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Person 1: I support abortion access because I think women should have choices. Person 2 (our hero): I think people should have lots of choices in life, but there have to be some limits. E.g., I don’t think parents should be given the choice to abuse their kids. Would you agree?

Some Choices Are Unacceptable

Don’t expect this analogy on its own to change anyone’s mind. Pro-choice people usually feel that there’s an important difference between abortion and child abuse. The point of the analogy is just to bring those differences to the surface. Listen very carefully as they explain what they feel is the crucial difference between abortion and child abuse, and go from there.

They might point to something about the fetus herself. They might think abortion is similar to killing a plant or removing a tumor. On the other hand, they might point to something about the situation the fetus and mother are in. They might think abortion is similar to unplugging a ventilator or defending yourself against an assailant.

Rarely, someone might bite the bullet and say child abuse should be allowed. In this case, we recommend that you drop the abortion topic until you can reach agreement about child abuse.

First posted

Person 1: We shouldn’t tell women what to do. Person 2 (our hero): I agree that we should generally avoid restricting people’s freedom, but we should make exceptions to keep people from hurting each other.Person 1: Yes, of course killing toddlers is wrong. But a fetus is different than a toddler. Person 2 (our hero): I’m glad we agree killing toddlers is wrong. I agree there are a lot of differences. Can we talk through the differences that you think matter?Person 1: I’m pro-choice because I’m libertarian. Person 2 (our hero): Most libertarians think the government should prevent aggressive violence. Ron Paul and many others think that includes abortion.Person 1: A woman’s choice to get an abortion is none of your business. Person 2 (our hero): I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy. Let me ask a question; bear with me. If I overhear parents planning to kill their two-year-old, should I intervene?
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