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Are There Secular
Arguments Against Abortion?
Sheree Boulet

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From: "Sheree Boulet"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: idea for a forum topic
Date: Monday, July 10, 2000 9:17 AM

Is there a secular case against abortion? It seems that atheists are always associated with the pro-choice movement because many find it hard to believe that a pro-life argument not based on religious belief can exist. Here is a debate between a pro-life and a pro-choice atheist on the topic of abortion.

This debate was of particular interest to me because I have come across many pro-life atheist and agnostic moms at an atheist parenting board.


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From: "USAF Buttcrack"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Secular Argument Against Abortion?; Other News
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2000 7:56 PM

Why I oppose abortion...

At conception, the fetus consists of genetic material contributed by both parents: the unique DNA combination of an individual. This DNA code is the exact same code the fetus will have when it passes through the birth canal nine months later (or sooner).

I believe as an individual, a fetus has the same right to life as an infant, child, adolescent, adult, etc.

I don't deny that social issues such as babies conceived by drug addicts or from rape or incest are extremely complex and painful. But taking the life of a legitimate individual is only stacking one tragedy upon another.

I do concede that abortion would be appropriate if the mother's life was in danger. Abortion in such a situation could be considered an act of self-defense.

I must admit that my argument fails when confronted with cloning. Ethics will be challenged to the limits as that new technology develops.

Randy Balsom

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Added: May 11, 2001

To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are_There_Secular_Arguments_Against_Abortion_9602
Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 9:08 AM

I can't agree with the fetus' right to live standing on DNA sequences. The reason that I personally oppose abortion is because of my experience in raising my child. I am completely unable to fathom the thought of my wife aborting that pregnancy.

However, that is a personal view. To give a fetus rights in utero is almost like bringing up the Christian argument which will state that the fetus already has a "soul" (a highly disputed and controversial subject - which in itself, is ridiculous).

The fetus, in later stages of in utero development, will kick, hiccup, reposition, and even suck its thumb. Are these signs of intelligent and conscious decisions? Or are they simply human reflexes being practiced for the upcoming need to survive outside of the womb? Being that the soon-to-be child will not began active neuron development until after actual live birth, I have to doubt the fact that these actions are thought out or that they are characteristic of human thought whatsoever.

My official stand on abortion is the same stand that any patriotic American should take. The woman is the final decision maker in her freedom to make this choice concerning her body, her beliefs, her ability to handle the post-natal consequences.

I've heard the arguments that "adoption is better than abortion". And I agree -- to an extent.

The point that the moral majority and the Christian Coalition are missing, is that by eradicating a woman's right to make decision concerning her own body, we are taking away another American freedom that could possibility interfere with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Cliff's Response
(posted later)

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Sheree Boulet"
Subject: Re: idea for a forum topic
Date: Monday, July 10, 2000 1:08 PM

Okay. My case against abortion is entirely secular. I wonder if I should let this one out of the bag, though.

I was adopted.

Need I say more?

Of course abortion is a great evil. This does not mean that I think the lesser of two evils is to outlaw abortion. I think it should be legal, and that it should never contain enough strings so that certain people who want them (such as the well-to-do) have more access to them than others.

There are secularists who are anti-abortion, but I don't go as far as they do because I will fight to retain legalized abortion. Also, even though I would counsel anyone pregnant with my seed to carry it to term, I would let the choice ultimately rest with her. If she decided to carry it to term, I would drop everything to support the child -- even to the point of starting a family (!).

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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