Are Pro-Life Atheist Groups Promoting Sound Science?

This is an article by Marco Rosaire Rossi. It appears in the September/October 2012 issue of The Humanist. You can read other articles from this issue and subscribe to the magazine by going to their website.

Note: All URLs and images below are my own additions, because I thought they’d be helpful.

The American Atheists’ annual convention held this past March had some surprising attendees. Between the usual suspects in the exhibit area selling secular literature and soliciting memberships to various groups was a table representing the organization Secular Pro-Life (SPL) — a nontheistic anti-abortion group. According to the organization’s website, the mission of SPL is to expand the pro-life movement “beyond the cathedral walls” by mobilizing like-minded atheists, theists, and agnostics “eager to save lives” and to fight the media portrayal of pro-lifers as religious extremists. Could it be true? Is there really such a thing as a pro-life atheist? What’s next, Intelligent Design Agnostics? How about Secularists for Sharia Law?

It would be easy to write Secular Pro-Life off as a very small fringe group with a less-than-professional-looking website. However, they are but one of a number of pro-life organizations (such as the Atheist and Agnostics Pro-Life League, Americans United For Life, the Susan B. Anthony List, Created4Life, and the National Right to Life Committee) that consider themselves secular-minded or that have refocused themselves towards a secular orientation in the last few years. Without a doubt, the secular identity is on the rise, even within movements that secular activists have traditionally opposed.

Even more astonishing is how groups like Secular Pro-Life may actually reflect the thinking of the average American. A recent Gallup poll showed that the number of people in the United States who identify as pro-choice has dropped to its lowest point (41 percent) in recorded history, while those who identify as pro-life have continued with their decade-long rise. In 1995, 33 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-life. Today that number has climbed to 50 percent — with a remarkable 9 percent jump in the last five years.

Part of the reason for this shift in the American zeitgeist has to do with tactical innovations within the pro-life movement. For years the arguments against abortion had been deeply embedded in religious — mostly Christian — rhetoric and doctrine. But, these overtly religious aspects of the movement have not meshed well with an increasingly secularized America. Despite the religious right’s best efforts, people continue to leave their churches in droves. The fastest growing belief group in the United States is comprised of people who claim no religion at all. How then has the pro-life movement remained politically relevant in the United States? The answer: follow the lead of other religiously based movements and co-opt popular aspects of secular culture to mask the faith-based nature of your beliefs. It used to be that creationists were creationist — then they became advocates of intelligent design; advocates for prayer in school used to defend Christian values — these days they’re defenders of religious freedom; before, the Ten Commandments trumped the Constitution — now, the Ten Commandments inspired the Constitution; and so on.

The pro-life movement has gone through a similar transformation. Groups like SPL declare themselves “pro-life for a reason” and agree with conservative author and radio producer Dustin Siggins, who wants the pro-life movement to stop using biblical arguments to debate abortion. “The science of life is in our favor,” states Siggins, “and we should emphasize this.” Indeed, being pro-life “for a reason” and favoring the so-called science of life can be persuasive stuff. The only problem is that the reasons for being pro-life are often based on erroneous logic, and the “science of life” has been anything but scientific.

According to SPL, the secular argument against abortion rests on four basic premises: 1) the fetus is a human being, 2) there is no consistent, objective distinction between a “human being” (biologically speaking) and a “person” (legally speaking), 3) human beings merit human rights, and 4) bodily integrity is not sufficient to justify most abortions. These premises are essentially a more elaborate version of a popular syllogism among the nonreligious sections of the pro-life movement: a fetus is a human being (major premise); all human beings are entitled to human rights (minor premise); therefore fetuses are entitled to human rights (conclusion). Syllogisms, of course, are an important tool of deduction, but they are not foolproof. No syllogism can detect the defects of its own assumptions. In this case, it is the assumption that all human beings are entitled to human rights, or — as SPL puts it — there is no objective difference between a “human being,” biologically speaking, and a “person,” legally speaking.

There is in fact a major difference between human beings as fetuses and human beings as persons: human beings as persons are born. Within the context of the minor premise that all human beings are entitled to human rights, this is no trivial matter. Many nonreligious pro-life organizations like to quote human rights documents to support their views, but it is quite clear that they haven’t read them in full. The most revered human rights document in the world today is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1 of which states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” [Emphasis mine.] This verbiage is not accidental. Rights only exist within the context of a community where they have the potential to be realized and the possibility of being threatened. Birth is our universal entrance into any community. It is the point at which we are able to break away — literally — from the absolute dependency of our mothers. The fact of the matter is birth transforms us. It simultaneously makes us into individuals and members of a group, and thus embeds in us rights-bearing protections.

The nonreligious pro-life movement waves away the significance of birth as essential to rights-bearing protection by focusing on an erroneous analogy between fetuses and other marginalized groups. They argue that since the historical denial of rights to human beings who were not considered full legal persons (blacks, children, Jews, women) has proven damaging to society, then the denial of rights to fetuses, which are also considered human beings but denied legal personhood, should also be considered damaging. The analogy is problematic in that it ignores the essential differences between historically marginalized groups and fetuses. Unlike fetuses, blacks, women, children, and Jews are all autonomous beings able to be members of a community. Fetuses neither have this characteristic, nor can they organize as a group to demand the rights that they are supposedly due.

Secular Pro-Life’s literature quotes Article 6 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as saying: “Every child has the inherent right to life.” They quote this line with the implication that childhood should be recognized at conception. What they ignore is the equally important Article 16(e) of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women that states all women shall have the right: “to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights.” Human rights theory considers all rights as interdependent. No right is absolute and can be used to justify canceling out another right. The only way that this interdependence can exist between a child’s right to life and a woman’s right to her body is by demarcating the moment of right-bearing at birth as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states. All humanists can agree that it is foolish to not extend the circle of compassion that human rights provides, but it is equally foolish to over-extend this circle and, in the process, undo the very same compassion that the rights are intended to uphold.

Even if we discount faulty reasoning, it is impossible to deny the troubling aspects of the nonreligious pro-life movement’s “science.” Many laws restricting access to reproductive services are based on pseudo-scientific claims regarding women’s health. Instead of calling for an evidenced-based approach to abortion, nonreligious pro-life groups have either accepted these claims at face value — often putting them far outside the medical consensus — or have adopted a wishy-washy stance in opposing them, emphasizing uncertainties and doubt even after experts have reached a consensus.

For example, currently five U.S. states require doctors to warn women of the link between abortion and breast cancer, and eight states require doctors to warn women about the possible psychological problems that abortions can cause. The published medical research justifies neither of these requirements. The National Cancer Institute has researched the alleged link between breast cancer and abortion, and has concluded that the research “consistently showed no association between induced and spontaneous abortions and breast cancer risk.” In an email exchange about the validity of this claim, Monica Lynn, SPL’s blog coordinator, responded that the group found the evidence conflicting, but that its president, Kelsey Hazzard — who has studied law, not medicine — believes that women should be informed of the “conflicting” nature of this evidence before an abortion. Similarly, the research on abortion and psychological stress has shown that the phenomenon of PASS — Post Abortion Stress Syndrome — doesn’t exist either. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study from Danish researchers which confirmed that the majority of women who underwent an abortion in the first two trimesters were no more likely to seek out psychological counseling after their abortion than they were before. While Lynn says the PASS label is problematic, SPL believes women should be informed of the possible psychological repercussions and their risks before having an abortion.

Despite their lack of validity, such positions continue to permeate our political discourse, and have played a major role in the policy blitzkrieg on reproductive rights. The new Virginia law requiring women to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion was designed by the organization Americans United for Life — another nonreligious pro-life group. According to Charmaine Yoest, CEO and president of Americans United for Life, the Virginia bill was necessary to protect women with ectopic pregnancies from the possibility of dying during a medication-induced abortion. Warnings like these are half-truths that only serve to whip up hysteria around the risks of abortion. An ultrasound before an abortion is a standard practice for most providers, and is an essential tool for helping determine gestational age, viability, and yes, the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. However, doctors determine ultrasounds based on medical necessity — not ideology. In reality, the risk of a medication-induced abortion in the case of an ectopic pregnancy is phenomenally rare, and the possibility of the mother dying is even more remote. When asked about the ultrasound requirement, Secular Pro-Life responded that doctors should not only be required to offer women an ultrasound twenty-four hours prior to an abortion, but they should also be required to explain the stages of fetal development with the women before she agrees to an abortion.

Fetal pain legislation is another area of focus for pro-life groups. Laws in several states effectively outlaw elective abortions for women who are over twenty weeks pregnant based on the idea that the fetus is able to experience suffering during this stage. And yet the idea of fetal pain at twenty weeks is highly dubious, with no clear consensus from doctors or medical researchers as to when a fetus feels pain.

The United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has gone on record that there is no evidence that a fetus feels pain prior to twenty-four weeks. Responses to stimuli before this stage are the same for a fetus with brain development as it is for those without, suggesting that such responses are reflexive of the nervous system and not wired to the brain’s cortex. This view concurs with the findings from a systematic review of the evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicating that fetuses are not able to perceive pain until after the thalamocortical system — pathways that reciprocally connect the thalamus to the neocortex in the brain — begins to function. This doesn’t occur until weeks twenty-nine and thirty. Even then, experiments done at the College of London using electroencephalography to measure fetal responses suggest that fetal response to pain may not even occur until weeks thirty-five and thirty-seven. In any case, all serious research on the matter indicates that fetal pain isn’t likely to occur until well beyond the twenty-week mark that fetal pain laws claim. Disregarding this medical consensus, Secular Pro-Life’s president has referred to the research supporting the claim of fetal pain at twenty weeks as “methodologically sound” and believes that the current state of the published research produces conflicting conclusions.

Unsurprisingly, pro-life advocates have been quick to cheer the recent Gallup poll that shows the political winds have tilted in their favor. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List — an anti-abortion advocacy group named after the early feminist and agnostic — declared that being pro-life is becoming America’s “new normal.” There is no denying that advocates for reproductive freedom have lost serious ground in recent years, but the idea that nonreligious pro-life groups like the Susan B. Anthony List represent a “new normal” is not supported by the data. While it’s true that more Americans identify as pro-life, the percentage of Americans who believe that abortions should be legal has been relatively consistent over the past decade. The same Gallup poll that reported 50 percent of Americans identifying as pro-life also showed that 77 percent believe that abortions should be legal under certain or all circumstances (52 percent certain circumstances; 25 percent under all circumstances). Generally speaking, a strong majority of Americans still support the parameters for abortion established under Roe v. Wade. This means that while many Americans identify as pro-life personally they don’t take this stand politically and think the government shouldn’t compel others to adopt this belief.

Still, women and all who support reproductive choice must be vigilant, as the organized pro-life movement will continue its campaign of logical fallacies, misinformed factoids, pseudo-scientific claims, and outright lies — along with its co-opting of secular figures and values — until it gets its way.

Marco Rosaire Rossi is an activist and former Planned Parenthood employee who has published articles in Z Magazine, Works In Progress, and the Peace and Conflict Monitor.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1742797601 Deanna Joy Lyons

    Secular Pro-Life only has bad arguments. the brochure they handed out at the AA conference last March was full of even worse argumentation than above: 
    http://www.morethanmen.org/2012/03/26/anti-choice-anti-woman-and-anti-honesty-atheists/

  • Wim

    “Birth is our universal entrance into any community. It is the point at
    which we are able to break away — literally — from the absolute
    dependency of our mothers. The fact of the matter is birth transforms
    us. It simultaneously makes us into individuals and members of a group,
    and thus embeds in us rights-bearing protections. ”

    This section sounds pretty wishy-washy to me.

    “Birth is our universal entrance into community” could be argued against by saying that babies  are already experiencing the community of their families in the womb through the voices they hear.

    “It is the point at
    which we are able to break away — literally — from the absolute
    dependency of our mothers.” How is a baby not absolutely dependent on a parent after their birth?

    “The fact of the matter is birth transforms
    us.” Do you mean that in a legal sense, metaphysical sense, or some other sense? Sounds like a black-and-white religious categorisation.

    “It simultaneously makes us into individuals and members of a group,
    and thus embeds in us rights-bearing protections.”
    A baby five minutes before it is born is not an ‘individual’, but is when it is born? Aren’t you then just defining ‘individual’ as ‘one who is born’. I would also like to see the parents and surrounding families who claim that the child they were expecting was not already a ‘member of [their] group’ pre-birth.

    “thus embeds in us rights-bearing protections.” Are you again speaking in a legal sense, a metaphysical one, or some other sense?

    • Trickster Goddess

       How is a baby not absolutely dependent on a parent after their birth?

      Once a baby is born it is dependent, but literally anyone could care for it. It doesn’t have to be a parent or even the mother. Before birth, there is only one specific person able to care for it. In other words, after birth caretakers are fungible.

      “The fact of the matter is birth transforms us.” Do you mean that in
      a legal sense, metaphysical sense, or some other sense? Sounds like a
      black-and-white religious categorisation.

      How about the physical sense. It transforms us in many profound ways: the environment we live in, we become air breathers, we are independent of a host and can survive whether our mother is alive or dead.

      Aren’t you then just defining ‘individual’ as ‘one who is born’[?]

      Yes, precisely. ‘Individual’ means singular, separate, undividable. Before birth, a fetus is a parasite and still a part of its mother’s body. Thus not an individual.

      • Trickster

        Sorry, the close italics tag seems to be broken.

      • Trickster

        Wish there was a way to preview your comment before committing to posting it.

        • http://twitter.com/WCLPeter Rob U

          There is a little “edit” button at the bottom of your post – at least there should be, there’s one on any that I make.

          • Trickster Goddes

             None on mine. I post as a “Guest”.

      • m.litho

        I think with preemies that argument doesn’t work. Good outcomes for preemies are happening younger and younger. What’s the difference between allowing a preemie to die and abandoning a born baby, when it’s coming to the point where 21 week old preemies can survive (yay technology and medical science).

        I’m prochoice but I don’t think some of these arguments are good ones, but I also don’t think that abortion is a happy outcome. Just a necessity.

        • Patterrssonn

          I think abortions at 21 wks, outside of cases of medical necessity, are incredibly rare, if they even happen at all.

          • http://billybobsbibleblog.blogspot.com/ billybobbibb

            Citation, please?

            • 3lemenope
            • Patterrssonn

              You want a citation that that’s what I think? As soon as there’s a study on what I believe to be true about the myths of late term abortions I’ll let you know.

              • amycas

                 There actually are studies about this. And late-term abortions are incredibly rare, even in countries that allow late-term abortions for any reason they are simply not done unless something has gone horribly wrong in the pregnancy.

        • amycas

           If a baby is born at 21 weeks, then it is no longer dependent on a woman’s body. If the baby is not born at 21 weeks, then it is still using the resources provided by a woman’s body. That’s the difference. And nobody said abortion is necessarily a “happy” outcome. Although, I do know one girl who was very happy she was able to get an abortion, but she wasn’t happy about the abortion itself.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Survive, but at what cost to the child?

        • Alex

          Hey, if there’s a way to save the child, then everything is fine, right? The woman walks away child-free, and the child gets to live outside of her body… except, who takes care of the child?

      • m.litho

        I also don’t how you are saying a baby five minutes before birth can’t be taken care of by someone… isn’t an abortion at point a cesearean except you kill the baby?

        No wonder prochoicers are losing numbers…

        • Trickster Goddes

          The “five minutes” is the rhetoric of the original commenter; don’t turn it into a straw fetus. In reality, no one has an abortion at 8 months, 29 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes into a pregnancy.

          • m.litho

            I think it perfectly demonstrates the problem of the argument tat a person is a person because they are born. What else does born mean?

            • Patterrssonn

              Argument from absurdity, my favourite logical fallacy.

              • m.litho

                A fellow prochoicer told me in another thread yesterday that abortions should be allowed without question up to 8 months because the mother who would do that is a shitty parent anyway. We live in a world where historically and even currently, infanticide and child killing occur.

                Until you can take the concerns of the other side seriously instead of simply sneering and dismissing them, you are stroking your ego and are part of the problem of increase of proliferation ideology.

                • m.litho

                  *prolife

                • Patterrssonn

                  Now you’re all over the place, child murder infanticide, some idiot comment from another thread. Do you actually have an argument? Because so far all you’ve posted is weird speculation and a vague and unsuccessful attempt to link abortion with child murder.

            • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

              Let’s be clear here.  “Abortion” means ending a pregnancy.  A pregnancy that’s stopped at 7 months via emergency c-section is technically an abortion, but will likely result in a live birth.  There are incredibly strict laws surrounding later-term abortion, and they’re in place for the sake of the health of the mother.  If the fetus isn’t severely deformed or immediately threatening the health of its mother, the “five minutes before birth” argument just means the fetus is delivered five minutes earlier than it would have been without the intervention of doctors.

          • Wim

            “The “five minutes” is the rhetoric of the original commenter; don’t turn
            it into a straw fetus. In reality, no one has an abortion at 8 months,
            29 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes into a pregnancy.”

            Hey, you’re not playing fair. I was responding to and following the logic of the following quote from the article:

            “The fact of the matter is birth transforms us. It simultaneously makes
            us into individuals and members of a group, and thus embeds in us
            rights-bearing protections.”

            The author of the article clearly states that “it”, i.e. birth, “makes us [Who or what is this 'us' exactly?] into individuals”. As you say, late-term abortions are rare and much more legally restricted, because there is a recognition that there is an individual there, long before any birth takes place.

            I don’t like abortion, I’m pro-choice and I try to call out shoddy reasoning when I think I see it.

            • amycas

               Well, in Canada women can have late-term abortions and it doesn’t have to be for medical reasons. Guess what, they don’t have any women clamoring to wait 6 months before aborting their unplanned pregnancy. The only time late-term abortions happen is when there is something extremely wrong with the health of the mother or the fetus. So, either way, the “five minutes before birth” is a red-herring that never happens.

              • Wim

                 “So, either way, the “five minutes before birth” is a red-herring that never happens.”

                Still missing the point. The author claims that birth is the point when someone becomes an individual and embedded into a community. I argue that neither is the case. The five minutes scenario is a thought experiment to show the faulty reasoning. It isn’t trying to be a claim about what actually happens in terms of when abortions mostly take place.

                • Alex

                  It’s not faulty, it’s semantic games. If the fetus dies, then it’s an abortion. If it survives, then it’s a live birth. If a late-term abortion occurs, it’s usually because the child won’t survive the birth anyway and/or would pose risk to its mother’s survival. If you find cases when women have abortions right as they are about to deliver simply because they don’t want the kid anymore, let me know, it would be genuinely interesting.

                • Wim

                   Okay, let’s ask more pointedly then. Would you agree with the author of the article that the baby only becomes an ‘individual’ and ‘embedded in a community’ upon birth? And to whom or what would this baby only become an ‘individual’ and ‘embedded in a community’ upon birth?

        • amycas

           Abortions don’t have to kill anything. Aborting a pregnancy just means you stop the pregnancy. You’re right, an abortion at 5 minutes before birth would probably be a cesarean, except they wouldn’t kill the baby (why would they do it? for the lolz?)

      • http://billybobsbibleblog.blogspot.com/ billybobbibb

        I have teenage kids, and they’re STILL parasites.  Your point is?

        • amycas

           You could still put them up for adoption and not raise them yourself. And no, teenagers do not meet the medical definition of a parasite the way a fetus does.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    TLDR

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    I refuse to call anti-choice people “pro life”

    • 3lemenope

      I think neither side should be particularly haughty about their self-congratulatory labels. Both sides choose labels that seek to obscure the consequences of their side’s position, and paint their motivating reasons in the best possible light. Who isn’t against life? Who isn’t against choice? These fundamental concepts are part and parcel of most people’s lens through which they judge what is important in many aspects of their existence. It’s like being pro-freedom, or pro-apple pie, or pro-fun. It begs the rhetorical question, who could possibly be anti-fun? What would that monster of a person be like?

      I am pro-fetus recycling because I’m not anti-woman. Being an incubator for someone can only ever be a supererogatory good, never an enforceable duty, and to pick policies that say otherwise is to put women at a crippling disadvantage in their ability to enforce that simple ethical truth when it comes to bear upon their own bodies. If you can’t force a person to be medically hooked up to another person, even knowing that if they are disconnected the other would die, then the same must obtain for pre-viability pregnancy.

      I think that viability, though it is an ever-moving target due to improvements in medical technology, is a crucial ethically significant line, since it is the point past which the argument that the fetus has no ethical significant starts to crumble, since it can after that point no longer be said that if the women ceases becoming pregnant that the fetus would necessarily die, and so the woman can’t say she is being forced to incubate something that would otherwise necessarily die if she decided she no longer wanted to. In order for that position to really work in a practical way, though, in order to be in a position to take seriously a fetus’ competing ethical claim after the point of viability, we as a society would have to get serious about allocating resources for adoption and post-natal care and poverty assistance. Until that happens, even the viability line is not a dispositive one.

      The issue deserves nuance and serious thought. Not labels that shut down thought and argument with basically empty rhetorical appeals to fundamental concepts. I’m “pro-life” (I like life), I’m “pro-choice” (who doesn’t like having choices?!), but what I really am is pro-abortion rights. Let’s call it what it is. 

      • AxeGrrl

        I think this is one of the best, most reasonable and articulate comments on the subject of abortion I’ve read in a very long time,  Nicely done :)

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Not to detract from your many good points, which I agree with completely… but there is a big difference between “pro-life” and “pro-choice”, from a rhetorical standpoint.

        “Pro-choice” (where the implication is “pro-abortion-choice”) is accurate, which is testable by considering the alternative, “anti-choice”. Each term accurately describes the views of its believers, and neither carries any sort of stigma or bias. “Pro-life”, on the other hand, cannot be matched to “anti-life”; clearly, nobody who believes that abortion should be a woman’s choice is opposed to life. This immediately demonstrates that “pro-life” is a purely rhetorical, and inaccurate term to use for those opposed to abortion.

        Certainly “pro-abortion-rights” (careful there… pro [abortion rights] is very different from [pro abortion] rights) is a good term, but not substantially different from “pro-choice”.

        • ockraz

          CPETERSON wrote, “Pro-choice” (where the implication is “pro-abortion-choice”) is accurate, which is testable by considering the alternative, “anti-choice”. Each term accurately describes the views of its believers, and neither carries any sort of stigma or bias…”Pro-life”, on the other hand, cannot be matched to “anti-life”

          That’s where your argument crashes into a brick wall.  You add a qualifier to one to find it reasonable and leave it absent from the other to find it unreasonable.If the implication of “pro-choice” is that it’s ‘abortion choice’, then the implication of “pro-life” is ‘prenatal life’.  One side values abortion choice and is unconcerned with prenatal life and the other values prenatal life and is unconcerned with abortion choice.

          Are pro-choicers “anti-life?”  I don’t think so, certainly not if that would mean that they oppose life in general.  By the same token, pro-lifers aren’t “anti-choice” in the sense that they oppose choice in general.  Heck, pro-lifers aren’t even against abortion choice if you can figure out a way to have an abortion that doesn’t terminate a human life.  In context “choice” (concerning abortion) and “life” (of prenatal humans) are the competing values.  Out of context, neither makes sense.

      • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

        Very well put, but you know that arguments like the one above goes right over the heads of a sizable chunk of the voting public, yes? Your opponents, the ones who are anti-abortion rights, would simply broadside your eloquence with “Pro-abortion? He admitted it! He wants to murder TEH BAY-BAYZ!!!” and that would be that.

        It’s frustrating that these disputes have to be reduced to bumper sticker arguments, because that’s what seems to win a significant bloc of voting, which is really far more of an indictment of the electorate than of your argument.

      • Rwlawoffice

         Labels are never good if you really want to have a discussion. For example, calling all of those who support traditional marriage bigots or those who support life for the unborn, anti woman. The label is used to shut down debate by calling names.

        I understand your argument for viability being a point where the rights of the unborn start to take over the rights of the woman.  I don’t agree with  it being a line to define the right to continue living  but at least it acknowledges that the unborn is a human (even if you want to make the unsupported and ethically invalid difference between a human and a human being).

        To say that prior to this point a mother has the right to destroy life because that life would not be able to live on its own without her is a moral judgment giving one life the right to murder another life and nothing more.  It is the only part in our society where we draw this line that one person can kill another innocent person because the innocent person needs them to live for a short time.  An innocent person’s right to life should not be dependent upon the will of another person.

        I do agree with your comment that adoption and prenatal care is important for “pro life’ supporters should encourage.  And it is.  it is a fallacy to say that pro lifers only care about the unborn and then don’t care after the children are born. 

        • amycas

           Rw pregnancy is not the “only part in our society where we draw this line that one person can kill another innocent person because the innocent person needs them to live for a short time.” The government doesn’t force us to donate blood or organs. It can’t even force us to donate organs when we’re dead and no longer using our bodies. Pregnancy is the only time when society (or a large chunk of it) expects to be able to force a person to donate their body so another person can live.

          I’m not going to respond to anything else, because this has been explained to you in other threads over and over again. You’re deliberately obtuse about this and many other subjects. I only responded so lurkers could see the error of your thinking (if they didn’t already). Have a nice day.

        • LesterBallard

          Labels. 

          Like calling women who have abortions murderers? Like calling GLBT folk unnatural, abnormal, perverted (along with denying them rights you claim for yourself)? Good one.

          • Wild Rumpus

            Like amycas said, RW is deliberately obtuse. No matter how many times these things are explained to him, he never gets his head out of his ass to see how hypocritcal he is.

            He will continue to label LGBT abnormal and perverted but get upset when you call him bigoted and he will continue to call women who have abortions murderers because, y’know, Christian Priviledge.

          • Rwlawoffice

             Women who have abortions are not legally murderers because abortion in most cases is legal but they are killing an innocent human being. As for me calling homosexuals unnatural, abnormal or perverted, find that quote.

            • LesterBallard

              I didn’t say you in particular. But if you believe they are killing an innocent human life, then you believe they are murderers. Are GLBT normal and natural? Not perverted? Are they entitled to the same rights you claim for yourself?

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Considering that homosexuality is at the most generous less than 10% of the population I would have to say its not normal.  So there is no misunderstanding, I do believe that homosexual behavior is immoral and I do not support same sex marriage. 

                • LesterBallard

                  Well, you can believe whatever the fuck you want, and live your life however the fuck you want. That’s where it ends.

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  10% of us are left-handed.  It’s not common, but it’s not morally defective or reason for discrimination.  Our laws support the rights of the minority over majority rule, unless you can prove a legitimate grievance. 

                • Patterrssonn

                  Did you think we were under the impression that you’re not a nasty hateful fucked up bigot? Not that we don’t appreciate you owning up to it.

                • amycas

                   Not normal in the sense that most humans are homosexual. Normal in the sense that it’s normal for about 10% of the population to be some variation of homosexual. It is within the norms of human sexuality and it harms no one. You have no justification for calling homosexuality immoral as it does no harm to anyone. Sexuality is not a behavior, it is a part of a person. You can be homosexual and never have sex or be with somebody of the same sex. Honestly, I don’t even understand why sexuality is considered to be anything related to morality. A person’s sexuality is amoral–it’s neither moral or immoral, it just “is.”

                • Vitement

                  How about the difference between immoral and weird? 
                  I think it’s fine to find it weird, especially since at only 10% it’s not something one might be habituated to. 
                  Though, if you still think it’s immoral, is it fair to say that you needn’t condone it, nor I condemn you for being against it? That way, those who want to be marry may do so and those who are against it needn’t be involved.

                  And every so often we can have these discussions where people share viewpoints and see whether someone else’s rationale is more convincing or has appeal. Like now, for example!

            • amycas

              Fetus death is not necessary for an abortion. Abortion simply means to stop the pregnancy. So no, not all abortions result in the death of as you call it “an innocent human being.” In any case, even when the fetus does die, I would hardly think it’s any more tragic than when a woman miscarries early in her pregnancy

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      They’re not “pro-life”.

      They’re ANTI-WOMAN.

    • CanadaGoose

      They’re no pro-life. They are forced-pregnancy, anti-sex, anti-woman, fetus worshipers.  They’re like the Drug War people. They know that people will continue to do things they don’t approve of  — they just want to be sure that the culprits are punished and ground into the dust.

      This is all about gawd and how gawd wants to make sure that we hate ourselves AND our fellow humans.

      • Kristine Kruszelnicki

         How can it be all about Gawd if they’re atheists?

        • CanadaGoose

          Please note that I was replying to Gordon Duffy. I was not talking about atheists (OBVIOUSLY) but about the supposed “pro-life” people in general.

      • Robert Freid

        “They’re no pro-life. They are forced-pregnancy, anti-sex, anti-woman, fetus worshipers.” Hey asshole, have you looked at so-called “fetuses” pictures-normal ones. Do that and come back to me and try and tell me that they are not life. You know what, do you realize how de-humanitizing to call an developing Human being a ‘fetus.’ By the way, on the topic of ‘fetuses,’ how about we call it what it really is if it is a ‘fetus’ that is: A HUMAN FETUS.  Forced pregnancy? please, look at the People’s Republic of China, where they coercin women into forced abortions. At least in a so-called “forced pregnancy” you are talking about is enabeling the woman into developing a life, not taking one (and it might be a female). I would like to point out that those ‘fetuses’ being oh so humanely ‘aborted’ in China are mostly females too. I have talked to women who have had abortions, most that I talked to-regreted it you fucking jerkbag. Anti-sex? you are truely fucking pathetic, you know. I encourage women to get on birth control (works 99 percent for the blue ones) and for men to use a fucking condom when they have recreational sex(works 98.2 percent for a decent one) as an alternative to abortions; abortions could be avoided if people get smart enough to use that shit. People need to get smart and realize that when they have sex, they face the possibility of having a developing human inside them, therfore they should use birth control and condoms to prevent that.

        • CanadaGoose

          >>People need to get smart and realize that when they have sex, they face the possibility of having a developing human inside them, therfore they should use birth control and condoms to prevent that.<<

          Only half of the people who have heterosexual sex face that possibility.   I've seen fetal pictures and they're not persuasive. Alive, yes? Human, not yet.  Birth control sometimes fails but  women who get to the point of wanting an abortion (98.2% by my estimation) have reasons that are compelling to them.  I've also given birth AND had an abortion so my experience with the subject isn't theoretical. Telling me I'm immoral or in league with forced abortion because I want to make my own decisions is part of a long line of (mostly successful) attempts to control and dictate to women. It's not working so well these days.

          By the way, starting a discussion with "hey, asshole" is not always conducive to an intelligent exchange. 

          • Robert Freid

            Hmm, neither is your little insult of QUOTE: “They’re no pro-life. They are forced-pregnancy, anti-sex, anti-woman, fetus worshipers” UNQUOTE, is it now? 2 way street, someone insults my views, I will insult their them right back. By the way, YOU did not sound intelligent AT ALL when you said that. I did what I like to call an intelli-sult (insulting someone in an intellectual manner) in response. -Meh.   

  • elabryth

    I am a person who hates the idea of Abortion. That being stated, I also believe I have no say in what a woman chooses to do with her body. What I don’t understand, is that with all the information there is about available contraception, sexually transmitted disease, etc. is how Women [not teenage girls with no Sex Ed.], who haven’t been raped or assaulted, still end up pregnant. It seems to me that Abortion is still, primarily, a form a Birth Control for women who choose not to take preventive measures. I live in the South, I saw this alot when I was younger.

    • Blitzgal

      Married, heterosexual women who have regular sex with their husbands end up pregnant when they do not want to be.  

      • NeedingMoreFacts

        But are they more likely to keep their children, as opposed to disposing of them?

        • Blitzgal

          Married women have abortions.  This is news to you?

          • NeedingMoreFacts

            I never said they didn’t.  I asked a question, and I asked are they *more likely* to keep their children?

            • amycas

               It depends on the marriage. I would think if a woman was in an abusive marriage that she probably wouldn’t want to continue the pregnancy. Or maybe she feels like as a couple they are not ready for a child. My sister and her husband planned for two years before they even started trying to get pregnant. A married woman could also be trying to further her career and it may not be a good time for her to take time off work. Married women do typically have more of a support structure to help them raise a child, but being married doesn’t magically make somebody read for children.

        • Sue Blue

          Married women may opt for abortions for any number of reasons, but I’ll bet my next paycheck that “disposing of a child” is not one of them.  

          Older women (who may or may not be married) are more likely to have a fetus with genetic defects that may be severe or even incompatible with life.  A woman who is married and desperately wants a baby may find that the fetus is in fact a hydatidiform mole or molar pregnancy that can become choriocarcinoma.  A couple may find themselves unable to afford another child.  A woman may have had such severe postpartum depression that having another child risks both her life and the life of the newborn.  Maybe  her insurance doesn’t cover sterilization, or she doesn’t have insurance…and her birth control failed.  Just because a woman is married does not mean that all systems are go for having a baby.  

    • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

       Excuse me, birth control is not 100% effective all the time.  I can’t stand it when people use your argument, because it’s simply not true.

      • elabryth

        You’re right. Birth control isn’t 100% effective all the time. It is also a fact that many women who have abortions are not having them because another form of birth control failed. The abortion IS the birth control. There are stats [year after year] that back this claim. I am not stating they don’t have the right to use it as birth control, I just believe it to be sad that it is used as the birth control. Your argument is weak.

        • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

          Where are these stats you speak of?

        • m.litho

          I have personally known such women as well. Often it seems to stem from a lack of education, lack of using the birth control correctly. One I knew had 5 kids. Something more than just “birth control isn’t 100%” effective was going on.

        • Glasofruix

          Another useless argument “well, abortion is used as birth control duh”, WRONG. Abortion is an invasive last resort procedure, not an effective birth control method.

          Also, sources please.

        • elabryth

          I cannot remove this post. I did make the first comment, but, not the second one. I don’t use statistics because I generally don’t believe them. I also don’t make it a habit of insulting another person’s argument either. I do however tend to walk away from my work desk, and go outside, when I am on my mobile. Some gremlins I work with, will sometimes post responses in my stead if I don’t lock the desktop. I should have learned my lesson after I walked away from a music debate during lunch and  a guy I worked with stated “Toby Keith is a musical genius and I will have words with anyone who disagrees”. I have an extreme disdain for Country music and Mr. Keith. My apologies to the people on this thread and to piksipuzzlebox.

          • amycas

            You don’t believe in any statistics? Do you ever go to the doctor? If so, do you use hir medical advice? Doctors use statistics all the time.

            I don’t mean to jump on you, it does suck when others use your log-in to post ridiculous crap.

        • amycas

           Why do you care? If the woman wants to get an abortion instead of using other forms of contraception, then what’s it to you?

    • Arnoca02

      I had my last abortion because my birth control failed due to an interaction with a psychiatric medication I was prescribed. Not all men and women who have sex are able to care for children; should that mean vasectomies/tubal libations for every Prozac prescription written in this country? I have asked to be sterilized numerous times, but doctors are reluctant to do so, usually citing my age as a factor in their refusal. I hope my next fetus loves Lithium as much as I do… (:

    • Sue Blue

      Bullshit.  I became pregnant while responsibly and faithfully taking birth control pills.  What was just becoming known then (in 1991) was that some medications – specifically antibiotics – can reduce the efficacy of birth control pills.  I was taking antibiotics for a kidney infection at the time; my husband used to jokingly call her the Keflex Kid.  

      I personally know a woman who became pregnant after her husband had a vasectomy (and yes – he WAS the father) because they had sex before he underwent the post-op test to make sure his semen was sperm-free.  I know of women who became pregnant while their partners were using condoms.  No birth control method short of surgical sterilization (uterus/ovaries removed or tubal ligation or vasectomy with confirmed sterility) has anything like a 100% success rate.

      As a nurse, I can say that no woman I know of considers abortion a casual procedure or an alternative to birth control.  Most would prefer easy, affordable access to effective birth control, with abortion as a last-ditch option.  In countries where preteens and teens receive good sex education and free access to birth control, teen pregnancy rates are much, much lower than in the U.S. – and so are abortion rates.   Recent demographic studies have shown a high rate of teen pregnancy in the American South – ironically, the states with “abstinence only” sex education, restrictive abortion laws, and little access to birth control – and much lower rates in the Northeast and Northwest where education and access is better.

    • amycas

       The fact that many contraceptives are expensive and actually are hard to get. Have you not been listening to all the politics surrounding the taking away of federal funds from Planned Parenthood? Many women are poor and simply can’t afford it. Also, contraception can fail or it can be used improperly. Most people don’t use contraception the correct way 100% of the time.

  • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

    The atheist group here at the University of Virginia touts this ridiculous pro-life “science” as fact.  It’s very, very disturbing.

    • Rea Manderino

      What, seriously?  I’m a grad student at UVa, and since I don’t live in Charlottesville, I never joined any of the groups, but those I met when Dawkins visited seem like such sane individuals.  *sigh*  But then again, we have anti-science people that refuse to accept the truths about climate change permeating the College  as well; the same College that defended academic freedom from the Cooch.

  • Patterrssonn

    Great article, it’s amazing to me the cold hearted way the anti choice arguments remove the woman undergoing pregnancy from the equation. And believe that word games justify the removal of a woman’s choice over the control over her own body.

  • Guest-o

    Without scrutinizing this long blog entry, my guess is that anti-abortion sentiment has increased in the past five years primarily because ultrasound technology has improved to the point that one can visualized a very young fetus inutero in extreme detail.

    • Patterrssonn

      It’s always illuminating when people post without reading the OP. it seems to elevate their posts to a whole new level of idiocy.

    • Glasofruix

       So? I doubt that a woman who got an unwanted pregnancy one way or another wants to see or event gets to see the foetus prior the abortion, well except in cases when old white xtian dudes force them to watch as a doctor prepares an intro vaginal sound…

  • Bo Tait
    • Reginald Selkirk

       That needs its own post; I expect to see something on this blog later today. While Romney has distanced himself from Akin’s comments, and stated that a Romney-Ryan ticket would not push to outlaw abortion in cases of rape; that is not consistent with Ryan’s extreme anti-choice record.

  • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

    “According to SPL, the secular argument against abortion rests on four basic premises: 1) the fetus is a human being”

    Just wanted to point out that the article didn’t dispute this first premise. I was ready to accuse it of advocating bad science if it had.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The fact of the matter is…

    The fact of the matter is that when I read that phrase, I am more likely to find an opinion than a fact.

  • Greg Segelov

    I’m an atheist but I believe this is a completely grey area. A bit of background: My fiancé is a neonatal sister (she cares for very ill and premature newborns). She’s Catholic but this is besides the point. I’ve seen premature babies of 24 weeks (the current UK limit on legal abortion) and believe me they can feel pain, they react to stimuli, and are (in my opinion) entitled to as good a shot to life as current medical science can allow. I believe abortion laws should be re-evaluated to further limit the timescales for legal abortion, to the point where babies are not only not viable outside the womb, but also to the point where they have not fully developed. 12 weeks should be more than enough time for a woman to evaluate their situation and decide on whether to have an abortion or not. After this, the foetus has an almost fully developed neural system and I believe it is barbaric, and cruel to end their lives beyond this threshold. 

    • amycas

       Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant until about 4-8 weeks. Add to that the fact that many women who would need an abortion are poor, so then they have to find a way to pay for it and take time off at work. Now consider the women who live in Louisiana (or is it Mississippi?) and South Carolina where only one clinic is open in the entire state and the state already enforces waiting limits and other restrictions. Is twelve weeks really enough time? Also consider that in the last year alone 49 states created new restrictive laws for abortion that made it take even longer for a woman to get an abortion. How about you not compare a premature baby who is no longer dependent on a woman’s body to a fetus that is still dependent. You seem to have a lot of compassion for the fetus and not much left over for the oft-forgotten woman carrying that fetus.

  • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

    This kind of thinking doesn’t elevate a fetus to “human” status–it grants them special rights that no other “born” humans are allowed.  If you hit someone with your car and their kidneys fail, you are not obligated to donate your kidney.  If your child needs a lifesaving blood transfusion and you’re the only match, you can’t be compelled to do so.  Hell, if you die, your organs can’t be used without your consent.  This is all somehow thrown out the window and granted to fetuses by the pro-life contingent, however.  Donating blood is far safer than childbirth and unquestionably saves lives, and yet society respects the rights of the individual without question in one case, and anyone who would argue that blood donation should be compelled by the government would be considered pretty damn extreme.  This kind of thinking results in women being relegated to second-class citizens, helpless to the whims of their biological function and not granted the same rights of bodily integrity that anyone who isn’t pregnant is allowed.  It’s not about granting “human rights” to fetuses–it’s granting them more rights than they’ll have after they’re born.

    • Proxer

       Thank you for more clearly defining the flaw in the ‘fetus is a human’ argument.

    • Reginald Selkirk

       Of course the fetus is “human.” What, do you think a woman would be carrying a feline or canine fetus? The relevant question is whether that human fetus is a “person”. Ask the right questions.

      • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

         No, I seriously thought some women give birth to horses. Thanks for the brilliant insight.

         I probably should have changed “human” to “person” in the first sentence to make it a little clearer, but it seems a bit disingenuous to get all snarky and essentially claim I don’t understand the difference between scientifically being a member of the human species versus the idea of human rights, even though the entire rest of my post’s context followed that line of thought.

      • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

        That being said, I’m totally a snarky ass on this site a lot.  I know you’re not writing that to deflect from the actual argument at hand, and I like your posts.  You are correct about “people” versus “human”–it’s just so, so often that people disingenuously argue some small, accidental semantic quibble and claim it refutes the whole argument.

        Sorry, it was a rough morning.

      • Kate Sirls

         No, the relevant question goes beyond that. Even if the fetus is a “person,” does that person have the right to demand the use of its mother’s body, even against her will? Felyx Leiter was pointing out that nobody has that right once we’re born. In other words, if you needed someone else’s bodily resources in order to survive, you cannot just demand that it happen and be legally supported for the sake of “life.” This, however, is exactly what the anti-choice movement wants for fetuses — rights that they will not have once they’re born. The right to their mothers’ bodies, to use for survival until they’re viable, regardless of if the mother wants her body used in that way.

        This is the right question, beyond whether the fetus is “human” or a “person.”

    • grerp

      But the fetus is not a stranger, it is the *woman’s child*.  Is the reason that women do not suffer more from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome because they have been trained by 2 generations of feminists to be narcissistic and unmaternal?  I’d venture – yes.

      • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

        Citation badly, badly needed.

      • onamission5

        A fetus is not a child. Nor is an embryo, or a blastocyst. There are terms for stages of development for a reason.

        Do feel free to provide sources for your claim. Bonus points if your sources take into account rates of PPD for general populations of women who have live births as well as miscarriages as compared to those who willingly undergo abortion procedures rather than those who have undesired abortions due to medical conditions. Super bonus points if your sources can actually determine the difference between strictly abortion caused PTSD and hormone caused PPD.

        • grerp

          Does it matter?  There have always been women who had unwanted pregnancies or who resented the toll pregnancy took on their bodies, but teaching young women to view their in-utero babies as parasites rather than their own kin is a sea change in ideology and a goal of feminism.  It’s repulsive that women encourage other women to feel this way.

          Yes, there is a difference between a blastocyst, an embryo, and a fetus – in development, NOT in genetics, potential, or relationship to either the mother or (to a certain extent) the community.

          The mother very often has a choice not to get pregnant.  The baby has no choice on being conceived (or killed).

          • ruth

            So eggs and sperm are potential too.  Going to make jacking off illegal?  What is so special at fertilization?  Do you oppose the morning after pill?  

            • Stev84

              The morning after pill generally prevents ovulation, just like the regular pill. It just uses a higher hormone dose to achieve this right away. That it prevents implantation is a myth.

            • grerp

              Eggs and sperm are never going to become people, are they?  Problem solved.  Since you don’t seem to have a moral problem with exposing infants, I’m not sure we have much to discuss, really.

              • amycas

                 If ever the two shall meet…

          • onamission5

            Of course being factual and accurate matters. Of course stage of development matters. Those are the criteria with which we determine factors such as sentience and viability, which in turn informs person hood.

            I reject your emotional appeal that an embryo is due special rights to person hood over the rights of an already existing, autonomous person. I am also still waiting for the evidence which supports your prior claim.

            • grerp

              I’m not sure I understand your point.  I’m willing to give you that many or most women don’t suffer depression abortion without looking at statistics or studies of PPD.  Humans seem to be able to commit very grisly murder directly and personally and be able to sleep comfortably afterward if the histories of Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, Russia, Chile, and China are correct.  Of course, those were murders of strangers or enemies in most cases, not kin.

              My point, to be clear, is that I think fetus’s rights to exist trump the mother’s right to abort.  Period. Keep that baby in the womb long enough, and it will become a little person.  We all know that.

              • Kate Sirls

                 So you are in favor of people being allowed access to others’ bodies if they need them for survival, for the sake of “life?” You would argue that our bodies are not our own, and that we should not have a say in what happens to them if saving a life becomes an issue? Should people be required to donate organs, or donate rare blood types, for the sake of “life?” In the real world, none of us has the right to “life,” or to exist, if we cannot sustain ourselves and we don’t have a willing donor. The same is true for fertilized eggs/embryos/fetuses — they require a woman’s body to live and grow, but their “right to life” should never extend to forcing people to be unwilling donors. That would be trumping the very sense of autonomous freedom that many of us hold so dear.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  In the instance of a mother and her unborn child- yes.  The mother placed the child in this vulnerable position even if unwittingly and thus has a duty to protect the vulnerable and innocent life she participated in creating.  The notion of bodily autonomy should not extend to creating vulnerable life and then claiming autonomy as the right to destroy the life you created.  This is not a stranger, so the analogies do not apply.

                • amycas

                   No, the woman (she’s not a mother unless she chooses to be) did not place the fetus there. That’s a bald-faced lie. This has been explained to you over and over again. You’re being deliberately obtuse again.

                  Did you miss the comment upthread that posed this scenario? “If I hit you with my car and your kidneys fail and I’m the only match, I still would not be forced to donate my organs.” So, the only time that anybody is forced to donate their body is in the case of pregnancy, even though there are other  similar situations. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger or a family member. Nobody is ever forced to donate their body (organs, blood etc) in order to maintain another person’s body.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Don’t confuse my disagreement with a lack of understanding your argument.  I do understand it and I reject it. The analogy with a car accident victim flawed. It is simply another version of the violist argument used in the past. In the case of a pregnant woman she participated in the act that led to the pregnancy even if the pregnancy was not her intention. So she did place the unborn in that vulnerable position and the only way to protect the child is to prevent her from killing it.  If there was another way then it could be considered.  In the accident case, even though there is no need or requirement to demand an organ, the law does protect the victim through compensation and other ways. So instead of being forced to give an organ, you maybe forced to pay for medical bills or something else that provides life. 

                • amycas

                   “In the case of a pregnant woman she participated in the act that led to
                  the pregnancy even if the pregnancy was not her intention”

                  And in the case of the car accident,  I participated in putting you in that vulnerable position and I’m the only one who can save your life, but this is flawed how exactly?? Why can’t I be forced to give you my organs? This isn’t a situation where money would fix it, I am the only person who could save you with my organs. If women can be forced to give their entire body to a fetus, why can’t I be forced to give you a few organs??

                • Rwlawoffice

                   It is the unique relationship between a mother and her unborn child. There is no other relationship that is like it and as such all other attempts to create an anology faile.

                • amycas

                  A pregnant woman is not a mother unless she chooses to be. Please stop doing that. Everytime you call somebody a mother just because they are pregnant (even if they don’t want to be pregnant and have no intention of staying pregnant), you are reducing her to being merely the biological machine that can get pregnant. There isn’t a special relationship between a woman and the fetus, unless she sees it that way. Stop trying to enforce your magical thinking onto the rest of us. The analogies don’t fail just because you refuse to look at them. 

                • CanadaGoose

                  ” I do understand it and I reject it.”

                  Oh, in that case: fuck you.

              • cipher

                 Keep that baby in the womb long enough, and it will become a little person.

                And run the risk of ending up in hell – whereas, if it’s aborted it goes straight to heaven.

                Who are you to make decisions regarding someone else’s eternity?

          • CanadaGoose

            The debate over personhood means nothing to the woman who is pregnant and doesn’t want to be. There were plenty of abortions before it was legalized and long before women were “trained by 2 generations of feminists to be narcissistic and unmaternal.” 

            Made illegal, abortions will continue but they will be done by nonmedical personnel and/or the pregnant woman herself. Women AND fetuses will die but that’s not nearly as important as blaming women for their “choice” to have sex. And that’s of course, your point. If those slutty women out there would just stop slutting around, they wouldn’t have a problem with unwanted pregnancies.

            The goal of feminism is to achieve social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Bodily autonomy is definitely a goal.

            By the way, your language gives it away. A pregnant woman is NOT a “mother” until she has a baby. The fetus is NOT a “baby”  until it’s born.

            Fetal worship is a sickness I don’t understand.  “Pro-life” atheist has no meaning because I have yet to hear support for forced-pregnancies that isn’t religious at its base.   

            • grerp

              A pregnant woman is a “mother” if she chooses to be.  And most of the ones not aborting do refer to themselves as mothers or mothers-to-be and their fetuses as “babies.”  Have you ever had a baby?  Probably not.

              • CanadaGoose

                Now why would you think that?

                Yes, I am a mother. My “baby” is over fifty years of age.  When I was pregnant with her, I did think of her as a baby — though I didn’t really think of myself as a mother until she was born.

                When I had an abortion a few years later, I definitely did NOT think of those cells as a “baby.”  The pregnancy was not welcome and I didn’t want it to stay.

                My personal experience is meaningful to me but it’s only one data point.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   So the status of your child as being a baby or a clump of cells is all dependent upon your desire to carry it to term? An unborn child is not a human being or not depending upon the will of another.

                • amycas

                  Yes, it’s the woman’s choice.

                • grerp

                  For now.

                • sunburned

                  Forever, just like it has always been.   Abortions didn’t *just start* up because it became illegal.  Nor would they *just end* because of some law.

                • amycas

                   No, it always is, whether she’s forced to carry to term or not, nobody can force a woman to actually think of herself as a mother. It just doesn’t work like that.

                • CanadaGoose

                  Exactly. I certainly think that people opposed to abortion should not have one.
                  You, for example.
                  But you have no vote when it comes to my decision.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  So your position is that people can’t advocate and defend the rights of others? 

                • Sunny Day

                  What others?

                  Still waiting for someone to provide evidence that an unborn cluster of cells is a person.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   You may not want to call it a person but only distorted logic and rationalization calls it anything else

                • amycas

                   If you want to spend your time trying to convince women to carry to term, then so be it. I only have a problem when you then try to get my medical decisions criminalized.  How would these laws be enforced? Make every woman of child-bearing age take pregnancy tests once a month, then if it’s positive just lock her up for nine months to make sure she doesn’t “harm” the fetus in some way? The law would be ineffectual and unenforceable and it would only result in the deaths of more women.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   The issue of abortion and unwanted pregnancies as many components only one of which is to criminalize abortions.  This issue needs to be confronted on many fronts including changing peoples attitudes about abortion, comprehensive education, expansion of adoption services and other methods to reduce the number of abortions being sought or performed.

                • amycas

                  So, then you would be in favor of comprehensive sex education, free contraception for men and women, free to low cost parenting classes, government support of single parent and low-income families (if you force them to have the kids, you should help them pay for those kids),  allowing the lgbt community to adopt children in order to increase the amount of adults open to adoption, and diverting funds from other government projects in order to provide adequate care the increase in the amount of children needing to be adopted.

                  That didn’t even go into what we would need to do as a society for women who get abortions anyway. Studies show that in countries where abortion is illegal, the rate of abortions doesn’t change, they just become more dangerous. It doesn’t matter how rare unwanted pregnancies are made, some women are going to need an abortion for personal or medical reasons. So, what would you want the law to do for/to a woman who shows up at a hospital bleeding to death from an illegal abortion (because she wasn’t rich enough to find an actual doctor to do it for her)? Would you want the law to force the hospital to treat her, try to save her life and then send her home without calling the police? Or would she face charges for murder? How would they find out about women who were rich enough to find an underground doctor who could perform a safe abortion, and nobody would know? Would there be a special abortion task force? How exactly would this law be enforced and what if anything would women be charged with who got one?

                • http://profile.yahoo.com/KIDZFDXNIVYSUSZBZDUJIQD3II Exploerer

                  Rwlawoffice, because you say so isn’t a valid reason. 

              • Kate Sirls

                 Yes — a pregnant woman is a mother if she chooses to be pregnant and give birth. She is not a mother if she simply has sex and winds up pregnant. A person does not lose their right to bodily autonomy simply because they chose to have sex. (And by the way, like CanadaGoose, I am also a mother. I gave birth eight years ago, and that was my choice. Every other woman should have the freedom to make the same choice … or not.)

              • onamission5

                Here is something to consider: you are greatly underestimating the near infinite complexity of living while human.

                Absolutely nothing is as cut and dried, black and white as you seem to wish it was. Women and girls– lets not forget girls– get pregnant against their will all the time. Birth control fails all the time. Relationships are awful all the time. People lose their jobs, become homeless, change their minds, have health problems revealed to them, have really terrible physical and psychological reactions to pregnancy all the time. I know you’d probably prefer to view people with vaginas as uterus first, human being later, and to believe that all women and girls who are forced into pregnancy end up living happily ever after as blissful mommies or their babies get adopted by the perfect family, but that isn’t reality. Far from it.

                And yes, before you ask, I have four kids. What is this magical equation you think takes place where giving birth to live offspring = wanting to force pregnancy on all sexually active women or girls as punishment for their dirty, dirty sluttiness?   I am more pro-choice and more pro-reproductive rights now than I ever was before I became a parent, because I know what it takes, I know how hard it is, and I would never wish parenthood or pregnancy on someone who was unwilling. Ever.

          • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

            “…but teaching young women to view their in-utero babies as parasites rather than their own kin is a sea change in ideology and a goal of feminism.”

            I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

            • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

              Probably cry. I weep for our species.

          • amycas

            No, just no. Nobody is teaching women that to always look at their fetus as a parasite. We’re teaching women that they have a choice. We’re teaching women that they don’t have to be held hostage to their bodies.

            No, women often don’t have a choice to “not get pregnant,” contraception can fail or be unattainable, that’s why we say women have a choice to not BE pregnant.

            Edited to add the last sentence.

            • CanadaGoose

              You misunderstand grerp. Women do have a choice:

              Single women should not have sex. Ever.
              Married women should just shut up and rejoice over the large number of children god has chose to give her.

            • Rwlawoffice

               That is simply not true.  The pro abortion crowd has consistently dehumanized the unborn in an effort to justify abortion. Calling the unborn parasite, tissue, a clump of cells, etc.  Everything but a unborn human child.  The reason is that if the truth was told, some women would decide to keep their unborn child instead of thinking they were simply disposing of tissue. That is why Planned Parenthood fights against all laws that would provide information to women about what they were really doing.

              • Antinomian

                “That is why Planned Parenthood fights against all laws that would provide information to women about what they were really doing.”

                I’m assuming that at least one of the pieces of information that you are saying Planned Parenthood is fighting against is the trans-vaginal sonogram. Amirite? 

                So, and let me make sure that I understand you correctly, you feel that a woman should have her vagina violated against her will so that she can receive an abortion?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I am saying that this evil organization goes to any steps it can to keep their patients in the dark as to what they are really doing when they are having an abortion.  In order to keep up their lie that the abortion is simply getting rid of tissue, they fight any attempt to show otherwise. That information does not have to be given through an ultrasound.

                • amycas

                  ” I am saying that this evil organization goes to any steps it can to keep
                  their patients in the dark as to what they are really doing when they
                  are having an abortion.” Have you ever used Planned Parenthood?? If anything, that place gives people more information about the procedures they do and the medication they prescribe than any other doctor I’ve been to. They also offer voluntary counseling sessions at most clinics (at least the ones in my area). That statement alone tells me that you have never used Planned Parenthood and you don’t know a thing about the services they offer or how they inform their patients.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   The source of my information is the lobbying efforts and public statements of PP when they oppose legislation that would provide information to patients that PP wants to keep from them.  I call them evil for alot of reasons including their lies about what they really do, their targeting of the African American race for abortions, their lies to patients about what abortion really is, their massive medicare fraud, their killing of woman during supposedly safe abortion procedures and then attempting to cover it up and their overall lie that they do not promote abortion when their entire business model is built around it and they encourage their clinics to perform as many as possible and their multiple instances of violating the law all while taking millions of tax payer dollars. I am all for providing low cost medical care to those in need, including birth control and STD care, but I admit I want this vile organization defunded and closed down.

                • amycas

                   So yeah, you’ve listened to the propaganda and don’t actually know what they do. Thanks for playing.

              • CanadaGoose

                Please go back to church where this argument is welcomed.
                And Planned Parenthood provides many options — they do not, no matter what your priest says, favor abortion.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  That is a lie. Planned Parenthood makes millions from abortions.  That is their business. Despite their attempt to couch it and hide this fact, the care that they provide to pregnant women is abortions.  For example, this evil organization performed over 300,000 abortions in 2008 and only referred 2400 patients for adoptions.

                • Sunny Day

                  “Planned Parenthood makes millions from abortions.”  – [Citation Needed]

                  Conversely  Adoption organizations referred zero patients to Planned Parenthood.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Look at their annual reports.  They perfromed approx. 330,ooo abortions in 2010 at average $400 per abortion for over $132 million. This doesn’t include over 1.4 million prescriptions for the morning after pill.

                  And adoption agencies don’t pretend to be something that they are not.  Actually in 2010 the report is worse, only 840 adoption referrals by that vile place compared with almost 330,000 abortions. 

                • Alex

                   $400 per abortion?

                  Dentist appointments range around $100-150, depending on your dentist. Just sayin’.

                • Rwlawoffice
                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  The vast majority of people going to PP are going there for birth control. That’s where the majority of their profits come from.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  To him, all birth control is abortion.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Not true at all.  Killing an unborn child is abortion. Birth control is preventing conception. No need to confuse the two.

                • amycas

                   Abortion is stopping a pregnancy. Abortion does not necessitate the death of a fetus, .

                • CanadaGoose

                  Lie?  Evil?
                  Please do some research that does not come in an email with FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: FW:FW: in the subject line. This is supposed to be a discussion about whether atheism is congruent with pro-life views. Do not bring in your religious mumbo-jumbo into a discussion that is NOT ABOUT YOU.

                  I don’t care what you think about abortion. People who think it is wrong should not have abortions.  I just care that abortion is legal  for those who are not stupified by religion.

                • Antinomian

                  ” For example, this evil organization performed over 300,000 abortions in 2008 and only referred 2400 patients for adoptions. ”

                  Not to mention all those evil mammograms, STD treatments, prenatal care and counseling. Oh, the evil is endless.

                  As to the “$millions$” that you claim Planned Parenthood makes on abortions; you do know that Planned Parenthood is a non-profit C corp do you not? Of course you do, you’re just a distgusting little man who will lie and distort the facts at every opportunity to push your narrow minded Jesus agenda. I’m sick to have to claim you for my gender.

                  However Ron, I’m glad that you post here. It serves to remind us of the true evil we face. It is you and your ilk…

                • Rwlawoffice

                   This “non profit” organization actually reports profits every year.

                  $18.5 million in 2010

                  $63 million in 2009

                  $85 million in 2008.

                  Their non profit status is really another lie.

              • amycas

                 To some women who become pregnant but do not wish to be pregnant, it really is just a clump of cells. And a fetus fits the medical definition of a parasite. Are you really so ignorant that youdon’t know that a fetus literally lives off of the woman’s body for about 10 months? A woman’s uterus even has to secrete certain hormones to counteract the fetus’ growth because otherwise it would grow to an unsustainable size. Planned Parenthood fights against laws that would force doctors to tell women inaccuracies about abortion and contraception. I guess for you it’s perfectly ok to lie to women who are scared and vulnerable as long as you get to save the precious precious fetus. Women aren’t stupid. They know what pregnancy means and they don’t need to be forced to watch a sonogram of a little peanut sized dot in order to know what it is inside them.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   The value of the unborn life and the definition of what it is and whether it has the right to live should not be dependent upon the will of another. It has inherent value regardless of what the mother thinks about it.  I know we will always disagree about this and not really believe that your mind will change.

                  Even if an unborn child meets the medical definition of a parasite, the fact that it is viewed in that manner shows the depth of the dehumanization people will go to justify killing another human being just because it is forced to live in the womb for a few months of a person who doesn’t want it there even though that person participated in putting it in this position in the first place.

                • amycas

                  I never said it didn’t have the right to live. I said it doesn’t have the right to use a woman’s body without her permission. It’s basic medical ethics.

                  So, yes it meets the medical definition of a parasite and yet it’s somehow wrong for a woman to see it as that if she doesn’t want it inside her body? Again, I have to say, abortion doesn’t require that the fetus die. It usually does because abortions usually happen so early in the pregnancy that it can’t possibly survive outside the womb, but “death of the fetus/embryo” is not the definition of abortion. An abortion simply stops a pregnancy. Any person should be allowed to remove any living organism from hir body if xe doesn’t want to support it–regardless of whether or not that living organism would survive the process.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        When an opponent of abortion refers to a fetus as a “child” or a “baby”, I immediately stop taking their views seriously, since the application of emotional rhetoric as an alternative to rational philosophical or scientific arguments marks them as an opponent of reason- and there’s no point in trying to have a discussion with someone who can’t or won’t reason.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        So all women must want to have children, no matter how old they are, no matter their relationship status, no matter their financial situation, and if they don’t then they’re narcissistic and unmaternal?

        • grerp

          Teaching young women to view their unborn children as parasites so they will be less resistant to the idea of aborting them is sick.  It’s certainly not the way my grandmother’s generation of women thought about childbearing or reproduction, and, as such, must be considered deliberate social manipulation.

          Biologically, women bear children.  That’s kind of the point.  There’s a reason why most of them eventually want children despite all the propaganda telling them otherwise.  Because otherwise the human race would die out.

          • ruth

            Human race could afford to shrink a bit.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            Ah, so there’s something wrong with a woman who doesn’t want children. Gotcha. Women are just for breeding? They should be willing to accept any and all pregnancies, no matter the circumstances, because giving birth is what they’re meant to do?

            I find it funny that you mention propaganda. There is still the expectation that all women must want to have babies, and if they don’t want to have babies, then there is something wrong with them. There is a stigma to being childfree, to not wanting to have biological children. And the stigma is worse for women, since men who don’t want to be fathers are not blasted as narcissistic and unpaternal.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/WMOVDQMRY6QCEWJQMCKNLKB7KM TheBoss

       Arguably if you caused a person to have a medical need and you have the ability to rectify it (without undo burden to yourself such as death) then you should be required to do so. Arguably if there is no significant burden to yourself and your child needs a blood transfusion you should have the duty to provide the blood. And arguably we should require everyone who dies to donate their organs. They don’t need them anymore, though I’d grant exceptions based on religious belief or other compelling reasons why a person would need to have their organs untouched(respecting the wishes of people who wish to be cryopreserved for example). That we don’t do these things is not evidence that we shouldn’t.

  • Greg Segelov

    I’m not asking for woman to be denied the rights afforded to men with respect to control of their bodies, but there must be limits that are reviewed as medical science improves. No right is absolutely universal without some attached responsibilities. In the UK a woman is entitled to have a legal abortion, however the current limit set gives almost six months for a woman to make up her mind. This seems an unreasonable balance. If, for arguments sake, that for medical reason, a woman must abort later, then fair enough, but a 24 week old foetus can require only breathing and nutritional assistance, as the rest of the body is almost fully developed. I’m confident that nobody here would have the stomach to wilfully pull an infant creature apart limb from limb if they thought that creature could feel such action. Beyond 20 weeks this is an almost necessary part of the abortion process and is too traumatic for mother and baby (opinion obviously).

    • amycas

       “I’m confident that nobody here would have the stomach to wilfully pull
      an infant creature apart limb from limb if they thought that creature
      could feel such action” It’s a good thing that procedure is not even used anymore in almost all circumstances.

      “I’m not asking for woman to be denied the rights afforded to men with
      respect to control of their bodies, but there must be limits that are
      reviewed as medical science improves.”

      I’m not asking for women to be denied the rights afforded to men with respect to control of their bodies, except in these circumstances where they would be denied the rights afforded to men because I think I know better. /snark

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1742797601 Deanna Joy Lyons

      A 24 week old premature baby requires huge amounts of medical care and is still at great risk of death. Your above statement is a lie, promoted by “pro-life” organizations and religious figures. 

      • Greg Segelov

        It is not a lie – my nephew was born at such a gestation and although he required a great deal of care, he has zero lasting affects today six years on. He only required help breathing as his lungs were not fully developed. EVERY other bodily function was as you or I. If you left a fully gestational baby out in the cold they would also die. Humans are the most reliant mammals as infants, that is just biology

        Let me restate: I am NOT against abortion. I am against abortion at such a gestation that the foetus WILL suffer a cruel and VERY painful end. This applies specifically to the UK where woman do not have to undergo arduous and unnecessary wait and delay tactics. I am well aware that woman must have protection with respects to their own bodies, I only argue that those rights have limits that do not impinge on the rights of another creature with a fully developed nervous system. at 23 weeks, just a week shy of the cut-off point for legal abortion here, a foetus can feel pain, and abortion does cause harm to both mother and unborn child.

        Just in case you didn’t catch my previous post in this thread, I am pro-choice.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I have no problem with people being opposed to abortion. The position is perfectly defensible when framed as an issue of values. But it is very disturbing to see science misused in this way.

    It is unquestionable that a human fetus is human. Once the male and female chromosomal contributions fuse, a genetically unique human exists- although whether this human should be qualified as a “being” is arguable. But that is a matter of language and legal definition, not science. All science tells us is that we have a genetically unique organism which has the potential to become a sentient human being.

    Certainly, it is correct to recognize that there is no consensus distinguishing a biological human and a “person”. That is a purely legal distinction that can never be answered scientifically. Science, of course, can provide rational reasons to help us reach a reasonable definition here, but that is all. The question remains one of values, not scientific fact.

    Similarly, the idea that any human being (in the biological sense) is entitled “human rights” is a matter of values, and science is unable to play any role at all in addressing the matter. Consensus is unlikely, given that there is no agreement on what rights are, or even the extent to which human rights differ from rights that might be due other species.

    The question of abortion need not center around religion at all. It is perfectly reasonable to me that an atheist might be opposed to abortion- indeed, I would find it peculiar if all atheists found abortion morally acceptable. And I can completely respect the opinion of anybody opposed to abortion (while disagreeing with them) if their beliefs are derived from a philosophical value on life itself. That is not a position that can be reasonably challenged. But when a person uses pseudoscience to justify their view, and further, seeks to legally impose that view on others, I have no respect for their position at all.

    • amycas

       “if their beliefs are derived from a philosophical value on life itself.”

      The problem arises from the fact that more often than not, they are ignoring the life of the woman. They would pass laws that harm women and cost women’s lives, but somehow their anti-abortion stance is predicated on some philosophical valuation of life. It’s hypocritical and makes no sense. Show me where SPL also favors comprehensive sex education and easy affordable (or free) access to birth control, and I might change my mind about that particular organization. I have seen no efforts form any anti-abortion organization to help on those fronts, so I’m less inclined to believe that they really care about life.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        I’m not saying their position is consistent or particularly rational. But a value position doesn’t need to be. If they’d just be honest and say they think abortion is wrong just because… I could at least accept that. Not agree with it, but accept that their moral code leads them there. But all the rationalizing and pseudoscientific BS really damages any credibility they might have.

        If you’re not religious, what other reason can there be to oppose abortion except some sort of value on life- at least, on unborn human life? There may be some odd dissonance with respect to the relative value placed on different aspects of life, but it’s still an internal moral position.

        • amycas

          I agree with you. I was just pointing out why I don’t believe the “we value life” from most anti-abortion groups. 

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/WMOVDQMRY6QCEWJQMCKNLKB7KM TheBoss

          Sure people can have what ever values they want, but to put something into law and enforce it you better have proof. Perhaps that’s just coming from my own values which says that laws as much as possible should not be arbitrary. But I think this is a value most would hold to some significant degree.

          Science can answer this question. We know that consciousness requires certain neurological prerequisites. I would say that once the fetus is conscious at all, experiencing anything then it ceases to be merely an object and becomes an entity experiencing life(even if it’s just a dream the brain has cobbled together from various stimuli). That’s when abortion should stop being legal.

          Basing it on birth on the grounds given in this article that “birth” establishes a connection to the community is dangerous in part because you could easily turn this into an argument that any group of people or indeed individual people that society decides it would be better off without cease to be people and may be killed.

          A better starting point is “why is murder something that ought to be prohibited?” Because it takes away the most basic thing a person has, the ability to experience life, the one thing that distinguishes being a person from being an object. That is why it makes sense to base personhood on possessing the neurology necessary to “perceive”. Once that is there then abortion becomes murder. Before that you are just removing tissue. I don’t know exactly when that point would be, but my stance is whenever perception begins it should be considered a person. My stance is Life begins at Perception.

          That it’s still violating the woman’s autonomy because the fetus is using her body is a spurious argument for allowing abortion. Comparing the cost of having to endure 9 months of carrying around a baby in your abdomen versus having your life end it’s not hard to see who is worsely impacted. The only exception past the point of perception should be if it is medically necessary. Then it is akin to self-defense. As to the comparison to if someone had to be hooked up to someone else to live I would argue that yes if it was for a limited enough time and the everyday burden on one’s person were finite enough this would be acceptable, especially if it’s just for 9 months and doesn’t seriously encumber one’s ability to live a normal life in the meantime. Which is why I give a broad reading to medical exceptions, even if it’s just that the woman will have to be bedridden for 9 months and then will be fine but if she aborts she will be able to move around normally then I’d let her have the abortion even past the point of perception, provided she found out about the medical issues only after that point or barely before it.

          • Vitement

            Mr Boss, I really like the rational approach you have taken (and it is such a delight to see people discussing rather than insulting each other over a delicate subject!). My question is why we only consider the 9 months the woman will be carrying the child. After giving birth, the woman will become a mother and will often have to care and look after the child. Assuming she fell pregnant unintentionally and is thus unprepared, surely her life will be ‘ruined’ and the child too will not be properly cared for? And that doesn’t even account for her loyal partner/family/friends.
            I’m thinking of university or high-school students for example, who are studying in order to acquire better jobs in order to provide the safety and security a family requires. Falling pregnant and having to drop out of one’s studies would ruin all this, and would be far too expensive to take up again. Do you see what I mean?

      • Kristine Kruszelnicki

         Clearly you have not read SPL’s website.  You’re dismissing SPL based on a caricature of what you suppose a pro-life group to be.  

        That said, contraception is not the be-all and end all.   Allan Guttmacher institute demonstrates that at least half of women who seek out abortions were using contraception at the time they got pregnant.    No contraception will prevent all unwanted pregnancies all the time. 

        The question therefore rests on whether or not a fetus is a biological human being and member of our species, despite its early stage of development and increased degree of dependency.    If the unborn are human beings, then the question is: how do we treat a human being whose presence is inconvenient?

        • amycas

          I characterized it has such because every other anti-abortion group I’ve ever seen does not advocate for comprehensive sex education and easy access to birth control. If they do, then I retract that about this particular organization (which I said so in my comment). I’m not dismissing SPL though simply based on  that characterization, I dismiss SPL because they dismiss the agency of women over their own bodies.

          And nobody ever said contraception doesn’t fail. But get this, with the pill and condoms, the failure rate for accurate use everytime is very low. This means that part of the reason why people who are on contraception still get pregnant is because they didn’t use it correctly, which goes back to comprehensive sex education. Even with comprehensive sex education and free access to birth control, I know there will always be a demand for some abortions, whether for personal or medical reasons. I’m not advocating that once we have sex-ed and birth control for all that we should make abortion illegal. I just meant that those who are anti-abortion tend to not support initiatives that would lower the instances of abortion.

          Finally, of course a fetus is a biological human being. My argument is that it has a right to live, the same as all other human beings, but it doesn’t have the right to use another’s body without consent, the same as all other human beings. I’m not treating fetuses any different than I treat all other humans. 

          • DZnDef

            “…but it doesn’t have the right to use another’s body without consent”. Does it have a choice?

          • DZnDef

            If science advanced to a point where a fetus could be successfully removed and finish developing in a lab (funded by prospective adoptive parents) in a procedure no more invasive than an abortion, would your stand on abortion change?

            • amycas

              I think the definition of the term “abortion” would probably change at the point were a fetus could be removed. What about an embryo? What about a zygote? Should these also be removed and “grown” in a test tube in order to be adopted by others? If it can be removed and grown on its own and somebody else can take care of it, and it would be no more harmfl to the woman then I would see that as a change in how abortions are performed.

            • amycas

              I think the definition of the term “abortion” would probably change at the point were a fetus could be removed. What about an embryo? What about a zygote? Should these also be removed and “grown” in a test tube in order to be adopted by others? If it can be removed and grown on its own and somebody else can take care of it, and it would be no more harmfl to the woman then I would see that as a change in how abortions are performed.

      • Guestaroo

         They do advocate comprehensive sex education and access to BC.  Look at their web site

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    The author’s quarrel with SPL and other secular pro-lifers about fetal
    personhood is not scientific, it is philosophical. I’ve noticed an
    unfortunate tendency among some scientists and pro-science people to
    assume that because they value science, their philosophical positions
    are therefore the scientifically correct ones. That’s not so.

    • m.litho

      Agreement

  • Octoberfurst

      I personally am uncomfortable with abortion but I totally understand why some women want and need  to terminate their pregnancies and will fight to keep abortion legal.  What bugs me the most is that most “pro-lifers” that I have met are against sex education in schools, don’t want contraceptives made easily available and are against programs that would help young mothers: i.e. government sponsored day care, WIC programs, etc.  They seem to have the opinion that the babies life is precious as long as it is in the womb but once the baby is born its “You’re on your own kid!”  

    • amycas

       I had a discussion with a Catholic guy a little while ago. He kept calling himself pro-life but then he said he would never advocate for laws that restrict abortion because he knew that those laws cause more harm. I finally had to point out to him that regardless of his personal views about abortion, as long as he would never advocate for laws against it that we have no quarrel and for all intents and purposes he is “pro-choice.”

    • Margaret Whitestone

       You got it.  They aren’t pro-life but anti-choice.  They don’t give a damn about that little snowflake once it leaves the uterus because then it’s just another lazy “moocher” (to use the words of their hero Ayn Rand) and it would only be encouraging dependency if we gave the family “entitlements” to help them take care of the child.   Let the kid get a job if it needs money for food, diapers, clothing and all the rest. 

  • advancedatheist

    I’ve come around to viewing abortion as a bad thing for another reason: I think women’s sexual freedom tends to harm society, and that patriarchy arose spontaneously, without central planning, as an evolutionary response to try to limit this damage by putting restrictions on women’s ability to hook up with random bad boys and cads without consequences. 

    According to empirical evidence, which atheists claim they cherish above all else, women have a surprisingly low “slut threshold” which spoils them for stable marriages:

    http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2010/09/sexual-partner-divorce-risk.html 

    Just because the value placed on female sexual abstinence and virginity comes from religious traditions, it doesn’t follow that these values derive from superstition in the  way that god beliefs do. (Liberal atheists like PZ display willful blindness about the difference.) The consequences of sexual behavior fall within the realm of empiricism, which means that we can test patriarchal beliefs using the methods of science. If these findings tend to support the patriarchal wisdom tradition by putting women in a bad light – well, you can’t blame that result on gods now, can you?

    • Blitzgal

      Oh, hello MRA.

    • Glasofruix

      I think women’s sexual freedom tends to harm society

      What? Is my sarcasm detector malfunctionning or are you for real?

    • ruth

      People often confuse what might have evolved as somehow being “right.”  Evolution knows no right or wrong.    And with respect to human behavior, evolutionary explanations are almost always speculative and rarely scientific.   

    • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

       Oh, Jesus Christ. I love how it’s women’s sexual freedom that harms society. Men’s sexual freedom is awesome. And since straight guys still are going to want to get their dicks wet, they’ll still actually expect women to be sexual — they’ll just punish us for it.

    • onamission5

      Yes, we can all see you. No, you’re not clever or funny.

    • Octoberfurst

       So women’s “sexual freedom” harms society eh?  Yes we should keep those little trollops on a short leash lest they cause society’s downfall.  I noticed you didn’t mention MEN’s sexual freedom as being a bad thing—just women’s. Misogynistic much?   Please come back and chat when you have a few more working brain cells.

    • Sue Blue

      Refer to my comment about the extent of men’s control over the reproductive process.  It ends at the tip of your dick.  If you don’t like the fact that women control it from then on, you always have the option to keep your dick in your pants.  
      You are just another man who thinks that women exist only for your pleasure and control, and that a woman that has her own sexual needs and desires is a succubus out to enslave your penis.  Unless she’s willing to grow your seed for you on your own terms she’s worthless, right?  Well, here’s a shocker for you Stone Age manly men – women are people.  That’s right – women are actually members of the species H. Sapiens!  Imagine that!  Women have brains – not just tits and vaginas!  Women like to do things with their lives other than squeeze out babies!  What a concept!  So sorry if the light blinded you when you crawled out of your cave.

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

      That was the FUNNIEST post I have read in ages! Try the prime rib, he’s here all week!

    • amycas

       Wow, I really hope xe’s being sarcastic.

      • Margaret Whitestone

         He’s not.  He really thinks if women don’t buy into the notion that their only purpose in life is to breed and serve the patriarchy that they’re somehow broken.

        • amycas

          I’ve seen him post misogynist crap before, but he’s never been this blatant. Most MRA’s argue that the patriarchy doesn’t exist. This guy (is xe a guy?) comes out and says not only does the patriarcy exist, but xe fully supports it. My mind is boggled.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      Why the fuck do you keep commenting here? 

  • ruth

    It is all about drawing lines.  Way back in the 70s when the Supreme Court legalized abortion the court did a good job of discussing those lines and when the state can have a interest that overrides that of the pregnant woman.  People should go back and read Roe v. Wade.  

    So where do these anti-abortion atheists want to draw the line?  At fertilization?  If so, that is just peculiar and seems to be more about control over women than about some kind of right for a fertilized egg to develop into a human.  Especially given how many spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) there are.   On the other hand not many are willing to draw the line at the moment before birth.  People have too much of a visceral reaction to that.  Frankly, I can understand that in some societies and with people who are struggling not to starve to death that even a newborn may be sacrificed by abandonment.  There is no soul in any event and there is no self without consciousness.  What evidence of consciousness is there in a newborn?  But yes, there would be pain and we value preventing human pain more than we value preventing animal pain.   And we do seem to have this drive to grow the species, even though we have grown the population far larger than it should be.  But whatever, even I am too squeamish for near to birth abortion.  

    So, I go back to Roe v. Wade and figure that it did a good job of drawing lines.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    Seeing that graph showing pro-choice is down to 41% from 59% really makes me sick to my stomach.  Seriously, what is wrong with this country??  And all these secular anti-choice groups?

  • Sue Blue

    Not all atheists/agnostics/secularists took their position due to an interest in, or understanding of, science, particularly biology.  There are many reasons why a person might not be religious; it is a failing to assume they must all be rational, evidence-based, or scientific – or even intelligent.  For instance, my husband identifies as an agnostic because he never went to church as a child and thought it was “dumb”.  Although he’s a mechanical engineer, he admits he doesn’t know much about biology or evolution, and it doesn’t form a large part of his worldview.  Fortunately for me, he’s pro-choice not because of science, but because he views women as autonomous equals, not just vaginas and wombs.  He also once said that, physically and logistically, a man’s control over the reproductive process ends at the tip of his penis.  The only say he has in the matter is where his semen goes.  What happens after that is up to the woman – it’s HER body, and if a man doesn’t like that fact, he can keep his penis in his pants.
    As far as “personhood” goes, I’ve always thought that the age of viability is a good guide.  When a fetus can survive outside the womb, that’s when it becomes a person.  Before that, it is “human” in the same sense a tumor is “human” – it’s a growth composed of human cells, dependent on the woman’s blood for oxygen and nutrients.  We don’t give human rights to human organs, tumors, ova, sperm, or other cells or collections of cells.   People that use the argument of “human potential” at conception fail to follow their argument to its logical conclusion.  All human cells are potential humans; they all contain a complete set of DNA.  A human skin cell could, with cloning techniques, become a complete human being.  Each sperm and ova have the “potential” to become human beings.  Yet nobody seriously considers it genocide when a man ejaculates anywhere besides a vagina or a woman menstruates.  Besides, it’s a well-known fact that up to a third of all pregnancies spontaneously abort in the first trimester.  Think of the legal boondoggle that would ensue if every miscarriage had to be investigated to determine if the mother caused it in some way.  
    Being able to survive outside the uterus – being “born” alive – is to me the only sensible definition of an individual “person”.

  • Guest

    My guess has been the upgrade in technology.  You look at some of those scan pics today from ultrasounds, even at early in the pregnancy, and it’s tough, very tough, to pull the old Phil Donahue ‘it’s just a bunch of cells’.  Those scans today could be framed and hung on a wall.  With that, many may be thinking that the legendary fetus may actually be a developing baby after all.  And while aborting a fetus is one thing, aborting a baby?  That’s a whole ‘nuther ball game.

    • amycas

       Really? because my sister’s ultrasound from just 10 months ago looked like a peanut. I doubt she would have had a hard time aborting her pregnancy based on that ultrasound (that is of course, if it hadn’t been a well-planned and very much wanted pregnancy). Of course though, it’s always ok in your book to try to emotionally manipulate people into agreeing with you.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “The pro-life movement has gone through a similar transformation. Groups
    like SPL declare themselves “pro-life for a reason” and agree with
    conservative author and radio producer Dustin Siggins,
    who wants the pro-life movement to stop using biblical arguments to
    debate abortion. “The science of life is in our favor,” states Siggins,
    “and we should emphasize this.”

    I hate when people abuse science to try and support their ideological world views. There is no scientific statement of when life begins. Just a guess, but I have a feeling the same group that states a fetus is a human is the same group that would force someone who wants to die to stay alive.

    You can try to dress it up however you want, but it is very hard to argue against abortion with secular ideas. The secular arguments are just reflections of the religious ones.

    • http://twitter.com/cr0sh Andrew Ayers

      Technically, this isn’t about when “life begins”; that part is handled by the various theories surrounding abiogenesis, and has no place in reproduction. Reproduction is merely a continuation of life: The egg is alive, the sperm is alive, and when they join, a process of cell division occurs which may (or may not) result in further viable life. For some reason though, many people have this strange “idea” that the egg and the sperm (ie, individual cells) aren’t alive – or at least in their terminology they seem to approach it that way. What the debate should be about is when does “sentience” occur – that is, “the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences” (from Wikipedia). That would be the more accurate terminology.

  • SJH

     Still not sure why atheists insist that atheists must be pro-choice. There seems to be no compelling reason given here as to why a fetus is not a human. How is birth not simply another transition in our life similar to puberty. The whole idea that an unborn baby if dependent on his/her mother is silly since a newborn baby is almost as dependent.

    And what is this statement that birth is the “universal entrance into any community”? That is simply not true. When a woman finds out she is pregnant she has baby showers, gifts are purchased for the baby, savings accounts are opened. Families are mobilized to care for the mother and unborn baby. Pictures are taken of the baby and placed on facebook and people begin to watch and listen for the next update. Sounds to me like a life has entered the community.

    • amycas

       “How is birth not simply another transition in our life similar to puberty.”

      Because at birth you are no longer dependent on the woman’s body.

      “When a woman finds out she is pregnant she has baby showers, gifts are purchased for the baby, savings accounts are opened.”

      Baby showers are not held if the woman has an abortion. A woman finding out she’s pregnant is not the catalyst for baby showers and new savings accounts. A woman deciding she wants to stay pregnant and wants to be a mother is the catalyst for baby showers and savings accounts. A new life enters the community when that community recognizes it as a new life. There have been some communities that don’t recognize it as a new life until about 3 months after birth.

    • Sailorsguide

       “There seems to be no compelling reason given here as to why a fetus is not a human.”
      The compelling reason is that if you entered a burning building with 300 fetuses in test tubes waiting for implant and one live baby in a cot, and you could only rescue one – you will always rescue the baby

      • amycas

         I can never get anybody to answer that hypothetical for me.

        • grerp

          Because it’s ridiculous.  Fetuses do not implant, embryos do.  Fetuses have umbilical cords that attach *to their mothers.*  And women in this analogy are burning buildings?  Women aren’t burning, and if you do not molest or tamper with the pregnant ones, they deliver live babies in just a few months.

          • amycas

             No, the burning building thing isn’t an analogy. It’s a hypothetical situation to test whether or not somebody really values embryos as actual babies (because so many pro-lifers call them babies all the time). If you think embryos are babies, then why would anybody save one two-year-old over 200,000* embryos? Maybe pro-lifers don’t answer because they apparently don’t understand the question.

            *I don’t remember how many were proposed in the original comment, and this comment has been divorced from that part of the thread.

  • ReasoanableRob

    A secular argument against abortion is perfectly reasonable: why is birth important? Why does a baby have rights when it is born, but if you rewind the clock 3 hours to pre-birth, its “just a foetus” and has no rights? At what point between birth and conception is the developing embryo suddenly worthless? I think in order to be truly consistent, one who believes abortion is acceptable should believe that infanticide is acceptable. Babies don’t usually have most characteristics associated with person-hood until they are around 3 years old. And to be honest the concept of “vialbility” is laughable, children can’t survive independently until they are in their mid-teens, does that make it acceptable to kill them?

    I think abortion should b a last resort, safe, legal and rare, but I do think it is a sad thing to have to do and completely sympathise (and agree) with people who think it is immoral.

  • Marco Conti

    It seems to me that a lot of people have lost track of the reason why abortion was made legal in the first place. 
    In a perfect world, or even just a “pretty good” world I would like to see no need for abortion. In a society with good and available contraception, where sex is considered a natural part of life and not something to either fear or worship, abortion would be rare and confined to specific medical cases.

    In our society one of the reasons that abortion was made legal was that it was happening anyway, but either in posh private clinics for the rich or dangerous back alleys for the poor.

    Those against abortion should concentrate on making abortion obsolete by promoting contraception and sex education, but instead the religious ones compound the problem by preaching abstinence and making sure that once the baby is born the mother and baby are ignored and vilified by the rest of society. One would hope that secularist anti abortion types at least would place a much larger emphasis on education and prevention, as well as post natal care. That would give them at least some moral high ground.

    But both ignore the fact that abortions will happen, and do happen, anyway regardless of how many clinics close or how much they intimidate doctors.

    • http://twitter.com/Frenzie Frans

      This. So very much. You want to stop abortions? Well, how about proper sex education on the one hand and proper support for single mothers on the other?

    • Alex

      Thank you. “Give the baby a chance!” until it’s born. After that, both the said baby and its mother can both go and fuck themselves. Just don’t be a burden on hard-workin’ Amurcans. Oh, and how can one forget death penalty — so much for an (“the first!” — to quote the photo) inalienable right.

  • Sailorsguide

    The argument about how moral, good, or bad abortion is, is somewhat moot. Anti-abortion legislation does not stop abortions. I grew up when abortions were illegal. Young women went to unsafe back street abortionists all the time. All legislation does is make the abortions less safe. Therefore making abortions illegal is just a way to spite women who will insist on their right to decide whether they are ready to bring a child into the world, whatever anyone else’s moral sensitivities might be. Bottom line if you think person hood starts at sperm, don’t masturbate, if you think person hood starts at fertilization don’t have an abortion if you get pregnant. Make your own choices about your own morality don’t force them on others.
    If anything women have fewer abortions when they are legal:
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/646805-analysis-why-it-s-irrational-to-risk-women-s-lives-for-the-sake-of-the-unborn

  • Clinton

    Wow…Herman, I doubt you’ve ever opened a book on logic. Your article is rife with logical fallacies and just plain faulty reasoning. The fact of the matter is the science and philosophical arguments all support the pro-life side. There’s just more explanatory power from our side of the equation.

    • Clinton

      Oops, I meant Marco. I guess Herman is someone else.

  • http://twitter.com/patrickptomey Patrick Ptomey

    Clearly a fetus inside a woman’s uterus is a squirrel until birth. I just don’t understand how pro-life people can be so unaware.

    • amycas

       Umm, no. Nobody said that a fetus is some other species until birth. Most would say a fetus is a human, but that it’s not a person yet.

      • Faith_Workman

        “Person” is a legal term.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I’m not, like, thrilled about abortions.

    But I am absolutely terrified of pregnancy. I want the right to terminate the parasite, should my birth control fail and the worst happens.

  • Guestaroo

    This article is absolutely stupid silly.  Take away the political rambling, the flavor some groups have of oppressing/liberating women, blah blah.  In my view as an atheist,  we are the only ones who should really be concerned with ending abortion.  A christian thinks the baby will go to heaven.  A Buddhist thinks that he or she will be reborn.  An atheist knows there is no reason in the universe to suspect there is something after death, and thus, this life is all we have.  To kill one of us, no matter what stage of life we are at, is to end the only thing that they will ever have.

  • The Captain

    Marco Rosaire Rossi kinda missis the target here. The reason the pro-choice side has been loosing the debate over the last few decades has little to do with the grounding of their logic, it’s that they refuse to have the debate at all! You can’t have one side screaming “baby” “baby” “baby” and the other side crying “choice”. If they convince people that it is a “baby” then a “choice” does not exist in the first place. The argument is not about “choice” it’s “it’s not a fucking baby in the first place, and you have no right to force that ridiculous belief on anyone!”. 
    The pro-choice establishment allows the anti-abortionist to frame the debate every time. That’s why they are loosing. Just look at what’s happing in the news this week. Republicans are making stupid statements, and platform planks against abortion in the case of rape. And the pro-choice pundits are all whining about that in cases of rape, when they should be saying abortion is fine even when not raped. 

    • Rwlawoffice

       The reason why your proposition will fail is because everyone on both sides of this debate knows its a baby.  All of the pro abortion rhetoric about it being something else is known to be false.  These women who are having an abortion are doing so because they don’t want to have a baby and they know this will be the end result of the pregnancy.  It is not because  they have a clump of cells or a parasite removed that will be anything but a baby.

       So call it whatever medical name you want to give it at whatever stage of development it is and it will still be a baby. It is obvious but people try to disconnect from what they are doing in order to rationalize it, but everyone knows what is actually going on.

      • The Captain

        Sigh: My post was directed entirely toward the debate and media tactics of each side, not the actual arguments. 

        But no, it’s NOT a baby. And frankly you have no good argument that it is. Now understand I’m saying this as some one who has had countless debates on this issue for decades, and I have never ever heard one antiabortionist give a reason that a pile of goo with no brain is a “baby” that did not boil down to a childish “because I say so”, or was built entirely upon a logical fallacy, religion or criteria that they apply to nothing else in life. 

        • Rwlawoffice

           As someone who has also debated this issue for decades I have yet to hear any argument from the pro abortion side that is anything other than an attempt to avoid the obvious.  Women who have abortions are doing so to stop a pregnancy that will result in a baby.  They are not removing a cancerous clump of cells, they are not removing a tapeworm parasite.  They know and understand that if they do not end the pregnancy they will end up delivering a baby.  So once again, you can call it whatever medical terminology you want at whatever stage of the development it happens to be and at all stages it will be the development stage of a human being, i.e. a baby.  This “pile of goo with no brain” actually has a working brain and a beating heart by week 3 of development. Well before most abortions are performed. 

          • The Captain

            3 weeks in an embryo is STARTING to develop a brain heart and spinal cord, that does not mean it HAS them or that they are working. And as you are proving you are boiling your argument down to “because I say so”.

            • Rwlawoffice

               Saying something that is the obvious is not “because I said so”. It is simply the truth.  The notion that you want to make artificial distinctions without a difference does not defeat that truth.

      • Margaret Whitestone

        You don’t seem to understand words so maybe pictures will help.

        • Rwlawoffice
          • Margaret Whitestone

             Funny, that actually contradicts your  claim that the fetus has a working brain and heart at 3 weeks.  They’re not there until 4 MONTHS.  Most abortions occur during the first 3 months. Keep lying for the Lord, but science wins every time. 

            • Rwlawoffice

              Actually that slide show said nothing of the sort. But I will be more specific. By week three the heart of the baby has begun beating (it has actually been detected at 18 days). The brain is present and providing some function. It will continue to develop of course.

  • cipher

    Rwlawoffice: The reason why your proposition will fail is because everyone on both sides of this debate knows its a baby… It is obvious but people try to disconnect from what they are doing in
    order to rationalize it, but everyone knows what is actually going on.

    Of course. Everyone knows it’s a baby. All atheists know God exists. It is patently evident that the Texan represents the pinnacle of humanity.

    Hemant, Richard – could you please ban this troglodyte?

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       Seconded, with extra “please”.

    • Rwlawoffice

      Name calling and seeking to silence. My assessment of your ability to discuss issues is correct-lightweight.

  • Doctor Jen

    There are three categories of people whom we do not allow complete control over what happens to their bodies: 1. prisoners (because they are being punished); 2. soldiers (who have volunteered and accept relative loss of freedom as essential to the functioning of the armed services at large) and 3. children (for whom we make decisions because they are presumed to lack the judgement required to decide for themselves.)  Into which of those categories would you put a woman with an unwanted pregnancy?  Some folks seem to think that certain rights are “absolute.”  This is a fantasy.  All rights are contingent upon others we will always need to prioritize one person’s rights over another’s.  I simply do not believe that an embryo or early-gestational-age fetus without consciousness (and which never WAS conscious) and with no relationship to anything at all in the world besides the uterine wall to which it is attached has more rights that the woman carrying it.

    • Agnostic

      Is it possible to tell when consciousness begins. It certainly cannot be shown in modern day technology. Who makes the decision for a retarded female who does not fully understand what she is doing to her own body since this does not fit into any of the 3 categories mentioned?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Let’s see, if she cannot fully understand a medical procedure, she certainly couldn’t have consented to sex…

  • Agnostic

    Out of curiosity, I went to YouTube to check on fetal scans. Surprise, surprise I found one which show fetal heartbeat at 22 days. There is an 8 week scan which shows that the fetus already has head and body. It is easy to be distant when you do not see the development and growth of the fetus. Women may want to abort for all sorts of practical reasons but I am not so sure that the argument that it is not taking away life should be included.

  • http://twitter.com/nancy222222 Nancy H.

    I don’t care if it is Religion or atheism no one should take the rights of women away from them always Prochoice never prolife, shame on any atheist group that aligns its self with any organization that hates women. That is a fact, any group in support of prolife hates women.

    • DZnDef

      I’m a woman and I don’t hate me.

    • DZnDef

      Nancy – if there were a procedure exactly like abortion but where the fetus was allowed to continue to mature in a lab that was funded by prospective adoptive parents, could we then ban abortion? The woman would have control over her body in the sense that the fetus would be removed at no more risk/pain than an abortion. Do you believe the woman has a right to decide whether it lives or dies after it is outside of her body?

  • Viktor L. Corningstone

    What a tremendously well-informed and unbiased view offered by a Planned Parenthood employee! You’ve made all of us pro-choice folks look like fucking idiots!

    Let me say one thing: defending abortion based on the view that a fetus is not a human being is completely nonsensical, illogical, and an indefensible position.

    I’m pro-choice. But I’m also capable of following an argument to its logical conclusions.

    Let’s say I point a gun at somebody’s head and pull the trigger. Just before the bullet makes contact, I’m not a murderer yet, right?

    No, I’m a fucking murderer. Sure, I haven’t yet committed the legal definition of homicide because the person isn’t dead. Under this article’s reasoning, I ought to be off the hook for any moral blameworthiness right up until the moment I actually cause harm.

    But this is based on a flawed and human understanding of time. It doesn’t matter that the fetus can’t feel pain, can’t support itself, etc. (Which, by the way, are all features that can and have been shared by adults with various disabilities and medical conditions. Are they alive? Under this article’s absurd reasoning, I’d be perfectly justified in killing them….OH WAIT. I forgot the mystical attachment of humanity that occurs at “birth”! Damn those premature babies. They’re getting in on the action too early). S/he was going to be born in a few months.

    The way to defend abortion is to recognize that it involves killing, and make arguments for why this is the lesser of two evils. The logical person’s pro-choice stance is an intrinsically utilitarian position that involves arguments about the overall social welfare.

    I personally think we should dramatically increase the amount of abortions. Social utility would increase tremendously.

  • paul kelly

    Human Life begins at conception as is proven by the fact that the world is pretty well populated .Abortion at any stage of development of the baby in the mothers womb is the killing of a boy or girl who is denied the opportunity to live a life as part of the human family.Medical intervention to save a womans life which may result in the death of the unborn child is acceptable providing every effort is also made to save the unborn child.However abortion is now a very lucrative business financially and is not in any way linked to protection of mothers health.Exploitation of vulnerable women formed by a society lost in a morass of promiscuity has left millions of Americans denied the right to life.Billions of dollars spent on all forms of contraception and still the killing goes on.Who is fooling who?America needs to say STOP,and ask where is it all heading,maybe it is too late,with over 55 million babies already dead,a whole nation not allowed to have life.!!!The Land of the Free!!! MONEY,MONEY,MONEY!!!

  • DZnDef

    Wow. I’m so disappointed. I googled pro life atheist to find others that think like me. You seem to believe an atheist can’t be pro life. While you are entitled to your opinion, it is just that. Those of us lucky enough to exist for a short time have won the lottery. Why deny someone else the opportunity to exist? We are each uniquely defined by our DNA, genes and later our life experiences. At conception, that unique individual has beaten all odds and has been created. They have only one shot to exist and you believe its ok to take it away from them? They’re not inter-changeable. I am not my sister even though we have the same parents. Each of us is unique at conception. We exist at conception. We are alive at conception. What right do any of us have to end a life? Or allow it to continue for some but deny it for others? The only difference between a fetus and a baby is the mother’s frame of mind. Tell a woman who involuntarily miscarries at 3 months that it wasn’t actually a baby and prepare to be smacked. Existence is great! Let everyone exist and let them choose for themselves if they want to cease to exist at some point.

  • Daniel Elliott

    When someone says that I’m not promoting sound science with one of my beliefs, I expect an argument based on sound science. That’s not what we get here. Citing human rights documents has nothing to do with science, so throw out those paragraphs. Marginalized groups… also irrelevant. Certain pro-life groups citing bad science doesn’t prove anything other than that some people will happily cite bad science if they think it will support their cause. Fetal pain? What does feeling physical pain have to do with making you human? I suppose people with CIPA should be informed that they aren’t human. Gallup poles? Really? Not science. You are the one pushing bad science. Let’s make it simple and start from the beginning. How does science prove that human life begins at birth?


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