Friday, January 25th, 2008

A common argument for abortion is the argument from bodily autonomy. It is reasoned that a woman — and only a woman — has the right to decide how her body is going to be used. If she does not want to share her body with her developing child, she has the right to rid her body of it, even if that requires ending the child’s life. This argument is summed up nicely in a common mantra of abortion-choice advocates, “My body, my choice.”

Much could be said as to why bodily autonomy is not a good justification for abortion rights, but I do not wish to focus on that here. Instead, I want to focus on a tactical approach to exposing the bodily autonomy argument for what it is: a sham. Let me show you how.

Only the most ardent abortion advocates believe in unrestricted abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Most abortion advocates draw the line somewhere, even if they differ on the precise temporal location. Some say abortion is no longer permissible once the baby reaches viability (roughly 23 weeks). Others say the line should be drawn at seven months. Wherever the line is drawn, the fact that a line is drawn between morally permissible and morally impermissible abortions demonstrates that the argument for the moral permissibility of abortion from bodily autonomy is an ad hoc, rather than principled argument. Here’s why.


Back in November I directed you to a couple of brief articles by Dan Wallace on Biblical textual criticism. His series has continued since then. For those who are interested, here are the other links (in historical order):

The Nature of Textual Variants
Textual Variants: What Issues Are at Stake?
Textual Variants: What Issues Are At Stake? Part 2
Why Did Scribes Make Mistakes when Copying Scripture? Part 1
Why Did Scribes Make Mistakes when Copying Scripture? Part 2
The Significance of Scribal Corruptions to the New Testament
The Composition of the Original Text