Yet Another Abortion Debate!

I have gotten embroiled in several separate abortion debates as of late, on several different blogs. It seems as though almost any topic can be brought around to abortion once you start debating about morality. So, even though my blog is brand new, I’m going to just go ahead and jump in with both feet and write about abortion. Specifically, the issues that seem to come up again and again when I’m debating with Christians.

First, it annoys me to no end that because I am pro-choice, the right wingers I have been debating jump to calling me “pro-death.” That is at the same time both extremely incorrect and incredibly insulting. I am not pro-death, quite the opposite actually; I am against the death penalty, I am against violence,  I am against endangering women by forcing them to go to backwoods doctors in desperation, and I support universal health care and social programs that protect and care for those that are born. I care about lives that currently exist.

Second, I have yet to be given a reason to oppose abortion for anything other than religious values. The right to life argument inevitably comes down to a belief that we are all “God’s creations” and are somehow miraculous. All you have to do is watch the Discovery Channel or National Geographic to see how perfectly ordinary birth is for all mammals. It happens everyday, and is in all species. We don’t value a fetus of any other species as much as a human one, but aren’t they all “God’s creations?” I realise that we all have the freedom to practice whatever religion we like, and have whatever religious beliefs we like (including none!), but that freedom does not extend to imposing those beliefs on anyone else. So if you want to make abortion illegal, you had better come up with a reason other than ‘your religion tells you it’s wrong.’

Third, just because I am an atheist, doesn’t mean I have no morals. So you cannot dismiss my ideas out of hand because I don’t base my life and values on a book. I do things because I value other people, and I want to live in a society where people care about one another. I don’t do things because I’m afraid that I’ll be punished in the afterlife, and I think this is the key point in saying that my morals are better than a Christian’s. What would the Christian (or any other religion) do without their bible? Would they then say all actions are fair game and go around stealing, and murdering, and raping? If that is what you think people would do without their immortal blackmailer, then I am seriously concerned about your morality.

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7 Responses to Yet Another Abortion Debate!

  1. I’m debating with Christians.

    You will gain more pleasure by plucking your eyebrows with a rock. :/

    The deluded until they take that first step, will remain deluded. Debate is a nice goal, but mostly its mockery once they bring up their sky-daddy.

    I am pro-choice, the right wingers I have been debating jump to calling me “pro-death.” That is at the same time both extremely incorrect and incredibly insulting.

    Rightwhingers mischaracterizing their opponents and their positions? Unpossible!!

    I am not pro-death

    Say whatever you need to say to let you sleep at night baby murderer!!!! (Lol)

    I have yet to be given a reason to oppose abortion for anything other than religious values.

    But murdering babez is wrong!!! Because cute. Because photochopped fetus-porn!!

    but that freedom does not extend to imposing those beliefs on anyone else.

    Because religion and politics almost never intermingle – said on politician ever.

    Third, just because I am an atheist, doesn’t mean I have no morals.

    Oh, but you’ll burn sinner, you wiiiiiiillll buuuuurn!!!

    ould they then say all actions are fair game and go around stealing, and murdering, and raping? If that is what you think people would do without their immortal blackmailer, then I am seriously concerned about your morality.

    Sunny Atheism, so bright and fresh. Have at them tiger!

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    • AmandaM says:

      Thanks so much for the reply, I appreciate you taking the time! And thanks for saying I’m sunny…so often I get “bitter and depressed” 😉

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      • @AmandaM

        Sometimes its good to know that others are carrying the same banner. Something to be said for solidarity and all that bunk. I’m sorry if the my last comment was a bit on the sarcastic side, but having dealt with (too many)people who abuse science in the name of jebus in order to make women less than human (full incubator status though, woo!) tends to make me cranky.

        Your earnest post made me smile. I saw many arguments in your post that, I too, made when I formally embraced atheism.

        Have you read the new atheists? Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris? Some good stuff in there, but a few warts too. Also good, Dennett and A.C. Grayling. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the debate every atheist needs to see, go here.

        Good luck on your journey. :>

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  2. MC says:

    I think you are mischaracterizing the “pro-life” argument as one made strictly on religious beliefs when there are concrete reasons to oppose abortion. People do not believe abortion is wrong because God. They believe it is wrong because they think a baby in the womb has equal rights. You use the word, that people against abortion think we are all “somehow miraculous”, I would say that as a pro-choice person, you somehow think babies are insignificant until born. Which I disagree with completely.

    I think scientifically and logically it makes more sense to characterize the beginning of life as conception, not birth, because after all conception is when everything truly begins. A sperm is just a sperm and an egg is just an egg. But at conception, that is when development starts. I think birth is considered the beginning of life for superficial reasons. Sure in the past, when we didn’t have the same scientific information we have today, it probably seemed significant. But honestly I think science does not support that anymore.(Progressives like your self are supposed to be the science people). There are a number of comparable events in the course of our lives: the development of the brain, the heartbeat beginning, birth, puberty, etc. Why not give people rights at the beginning.

    I think characterizing a child in the womb is not a baby is as illogical as considering Africans or Jews Inferior humans. And I think the “pro-choice” side of the debate has attempted to dehumanize unborn babies by refusing to acknowledge that they simply just less developed humans, This is a tactic the Nazis and slave owners used, doing things like giving people numbers or separating them from their families.

    To your point about valuing life, because you don’t want people going to backwoods doctors, I will say first that “backwoods doctors” is not what you think. Before Roe v. Wade people (or a least the large majority, I will not say everyone) weren’t going to little huts were some bushy-haired unlicensed doctor had bloody tongs and was performing abortions. It was people going to a doctors willing to perform illegal abortions and having it done off the books.

    I don’t think you are pro-death, but I do think that unborn babies are living and deserve human rights. Therefore, I must say you support killing them. You may not be ill-willed, but I think your misconception creates that tragic result. Did slave owners think they were pro-death, did the Nazis? No they just disassociated what they were doing, from what they considered murder or wrong.

    Also, the logic that we shouldn’t outlawing abortion because some people will do it anyway in a more dangerous manner is not meritorious in any way. Imagine if we used the same logic for something like texting and driving. Most states are making texting and driving illegal because it is dangerous. But what if I argued that many people won’t follow the law because they can’t help themselves. Well if texting and driving was legal, people could hold the phone up on the steering wheel in the line of their vision and be able to see (better) what they were doing. But now that it is illegal to text and drive, they will hold the phone down in their laps forcing them to take their eyes off the road completely. This will lead to those people who are breaking the law (but remember they can’t help themselves) to be in a more dangerous position. That is the argument you are making for abortion. It is illogical and whether abortion is right or wrong this should not be considered a legitimate argument in its defense.

    And I can live with your final argument that your morals are better because you act not based on consequences, but out of the goodness of your heart because that is your opinion. But I will make another analogy, you are saying you like to eat vegetables because you like the taste, I eat them because I don’t want to get fat. Are you healthier than me? Some people need consequences, people are not perfect (or as religious folks say, we sin), if you are so great without that the incentive good for you. But if you want to know why people are put-off by you being an atheist, its because you think you are better than everyone else.

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    • AmandaM says:

      I realise there is a secular pro-life movement, but it really is quite small. The vast majority of people I’ve debated with on this topic are anti-abortion for religious reasons, so I understand that while a belief in god is not necessary to be anti-abortion, it is common.

      I disagree with you about the science of this issue as well. Most anti-abortion supporters, like you, believe that life begins at conception. This is, of course, literally true. The embryo is alive at conception, the components are technically alive before conception as well. That isn’t where the debate begins. The debate is over whether to grant this “life” rights. Pro-choicers like me believe that the value of lives that are currently in existence is far greater than the value of that “potential life.” Science has nothing to say about whether or not the fetus is a legal person deserving of rights because that is a socially constructed idea.
      Those of us that support abortion rights believe that the life of a fully grown person is the life that matters, and the needs of that life outweigh any rights that the fetus has.

      As far as my atheism goes, I don’t think I am better than anyone else. I said I think my MORALS are better than a religious person’s because they are honest. I come by them honestly, by using my human empathy and compassion to decide what is right and wrong. I am not threatened by an invisible sky god that I’ll be punished if I transgress. My consequences of wrong action are my own personal guilt or legal ramifications depending on what I’ve done. They are based in reality.

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      • MC says:

        I think my first point was not whether pro-life were religious or non-religious. I think I was saying that them being religious does not mean their arguments are purely religious. And certainly it has nothing to do with whether abortion is right or wrong. So you shouldn’t attack the question of abortion based on others arguments, but on the merits. As to one of your original comments “So if you want to make abortion illegal, you had better come up with a reason other than ‘your religion tells you it’s wrong'”, which I think that has been satisfied. It is a life, you are ending it, and that is wrong.

        I didn’t realize that you were the new and hopefully last version of pro-choice person. The people who now believe the embryo is alive (This is, of course, literally true. The embryo is alive at conception, the components are technically alive before conception as well.), but should not get the same rights as other humans. How is that not a human rights violation again? It used to be that it wasn’t a life it was a fetus or just cells, but you have admitted defeat on that scientific issue. Now you move to this personhood theory. That they aren’t “persons.” I would direct you to my pervious statement about slave owners and nazis. You say that “life of a fully grown person is the life that matters.” I didn’t realize that babies are fully grown, or anyone for that matter. Why not let mother kill their children until puberty, or until they can walk, or feed themselves? Killing is the taking on something’s life, it is a life (you admit that), it is a human (you cannot deny that), so you are killing a human. The person or not is a dangerous argument that has been made many times throughout history to justify oppression and killing.

        Again, what you think about your morals is your opinion, so you can believe what you would like on that issue. For me I would be moral regardless of my believe in God, I hope. I consider my belief in God more of a practice in humility. I cannot understand the awesome things that exist, that happen, or don’t happen, for example the gift of life. I am just thankful that they do happen, and I’d rather be thankful to God than take it for granted. I think intelligent minds can differ on that point. You seem to be so convince with yourself that you condescend people with faith. That is also your right, but I think doing so is in conflict with the who persona you are trying to put off.

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  3. AmandaM says:

    I’m not arguing anything particularly new here, MC. In my original post, I said that I have yet to hear an argument from someone who is anti-abortion that doesn’t at some point boil down to religious or moral beliefs. I understand that the arguments against abortion are not purely religious, but it seems as though if you continue to pick away at the arguments, it does eventually go there. And I have a problem with creating a law that is there to enforce a religious belief.

    It is important from the outset for you to understand that the status of the fetus, from a pro-choice perspective, is a peripheral issue. Regardless of whether the fetus has rights, is a human being or not, or whether abortion is legal or not, women will still continue to have abortions, even if it threatens their lives. So we need to make sure that women have access to safe, legal, accessible abortions. Because ultimately, the status of a fetus is a matter of subjective opinion, and the only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman.

    Anti-choicers insist not only that a fetus is a human being, but that this status is an objective scientific fact. This is unfortunately an assumption that requires proving. Biology, medicine, law, philosophy, and theology have no consensus on the issue, and neither does society as a whole. There will never be a consensus because of the subjective and unscientific nature of the claim, so we must give the benefit of the doubt to women, who are indisputable human beings with rights.

    Even if a fetus were a human being with a right to life, this right doesn’t automatically overrule a woman’s right to choose, which can be argued to have a higher moral value under the circumstances. The free exercise of one’s moral conscience is a fundamental right in our society. And since pregnancy entails profound physical, psychological, and long-lasting consequences for a woman (it is not a mere “inconvenience”), her freedoms are significantly restricted if she is forced to carry to term.

    Bringing questions regarding Nazis and slavery and the like are red herrings that I won’t address.
    I don’t feel like I’m being condescending to people of faith. I also believe that most people would be moral if removed from a belief in god, but it seems to me that most religious people don’t have that faith in themselves, and so cannot entertain the thought. I’m sorry you feel that I am trying to “put on” a persona, I’m just being honest.

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