Can a Pro-Lifer Be Both Open-Minded and Confident?

Can a pro-lifer be both open-minded and confident?

If only because it’s hard to prove a negative, one can never be completely confident that there is not some evidence out there somewhere that would lead one to become pro-choice.

And the less familiar a pro-lifer is with the literature on the abortion issue — Boonin, Beckwith, Kaczor, etc. — the less reason that person would have to be confident in that way. A person who has read everything and has ended up with strong pro-life convictions, may perhaps feel that it is only in theory that he might encounter a new pro-choice argument that he will not be able to defeat, or some new scientific or statistical evidence that might change everything for him. But we can safely guess that most pro-lifers have never read a book on the subject. How can someone who has never read Boonin feel confident that nothing he might read in Boonin, if he reads open-mindedly, might overturn his pro-life views?

So I think that the only way a pro-lifer can be both open-minded and confident is if he has a plan B for how he will operate if the evidence leads him to be pro-choice.

By such a plan B, I don’t necessarily mean a rehearsed speech that he will use to explain to his friends how he had made a mistake. I just mean that he must have confidence that life will still be worth living even if he changes his most cherished opinions. And in fact life should still be worth living if not even more worth living than it was before, because presumably he will change from an old opinion only to a new opinion that carries more truth.

In other words, a pro-lifer can be open-minded and confident if he is confident in always progressing toward more and more truth, but not if he is confident in remaining always pro-life.

I think it is extremely unlikely that the evidence will ever lead me to become pro-choice, by the way. My point is just that being really open-minded can only mean being ready to change any opinion at all.

© 2016


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Some future posts:

Life Panels

A Trade-Off of a Sensitive Nature

Unborn Child-Protection Legislation, the Moral Health of Society, and the Role of the American Democratic Party

The Motivations of Aborting Parents

Why Remorse Comes Too Late

The Kitchen-Ingredients Week-After Pill

Unwanted Babies and Overpopulation

The Woman as Slave?

Abortion and the Map of the World

5 thoughts on “Can a Pro-Lifer Be Both Open-Minded and Confident?

  1. I think the introductory pages of Kaczor’s book “The Ethics of Abortion” (in particular 3 &4) have some good points. I also appreciate the last paragraph(s?) of Boonin’s book with an exhortation to carefully examine the arguments given by each side.

  2. I actually used to be pro-life, but never really thought my position thru, when I did think it thru and read arguments like yours and others, I realized that i’am actually pro-choice. It is like I discovered that is where I fell on the spectrum. I have mentioned my position which I think is a moderate one to you before on another post.

    • What were the specific policy positions of yours, or specific perceptions of the unborn, that changed when you became pro-choice? Or do you mean that none of those things changed, but you simply decided that the pro-choice label was more appropriate than the pro-life label?

      • no, I had not thought thru my position, when I really did, I found out that i’am pro-choice. My intuitions of the unborn is that a woman’s bodily autonomy and her wishes come first, that is what I found out about myself when I really pondered it and researched it.

  3. I do have a question, not trying to be mean or disrespectful, but why is it the most aren’t pro-lifer’s I have encountered are men? , as a man, you will never have to carry that burden of pregnancy and go thru childbirth. Yet you want to impose a burden on one gender, yet you will not have to endure yourself. If the rolls were reversed and a man gestated, I would never try to force that on a man and violate his bodily autonomy, and everything that comes with pregnancy, I simply would not. I would respect the man’s choice.

    Again not trying to play the men verses women, but It really disturbs me when one tries to place burdens on others that they themselves don’t have to carry. At lease pro-life women though I disagree with them too, they are willing to endure the burden themselves and I give them credit, but, still does not change my position that one should not be forced to gestate against our will.

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