“When You Do the Thing That Makes Babies…”

Libby Anne responds to a common argument against abortion: that pregnancy is just one of the risks of unprotected (and some times even protected) sexual intercourse. She uses the analogy of safety features in cars: traffic lights and driver’s education are like contraception—safety features designed to prevent accidents from happening. Seat belts and airbags are like abortion—emergency measures to prevent harm if an accident happens anyway.

Saying that we should do away with plan B or abortion because they enable people to engage in risky sex without having to face the natural consequences (i.e. pregnancy) is like saying that we should embed knife-like spikes into cars’ steering wheels in order to cut down on risky driving behavior (because a driver being slammed forward would be automatically impaled).** After all, things like seat belts and air bags decrease the risk of injury when getting in a wreck and thus lead to more risky driving. Even so, things like plan B and abortion (which, let me point out, are not identical) decrease the potential harm suffered by an accidental pregnancy and thus, it could be argued, lead to more risky sex.

That’s nonsense. It would be an apt analogy if anyone thought that automobile safety features had a moral component to them—that putting on a seat belt is harming another person, for example. But no one does. Plenty of people, though, believe that abortion causes harm to another person, which is why we are even having this discussion in the first place.

There certainly are people who are concerned that abortion enables risky sex, but that’s a flawed argument as well. The best argument against abortion is that it may be the killing of a human being. I couldn’t care less whether people engage in risky sex, but if they do it and a woman conceives, telling her that she knew the risks and is now obliged to carry the pregnancy to term is nothing at all like embedding stabbing devices onto steering wheels.