I was asked for my thoughts on the blogpost On a Logical Argument in Favor of Abortion, which aims at analyzing the real logic behind a proposed argument that abortion should be legal, and thus manifesting the flaws in it. The argument as proposed to the author of the blogpost was:
P1: If abortion is not legal, there will be women who would be desperate enough to find a specialist to abort her fetus illegally.
P2: She would be putting herself at risk of an abortion operation from a quack.
P3: She could die along with the fetus.
C: For the life of the woman, abortion should be legal.
The author of the blogpost draws out the hidden premises that he sees as necessary in order to make the conclusion truly sound, specifically that "Abortion is necessary for the life of women" and that "Legal Abortion is not a risk to the life and health of women". Since these hidden premises are false, the conclusion is invalid.
Given that not a speculative argument, but a practical argument is being made, and that a practical argument resolves to some good which is being sought, I would suggest rather the following analysis:
P1. If abortion is illegal, certain women will choose and have an illegal abortion.
This can be derived from the premise: Certain women will, in fact, choose and obtain an abortion whether it is legal or illegal.
P2 and 3. To have an illegal abortion entails a higher risk of having a poorly performed abortion.
To have a poorly performed abortion entails a higher risk of death from the abortion for the woman who has it than having a "correctly" performed abortion does.
The truth of this premise is an empirical matter. As far as I know it is true.Note, however, the qualification "risk of death from the abortion". Theoretically the risk of death through, e.g., suicide might be higher for women who have a legal abortion than for women who have an illegal abortion. But in the absence of particular evidence for this, the point is only a theoretical one.
C1. If abortion is illegal, then the women who will choose and have an abortion whether it is legal or illegal will be subject to a higher risk of death from the abortion than if abortion is legal.
This follows logically from the previous premises.
C2. Abortion should be legal for the protection of (reduction of risk to) the life of the women who will choose and have an abortion whether it is legal or illegal.
This is a valid argument in favor of abortion being legal, and its premises seem to be true. However, it is insufficient for a practical judgment that abortion should be legal, because it is based on a very limited consideration of the goods and evils involved in abortion being legal or illegal. It considers only the women who will have an abortion whether it is legal or illegal, and it considers only their risk of dying. It does NOT consider: (1) the women who will have an abortion if it is legal, but will not have an abortion if it is illegal: the physical and psychological harm done to them, the death of the children aborted, the injustice to those children, etc.; (2) the moral harm done by failing to clearly acknowledge abortion as a moral evil. Since there are many women who will have an abortion if it is legal but will not if it is not legal, and there is a great deal of harm done by abortion whether legal or illegal, and since the moral harm done to persons by the failure to acknowledge abortion as a moral evil is itself a great evil, the judgment that abortion should be legal is unsound.