Recently, while browsing through the groups, I came across a Pro-life group. It has only one member-it's founder, and that got me to thinking...Are there any pro-life atheists out there? And being that most, if not all arguments I've heard against abortions are usually religious in nature, what would be the atheists argument(s) against abortion?


Personally, I am pro-choice. I fully support every womans right to choose.

Tags: abortion, groups, pro-life

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We seem to be having some language problems here.

My definition of “an-abortion-that-should-have-been” is one where the mother was prevented from having an abortion that would otherwise have taken place. In other words, the pregnant woman did not want to continue with the pregnancy and there were sufficient predictors of future problems (financial, educational, caring ability, emotional fitness, fetal/child disorders and deficiencies) for abortion to be the best choice in the circumstances. In such cases of forced pregnancy the outcome is relatively poor for all those involved: mother, father, siblings, relatives and the eventual child/teen/adult.

By the way, you are falling into the common “pro-life” trap of assuming that all, or most, medically induced abortions are provided to single women who were not using contraception and who do not have other children. In like manner, you also assume that no-one but the pregnant woman would suffer as the result of the birth of an eventual child. It may surprise you to know that the demographics include a huge proportion of married woman with children who have experienced a contraceptive failure. The decision to abort the unexpected pregnancy is usually taken in consultation with the woman’s partner/husband and, sometimes, in consultation with older children in the household.

Decisions of this nature are necessarily based on statistical probabilities rather than certainties. This is true for most of life’s major decisions, including other types of elective surgery and medical procedures. The projected risks are weighed against the projected advantages. The easy decisions are those where death or devastation is the certain outcome of a particular course of action.

There are, or at least should be, a whole range of factors which the host and her doctor consider in the course of deciding whether or not to medically terminate a pregnancy (as distinct from the far more prevalent “natural” abortions which happen in their millions every day).

Whether the pregnant woman would grow to love the resulting child is not usually a terribly salient or important factor in the equation. (Hormonal changes after birth would predict that this would probably happen to some extent or other.)

The most relevant questions generally pertain to the realistic resources which will be available for caring for the child and the effect which the birth (often not the first one) would have on the resources available for the care of others in the family. When there is competition for resources the sentient have priority over the potentially-sentient.

Other relevant questions involve the life and health of the host, the effect of the host’s death or impairment on her dependents, the quality of life which could be predicted for all those involved (the actual people as well as the potential person) and the risk of death, pain and serious medical problems for the host (pregnant woman) if the pregnancy is allowed to continue.

One scenario you may not have considered is the case where it is certain that the fetus is going to die at some time during the pregnancy or shortly thereafter and the mother’s health and well-being are increasingly at risk the longer the fetus is allowed to continue developing. An example of this would an ectopic pregnancy.

In case you aren’t familiar with the details of ectopic pregnancy, this is when a fertilized egg does not make it to the womb and grows in the woman’s fallopian tubes. The fetus has zero chance of surviving but the mother will experience excruciating pain, never be able to have children again, or die if it is not removed quickly.

On one side of the equation is the life and quality of life of a conscious, feeling person whose death would grievously and significantly affect the lives of others (husband, dependents, family, friends) plus the well-being of all those just mentioned. On the other side of the equation is a mass of cells which only has the potential to turn into a conscious feeling person at some time in the future. Making the choice should not be difficult unless you have religious baggage which gives the cell bundle an elevated value compared with the conscious beings involved.

I think you have the legal part of your argument backwards. Those arguing that abortion should never be permitted in any circumstances are the ones who wish to enforce arbitrary decisions on everyone. They are also the ones who have caused the “arbitary” legislation to come into existence in the first place. There are countries where there are no laws restricting medically induced abortions and the decision to abort a pregnancy is one which is made under the same circumstances as any other kind of surgical procedure which has ramifications for the person’s future health and well-being. In these countries a decision to abort, or not to abort, can be based on the full range of known, predictable and hypothetical factors which impinge on the outcome.
as some of my reasons for criticizing abortion would be preventing the arbitrariness of legal decisions allowing abortion.

Could you expand these reasons?

For me its been about consistency.At least in Victoria Australia things have changed so all late term abortion are now legal; so I can at least admire their consistency.

They now only have to take the step and make infanticide legal and they will be totally consistent.
I don't see how it's anyone else's place to tell someone they need to pay consequences. Besides, abortion is a consequence. Abortions cost money, are painful, are emotionally difficult, and made more so by abortion protesters. They're not an easy way to escape consequences. This implies that sex is a mistake for women, or maybe a "sin". It must be a hell of a mistake if women are to sacrifice their health and be financially drained for the rest of their lives.

More importantly, it implies that women always choose to have sex.

There are severe consequences if the woman tries to wait-and-see and then doesn't grow to love the child, and the child is the one who ends up suffering.
The pro life's real anti women agenda...Also mentioned on this forum (forget where) ,but I'm bringing it up again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16KYDMOrb4U
this video does not exist anymore. "it has been removed by the user"
Abortion has existed probably longer than theocracies have... The methods were hardly clean and safe, but certainly got the job done.
Infanticide has existed even longer than abortion. There have been times when there simply was no choice whatsoever.
What do you mean by saying that there was "no choice whatsoever"? Please provide an example to clarify this statement.

I can understand how getting pregnant, incubating a fetus and giving birth may have been things which were pretty much choiceless (unless the woman killed herself or provoked someone into doing it for her).

I am having difficulty, however, with the concept of a choiceless infanticide. If a woman kills a baby to save herself or the other members of her family (from starvation, "honor" killings, or other kinds of harm) then her acts of commission or omission are still from "choice". It might not be much of a choice, but it still requires that she decide to act, or not act.
In very primitive societies, women are often left with no other choice than infanticide.
I read a very good book "Mother Nature" by an anthropologist named Sarah Blaffer-Hrdy who studied infanticide and she feels that this behavior is actually ingrained into the psyche of every woman. Modern women who kill their newborn babies may, at times be acting out on this ancient instinct.
She related an account documented by an anthropologist who witnessed an infanticide by a south american tribal mother whose husband had died; she had no other immediate family. The tribal leader told her it was the best thing for everyone, buried the baby alive as she and the rest of the members watched, and then they all tearfully moved on.
There are other accounts from African tribes as well, and we all know about how the Inuit had to occasionally leave a baby out in the snow during hard seasons.
Populations were balanced in the polynesian islands by infanticide because they all understood that there was just so much food to go around.
There really isn't much to choose between when one option is a single baby and the other is the entire rest of the tribe.
In the example you give it was the tribal leader (on behalf of the whole tribe) who killed the baby, not the mother. The woman did have a choice to act to save the child, but it was not a realistic or sensible choice.

This reminds me of a M.A.S.H. episode that I watched which left a strong and lasting impression. In this episode Hawkeye was having a mental breakdown. It turned out to have been caused by an incident on a bus ride he had taken recently. For a reason I cannot recall, the passengers in the bus were trying to hide from the enemy. In order to do so they all had to remain quiet so that the enemy could not hear them and discover them hiding in the vehicle. One woman in the bus had a baby who had been crying. At the end of the episode the baby is found to be dead. The mother had wrung the child's neck so that it would not cry. She saved the bus load of people at the expense of her child's life.

It is this type of nightmare situation which so-called pro-life people cannot understand. For them the mother is a monster for killing an "innocent" baby. The baby's life is considered to be of more value than the lives of the whole busload of adults and older children. To the busload of others, however, the woman was a heroine who had made the supreme sacrifice. That, however, does not undo the horror of her necessary action. It was this cognitive dissonance which sent Hawkeye crazy.

The script writers did not consider the effects on the mother who sacrificed her child. In real life, the woman would probably have suffered her own mental breakdown.

If a Right to Fright brigade had been around she would probably have been killed for her effort. So much for people who may tell you in the next breathe that Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son Isaac, simply in order to prove his "loyalty" to a still small voice-in-his-head, was a wonderful act of righteousness. It is argued that the fact that Isaac was spared made it all just fine.

It's a great pity the Yaweh god (aka Abraham) was so ignorant of psychological science. Isaac would have almost certainly suffered from a post-traumatic stress syndrome for the rest of his life. These are far more serious than generally recognized. Stress at that level interferes with brain function and cognitive development and repair. It also affects the immune system. Victims can die from medical conditions their bodies cannot fight off or end up with significant brain damage and impaired thinking. What a lovely god!
I think most pro-lifers would feel nothing but horror for what the woman in that episode went through.

Yes, I'm sure there are also plenty of assholes who would be as condemnatory as you say. There are also pro-choice assholes who condemn women for choosing to bear their babies if they're poor or young or have "too many" kids, especially if they don't happen to be white. And don't even get me started about what some pro-choicers were saying about Sarah Palin's choice not to abort her youngest son. I still get furious now, months later, even thinking about it -- and I wasn't a Palin supporter in the slightest (politically speaking).

For any political position, there are self-righteous, insensitive assholes who hold it.
I agree with your main point, Jen. There are a mixed bag of individuals on both sides of the abortion choice/no choice debate. Some people opposed to abortion, like yourself, are fairly reasonable people. In my experience many, unfortunately, are not.

We differ, however, in who we refer to as assholes in the pro-choice camp.

Take the Sarah Palin issue, for instance. Palin knew early in the pregnancy that she was incubating an impaired fetus. She made a conscious decision to allow that fetus to develop consciousness. In that sense, she is pro-choice.

I do not happen to approve of Palin's decision to bring her pregnancy to term and thus cause the fetus to develop consciousness and the sensation of physical and emotional pain. The child cannot have a normal life.

I am especially contempuous of this decision because she almost entirely abandoned the care of the fully formed baby to others the minute it was born. I am also contemptuous of Palin's failure to act responsibly during the birth process. When her water broke she continued carrying out her political activities. What an asshole of a woman!

This woman's disregard for the quality of human life makes me shudder in disgust.

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