Appeal to Ignorance in the Case of Abortion

Abortion is an extremely controversial topic that can strongly be argued from both sides. There is one thing, however, that I would like to point out as not only a relevant topic of ‘critical thinking,’ but simply of the truth.

We have been told that some studies have proved the fetus is not exactly a living human being until a mother actually gives birth to her child. With that being said, it is apparent that many people take that into account and continue on with the process of abortion. However, what is important to remember is that those who believe the baby inside the mother’s womb is not yet exactly a living human being, may be following the very fallacy of appeal to ignorance.

While we discussed the topic of whether society should be able to systematically kill animals for the sake of food production and the demand for meat, some touched on the fact that we are unaware that those animals would feel pain. We could assume they would feel pain because if the same thing were happening to us, we would likely conclude these actions would inflict some sort of discomfort. However, for the simple fact that animals—chickens, cows, pigs, etc.—are all of a different species, we could not physically prove these animals would suffer how humans would in the event of torture or death.

This could very well be used for the case of abortion. Why not assume or ‘prove’ that the fetus is not an actual living being? It is not as if any adult who is conscious in memory and feeling could go back and remember how he/she felt in the mother’s womb. However, we are using that fallacy for our same species.

It seems as though society automatically jumps to the appeal to ignorance fallacy when all questions seem to have been answered.

Despite deciphering what is right and wrong, why not just overcome the obstacle of appeal to ignorance with granting the benefit of doubt.

Yes, although we are not be able to feel what farm animals feel when being butchered, why must we choose what is more at ease for us? Allowing animals to be butchered gives us the convenient of fast-food chains, restaurants and food venders to supply meat and animal products at comfortable prices.  What we could do is end the brutality inflicted upon these animals and allow them the benefit of the doubt that we are aware of what they could possibly be feeling.

The same concept can be applied to abortion. How exactly can we prove the fetus is not living unless someone lives to tell that particular experience of living in the mother’s womb? With that in mind, we can give an unborn child the benefit of the doubt by granting it the right to live and without assuming that abortion would likely not inflict it with pain or take away the life it already was given.

It may seem inaccurate that the fetus is a child from the moment of conception. It is obviously a clump of cells where humans have the inability to witness the physical characteristics of hands, feet, etc. and other parts of the body that form by the tenth week, according to Judith Thompson.

However, for this reason, I have chosen to emphasize ignoring the appeal to ignorance fallacy and simply side with the positivity of allowing a fetus to stay and eventually live its life.


2 thoughts on “Appeal to Ignorance in the Case of Abortion

  1. I have two questions. Assuming that a fetus is a living human, does it mean that the mother should be obligated to have the baby? It’s hard to force a woman to loan her body for nine months and take the necessary procedures to keep and maintain the fetus healthy. Yes, you can tell her that it’s wrong and make her feel guilty for “killing another human being” but in the end of the day, it’s her body and she should be in control in what she brings into this world. It would be horrible to force a woman to have a child that she doesn’t love or care for. How can you bring a baby into a world that has a mother that didn’t even want him/her in the first place?

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