On My Mind...

Bodily Autonomy Misconception

Pro-abortion advocates often attempt to justify abortion with some interesting analogies or claims that on the surface seem to have some legitimacy. But it is fundamental to spend time questioning the validity of the analogy or claim with reason and logic no matter where that leads.

One very popular pro-abortion argument is the claim that every person has the right to bodily autonomy, which translates to having the “right to abort a pre-born human,” if you don’t want it in your body.

By definition, bodily autonomy is “the right for a person to govern what happens to their body without external influence or coercion,” thus paving the way for the justification of an abortion.

To support this claim of bodily autonomy, the abortion advocate proposes an analogy that has become their foremost “gotcha” argument.

For the sake of clarity, it is important to first address the “bodily autonomy” assertion and then to dismantle the analogy that goes along with the assertion.

First, there is no such thing as “an exclusive right to bodily autonomy” in a civil society. Human beings are flawed creatures and have a proclivity to do evil or immoral actions in their daily lives. So it is necessary for a society to establish boundaries or limits on the human race in order to keep people safe.

A few obvious examples of the reasonable limits of bodily autonomy would be found in the laws pertaining to what drugs you are allowed or not allowed to ingest into your body while you are pregnant, how old you can be to do certain things to your body, driving drunk, and many other reasonable restrictions.

These crucial laws are designed to protect people from their own wrong-headed decisions to do something irresponsible that may harm them, but, more importantly, may harm “SOMEONE ELSE.”

The premise of an “exclusive right to bodily autonomy” is flawed and unrealistic in the real world. Therefore, “the right to have an abortion because of bodily autonomy” is an incorrect conclusion.

That simple and clear truth should be enough to preempt the analogy that is used to bolster the bodily autonomy misconception.

However, let’s look at the analogy and make some points that will defuse its “gotcha” impact.

Without going into the whole analogy, here is a summary of it.

A popular philosopher, Judith Jarvis, (look her up on Google), proposed in her defense of abortion the “thought experiment” that says if you woke up in a hospital room connected to a famous violinist because he needed your type of blood to stay alive, would you be obligated to stay hooked up to him for nine months to keep him alive, at which time he would receive the newest equipment to stay alive, allowing you to be unplugged from him?

The question proposed through the analogy to support abortion-on-demand is: Do you have a right to unplug yourself from the violinist because you didn’t agree to use your body to keep another person alive?

Do you see the pro-abortion advocate’s glee that makes them think they “gotcha?”


I don’t think so.

It is important to note that Judith Jarvis admitted the limit to her “thought experiment.” She believed the challenge only worked for a woman who had been raped and not for other situations of unplanned pregnancies. But the “pro-choice” advocates have hijacked the “violinist” illustration in an attempt to justify all women seeking abortions because they don’t want something growing in their bodies.

The abortion supporters believe that the notion of bodily autonomy provides the conclusion to the violinist analogy: that a person has no obligation to provide life with their body for another person.

When using an "analogy" or "thought experiment" to build your case, there must be reasonable and logical parallels for the process to work. Otherwise, the experiment is just an emotional, weak smokescreen that should be discarded in the discussion.

There are several problems with the violinist parable that can be extracted to show the invalid analogy. I will state some below, but there are many more written by well-spoken pro-life leaders in America that you can search for on the internet.

First, the act of intimacy may very well result in the creation of another human being attached to you for survival. So your actions carry that “risk” and with few exceptions, every couple knows. So the idea that a person wakes up to find themselves pregnant is no more reasonable than finding yourself attached to a famous violinist.” Reality folks, reality.

Second, the weakening analogy suggests that you should have the right, because of bodily autonomy, to simply “unplug yourself” from the violinist. But wait. It begs the question: Should you be allowed to reach over to the violinist in bed, start up a chainsaw and rip the violinist into a thousand pieces in order to walk away from the situation? That terrible action has really happened to over sixty-two million boy and girl violinists over the past fifty years when the forceps, knives and vacuums tear out the preborn during the abortion procedure.

So are there no restrictions insuring “bodily autonomy” in the pro-abortion advocate’s mind?

Third is a more uncomfortable point that I don’t believe most people will want to hear, but I am compelled to present. The person attached to the violinist has a moral obligation to ponder and decide what to do that will transcend the simplistic idea that says, “My body, My choice.”

Unlike the analogy of a violinist artificially attached to your body, the uterus is specifically designed for another person to live inside a woman’s body. The mom-to-baby relationship is a natural one because the womb was made for the baby, not the mom.

Not only is that principle established by the Judeo/Christian ethic, upon which our country is built, but is also grounded in the laws of a civil society. While there are laws called “Good Samaritan Laws” addressing a person’s limited responsibility in rescuing or saving someone when it was in their ability to do so, there is an important flipside to that coin. Interestingly, the laws of the land determined that if there is a “relationship” between two or more persons, there may be a law of intervention required by the person who has the ability to render help. For example, a teacher or counselor supervising children must intervene to protect the child. “Well…Well.”

A business establishment is held accountable if they do not protect customers in danger on their premises.

But most importantly are the laws requiring parents to protect their children in and out of the womb on a daily basis. The laws on neglect are strong and necessary to guide parents in the raising of their children.

But in the analogy of the violinist, the person does not have any relationship to the musician. While that is true in one sense, the thought experiment continues to weaken in support of abortion because a woman pregnant with her baby falls under a whole other set of laws and morality. Would a society allow the woman in the bed to disconnect by stabbing her own child to death under the guise of “bodily autonomy?” A civil society would say, “No way,” but tragically that is what has happened for fifty years under Roe vs. Wade.

In the clarified analogy, reasonable people would not allow a woman to disconnect from her child. She would be restricted from harming the other person and would have to go through some inconvenience and turmoil for nine months until another means of life-support could be used to sustain the child.

So the conclusion in the violinist analogy is that the moral and reasonable answer is YES: The person providing life support can be required to go through nine months of restrictions for the sake of protecting the other person. And even more so, if there is a relationship between the two people that falls under parental obligation, then even a stronger YES is expected.

It must be noted here that Ms. Jarvis conceded for the sake of the thought experiment that the fetus in the womb is a human being, so she wanted to justify killing another person in a humanistic culture free from the moral restraints of the Judeo/Christian ethic.

Another important point is that the standard for morality and reason is found in God’s Word and those directives are clear when it says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friend.” John 15:13

You can find the origin of the worldview that produced the notion of “My Body, My Choice” and “Bodily Autonomy” in Genesis 3 where Satan offers Eve the idea of being your own god. Adam and Eve embraced the lie bringing bloodshed into the world.

God tells us that there is no such thing as bodily autonomy when He says, “whoever commits sin is a slave to sin…For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which is God’s.” I Corinthians 6:20. Our bodies are limited in their autonomy, whether we believe in God or not.

One more thought concerning the original intent of the “violinist” analogy.

The woman who is raped and is impregnated by the wicked rapist has become one of at least two victims. As a result of this terrible act against her, she and her baby, and family members, have become victims. The answer to her situation is not found to be an easy solution, but we cannot surrender to a humanistic, immoral solution.

It is always good to remember “two wrongs don’t make it right.”

Exterminating the pre-born child will not “unrape” you.

It should never be acceptable to allow the woman to commit homicide on her child and then live with two immoral acts on her body. The rapist is the rotten criminal, not the pre-born child.

There is NO justification for providing an “exception” to anyone who wants to intentionally destroy the life of a child, no matter the emotional struggle within the situation.

We must love them both and provide the life-giving answers for the woman and baby.

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Related Posts



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Thursday, 18 July 2024
The Pen is mightier than the sword…
To paralyze the Caesars,
And to strike the loud earth breathless!
English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839
A derivative of Hebrews 4:12

Website Contents © At The Well Ministries
Unauthorized duplication or reposting of the contents of this site in any form is strictly prohibited.

Stockton Website Design by Brentwood Visual