HomeoldPro-choicer: viability irrelevant, abortion should be available even if baby is separate...

Pro-choicer: viability irrelevant, abortion should be available even if baby is separate from the mother

Published on

Pro-choice Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee:

“The date at which a foetus might be viable has nothing to do with a woman’s right to choose. Someday an embryo might be reared in a test tube to full-term, but that changes nothing for a woman’s right not to be a mother.” — Polly Toynbee, “On abortion, the media need to reflect what is happening in the real world” Guardian August 31, 2014.

Toynbee apparently supports killing the baby even if the child could be raised in an artificial womb. Even if the mother didn’t have to carry the baby in her womb, this pro-choicer still thinks abortion should be available.

This implies that the purpose of an abortion is not to end a woman’s pregnancy, but to ensure that her baby dies—that the right to “not be a mother” entails the right to kill the child, whether or not the child needs the mother’s body to survive.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.

The argument that viability is irrelevant and that abortion should be available even if the fetus is capable of surviving outside the mother’s womb independently is a viewpoint often espoused by advocates of abortion rights. Proponents of this stance assert that a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom should take precedence over the potential rights of the fetus, regardless of its stage of development.

At the heart of this argument lies the principle of bodily autonomy, which maintains that individuals have the inherent right to make decisions about their own bodies and healthcare without external interference or coercion. From this perspective, a woman’s right to control her own reproductive destiny includes the right to terminate a pregnancy at any stage, even if the fetus is viable.

Pro-choice advocates may argue that the concept of viability is arbitrary and medically imprecise, as it varies depending on factors such as advances in medical technology and the availability of neonatal care. They contend that focusing on viability as a threshold for restricting abortion places undue emphasis on the potential future of the fetus while disregarding the immediate needs and circumstances of the pregnant person.

Furthermore, proponents of unrestricted abortion access may assert that the ability of the fetus to survive independently outside the womb does not inherently grant it personhood or moral status equal to that of the pregnant individual. They may argue that until the fetus is born and becomes a separate, autonomous entity, its rights should not supersede those of the woman carrying it.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that this viewpoint is not universally accepted, and the question of when personhood begins is a deeply contentious and ethically complex issue. Opponents of unrestricted abortion access may argue that viability represents a significant milestone in fetal development, signaling the potential for life outside the womb and thus deserving of legal protection.

Ultimately, the debate over abortion rights and restrictions encompasses a wide range of ethical, moral, and legal considerations. While proponents of unrestricted abortion access prioritize the rights and autonomy of the pregnant individual, opponents may prioritize the rights and interests of the developing fetus. Finding common ground on this contentious issue often requires thoughtful dialogue, empathy, and a recognition of the complexity of the factors involved.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

Order Now!


Latest articles

The EU’s plans for the abolition of the secrecy of digital letters

Surveillance of private chats without suspicion could soon become mandatory in the EU. This...

Lloyd’s: Government behind Nord Stream sabotage

About a month ago, Zug-based Nord Stream AG filed a lawsuit against its insurers....

More like this

Biden urges hostage deal

US President Biden has called on Qatar and Egypt to do everything possible to...

Trump trial: ex-president rushes from court to campaign trail

Update, 11:00 a.m.: In the U.S., experts are surprised that Judge Juan Merchan has...

Donald Trump Ignores Court Gag Order

Trump can't talk about those involved in the New York trial. The ex-president can,...