Maryland law currently permits abortion in most cases. I support enshrining this law in the Maryland Constitution. I offer four arguments for abortion rights:

  1. If an intruder breaks in and occupies your house, you have the right to throw him out. That is, you have agency over your own home. What if it’s more personal, say, your bedroom? Again, you have agency over your bedroom. And even more intimate: What if it’s your uterus? Whose uterus is it? Greg Abbott’s? Ron DeSantis’s? No, it’s yours, and you must have agency over it – who occupies it, when, and for how long.
  2. Most opponents of abortion rights emphasize late-term abortions. I have often encountered scary ads with scary music showing a fully-formed fetus being crushed  by forceps. But this is a red herring, because that is not how these abortions generally occur. If you accept that first-trimester abortions should always be allowed and that abortions before fetal viability should be legal in cases of rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother, then you might be interested in these statistics:
    • 90% of abortions in this country occur before the end of the 13th week of pregnancy, that is, during the first trimester.
    • An additional 8% of abortions occur between weeks 14 and 20, that is, before the end of the first half of a normal pregnancy.
    • Only 2% of abortions occur after week 20. Now think to yourself about the situations which call for an abortion after 20 weeks: The fetus has died; the fetus could live through childbirth but would not be viable after birth; miscarriage occurs; the mother’s life is threatened. If you are a Mom or a Dad, think of your own experience at 24 weeks of pregnancy. You have already gone through a lot – morning sickness, weight gain, and other medical challenges are common. By now you probably painted the baby’s room, obtained a crib, picked out names, started acquiring baby clothes, perhaps planned a baby shower. There is no doubt that this baby is wanted and loved. So now something has occurred that forces you to think the unthinkable – should you terminate the pregnancy? These are difficult decisions. I believe the expectant mother, her partner, her doctor, her spiritual advisor should be in the room. I do not believe Greg Abbott or Ron DeSantis should be there. I do not believe that the hospital’s lawyers should be involved in any way.
  3. If you believe that the zygote, then embryo, and then fetus is a human being from the moment of conception, then I cannot win this argument with you; but before you decide that government should be involved in protecting pre-viable life, I hope you will recognize that yours is a purely religious argument, far removed from the proper domain of government. Who decided that a zygote is a human being, worthy of the protection of laws against unjustifiable homicide?
  4. Finally, a law rejected by most of the people is a bad law. Regardless of its intrinsic merits, such a law cannot be enforced and encourages general disrespect for the law. This has certainly been the case with the national 55 MPH speed limit, which became an easy target for late-night comedians, and Prohibition, which made us the laughing stock of the world. Perhaps this country would be better off if we all drove our cars more slowly, and perhaps we would be better off if we gave up alcohol. But the citizenry demanded otherwise, and so these laws were repealed. A law that bans abortion is a bad law for the same reason.