First, I think women should be able to choose when and if to have children, and that means supporting their right to birth control and abortion. And indeed, the more we encourage contraceptive use and comprehensive sex education, the fewer abortions will be needed. Even then, of course, contraception sometimes fails, fetuses sometimes have severe abnormalities, and women sometimes find their lives threatened even by wanted pregnancies.
Second, I do not believe that the zygote is a fetus or “person” with moral or legal rights. Determining what is and is not a “person” is obviously complicated, and I’ll admit that late-term abortions can seem morally troubling. However, I don’t believe in the existence of a divine “soul” implanted at conception or any other stage, and I most definitely don’t think a first or second trimester fetus has even a breath of claim to personhood or rights.
Third, I see birth as a firm dividing line because until then the fetus inhabits a woman’s body. A woman’s body is private property – it’s hers. She shouldn’t be forced to let another being live in it. Once that other being is out of her body, that’s when it gets rights. Until then, any rights it is given would be taking away from the woman’s rights over her own body. And to me, that matters.
Key Posts on Reproductive Rights
Losing Faith in the Pro-Life Movement, and Followup Posts
On the Death of Savita Hallapanavar:
Resources on Reproductive Rights
Why I Am Pro-Life, from the New York Times
Politically Coerced by Faith, from Emily Has Books
For Moderately-Conservative Family and Friends at the 11th Hour, on Huffington Post
The “Biblical View” That’s Younger Than the Happy Meal, on The Slacktivist
How Evangelicals Decided That Life Begins at Conception, on Huffington Post
Fetal Personhood and Criminalizing Abortion: A Prosecutor’s Perspective, on The Dead Authors’ Club
No 5K for the Biggest Killer, on the Slacktivist
Life Begins at Conception. That’s Not the Point., on RH Reality Check
What’s the Typical Effectiveness Rate for Abstinence? on Scarleteen
Anti-Birth-Control or Anti-Woman? on Who I Am Without You
Let’s Get Real about Abortions, by David Frum on CNN
The Bible Tells Us When a Fetus Becomes a Living Being, on The Christian Left
What Happens When There Is No Abortion Law, by Dr. Jen Gunter