It’s a woman’s body. Isn’t it her choice?

Bodily autonomy, the freedom over our own bodies and our choices, is very important.

But the fact is, everyone’s bodily autonomy is restricted in some ways for the good of other people who may be affected. For example, you’re not permitted to drink and drive in case you cause a crash that may injure or kill someone else.  This interferes with your bodily autonomy but it is acceptable in a civilized society due to the risks that would be faced by other people if you were allowed to do what you wanted.

Similarly, bodily autonomy is restricted by laws which prohibit people from smoking in pubs.  This not only has a health benefit for the smoker, but for people who would otherwise be forced to smoke passively.

In the case of pregnancy, the rights of three people need to be considered – those of the mother, the father and the baby.

The abortion issue is largely devoted to dealing with the rights of the mother. The rights and concerns of the father are rarely discussed.

There was a case in 2013 of an Irish man who went to court to prevent his girlfriend from having an abortion. She was under pressure from her family to have an abortion. The case eventually was settled outside court with the woman’s family stopping their push to force her have an abortion. See:

It’s worth noting that the “right to choose” isn’t listed in the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, and yet the “right to life” is. That is because the “right to choose” doesn’t appear on any human rights declaration anywhere in the world.

If we talk about the “right to choose” we have to ask “the right to choose what?” Our choices must be limited by how they affect the rights of other people.

In the case of abortion, the woman’s “right to choose” directly conflicts with the right to life of the baby.