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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I think you can be personal pro life meaning you yourself would not get an abortion unless some special case rape ect. since i am guy i will never have to make the choice. I am pro choice all the way since I can't tell any women what to do with her body.
I am pro-choice myself, but I have a friend who is also an atheist (although she was raised Baptist and was Christian in highschool, when I met her) and I'm pretty sure she posted on her blog that she hates abortion.
i really am pro-life i think, but due to my fiscal conservativeness (is that a word?), i wouldn't support doing away with abortion. i think that abortion helps keep unwanted children off the streets--children who would most likely lead miserable lives, live off the government, and grow up to be bums and losers. i know that probably sounds harsh, but i'm just being honest.
Wiseguy1970 wrote on December 29 First, I would like to take religion and politics out of the topic of abortion. Being called "pro-life" or "pro-choice" are straw man arguments which tend to avoid the topic at hand.

And what is the topic at hand? If it is whether abortion should be legal you will certainly not be able to exclude politics from the discussion. If the question is how to perform the ethical analysis to decide whether or not one should have an abortion, you will to explain to religionists why their views are excluded.

Wiseguy1970 wrote on December 29 I pose to you two questions:

1. Do you support the destruction of the human embryo?
2. Do you support the destruction of the human fetus?


Of course most people cannot give a yes-or-no answer, but must take into account the specific circumstances in which the decision is made. Several studies have identified conditions that strongly indicate a greater likelihood of a negative parenting outcome. For example, if the woman is unpartnered, has not completed her education, and lives in poverty, her child is much more likely than the average child to engage in serious juvenile crime, to drop out of school, to become drug-addicted, and other social ills. A child born unwanted and unloved is highly likely to develop psychological problems.

A woman may find that having a child may be harmful to her, to her mate, to society and especially to her child. It is often the case that her conditions for parenting will greatly improve if she waits for a few years. A pregnant woman should make an abortion decision based upon such consequential analysis.

It is particularly important to this discussion to identify the moral agent, who will be making the abortion decision. In the United States at the present time, the woman and her support network are in the best position to make the decision. Perhaps in China, reproductive restraint is so crucial to the national economic development program that the decision must be made by the state. In the United States at the present time, that argument does not seem to apply.

Wiseguy1970 continued If you answer "yes" to one of these questions, then you are "pro-abortion". If you answer "no" to both, then you are "anti-abortion". If you are anti-abortion but you support a woman's right to choose, you aren't pro-choice. You are pro-abortion. There is no middle ground.

This is a useless analysis because you have divorced the abortion decision from all the specific facts on which a decision must be based. No one that I have ever heard of advocates aborting every pregnancy, as that would quickly eliminate our species, or at least our nation. It is unjustified because there are some families that want a child, that prepare well for that child, that are able to provide material security and emotional support and comfort for that child. Government should respect that family’s decision to carry a pregnancy to term, but this implies that government should also respect a woman’s decision to abort. The critical question, which you have decided to ignore, is who should make the abortion choice – government or the parents and the woman’s doctor?

Wiseguy1970 continued 1. Is an embryo (from conception to 8 weeks) a form of life? Yes.
2. Is a fetus (from 8 weeks until birth) a form of life? Yes.

Being that the life is created by humans, it would be a logical to conclude that it is a "human" life.


No, an embryo or a fetus is a potential human life. You would not call an acorn a tree, after all.

The significance is that we recognize, in law and in most ethical systems, essential human rights that society must respect and protect. But it is a fallacy to assert that because we recognize human rights, that we must apply these rights to potential humans.

It is a common error to attribute human rights to a fetus at some “magic moment” such as conception, responsiveness to stimulus or pain, or independent viability. To do so, however, confuses conditions of fact with the act of valuation. We may decide to award rights to a fetus at some point of development, but that is an action of valuation by society. The rights are not an intrinsic attribute of the fetus at any “magic moment.”

Wiseguy1970 continued In conclusion, I am an Atheist and a Humanist, and I am anti-abortion.

I think that your exposition has fallen far short of establishing an objective, universal basis for fetal value. If you want to say that preserving fetal life is a personal value, your individual moral preference, I cannot argue with you. You should direct your conduct so that you do not have an abortion, or cause a pregnancy that would be aborted. But if you wish to outlaw abortion, you are attempting to enforce your personal and individual values upon others, to deny the moral agency of those best placed to make a consequential decision.

Wiseguy1970 continued It is my responsibility to respect and protect all human life, and I treat all human life with equal value, from conception to natural death. I am anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-assisted suicide, and anti-violence.

I hope that I have made clear the fallacies in this statement. In particular I find your intention to deny medical assistance to everyone who has decided to end his life to be grotesquely barbarous and grievously immoral.
In conclusion, I am an Atheist and a Humanist, and I am anti-abortion. It is my responsibility to respect and protect all human life, and I treat all human life with equal value, from conception to natural death. I am anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-assisted suicide, and anti-violence.

But what about happiness? I don't understand how setting a group of people up for misery is really protecting their lives. When you take away choice you spread misery to the person (yes, a woman is a person, not a set of reproductive organs) whose free will you just crushed, and you spread misery to the person that has to spend a lifetime knowing they were unwanted.

One of the most miserable and damaged people I've ever known was someone who found out that her mother had been persuaded out of aborting her. They never bonded very well, her mother had trouble masking her resentment towards having to raise her, and discovering that horrible truth has haunted that person every day of her life. The funny thing is that whenever asked about abortion she'd always say, "No one should have to grow up being unwanted"

A black and white stance on life lacks compassion. It simply preserves the state of being with out any consideration for the things that make life worth living. Whenever we define our morals, whenever we make rules for ourselves the most important question to ask ourselves is why. "Why am I doing this and what purpose does it serve?"

Is it in order to claim some sort of moral high ground, or is it really based on compassion?
I think one of the things that has to be considered is to look at the elements of what we look at in the syntactic arguments of pro choice vs. pro abortion. When we talk about pro choice, it is about the legality issue. Most pro choice people, in my experiences, don't like abortions. So pro choice doesn't equate to pro abortion.

This is when we start to get into the ontological concerns about pro choice and pro abortion. Do we take abortions of embryos to the same degree as murder?; that would be a big mistake. And at each level of the pregnancy do we treat the issue the same way in 16 weeks and then 24 weeks. The consequences are different at each point.

Consider what is likely to happen if a woman is raped, which can be very traumatic for many of its victims. Is it really necessary to question weather it is rape, which is often very hard to prove in court, and makes it a bigger ordeal, or is it worst to kill the embryo who's consciousness is either not developed, or no where nearly developed as in later pregnancy. I don't envy any woman who would have to make that decision and laws that are made to score political points are often the worst ones written. I would much rather have the state keep out.

I can see that there are going to be women who may treat it as a cavalier issue, but are we going to have that ruining it for women who are in trauma.

Then what about young teenage women. Do we really want parents, who refuse to teach birth control to their children, be involved. If a child is screwed up, how likely are the parents to be well adjusted.

Wiseguy, your also a main, so why do you think you understand what women go through this. Does your girlfriend or wife have the same feelings.

This whole thing about those who are pro-choice must be the same as pro-abortion is following the same logic as when at the beginning of the Iraq war where those who are against the war aren't supporting the troops, support the terrorist, or forgot about 9/11. It is just faulty logic.
I believe this is the wrong question. It falls into the semantic trap laid out by the (mostly religious) anti-abortionists.

It is interesting that such people do not choose to refer to themselves as "anti-death".

Ironically, many of them are paradoxically supportive of causing the deaths of fully conscious adults who have no wish to die. Anti-abortionists are far more prevalent than others among the ranks of those who support capital punishment, those who send their children to learn how to blindly follow their country's order to kill others in a war of the nation's choosing and among those who worship a supernatural being whose "goodness" includes the mass slaughter and genocide of thousands of unborn fetuses, fully born babies and sentient children and adults who happened to be non-Jewish or simply in the path of some pestilence or flood that the "loving" entity reputedly caused to come about.

While anti-abortionists famously hold prayer days to mourn the death of the relatively small numbers of non-sentient cell clumps aborted by medical means they see no reason to be horrified by the vastly greater number of deaths of these some entities by "natural" means. Do they imagine that their god created these things as playthings? Or do they believe that the non-viability of so many fetuses is due to a demon which is powerful enough to interfere with god's free will?

It might be time for someone to organize a "day of thoughtful rememberance" for all those fetuses, embyros and failed blastomas which "god" has relentlessly killed over the centuries. And what about the deaths of all those helpless sperm who don't make it? Or the chimeric life whose DNA gets randomly expressed in the body of their dominant twin?

On the other hand, these same self-styled supporters of "life" are typically quite happy to condemn an unwanted, disabled or pain-ridden fetus to a life sentence of misery. They would perhaps be better described as supporters of forced fetal development.

So - wrong question.

People who believe that abortion should be a medical option chosen as carefully as any other type of surgery are rarely people who are "pro-death". They may actually be more "pro-life" than those who like to define themselves that way. However, the type of life that they value and support may be different.
No pregnancy is not a disease. It is however, a medical condition in which a woman assumes 100% of the health risks. Many women still die or are maimed during this condition and some will seek out a doctor to eliminate said risk through abortion.

As for "the one who ends up dead"...what is your definition of "the one"?
You're right. While some pregnancies are riskier than others, all of them have the chance of life-threatening complications. I don't know how people can support forcing someone to endure something that threatens their health and will alter their body.

Possible effect of pregnancy include:
-------------
Normal, frequent or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:
exhaustion (weariness common from first weeks)
altered appetite and senses of taste and smell
nausea and vomiting (50% of women, first trimester)
heartburn and indigestion
constipation
weight gain
dizziness and light-headedness
bloating, swelling, fluid retention
hemmorhoids
abdominal cramps
yeast infections
congested, bloody nose
acne and mild skin disorders
skin discoloration (chloasma, face and abdomen)
mild to severe backache and strain
increased headaches
difficulty sleeping, and discomfort while sleeping
increased urination and incontinence
bleeding gums
pica
breast pain and discharge
swelling of joints, leg cramps, joint pain
difficulty sitting, standing in later pregnancy
inability to take regular medications
shortness of breath
higher blood pressure
hair loss
tendency to anemia
curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities
infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease
(pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with non-pregnant women, and
are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)
extreme pain on delivery
hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression
continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section -- major surgery -- is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to fully recover)

Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:
stretch marks (worse in younger women)
loose skin
permanent weight gain or redistribution
abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
changes to breasts
varicose veins
scarring from episiotomy or c-section
other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

Occasional complications and side effects:
spousal/partner abuse
hyperemesis gravidarum
temporary and permanent injury to back
severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)
dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses -- 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 - 10% of pregnancies)
eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
gestational diabetes
placenta previa
anemia (which can be life-threatening)
thrombocytopenic purpura
severe cramping
embolism (blood clots)
medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)
diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
hormonal imbalance
ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
broken bones (ribcage, "tail bone")
hemorrhage and
numerous other complications of delivery
refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease
aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)
severe post-partum depression and psychosis
research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including "egg harvesting" from infertile women and donors
research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy
research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease

Less common (but serious) complications:
peripartum cardiomyopathy
cardiopulmonary arrest
magnesium toxicity
severe hypoxemia/acidosis
massive embolism
increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction
molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease (like a pregnancy-induced cancer)
malignant arrhythmia
circulatory collapse
placental abruption
obstetric fistula

More permanent side effects:
future infertility
permanent disability
death.
-------------

And these are only physical side-effects. I can't imagine the emotional trauma that someone would feel if forced to endure such an experience. Mothers seem to downplay pregnancy sometimes, but I think it's incredible what they go through to have children. Again, I don't understand how someone can call themself a rational, compassionate person and force someone to go through that.
If pregnancy was a drug, the FDA would have yanked it off the shelves years ago.
Pregnancy and birth are not medically benign conditions. Many people who live in industrialized countries with access to modern medicine have forgotten or are simply unaware that pregnancy and birth are quite dangerous. The growing fetus puts an enormous strain on the host body and there are a myriad of things which can, and do, go wrong. Sometimes it is the fetus which dies or is damaged, sometimes it is the pregnant woman and frequently it is both the sentient and the non-sentient who suffer or die.

The question of whether a fetus is given a choice in the matter of whether it is aborted or not is a straw man argument. The clump of cells which is the “object” of the abortion does not have the right to considered on an equal footing with its host because, unlike its host, it is pre-sentient and parasitic. To reverse the straw man argument, the fetus does not give its host any say in whether it grows in her body. As the primary inhabitant, the potential mother has the primary right to decisions which affect her body. She also has the responsibility of deciding whether it is morally or logically advisable to allow an incipient life form to attain consciousness, given all the circumstances.

In less medically competent times such a decision was not possible and there was no choice but to let nature/god take its course. Death in childbirth was common and the lives of many people (fathers, siblings, relatives, care-takers, friends) were irretrievably damaged or destroyed. When Right to Frighters discuss abortion these other casualities of dangerous or unwanted pregnancies are ignored. To extent the straw man argument even further: the other “objects” who would suffer if a particular fetus were allowed to develop are rarely consulted either. Consider the common invisability of the plight of siblings who are psychologically and physically neglected when, for example, a parent needs to spend excessive amounts of time on the primary needs of a disabled child. These children are already sentient and their needs should take precedence over a pre-sentient and purely potential sibling. Unless you get tangled up in the religious concept of sacred souls, there are tragedies far worse than death.
I'm pro-choice. To clarify, pro-choice people believe that abortion should remain legal and pro-life people would like for it to be illegalized or heavily restricted. People who believe it is morally/ethically wrong or would not choose it themselves but who would not illegalize it are called "pro-life personal, pro-choice political."

I don't think that the rights of a fetus should ever outweigh the rights of a woman. A fetus in the early stages of pregnancy has no ability to think or feel. If it is killed it goes from feeling nothing to feeling nothing. It will not suffer. The vast majority of abortions are performed during this stage:

[Source]
Even if a fetus could feel physically, it's no different from any other animal. What sets us apart from other animals is our sentience. And even if a fetus had that, it would not justify taking away the right of the woman to bodily domain. No person has the right to use another person's body without their consent, even if their life depends on it. Otherwise organ and blood donation would be mandatory.

Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon recently made an excellent post about the apparent conversion of a well-known anti-abortion atheist blogger to Christianity:
Theocratic or pro-choice: Not much middle ground between them

She makes some excellent points, such as:
------------------
"The definition of when a person is a person is when they have a unique consciousness, not unique DNA. It’s historically true, but it’s also the most rational approach, because people experience personhood as a form of consciousness. But it also means that a fetus doesn’t really become a person until it has a consciousness, so really the earliest point that the state should even care to protect it should be about 29 weeks. Even then, the pregnant woman deserves more protection, so health exceptions should apply to abortion restrictions. "

"'Abortion rights promote female promiscuity.' This is what people mean when they say they don’t like it to be used as birth control. It’s assumed that a woman who chooses abortion for the simple reason she doesn’t want to have a baby is somehow getting away with something, and that something is having sex. "
------------------

I've been seeing a lot of what the second quote describes in this thread.

Anyway, Marcotte's main point is that there is no logical, secular reason to illegalize abortion. I'm with her, as I've yet to see one.

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