I am evolving towards a pro life stance as an atheist, because it seems to align more with reason, and if one is to be completely unemotional and pragmatic, abortion should be considered a last resort just like any form of violence against any life form.

Arguments I've heard from pro-choice folks are mainly from the "freedom over controlling one's own body" perspective.

Well, we all have the right to control our bodies but only to the extent it doesnt harm someone or in some cases some thing else.

As our knowledge of science expands, we see less and less distinction between humans and other life forms, and we've come to learn that all life forms have a common ancestor.  This, to my way of thinking, makes anyone or anything capable of empathy accountable to the rest of the living things to be conscious of their fellow beings, and understand the gravity of responsibility when it comes to doing violence to another life form.

I dont know if this means either the extremes of no "morning after pill " or "abortions up to 1 second before birth", I dont like either extreme of the argument, as a rational, caring, loving human being.

I think the issue is more complex than pro life or pro choice as defined in our society, but I think as thinking, rational atheists, we need to acknowledge the complexity of the issue and , as we do in all scientific pursuits, constantly refine and re-evaluate our positions in light of new discoveries and be ready to put aside cherished beliefs in favor of doing the right thing.

For now, Id err on the side of caution.  I cant imagine how incredibly horrible it would be to experience an abortion from a fetus's perspective.  Thats something the pro-choice side is alarmingly quick to dismiss, stating that they feel no pain etc when we truly have no idea, and are pretty sure there is little to distinguish a third trimester fetus from a newborn baby.

My two cents.

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From a certain POV I agree it is either there or not. Though I would disagree about being closer than a banana, as that ignores too many other pertinent factors.

I just wonder if you are in a position to know one way or another? Have you bothered to find out why Liberal philsophers have gone this way and what sort of secular arguments say it is a person from conception?
4 points -

1. The conflict (see list above to Fred) is not so much about personhood (item #1), but whether the moral status granted persons (item #3) belongs to non-persons as well.

2. 'Life' and 'organism' are biological terms. There's no reason (from an atheist perspective) to apply them in a different manner just for our species. On that basis, a human skin cell, blood cell, sperm or ovum can be alive but cannot be an organism. An adult human, child, infant, fetus, embryo and zygote, are all organisms. Therefore (unless you want a special standard for our species) a living human zygote is as much a living human organism as you or I. That's not a value judgment one way or the other.

3. You wrote, "Its my personal opinion that person hood is based on consciousness or capacity for it. (emphasis added) I believe personhood proper (item #1) is limited to a particular form of consciousness, but the moral status (item #3) is accorded not just based on the abilities associated with personhood (from 18 months old on) but to the capacity for those abilities (conception to 18 months old). If you take another look at my original response you'll see that emphasis on 'capacity'.

4. I wasn't trying merely to hang you out on a semantic issue. You characterized a belief I hold as irrational. As an enthusiastic proponent of the Brights Movement (and a student of logic). I was insulted. My notion of irrationality is that it requires an error in reasoning (eg, logical fallacy, ignoring empirical data, etc.). I don't think that 'irrational' was a fair characterization. 'Extreme' is fine, because it's a subjective judgment, and doesn't imply an error on my part- so that doesn't bother me. I'd not have taken offense at a subjective judgment, but 'irrational' strikes me as something of an indictment of my reasoning; it's the sort of accusation which would need something to back it up.
ryan,

I created this group. I have read many (not yet all) of your comments and I don't think that they're inappropriate.
I think you have a legitimate point Mr. Jubinsky in asking Mr Cameron (#1) 'is he indeed prolife?', and if not, (#2) 'ought he to have become a member of this prolife group?'. Still, I would (respectfully) request that you (and he) please try to be less confrontational with one another.

It's been my experience with other non-believers, that telling them that I'm prolife often means exposing oneself to derision and accusations (anti-woman, unknowingly indoctrinated, fascist, etc.). That's why (and I'm not proud of this) I often just keep my prolife beliefs "in the closet" and let others falsely assume what they will unless I'm asked directly. So I can appreciate wanting to keep this a safe haven where prochoicers cannot harangue people for not sharing their values.

I don't believe that such 'infiltration' was Mr Cameron's intent. (I wouldn't have responded to him otherwise.) I'm not clear about how he'd answer (#1), and I'm also not clear generally about (#2). Because I'm not clear about those points, characterizing him as 'imposing himself' strikes me as overly harsh.
Here is how I would answer the concerns raised:

First of all, I am not "infiltrating" this group. I joined it as a person honestly interested in the group description about expanding the definition of personhood to pre-birth.

#1. Am I indeed pro life? I do not see a definition of pro-life here. If the group would please clarify exactly how it defines "pro life" it would be easier for me to decide whether I belong here or not. The group description simply says "expanding the definition of person to pre-birth" then yes, I agree with that.

2. Once I have a definition I can determine if I should stay or go. Had John simply provided me with what he defines as "Pro Life" before telling me I am not, I may have avoided this entire exchange and saved us both some time and apparent frustration on his part.
The are a few different types of Pro-lifers we don't agree on everything and techincally I'm not one either as traditionally Pro-Life is also against euthanasia which I'm not.
Also we often disagree on rape and incest.
I think this deserves it's own discussion. My view is that a better term is "right to life", since one can voluntarily renounce a right and that solves the problem of what to do with people who support living wills and physician assisted suicide. In the same way, since (at least in my country) citizens over 18 all have a right to vote, but can lose it if they commit a felony, "right to life" wouldn't bar supporters of capital punishment. I don't consider "hard case" or Hyde exemptions (rape, incest, mother's life) disqualifying since arguments can be made regarding the relative strength of rights.
Yes and no, as I'm not so sure if you are going to say a life is so valuable that it overrides not only bodily autonomy but also moral responsibility, then I would say those conservatives who won't support universal health care or support capital punishment are inconsistent and aren't talking about a right to life.

First as I've argued if you say that a large personal bodily autonomy sacifice is needed to save a life then you can hardly say that a larger but not ruinous tax increase to pay for universl health is unreasonable.

Secondly given the number of innocent lives turning up on death row combined with a the value of life given primacy you can hardly say we are prepared to overrule a rape victims rights to save a life but then have a life taken in circumstances that aren't 100% full proof or even anywhere near it.
The counter to this is that many post partum humans also die -that's the risk you take being alive- so that in itself shouldfn't advocate not caring about whether another human dies or not, or in fact having no children at all.
Actually my stance has been you cannot, as you don't force the suspension of bodily rights to save a life you aren't morally responsible for, on the populace at large.
Basically in general you cannot harm or make dependent any other entity with equal moral value.

If you are you are morally responsible for it or owe compensation.
We also generally have right of bodily autonomy.

But in rape the victim didn't choose to do the action that created the life so in a sense it is inhabitating her body without her consent.

Whereas a woman who chose to have sex brought about a situation where she placed another moral party in a state of dependency, so she is resposible for welfare and compensation. Since that can only be given by her without killing the wronged party her bodily autonomy is suspended.

Are you familiar with the Violinist analogy?
To- Fred

Simon was agreeing with your position that rape is a justifiable exception. He was saying that it would require the use of the mother's body against her will to save the unborn life, and that we don't allow that sort of imposition unless it's because the person who is being imposed upon bears responsibility for the person being saved. (I don't happen to agree with Simon, but that's another matter.)

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