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The Logical Fallacies of Pro-Choice: Part 2

Baby feet on a gray blanket
The feet of the author's new baby niece. The Lord will orchestrate each step they take. Photo copyright Sara J Bruegel, 2016

[Originally published as part of Logical Fallacies of Pro-Choicers]

Below I will respond to many of the catchphrases of pro-choice advocates and explain why they commit logical fallacies (error in reasoning). Also, I will provide commentary on justice, the church, and the state as it relates to the issue of taking an innocent life: abortion.

5. “If you don’t also support _____ then you can’t be pro-life.”

This is a red herring fallacy cause it’s distracting people from the main syllogism of (1) it’s wrong to intentionally kill humans, (2) abortion intentionally kills humans, (3) therefore, abortion is wrong.

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This is moving the goalpost away from the basic argument against abortion; thus, it still fails to deal with the main argument. Many times it ends up being an equivocation fallacy as well cause they try to redefine what pro-life means.

Also, it tends to involve some ridiculous straw man like, “Well, you probably don’t support taking care of women and children after they are born either.” It’s largely not true that pro-life people don’t care for people after they are born (i.e. adoption, hospitals, and pregnancy centers). Even if people weren’t taking care of people after they are born, it still wouldn’t justify murdering someone before birth.

On the other hand, the pro-choice movement makes the same mistake when it says, “Well, you can’t be pro-life unless you are for all of these other issues after birth.” No one can participate in, serve as, or support their cause in every way they say we should. Even if a person could, it still is a red herring because it does not respond to the original syllogism/argument.

Furthermore, many times the pro-choice programs they demand that you support are not actually good for people and society (e.g., a socialist program that sounds good but diminishes human dignity and discourages work).

False Analogy Fallacy

This is the type of pro-choice argument that compares the abolition of abortion to the villains in The Handmaid’s Tale. Bizarre as it is, this is a straw man fallacy and a false analogy fallacy that has become popular recently. I think this is mainly because it has a visual and emotional appeal. Thus, it ends up becoming a “transfer propaganda” tactic to control the narrative.

The transfer propaganda tactic is yet another logical fallacy. This happens when someone tries to get others to transfer their anger from one unrealistic area to a supposedly real area; in this case, from the injustice in a fictional story towards fighting for an alleged right to kill your child.

The fact that liberals keep repeating these horrible arguments is an indicator to me that “when your reasoning is weak, pound fist harder, yell louder, and repeat over and over until people believe you are on the right side of history…Oh, and make sure you demonize Christians as being on the wrong side of history so they will be manipulated to cave or will be punished later for disagreeing with you.”

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6. “Vasectomies prevent abortion.”

This is another red herring fallacy that sidesteps the argument that abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being, and that’s why it’s wrong. This is similar to the 19th century argument that “if you don’t like slavery, then don’t own a slave.” Such a statement was clearly wicked, and so is saying, “If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one.” Or, “Well, if you don’t get your girlfriend or wife pregnant by getting a vasectomy, then you won’t have to worry about getting an abortion. Maybe we should just mandate certain men to get vasectomies.”

This is horrible reasoning and I can’t believe how many college students and high schoolers I see making this argument.

Can you imagine me saying:

“Charlie shouldn’t have been murdered and justice must be given out against the one that committed the crime”

and you respond with,

“Well, if his parents didn’t have him and more men had vasectomies, then it wouldn’t have happened or fewer murders would happen….so stop complaining about whether Charlie should have been murdered or not.”

Ok, (1) that would be a mindless response and

(2) It does nothing to answer the demand for justice to merely talk about if he wouldn’t have been born.

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Beyond this, the “vasectomy argument” is equivocating on who is controlling whom. It demands a law that would control men’s bodies while holding that anti-abortion laws would be wrong because they would control women’s bodies. They think they are being clever and applying the pro-life argument against us, but really it’s completely incoherent. Objecting to the destruction of a human being is not attempting to control women’s bodies…because her child has a separate body.

Bad reasoning hurts people. Literally. As Romans 1 points out, spiritual darkness makes peoples’ reasoning skills darkened.

7. “A bad situation makes abortion OK. If we make someone’s situation better, then she wouldn’t have an abortion. Address the cause, and abortion will go away.”

This is yet another red herring because it ignores that it’s wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Changing circumstances doesn’t change the injustice of the fact of abortion. Also, this claim assumes a faulty view of human nature that believes if the environment were just good enough, people wouldn’t have abortions.

If we take the roof off this claim, we realize such a line of reasoning doesn’t work to stop other crimes. For example, what if we said, “People are murdering people in Chicago, but let’s not make murder illegal, let’s just deal with the problem of fatherlessness.” Huh? Why not criminalize murder and deal with the crime of murder by criminalizing it! Also, the human heart is not by nature good. According to Scripture, the heart is desperately sick and evil (Jeremiah 17:9) and will commit crimes even in a great environment. See for more examples of this.

8. “We shouldn’t make abortion illegal. It’s imposing morality. We aren’t supposed to tell people how to live, but just share the gospel.”

This is a transfer fallacy. It appeals to people’s feelings against controlling people and tries to transfer them to those seeking to apply the law equally to all human beings. Also, by what standard are you appealing to in order to make that statement? Since it’s wrong to intentionally kill a human, no matter their size, location, degree of dependency, or environment, then abortion is a wicked injustice. Laws should uphold justice and give equal protection to all. If not, it is evil discrimination, just like slavery in America was. See my comments on the role of the magistrate/state in their sphere under God in point number three.

9. “What if there was a lab burning down that had human embryos along with a two-year-old? Who would you save?”

It’s trying to set up a dilemma to force their opponent to say, “I guess you are right…they aren’t exactly the same….thus abortion (intentional killing of a human) must be a legitimate option.”
This is a false analogy fallacy because abortion is the intentional taking of an innocent life; whereas with the lab example, it is on triage of a tragedy. The question also presupposes that these are valuable lives for it to be a dilemma at all). Read Koukl’s article here for more, or read these slides on more problems with pro-choice arguments and the lab example.

What if you gave into the bad reasoning already?

To any woman who has aborted her baby, there is forgiveness and healing found only in Jesus! Please consider listening to this podcast episode by Pastor John Piper (below) if you have already had an abortion and God helped you to see what it truly was. He points to the hope, forgiveness, and healing found in the gospel of Christ alone.

If you are in the middle of considering an abortion, please keep your baby, don’t murder this precious gift. You can also consider putting up your child for adoption. I know a multitude of people who would be overjoyed to help any mom take care of their baby or adopt as well!

Please consider this option if you or someone you know is considering an abortion. Babies are always a blessing regardless of the situation. I encourage you to fully embrace this viewpoint.

Caleb Harrelson

Written by Caleb Harrelson

Engage Apologetics was founded in the summer of 2018 and is led by Caleb and Kendra Harrelson. They were missionaries in Ukraine and served in full-time youth ministry for 6 years. Their involvement in ministry has given them firsthand experience with the vast number of questions that people have about Jesus, science, and the Bible, so they decided to devote themselves full-time to help believers understand why the Christian worldview is true and how they can fully engage their whole life to know God and make His Gospel known.

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Leave a Reply
  1. Caleb, you make many sound, biblical, logical points.
    However, it is true that vasectomies prevent abortion.
    Perhaps the nuance of those saying that is different than what comes across in your article, but as a statement of fact, it cannot be refuted, just as saying “hysterectomies prevent abortion” is a statement of fact too.
    God bless you as you stand tall for the least of these my brethren!

    • While it’s true that if a child never exists it cannot be murdered, it’s beside the point to reply to the original prolife claim with such a statement. That’s all Caleb is pointing out. Changing the subject without dealing with the issue at hand is a red herring no matter how true the non sequitur happens to be.

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