Skip to comments.WHY SHOULD ATHEISTS BE PRO-LIFE?
Posted on 09/20/2002 6:44:08 PM PDT by nickcarraway
I am often asked this question. I usually answer, "Why shouldn't atheists be pro-life?"
Nobody questions why non-religious persons fight drug abuse, drunk-driving, rape, poverty, crime, etc. Why should fighting abortion be viewed so differently?
Some people think that unless you believe in God, or more specifically, a God that will punish you in Hell if you do something wrong, then you cannot be made to behave. They apparently believe that atheists must be criminals.
Yet, many non-religious people actively fight crime, violence, and "wrongdoing" for many reasons. We believe in fairness and justice, protection of people's rights, lives and property. Heck, we even register to vote and try to pass laws to govern the behavior of other citizens! I am living proof that a belief in God or religion is not necessary for a person to become involved in the fight against abortion.
In fact, one thing that both the abortion industry and the pro-life movement agree on is that public ignorance about fetal development, abortion methodology and post-abortion complications is necessary if abortion is to remain legal. Ironically, the religious orientation of most pro-lifers may act as the major factor preventing education from taking place.
Faith and Trust
Once upon a time, I was a "pro-choice" woman. I believed in many mythical things back then: that sex could be "free" from any committments or consequences, that legalized abortion was "safe", that "control" over female reproductive functions would lead to equal rights for women. But the myth I held to most dearly was that opposition to abortion was merely religious.
Since I had allowed my first child to be killed by abortion, I wanted to be reassured that I had nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about. Certain women's groups comforted me by calling abortion a woman's "right" - merely a medical procedure. I would literally hold my breath whenever abortion was the topic on television, waiting for religion to be mentioned. The media never let me down. Abortionists Angrily complained about the trauma experienced by patients because of pro-life picketers. Abortion-rights activists harassed preachers who spoke up against abortion, accusing them of being insensitive to women.
In a sense I was being repeatedly promised the same thing: as long as I avoided pro-lifers or religion, I would not suffer any post-abortion regrets or grief. I faithfully followed this advice for a decade. As an atheist, I was confident that condemnation of abortion by religious leaders would never bother me.
I gained so much confidence that I could even bring up abortion in conversation or joke about it. I mouthed "pro-choice" slogans as if they were proven truths. What little information about abortion that filtered through my defenses I assumed was propaganda dreamed up by religious fanatics who would even stoop to lying. I perceived the truth about abortion to exist somewhere between bad enough to be a little upsetting (messy, blood) but not so bad as to warrant further investigation. I placed such faith and trust in the providers and defenders of abortion; I believed they were there to help women, to protect women. I was totally unprepared when reality hit.
Seeing The Light
Believing that the fetus was just a "blob of tissue", that pro-lifers were lying about how developed aborted fetuses are, I had no reason to avoid information from sources that were not "anti-abortion". I learned about fetal development when my other children were born. I experienced nightmares, crying spells and suicidal thoughts. I knew these were not caused by the activities or words of pro-lifers or preachers. Was I supposed to be upset with sonogram technicians or childbirth instructors for educating me?
Still, I tried to defend abortion somehow. I didn't want to be called a "right-to-lifer". I fell back on the "choice" slogans about child abuse, rape, women's rights... but could not find any real evidence to back up their assumptions. I even contacted "pro-choice" groups to ask questions. It was made very clear to me that my support of the abortion industry was supposed to be "no questions asked!" They had no answers.
As an atheist, one of the most ironic discoveries I made when I became pro-life was the cultist nature of the followers of choice. To a skeptic like myself, the "pro-choice" movement started to look frighteningly fundamentalist. I started asking questions and was "answered" with slogans. Dissatisfied with slogans, I continued asking questions and was accused of being "anti-choice". To question was taboo; information from pro-lifers was "heresy", and I had become a "heretic".
Non-Religious Rationale Two major differences between atheists and religious persons are their philosphies regarding the origin of the universe and what happens after death. If you examine the atheist's beliefs, it is easy to understand why they could or should oppose abortion.
Atheists do not believe that the universe was created; they believe that the universe evolved, rather than being planned. "Choicists" believe that "unplanned" life is not worthy of protection. Furthermore, they believe that unplanned-for-lives are doomed to unhappiness, violence, and abuse.
Evidence that humanity has suffered unhappiness, abuse, and violence is easy to find in any history book or just by looking around you now. If the "every child a wanted child" (and if not wanted, destroyed) "prescription" for "curing" child abuse were applied to the whole violent, unplanned universe... well, that sort of "logic" leads directly to advocating for the destruction of the entire human race! in fact, it doesn't take genius (just honesty) to acknowledge that this sort of reasoning is already being employed in targeting certain groups of humans for reduction or elimination (for their own good, of course, to ease their suffering). Does violence exist because the universe is a bastard, without even a "biological", let alone spiritual "father"? The theory of evolution and the unplanned pregnancy equals child abuse theory clash with each other.
Examining afterlife philosophies reveals more inconsistencies between "choicism" and atheism. Religious persons generally believe in life after death either in a heaven or via reincarnation; non-religious persons generally believe in the finality of death or a kind of non-religious reincarnation.
For the atheist who believes that when you die, your life is over, period, the taking of an unborn human's life should be a very serious matter. There will be no comforting of this being by a heavenly father, angels, or relatives after a torturous death; there will be no mere reincarnational transfer. Thousands of times each day unique, never-to-be-again, individual beings have their one and only chance at life terminated without even a trace of "due process".
Unfortunately, many pro-life individuals are keeping the link between religion and opposition to abortion the primary focus in the debate. For some religious pro-lifers, employing non-religious arguments against abortion is sacrilegious. Not only do they see abortion as a sin, but failing to make reference to religion with each pro-life effort is sinful. They are upset and afraid of the idea of atheist or agnostic pro-lifers. They answer questions with scripture regardless of their audience. They pray at pro-life pickets and meetings. In short, they fit the negative, stereotypical way that all pro-lifers are portrayed: as religious zealots trying to "impose morality", mindless puppets directed by pro-life preachers.
Some religious pro-lifers simply need more information. They would use the medical, legal, and scientific facts to argue against abortion, if they knew them. Lacking this information, they are not confident discussing abortion. They worry that issues such as child abuse, rape, and "back-alley butchers" will be brought up. They have not yet heard the well-researched, logical explanations that disprove the popular "pro-choice" reasons for "needing" to keep abortion legal.
I hope to educate others about the facts, confident that they will then oppose legalized contract killing of the unborn once they know the truth. I do not try to "impose morality".
The cold reality is that abortionists are prenatal hitmen, employed to impose morality on innocent unborn humans.
Every (mentally normal) person wants to live and doesn't want someone else to kill him. Nor does any sane person want another person to harm a child, or sleeping person - or office worker in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, either - or anyone else helpless and unaware of the danger about to befall him. This is a matter of natural common sense; to preserve one's life, and to preserve as best as possible the life of someone else.
The anti-abortion argument is *not* dependent on one's belief in God.
Hence there is some uncertainty about the exact date, but it is in the later portion of the pregnancy -- not the first 5-6 months.
If we can destroy the life of the unborn, then how far behind is the destruction of the born (we're starting to see).
The religious do not have a monopoly on morality. Conscious thought outweighs the unthinking fear of hell's fire.
Or, as many Islamics believe, if you kill lots and lots of infidels, you go straight to paradise for non-stop copulatation with virgins.
Actually, the brain doesn't start to function in a significantly meaningful way until the kid moves out of the house.
But a beating heart doesn't a person make (otherwise horses would be human too.)
To be intellectually honest, you should note that this is part of an effort within medical history decide upon a logical end to life. Not a logical beginning.
The difference is significant.
When a formerly functioning brain stops functioning, it is terribly unlikely to ever begin again, regardless of medical intervention. Hence it is a reasonable standard after which to assign medical death.
When an early gestational brain is not yet functioning, it is VERY likely to begin functioning in the near future. Hence this would be an unreasonable standard upon which to assign "sub-humanness" or some other similarly nonsensical designation.
Human beings have medically known stages of development. Provided a human is functioning as it should considering its stage of development there is no medical reason it should be considered as anything other than a living human.
Those who wish to delve into more mystical realms to devise an excuse for killing the unborn will doubtless be undisuaded. Nevertheless, once one resolves upon a right to human life, the unborn fetus has excellent ground upon which to stand.
If it is aborted, it is very likely NOT to begin functioning in the near future.
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