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Prolife by DanileeNatsumi Prolife by DanileeNatsumi
This stamp delineates pro-life philosophy in regards to abortion, and does not advocate for or against the legal status of abortion.

Please note:  This article is incomplete, and requires substantial revision.  Thank you for your time and patience.

The philosophy of pro-life

By K.D.Natsumi (DanileeNatsumi)
Latest update: 07th of September, 2015.  Monday

Prologue to the philosophy of pro-life
    Pro-life is the ideological stance that life is a human right from conception to natural death, and that the decision to live should not be decreed by any other but oneself.  When considering the topic of abortion, pro-life activists argue that foetuses have a right-to-life, and should be carried to full term.1  The pro-life stance on abortion is a multi-variable, sensitive issue that behaves multi-directionally with economic, cultural, gender, health, and political issues; consequently, the philosophy is complex and lengthy to explain.  This article will briefly highlight the fundaments of pro-life philosophy.

    The purpose of this article is to offer reasonable discourse on the pro-life philosophy without condemning the legalisation of abortion, or questioning the moral character of pro-choice advocates.  More importantly, this article asserts why individuals—the author included—would not consider abortion as a personal pregnancy solution despite having the right to choose termination.  The ultimate goal of this article is to dispel pro-life myth and promote an understanding of pro-life philosophy.

Philosophy within the pro-life community
    Pro-life philosophy exists in a spectrum of ideology from degree of belief to the cultural foundation of the belief.

    Presently, there are three ordinal measures of pro-life philosophy: conditional, definitive, and absolute.2   A conditional pro-lifer asserts that abortion is acceptable with few exceptions (e.g. undesirability of foetus’s biological sex), a definitive pro-lifer asserts that abortion is condemnable with few exceptions (e.g., maternal health and high foetal mortality), and an absolute pro-lifer asserts abortion is always condemnable.3  This article adopts the perspective of definitive- and absolute pro-lifers because conditional pro-lifers are more aligned with the pro-choice ideology on the abortion debate spectrum.

    Pro-life ideology is culturally-bound.  Pro-life philosophy is typically packaged with the principles of sexual morality associated with religious philosophies, but there are secular subcultures supportive of pro-life ideology.4  The overall principle within secular and spiritual pro-life ideology is the right-to-life.  The right-to-life, as defined by Article 6 in the United Nation’s (UN) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), is that all humans shall not have their life arbitrarily ended;5 and pro-lifers have integrated this definition to include foetuses (it should be noted that the UN respects religious and cultural perspectives while advocating for health and reproductive rights.)6 Like the UN, this pro-life article is respectful of culture and religion, and does not adopt a religious, ethnic, or national perspective on pro-life philosophy.

    Additional groups of profilers exist, which this article identifies as corporal pro-lifers2 and extreme pro-lifers.7  Corporal pro-lifers assert that abortion is wrong if parents do not want children, and that a pregnancy should be brought to full term as punishment for violating a sexual taboo (e.g., premarital sexual intercourse).  Extreme pro-lifers utilise terrorist tactics to attack pro-choice advocates and abortion clinics, justifying their actions by the safety of unborn children.7  Conditional, definitive, and absolute pro-lifers disassociate themselves from the corporal- and extreme pro-lifers because the corporal- and extreme philosophy devalue the personhood of non-foetuses, and violate additional moral attitudes.8  Likewise, this article is not aligned with corporal- and extreme pro-lifers.

Specific arguments of pro-life philosophy
    The following paragraphs briefly examine claims made by pro-life and pro-choices activists and discusses all claims from a pro-life standpoint.

PART I: Biological claims

:bulletpink: Human life begins at conception:  Life is defined as an animate, organic existence,9 and the cell is the most basic unit of life.10  The human zygote, a fertilised diploid formed by the union of a sperm cell and ovum that contains all of the genetic material necessary to form a viable human being, is a cell, and fertilisation is considered the first stage in human development.  Therefore, human life begins at conception.  As a result, bioethics organisations such as the American Bioethics Advisory Commission (ABAC) adopt the philosophy that personhood begins at conception.11 Since organisations and individual pro-lifers adopt the notion that personhood begins at conception, pro-life demographics believe that zygotes have humans rights that must be protected.

:bulletpink:  Foetuses are not annexations of the female body:  The “my body my right” slogan asserts two general claims concerning  foetuses: That foetuses are a part of the female body, and/or that women have the inalienable, biological right to continue or terminate pregnancy.

   The first is that the foetus is a part of the female body, and that pregnant women alone determine whether pregnancies should be terminated; however, the claim is biologically incorrect.  Once the ovum is fertilised, the female immune system immediately identifies the zygote as a foreign object.  To keep T cells from attacking the zygote, diploid cell releases the chemical indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO).12  IDO calms the body's immune system and causes it nurture the zygote.  As long as the defence mechanism works properly, the pregnancy will come to full term and experience few complications.12, 13

   The second claims recognises that foetuses are not annexations of the female body, and asserts that women should not have to be a vessel for human life.14  Most pro-lifers acknowledge the claim because it safeguards women’s personhood, but are at odds with the statement because it compromises foetuses’ personhood.  Definitive pro-lifers are more inclined to reword the claim, insisting that personhood of the woman and foetus must be equally weighted when determining whether the termination of pregnancy is just.  Absolute pro-lifers also value women‘s personhood, but  foetuses’ incognisance to choose life or death causes pro-lifers to favour foetus personhood (which is in itself a logical impasse with pro-choice philosophy).  Pro-life communities and some national governments compromise their foetus-first ideology by providing health and social resources to expecting parent(s).15 Available services depend on the socioeconomic climate of the given culture; thus, some pro-life communities and governments can provide a greater supply of social support and more accurate health information to expecting parent(s).  Some outreach programmes have lead to additional pro-life personhood conflicts not discussed in this article.7, 16, 17

PART II: Biosocial claims

:bulletpink: Overpopulation:  The human population is ever growing, and in October 2011 the world‘s 7th billion babies were born. 18  Population control is an issue for all advocates in abortion debate spectrum, and pro-lifers believe abortion is a hasty solution that may not address the mitigating variables of population growth, or the possibility of discriminative foeticide (e.g. sex-selective abortion). 

   Examination of reproductive trends find a negative correlation between a country’s education of female population and births per women.19  Moreover, women who are better educated not only delay their first conception, but have less children and are better equip to raise children.  Adolescent girls who are more involved in their schooling and/or athletics are also less likely to become pregnant in primary- and secondary education.20, 21  Stereotypically “developed” countries either have stable or decreasing human populations, and stereotypically “developing” or “undeveloped” nations are responsible for the world's population growth, because poor women are uneducated without careers; hence, they marry early and start families in order to survive in the given sociopolitical climate22.  Pro-lifers pay keen attention to female education, amongst other advocacy topics, to enhance human rights and stabilise population growth.

:bulletpink: Naturalness/Unnaturalness of abortion:  The two types of abortion are spontaneous and induced, and only spontaneous abortion occurs naturally.  Spontaneous abortion (SoA, SA), otherwise known as miscarriage, can result from stress (e.g., inability to find basic resources), hormonal imbalances (e.g., too little or too much exposure to oestrogens), disease (e.g., pneumonia), and genetics (e.g., predisposition for the immune system to reject zygote).23, 24 The unnatural form of abortion is induced abortion, in which pregnancy is consciously and procedurally terminated (e.g., e.g., surgical abortion)25 for whatever reason (e.g., finance in humans, mate-selection in pipefish).  Induced abortion ipso facto does not occur by natural biological function.  Thus, Pro-lifers are likely to argue that induced abortion—typically simplified to “abortion”— is an unnatural reproductive solution.  Pro-lifers may connect the biological unnaturalness claim with philosophy (e.g., the conditions which make an “unnatural“ phenomenon a detriment to humanity) and theology (e.g., biblical passages).  Although religious arguments are omitted from this paper, specific philosophical claims are outlined in other sections of the article.

:bulletpink: Abortion verses Abandonment:


1. Wikitionary, “prolife:”…
2. The terms “conditional,” “definitive,” “absolute,” and “corporate” were created by the author for the purposes of this article.
3. Patheos - What “pro-life” really means:…
4. Atheist and Agnostic Pro-life League:…
5: UN | International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR):…
6. UN | Sexual and reproductive health and rights:…
7. | Anti-Abortion Extremism and Violence in the United States:…
8. [Deleted by deviantART staffers]
9., “Life”:…
10. Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Cell theory”:…
11. American Bioethics Advisory Commission:
12. NCBI | B7 costimulation and intracellular indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression in peripheral blood of healthy pregnant and non-pregnant women.:…
13. NCBI | The tryptophan utilization concept in pregnancy.:…
14. BBC - Ethics - Abortions: Arguments in favour of abortion:…
15. The Radiance Foundation:…
16. Thomas More Society | Broadening IRS Victims Include Pro-Life Advocates, As Congress Investigates:…
17. Contraception Journal | Abortion misinformation from crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina:…
18. BBC | Indian baby picked as world‘s ‘seventh billion’ person:…
19. Earth Policy Institute | Education leads to lower fertility and increased prosperity :…
20. Journal of Research on Adolescence | The influence of high school dropout rate and school disengagement on the risk of school-age pregnancy:…
21. Journal of Adolescent Health | High school athletic participation, sexual behavior and adolescent pregnancy: a regional study:…
22. The World Bank | Fertility rate, total (births per women)…
23. Pregnancy and the Flu | Palo Alto Medical Facility:
24. Miscarriage Causes During the First Trimester | Baby Pregnancy Care:…
25. Induced Abortion | The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:…

19.SEPT.2015.M: Revised argument added, albeit incompletely.  Includes the prologue throughout the "Biosocial claims: Abortion verses abandonment" sections.
0.JUN.2007.Tu:  Original stamp and argument posted.

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Submitted on
June 19, 2007
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