Another Take: Pregnancy is Like a Traffic Accident

In this post, I argued that pregnancy is like a traffic accident:

If I needed a ride home from work, and one of my employees was kind enough to offer a ride, does that means I consent only to the ride home?  Well, actually, it means I give tacit approval to whatever happens on the ride home — whether I like it or not.  In other words, I can’t roll a d20 against my intelligence and disbelieve something I don’t like away.

For example, if the employee ran a red light and another car crashed into my side of the car, paralyzing me from the waist down.  A grim outcome to be sure, and I can seek monetary damages against the employee for medical expenses and rehab.  But I can’t wish the paralysis away.

In a way, abortion is the magic disbelieve roll.  “I’m not ready,” or “I don’t want to be a parent yet,” or any of the other excuses (and they are excuses) one manufactures.  The fact of the matter of is sex is tacit consent to pregnancy, since pregnancy is a possible result of sex.  We are taught in grade school that that is the case, so there isn’t an excuse for not knowing.

Agree or disagree with my analogy, I’m not the only one who uses it.  Here, Clinton Wilcox argues along similar lines, but I think he phrases it a little bit better:

When someone drives a car, they are taking on certain risks, such as the possibility of getting into an accident. Now, if you do get into an accident, you should not necessarily be forced to live with pain, injuries, etc., that may result from it. You also may not be at fault for it as the other driver may be. Or in some cases no one may be at fault for it.

So while you don’t necessarily have to live with the consequences, the person at fault does have to make it right by paying for the other person’s medical bills, paying to repair their car, etc. (or having their insurance do it, if they’re insured). They can’t just walk away and say, “Sorry, I consented to drive my car but I did not consent to get into an accident. You’re on your own.”

He goes on:

[W]hen a man and woman engage in sex, even if they are using contraception, they are engaging in an activity that has a chance of producing a living human being in a naturally needy condition. As a result, if the woman finds herself pregnant, the man and the woman both bear a responsibility to care for that child because they are the ones responsible for his/her existence. Having an abortion would be like … refusing to pay the other driver’s medical bills due to your responsibility in injuring him/her.

The inherent problem with nearly any analogy used to support a prolife philosophy is treating the baby as a consequence of the action, rather than the center of the effort.  That’s a can of worms I don’t like to open, which is why I continue to search for a better analogy for the prolife position.

Abortion betrays a callous indifference for the baby, a person that you created and is a part of you.  Yet we read stories of the ancient people sacrificing their first born sons to gods like Moloch and cringe.  Why?  Are we so different?

The bottom line is that abortion seems to be rooted in extreme self-involvement.  We sacrifice not to idols of gold or stone, but to idol of self.  Love is sacrificing your needs for the other person.  Abortion is sacrificing the other person for your needs.

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on September 19, 2013, in Apologetics, Morality, Philosophy, Pro-Life Issues. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Am I always at fault for getting into a traffic accident? No. Your argument avoids the scenario of rape.

  2. Hey, Cory:

    It may not have been clear in the context of my article, but I was actually arguing that pregnancy is *not* like getting into a car accident, and I take that position specifically because I don’t view children as a “consequence” of sex. I was actually responding to a pro-choice blogger who argues that pregnancy is like getting into a car accident, where you don’t have to live with the “consequences” of the pregnancy.

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