For important issues, we need well-developed reasons or arguments to decide what to believe and do about the issues. Many people say they just “feel” that abortion is wrong or their “opinion” is that it’s not wrong. But complex issues require informed, fair and honest critical thinking, not just mere “feelings” or “opinions,” and we hope this essay has modeled this type of systematic and serious engagement with the arguments and evidence. We hope that readers’ reflective observations about how we have stated and evaluated arguments will help them improve their own skills at engaging arguments on this and other issues, on their own and in discussion with others.
We have focused on disagreements about abortion, but we want to end on an agreement. Everyone agrees there should be fewer abortions. Even people who believe abortions are generally not wrong don’t think that having an abortion is just a great way to spend time and resources. So everyone could agree that we, as a society, should do more to reduce the “demand” for abortions: we could address the many causes that lead women to seek abortions.19 Some other countries don’t have as many abortions as the US does. In many cases this is because of deliberate choices they have made to make their countries more supportive of all of their citizens and make it easier for them to meet their economic, medical and familial needs. We too could be Good Samaritans, in these ways and more. This would be very good, not just for this issue but for who we are as people.