Anti-abortion advocate Josh Brahm challenged arguments in support of abortion while aiming to find common ground between abortion-rights and anti-abortion advocates in an event hosted by Boston College’s Pro-Life Club.
“I want us to come closer together,” Brahm said. “I want to see more dialogue amongst friends and less debate amongst strangers.”
In the Tuesday-night event, Brahm—the president of the Equal Rights Institute—offered a response to an abortion-rights argument he called “the sovereign zone,” which argues that a woman has bodily autonomy, he said.
“She’s like ‘Look, I just think that women need to be able to control, like do what they want, with anything inside of their bodies,’” Brahm said, referencing a debate he had with a college student. “And I said, ‘That’s a common pro-choice view. But the problem is, your view disagrees with itself.’”
Brahm said many abortion-rights advocates believe abortions should not be available after a woman is 20 weeks pregnant. But according to Brahm, this belief and the sovereign zone argument cannot be reconciled.
“I believe that when she came up to the table, she had an inherently, an internally inconsistent, but comfortable pro-choice position,” Brahm said.
Brahm then proposed the “violinist thought experiment.” In this hypothetical situation, an individual is connected to a terminally ill violinist against their will. The individual is then told they need to remain connected to this violinist for nine months, and if they disconnect from him, he will die.
“This [situation] is so unjust,” Brahm said. “But the problem is, we can’t unplug you, because if we unplug you, he’ll die, and he has a right to life.”
Brahm said the violinist thought experiment is a strong abortion-rights argument, as it recognizes that the person attached to the violinist—symbolic of a pregnant woman—is put in an unfair position. But there are stronger arguments against abortion, he said.
“I think a better [argument] is what a lot of people call the ‘responsibility objection,’” Brahm said. “When you have consensual sex, you’re engaging in an act that you know might result in the creation of an inherently needy child that you owe compensation to.”
Brahm emphasized that not all pregnancies are consensual, and said he did not wish to minimize the experiences of rape survivors.
“One of the reasons that I’m opposed to rape is because it’s an act of violence against an innocent person,” Brahm said. “The reason I’m against abortion is because it’s an act of violence against an innocent person. So it’s not that I don’t care about survivors of rape, I just don’t think the argument does what pro-choice people need it to do.”
Brahm described abortion as lethal actions against innocent people, asserting that society would benefit from laws prohibiting it.
“I … think that abortion has hurt women in the sense that it’s given crappy guys an easy way out,” Brahm said.
Emma Foley, a member of the Pro-Life Club and CSOM ’22, said she agreed with Brahm that banning abortion would indirectly cause men to treat women better.
“Abortion benefits men primarily,” Foley said. “It gives them an easy way out of either caring for their child or child support, or whatever that may be, and my goal is to have women treated as best as possible in America and all over the world, and I believe that abortion is hindering that right now.”
Though Brahm stressed that he is opposed to abortion, he said he advocates for rational reasoning over emotional reasoning in debate over abortion and strives to create a safe place for any woman who have recieved or considered an abotion.
“My heart goes to the woman who wants the abortion, especially if she is a survivor of rape or abuse.”
Featured Image by Ben Schultz / For the Heights