Pro-choice and pro life

I consider myself both pro-choice and pro-life, because I support a woman’s right to choose and I oppose capital punishment. I’ve heard reasoned and nuanced arguments from both sides on these controversial issues, and I appreciate people who make it a point to listen to those with whom they disagree. What I don’t appreciate are pandering politicians like Texas Governor Rick Perry, who take simple positions with bible-based answers, while ignoring any evidence-based, opposing points of view.

You would think that those who oppose abortion under any circumstances and view it as the greatest evil would necessarily favor practical steps to reduce the number of abortions. I’m talking about government funding to promote sex education in schools and accessibility to condoms by sexually active teens. And for poor pregnant women who want to give birth, government funded prenatal health care, day-care programs, and other support systems. But perhaps punishing women for being sexually active and lowering taxes are even greater priorities than addressing abortion in those practical ways.

Were we living under biblical law, and praise be to the U. S. Constitution we are not, I could still advocate for my positions. The bible says that if two men are fighting and knock down a pregnant woman, then the death penalty is imposed on the perpetrator if the woman dies, but only a fine if the fetus is aborted (Exodus 21:22-25). And an abortion is even required if the woman is impregnated by a man who is not her husband (Numbers 5:11-31). So abortion is not that big a deal, biblically speaking.

As for capital punishment, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7) and “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). And what better argument exists for the abolition of the death penalty than that Jesus was given capital punishment for a crime he didn’t commit?

So what have I proved? Absolutely nothing! We could just as easily quote scripture for the opposite point of view. Here’s a thought for politicians to consider. Give good secular arguments for the positions you take, instead of relying on selected passages from a book written a couple thousand years ago. As much as you might admire ancient writers, they were only human. We’ve learned a lot in the past two thousand years.

Here’s a question for you. What do the countries in each of the two following groups have in common, and in which one does the United States belong?

1. Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Uganda.

2. Australia, Canada, Denmark Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

The United States is part of the first list, countries with the death penalty. Now guess which group most favors applying ancient scriptures when writing laws. It’s the same group that is more likely to oppose abortions and find cause to go to war.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/pro-choice-and-pro-life/2011/09/13/gIQAk3P5PK_blog.html

About Herb Silverman

Herb Silverman is Founder and President of the Secular Coalition for America, and founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, South Carolina. He was founder and faculty advisor to the College of Charleston student Atheist/Humanist Alliance. He is a board member of the American Humanist Association as well as a Humanist Celebrant, advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance, and member of the Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He has served on the boards of the Atheist Alliance and the Humanist Institute. He has written for "On Faith" at the Washington Post and for the Huffington Post. He has spoken at a number of conferences and written articles for many freethought publications. He has appeared in a number of debates on topics like: Can we be moral without God? Does God exist? Is America a Christian nation? He has also debated at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England on the topic: Does American Religion Undermine American Values? Here is information on his recent book, Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt
http://pitchstonepublishing.com/site/candidate_without_a_prayer.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Herb,

    The most devastating comment I have ever heard about the "Pro-life" zealots is that they believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth. Exactly. Here in Texas, under the sponsorship of radio pundit-turned-state-senator Dan Patrick, a bill just became law requiring a woman seeking an abortion in Texas to have a sonogram of the fetus, whether she wants it or not. The doctor MUST offer her pictures of the fetus and MUST play a recording of the fetal heartbeat. The aim, of course, is to emotionally manipulate the woman into not having the abortion. The zealots cannot block the entrance to clinics screeching "Don't kill your bay-beeeee!!!" anymore, so they force doctors to do their harassing for them. The law is not now being enforced since a federal judge has found it unconstitutional(duh). Stay tuned.

    Once the baby is born, though, Sen. Patrick and his ilk smirk, wink, and say "You're on your own, kid!" The same wingnuts who screech about dead babies want to do away with Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIPS), and school lunch programs (hell, they want to do away with public schools). After all, those programs are SOCIALISM, and they want to get the government out of our lives. Not out of a woman's womb, though.


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