The Right to Choose Includes the Right to Choose Life

The Right to Choose Includes the Right to Choose Life

www.gatestoneinstitute.org

by Alan M. Dershowitz

  • The issue is not whether there should be choice, but rather who should make the choice.
  • Why should pregnant females who have compelling reasons — medical, emotional, familial, religious, financial — not have the right to choose? Why should the impersonal state take that right from them?
  • What gives other people the right to decide, when they are not the ones who will have to bear the consequences?

There is no conflict between the “right to choose” and “the right to life” in the context of abortion, because the former includes the latter. If the state were ever to require a pregnant woman to undergo an abortion — as China in effect did with its “one child” policy — there would be a conflict. But in the United States, the right to choose includes the right to choose life rather than abortion. It also includes the right of women to choose abortion for themselves.

So, what are the anti-abortion right-to-life advocates complaining about? They do not want any woman to have the right to choose abortion for herself. They want to have the state chose for her — to deny her the right to choose between giving birth to an unwanted child and having an abortion.

They believe that abortion is infanticide — murder — not of their child but of the fetus of the woman who would choose abortion. But that woman does not regard the fetus as her child. So, the right to lifer responds: it doesn’t matter what you think. It matters what the state thinks. The vast majority — 70% — of citizens the United States think a woman should have the right to control her own reproduction — to choose whether the embryo or the fetus becomes her child, according to a Pew study this year.

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