matter the ulterior reasoning. This also bars the possibility of giving reasons for laws such as theft in this case. This argument is continued below
(2b.1r) This argument is first answerable by (2ar). The argument continues the idea that the realization of an ideal disallows any reasons that may be given against the means necessary for the ideal. I am not per se arguing against utilitarianism here, but I am arguing that a certain implementation of utilitarianism abridges the rest of us from expressing reasons for sets of positions containing reasons for the proscriptions of these means. (I do not condone artificial contraceptives, but they are included in the arguments, since on principle I am making an argument concerning reasoned debate. This post is not even really a post against abortion or for its proscription, even though that expresses my true opinions, but against a certain set of arguments typically made by the pro-choice lobby.)
(2b.2r) Responded to, see above (2ar) and (2b.1r)
(2b.3r) This is, in addition to being answered by the previous (2r)s, is answered by (1r.1). Further, this represents a despair of the possibility of freedom and self-mastery, viz. that someone can refuse to be mastered by his or her passions to maintain or attain an end. Those expressing reasons for hope instead of despair or dogmatically silenced.
(2b.4r1) This disallows any reasons given as to how an abortion could do further psychological damage, and that reasons could be given that even in this case abortion should still be proscribed because it constitutes a bad action, period. I, to cautiously add my opinion, pose this scenario. Say that abortion at some point is proscribed on the grounds that it constitutes murder, but we give an exception to a rape victim who conceives a child from her assailant. So we tell the victim, about whom God alone knows what psychological damage and hurt she is sustaining, that while normally we proscribe murder, for you we give an exception. Abortion is this terrible and tragic crime, but because of your injury you may kill your child if it alleviates your suffering, though the child has done you no willful wrong. We tell her it is empowerment and a way she may elect to set at least some things right in her life. Then tell her you are not being condescending in any way whatsoever.
(2b.5r1) These are false alternatives, and they seek to abridge someone's ability to give other reasons for a position.
(3) These premises assume other premises that are harmful to rational expression and reasoned dialogue.
(3r.1) First this might deny that men or the vast majority of men cannot reason without having ulterior selfish and sexist motives. This suspicion denies to men the ability to express reasons on the basis that they cannot.
(3r.2) If (3r.1) is affirmed, then (3) denies the capacity for empathy and extension of the human mind. It basically states that in order to think rationally about issues that regard the female reproductive system but not the man's, you must first have a female reproductive system (not simply know about it). One could say that it is easier for someone who has a female reproductive system to speak to the issues, but from this it does not follow that men cannot say anything at all nor contribute reasons to the discussion. Ergo (3) as stated abridges the possibility of free rational expression. This has been realized to an extreme as written about here.
(4r) This argument is answerable by (1r). In addition, here one asserts that the subject is too intimate for there to be rationally binding norms, much less legal ones. This then dogmatically refuses to listen to reasons that would ground any binding norms on arbitrary grounds, viz. too intimate: what is too intimate? References to a person's body or privacy are also blurred, since privacy and ones body are inevitably going to be affected by laws that few would be willing to relinquish.
Some notes are in order. For one I am not self-refutingly denying anyone the right to give these as reasons, but I am denying that they are inconsistent with an unabridged possibility of free rational expression. One is entitled to believe two inconsistent things, but he cannot by believing them make them consistent. Furthermore, I am arguing that the principle of free rational expression should be a reason to not use (1)-(4) as the grounding for any law. I would not say someone is not free to do so, but they are wrong and inconsistent to do so if they also try to ground laws in the possibility of free rational expression, since now they have denied that reasons need to be given for a position. I also do not claim that these are all the arguments given by the pro-choice lobby: these are merely the most common of the pro-choice mentality per se.
Finally, given that these reasons are typically used to negate the argumentative force behind the norm that killing an unborn child should be proscribed because it constitutes murder, I do think the norm should be enshrined in law.