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Pecker

Atheist And Abortion?

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Hey all...

 

I might be dropping a proverbial spark on a powder keg, but even though I'm a new found Atheist, I still believe that Abortion is an immoral practice.

 

I guess I'm struggling to determine a basis for this belief other than "God doesn't like it."

 

Even when I was a Christian, I was against abortion, but I never was in favor of attempting to outlaw the practice I realized people have been trying to abort babies one way or another for thousands of years, and would continue to attempt abortions even if it were outlawes. However, I was more in the camp of giving women in bad situations other options such as adoption, or preventing pregnancies in the first place.

 

Are there any atheists opposed to abortion? If so, how do you validate your argument other than using a religious cop out?

 

Again, I'm not in favor of outlawing, but against the practice on supposed moral grounds.

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I am pro-choice, but I have a fellow exchristian friend that is pro-life. I don't know her reasons, but I'll ask.

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I am pro-choice, but I have a fellow exchristian friend that is pro-life. I don't know her reasons, but I'll ask.

 

Again, I guess you could put me in the camp of "reluctantly pro-choice." As a libertarian, I don't see how its the government's business to step into the private lives of citizens and outlaw a medical procedure.

 

However, on a personal opinion basis, I find the behavior and practice abhorrent and wish it were only used in rare instances.

 

What I'm wondering is how do I justify my opinion that its a barbaric and immoral practice in a secular sense?

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im against late term abortion, i think that it is obvious that life begins sometime in the womb, but not at conception. certainly no later than the third trimester...

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Hey all...

 

I might be dropping a proverbial spark on a powder keg, but even though I'm a new found Atheist, I still believe that Abortion is an immoral practice.

 

Why do you think it is immoral?

 

I have not studied the abortion issue per se but I have studied issues surrounding it, esp. issues regarding guilt and how it impacts a person and can lead to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. It can even lead to a mother convincing herself that she loves her unwanted child. This can make for very twisted and distorted emotional situations. If you haven't seen it you can probably not imagine it. The accompanying abuse and distorted emotive patterns are passed on to successive generations. Research has shown that abuse can be traced for ten generations.

 

Ten generations is approximately two centuries. We are talking about very serious implications. If this could be nipped in the bud by ending a single unwanted pregnancy, in my opinion, the morally and ethically sensitive person will support the woman who truly wants to end a pregnancy.

 

I agree with you, Pecker, in doing all that can be done to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. But humans being what they are, there are cases of rape or passion where things happen that in the clarity of more sober moments are known to need rectification. The options need to be available legally, medically, socially, and emotionally. That is my opinion.

 

I have always been very curious what moral grounds anyone could raise for the other side of the argument. It is almost impossible to get an answer from pro-life Christians. Maybe you can explain to me why you think abortion is immoral.

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I think I'm on your side there Pecker. I don't feel like abortion is an optimal solution for every situation, because I do think the fetus is a potential person. But as you say, there are extenuating circumstances when abortion might be the only answer, so we can't outlaw it. It's tragic if someone has to do it, but there are many other things in life that is tragic as well, and sometimes people have to choose between two bad things, and the law can't be made to force the decision only one way.

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I am pro-choice, but I have a fellow exchristian friend that is pro-life. I don't know her reasons, but I'll ask.

 

Again, I guess you could put me in the camp of "reluctantly pro-choice." As a libertarian, I don't see how its the government's business to step into the private lives of citizens and outlaw a medical procedure.

 

However, on a personal opinion basis, I find the behavior and practice abhorrent and wish it were only used in rare instances.

 

What I'm wondering is how do I justify my opinion that its a barbaric and immoral practice in a secular sense?

 

I think I understand where you are coming from. I wouldn't go as far as calling it barbaric, but it is the end of what might be called a "potential life."

 

What I see when I look at the issue I see two extremes. Christians believe that life begins with conception, which is absurd (even if one believes in a soul), and the legal standpoint is that the baby becomes an individual at birth, which seems equally arbitrary. But of course a line has to be drawn somewhere, and it would be rather difficult to draw it somewhere in between.

 

I tend to think that having an abortion in the 3rd trimester is pretty ridiculous, as the woman has already had 6 months to decide if they want the baby, thought there could be health reasons. Also from what I've read, less that 1% of abortions happen in the 3rd trimester anyway.

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I tend to think that having an abortion in the 3rd trimester is pretty ridiculous, as the woman has already had 6 months to decide if they want the baby, thought there could be health reasons. Also from what I've read, less that 1% of abortions happen in the 3rd trimester anyway.

 

Your second sentence answers the first one. No one has a thrid trimester abortion just b/c they decide to. In most places there have to be compelling medical reasons to even get permission for a third trimester abortion.

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...

I tend to think that having an abortion in the 3rd trimester is pretty ridiculous, as the woman has already had 6 months to decide if they want the baby, thought there could be health reasons. Also from what I've read, less that 1% of abortions happen in the 3rd trimester anyway.

I so totally agree. I tried to explain that earlier this year when we discussed Abortion in another thread, but I got pretty aggressive responses. I see it something like this: the woman is making a tacit agreement by waiting that long to make a decision. It's like being burglarized, but letting the thief stay in the house and eat your food for months, and then all of a sudden decide to call the cops.

 

And like you said, the lines are arbitrary and difficult to draw, but my opinion is: 1st trimester: womans choice; 2nd trimester: has to be approved by physician; 3rd trimester: adoption is the option, and only allow abortion if serious medical conditions.

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I guess in some ways I view the elimination of the life of the fetus the same as the murder of anyone on the street.

 

To me it is killing a human life, even if that life is not yet able to survive outside of the womb.

 

My definition of human life might not be the most rational, but its one of those scenarios thats hard to define. Maybe we can agree that any fetus that could survive outside of the womb with the aid of modern medicine is a viable life form? Maybe that won't work for some...who knows?

 

Again, does a woman need to kill the fetus to abort a pregnancy? Most pregnancies are "aborted" naturally at 9 months. What gives a person the right to kill a potentially viable human being? Assume that a fetus could be removed from the woman and then, with the aid of medicine, able to survive. The woman get what she wants, the removal of the 'parasite' from her body and no responsibility for raising a child. (There are people lined up to adopt some babies that would be willing to take many of these children in.)

 

Of course my point is arguing hypotheticals...I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this idea.

 

However, abortion used as a last ditch form of birth control just screams out irresponsibility. I personally know of a woman who has had 3 abortions, its totally pathetic.

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What I see when I look at the issue I see two extremes. Christians believe that life begins with conception, which is absurd (even if one believes in a soul), and the legal standpoint is that the baby becomes an individual at birth, which seems equally arbitrary. But of course a line has to be drawn somewhere, and it would be rather difficult to draw it somewhere in between.

The Jews believe that life begins when you take your first breath.

 

Something else to consider:

Abortion prevents child abuse. If the child is stongly unwanted at conception, what kind of treatment or caring can be expected?

A lot of people simply follow through and grow to love them..... others don't.

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Even when I was a Christian, I was against abortion, but I never was in favor of attempting to outlaw the practice

 

I will say I thought exactly the same, for the sole reason that I thought conception imparted a soul. After I stopped believing, I had no justification for believing in a secular version of a soul and no rational way to determine the point at which such ensoulment would occur.

 

The third trimester 'abortion of convenience' is a red herring, and I'm sorry to see it dragged out here multiple times in fewer than 20 posts. Women do NOT have third trimester abortions b/c they "changed their minds". They are a vanishingly small percentage of abortions performed, and they are done in cases of fetal defect and mothers' health endangerment. You can check the Guttmacher institute website for stats on this. Fetuses aborted in the third trimester are wanted children. What the fundies have done in portraying parents who have had to make an awful choice--such as aborting or watching their child be stillborn or be born, suffer, and die hours after birth--as callous baby-killers is absolutely criminal.

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I guess in some ways I view the elimination of the life of the fetus the same as the murder of anyone on the street.

 

To me it is killing a human life, even if that life is not yet able to survive outside of the womb.

 

 

Again, does a woman need to kill the fetus to abort a pregnancy? Most pregnancies are "aborted" naturally at 9 months. What gives a person the right to kill a potentially viable human being? Assume that a fetus could be removed from the woman and then, with the aid of medicine, able to survive. The woman get what she wants, the removal of the 'parasite' from her body and no responsibility for raising a child. (There are people lined up to adopt some babies that would be willing to take many of these children in.)

 

You could use the same argument to tell people it is wrong to use contraception.

 

I don't think one can consider it the same as killing someone on the street. The women has to carry that baby for 9 months, which carries risks to her physical health, and other problems, so she had to make the choice, not you or me.

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I would ask, also, why you would value the potential life of the fetus over the actual life of the already-existing woman.

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I guess I could go the Rand route then...

 

It would be in a woman's rational self interest to use birth control and contraception. Because this is a much less expensive and invasive method of birth control. Same for a man, its in his rational self interest to wear a condom, not only to prevent pregnancy, but STDs.

 

Using abortion as birth control is an acceptable decision, although likely not the most rational decision to make, considering you could have prevented the pregnancy so easily in the first place.

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I would ask, also, why you would value the potential life of the fetus over the actual life of the already-existing woman.

You're only considering the situation when the woman's life or health is in danger. What if she's pregnant and in no danger? If it's just an inconvenience for her for 9 months, and then someone adopts the baby, then the comparison is more like "convenience of an actual person" versus "the life of a potential person."

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I guess I'm struggling to determine a basis for this belief other than "God doesn't like it."

 

I'm glad you're re-evaluating your thoughts and making the effort to come up with a secular reason to oppose abortion. Becoming an atheist doesn't always mean you have to abandon values you held as a believer, but it does mean that the reasoning behind the values might have to change. If you do come up with a good secular argument against abortion, I definitely want to hear it.

 

For my own part, I am rabidly pro-choice. I have a number of reasons why, but what it boils down to is that I simply value the quality of life of an already-born woman more than the potential quantity of life of an unborn fetus. Sometimes it's easy to explain why I hold that position, and sometimes it isn't. But issues like this are always worth revisiting, fwiw.

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If it's just an inconvenience for her for 9 months

 

Do you seriously believe pregnancy is nothing more than an inconvenience? More women die from complications of pregnancy than do from complications of abortion. Pregnancy is a risky medical condition. It permanently alters a woman's body. And if we're talking about convenience, why should the potential adoptive parents have the convenience of getting a baby that was made by someone else? Why shouldn't they undergo the risk of making their own, or just go childless if they cannot? What entitles infertile couples to have a child that trumps someone else's desire not to carry a pregnancy to term? Also, have you considered the impact on an adopted child of knowing their birth mother/parents gave them up?

 

What reason would you have for telling a woman that she should undergo nine months of stressful physical changes and accept an elevated risk of death just so some other people can have a child?

 

ETA: FWIW, if I sound harsh, it's b/c I also once thought "just adopt" was a sensible solution. But the more I thought, and the more I actually learned about pregnancy (Catholic school sex ed is not very specific in this regard), the more I disagreed with it being "just" an inconvenience.

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I guess I could go the Rand route then...

 

It would be in a woman's rational self interest to use birth control and contraception. Because this is a much less expensive and invasive method of birth control. Same for a man, its in his rational self interest to wear a condom, not only to prevent pregnancy, but STDs.

 

Using abortion as birth control is an acceptable decision, although likely not the most rational decision to make, considering you could have prevented the pregnancy so easily in the first place.

 

I doubt many women use abortion as their primary means of birth control. Maybe I'm wrong.

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Using abortion as birth control is an acceptable decision, although likely not the most rational decision to make, considering you could have prevented the pregnancy so easily in the first place.

 

Shit happens, though. Some people's reasons will seem more spurious, and and some will seem more rational. You can't police intent. Deciding whether someone is deserving of an abortion is a very fundie thing to do (see: rape/incest exceptions)

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I guess I'm struggling to determine a basis for this belief other than "God doesn't like it."

 

I'm glad you're re-evaluating your thoughts and making the effort to come up with a secular reason to oppose abortion. Becoming an atheist doesn't always mean you have to abandon values you held as a believer, but it does mean that the reasoning behind the values might have to change. If you do come up with a good secular argument against abortion, I definitely want to hear it.

 

For my own part, I am rabidly pro-choice. I have a number of reasons why, but what it boils down to is that I simply value the quality of life of an already-born woman more than the potential quantity of life of an unborn fetus. Sometimes it's easy to explain why I hold that position, and sometimes it isn't. But issues like this are always worth revisiting, fwiw.

 

 

Gwenmead,

 

I guess I'll never find a good secular argument agaisnt abortion. However, let me caveat this by saying lets assume the person in question is a grown woman of legal age and the pregnancy is the result of consensual sex. Lets also assume this woman lives in a free society such as the United States where she has easy access to contreception.

 

An abortion in this case is such an unfortunate event. It really shows a lack of personal responsibility to prevent the pregnancy in the first place. Each person has their own choice, yet it is so easy to get a shot, take a pill once a month, use a ring, or make Bubba put on a condom (or both.)

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Meant take a pill once a day, not month. When do I get editing ability?

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When do I get editing ability?

I thought it was around 30 posts or so.

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When do I get editing ability?

I thought it was around 30 posts or so.

 

Good, then meaningless posts like this will help get me there.

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I guess I'll never find a good secular argument agaisnt abortion. However, let me caveat this by saying lets assume the person in question is a grown woman of legal age and the pregnancy is the result of consensual sex. Lets also assume this woman lives in a free society such as the United States where she has easy access to contreception.

 

An abortion in this case is such an unfortunate event. It really shows a lack of personal responsibility to prevent the pregnancy in the first place. Each person has their own choice, yet it is so easy to get a shot, take a pill once a month, use a ring, or make Bubba put on a condom (or both.)

 

I sense a few unwritten assumptions buried in your argument, in addition to the ones you outline.

 

One is that access to contraception is easy everywhere in the United States, which is isn't. To the contrary, there are plenty of blocks to women seeking reliable birth control. There is, for instance, exactly one Planned Parenthood clinic in the entire state of Mississippi (operated, oddly enough, by PP of Alabama). In my own very liberal home state of Washington, pharmacists can legally refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control (emergency or otherwise), though most will be fine with it. (Editorial on this here.) There's better access in the US, perhaps, than in other places, but it isn't always as easy as you suggest.

 

Additionally, this doesn't cover medical issues women might have to face when choosing birth control methods. Hormonal methods work great for a lot of women, but those of us for whom they are contraindicated are up the creek. Those of us with latex allergies have additional challenges in finding effective BC. It is not always "easy" to get a shot or take a pill, and in fact it puts our bodies through some often burdensome biochemical changes.

 

Social pressure, too, is not as powerless as you suggest it is. Bubba may be amenable to condom usage, sure, but he may not. Some women are well able to say no at that point, others aren't; and I think it unwise to ignore the tremendous amount of conflicting socialization that plays into such circumstances, for both men and women. Bubbette might be foolish for bowing to the pressure to please her man, but what of Bubba's selfish insistence that she go coatless to please him in the first place? The pressures men will make are as much a part of the equation as the women who give into them.

 

The most glaring unspoken assumption, though, is the idea that female irresponsibility is what drives the need for abortion. While there are probably plenty of women out there who really are just lackadaisical about the issue, I encourage you to take a gander at stats on the real reasons why women seek abortion. Number one is contraceptive failure. In other words, the single most common circumstance leading to abortion is a responsible adult woman having consensual sex who did indeed use birth control, and their chosen method failed.

 

Now, despite the argumentative nature of this post, this response is offered in the spirit of encouraging you to look at the issue from as many POV's as possible. In the end you might still feel it's immoral, and might come up with a secular argument for that, and might still hold your position of non-legislation.

 

Take this all as more food for thought, if you will.

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