Abortion is an interesting subject because it generates a lot of emotional reactions. There is little objective, rational reconciliation of our knowledge with the facts of abortion.
We do know, however, that natural rights are not a universal property. It is a pretty agreed-upon fact that non-living entities have no rights. A piece of wood or coal is material that humans use to build things, not a citizen of a country. Why is that ? Because it is not alive. The right of life, which is the primary, necessitates logically that the entity be alive.
A dog or a cat, for example, do not have the mental capacities to understand and act on their hypothetical rights. That is why we consider them to be domestic animals, insofar as we deduce that they are alive but do not have mental capacities far beyond that point. Some people would argue that rights only apply to humans, since ethical deductions are human in nature, and that is an interesting topic of debate, but outside of this discussion.
Human fetuses, on the other hand, are future human adults. Nobody can deny that normal human adults have full use of their rights. However, fetuses are not adults, by definition : the future possession of their rights is a potentiality, not an actuality. Also fetuses, especially at the earlier stages of maturation, cannot live outside of the mother’s body : it is physically attached to her and sustained by her own blood. It is a part of her body, much as her heart is. To equal abortion with a crime, let alone murder, is from this perspective totally ludicrous, since it violates the prime right of every individual : the right of self-ownership. The government does not own a woman’s uterus any more than it owns any other part of her body.
Therefore the hypocrisy of the expression “pro-life” is exposed. By pretending to be “pro-life”, advocates of anti-choice legislation are in fact anti-life – the life and free choice of the mother.