Dr. Jordan Peterson may not yet be fully pro-life, but he’s treading steadily in that direction.
In 2017, at the start of his rise to fame, Peterson was asked what he thought about abortion. “Abortion is clearly wrong,” he replied after a long pause. “I don’t think anyone debates that. You wouldn’t recommend that someone you love have one.” He’s uncharacteristically wrong there, of course — many people debate that, and plenty of people recommend that their loved ones get an abortion.
Peterson went on to say that the question of legality was entirely different, and that our sexual culture needs to be fixed before that discussion can be had — but noted that he hadn’t thought about the question enough to think his answer was “good enough.”
During a 2018 interview with Canadian social conservative activist Faytene Grassechi, he noted that he sees abortion as a last resort and articulated his views further.
“I certainly believe that abortion is morally wrong,” he said. “I think it’s something you do after you’ve done a bunch of other things that you shouldn’t have done, and I don’t see any way out of that argument. You find yourself in the position of needing abortion when you’ve made a lot of very serious moral errors already.”
Peterson has touched on the issue since then, often when discussing hookup culture. In 2022, during a conversation with his daughter, he reiterated his view that you would never want someone you love to have one. “One thing I can say about abortion to generally no objection is you wouldn’t give your sister one for a present,” he stated. “So whatever it is, it’s not desirable. And how not desirable it is is, at minimum, open to question.”
Of late, however, Peterson has been mentioning abortion on X/Twitter frequently. On August 25, Peterson responded to a tweet by California Governor Gavin Newsom claiming that “Guns are the #1 killer of kids in America” with a blunt response: “Not by a long shot buddy. It’s abortion.”
He’s made this point several times now. On June 25, he responded to a similar claim by the Democratic Party stating: “Actually it’s abortion. By a huge margin.” On June 18, he responded to a video of Vice President Kamala Harris parroting the same line about child gun deaths by saying: “Abortion is the number one cause of death. It’s not even close.”
On September 11, Peterson tweeted a study on fetal pain by John Bockmann and Dr. Stuart Derbyshire, revealing that children in the womb may feel pain much earlier than previously believed (for those interested in the details, Bockmann discussed the study on my podcast when it was first published. Accompanying the link, Peterson posted the title: “Reconsidering fetal pain.”
In just a few years, Dr. Jordan Peterson’s public statements on abortion have gone from describing abortion as “morally wrong” and profoundly “undesirable” to consistently making the case that abortion kills children — and that abortion kills more children than gun violence or anything else. This frank admission obviously has implications for whether or not abortion should be legal, and I suspect that Peterson’s view on that has been changing, too. If he’s reading studies on the excruciating pain that children in the womb feel during the barbaric abortion procedure, he’s likely already reached that conclusion.
Dr. Jordan Peterson is one of the most influential public intellectuals of our time, and if he decides to become a pro-life advocate, the impact will be enormous — especially among young men. Peterson’s podcast already features ads for pro-life organizations. I hope that he takes up John Bockmann on his offer to discuss fetal pain and other issues on his show, as well.