Often in the debate concerning abortion I see a majority of those who identify as atheist, also take the pro-choice position. This has always seemed odd to me for reasons I will now go into:
- Choice is arbitrary
The argument most often attached to the abortion debate is one of choice–that is–the choice for the woman to either carry the child or abort when it is still within the legal time frame. A late term abortion is considered as the 21st to 24th week of gestation, which is late in the second trimester, yet even within this we see the problem, that the choice is one of arbitrarily drawing a line of division and claiming that before this point, not life–while after this point–life.
Even the experts see this:
That gestational period roughly corresponds to the point of “fetal viability” or when a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb with or without medical assistance. However, there is no precise medical or legal definition of “late-term,” and many doctors and scientists avoid that language, calling it imprecise and misleading. So it seems to me that the only logically consistent position is that life begins at the beginning of the life process, conception.
If they cannot even accurately define one trimester from the next, how can they be expected to accurately define when life does or does not begin?
- No life but this life.
This one is much easier to express, if it is true that we only get this one chance at life, then it seem to me that the most humanitarian approach is to lean towards the assumption that life begins at the start of the biological process that creates life.
- Overt Attachment to Political Dogma
There seems to be to be an unwillingness to honestly asses the arguments from the pro-life side of the debate. Instead of an honest critique of their position, there is instead the outright regurgitation of pro-choice talking points, mockery in lieu of an argument, and self-congratulatory circle-jerking when one has ‘triggered’ the bible thumpers. But what about when the dogma is on your own side?
I would certainly argue that the position of ‘her body, her choice’ is one held not on reason or empirical evidence, but on dogma and dogma alone, by those who also identify as liberal or progressive.
Dogma is defined as: a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds.
There are many examples both anecdotal and empirical that show that a child in a womb is not a ‘part’ of the mother’s body, in the same way as a pancreases or liver.
When a child in the womb gets hiccups, it is not the mother who has hiccups. Here we have an event that is within the body of the mother but entirely separate from her. For it is the child who is having muscle spasms, not the mother.
To finish, While an atheist is not an humanist by default. Atheism was a product of humanism, and to me, attachment to arbitrary choice, political dogma, arguments tantamount to sophistry, are counter to what it means to be a humanist, and by loose extension, atheism.