Wednesday, November 04, 2015

My position on abortion

In a Facebook thread which I'll detail a bit more of in my next post, I was asked the direct question: what is my position on abortion, and why?  Here was my answer, re-posted here for the benefit of the fellow who asked. The thread was deleted shortly afterwards.

I've actually posted my views elsewhere on this blog, but this was my answer today:


I've posted a link a couple of times already, but I'll do it again, as I think Hemant explains it quite well.
Yes, There Are Pro-Life Atheists Out There. Here’s Why I’m One of Them

My pro-life stance is informed by my religion, but is not dependent on it. In fact, numerous religious organizations are either pro-choice or defer the argument entirely, so I conclude that claims that "having religion" obligates one to pro-life are without merit. Rather, my religion and my reason are in concert, and I stand with the 19% of "true Scotsmen" atheists who identify as pro-life, and against the many pious individuals who don't.

Since I'm perfectly capable of accepting the existence of people on this planet who disagree with me, I have no problem with the fact that we disagree on this issue, as we do with many others. So the philosophical question is moot. My civic duty is to respect the legislative process. If you say you're in favor of abortion, then my response is, "Ok." If you were to tell me that your wife had a voluntary abortion, then my response (after wondering why you volunteered the information) would be to say, "Ok." The law allows it. But that doesn't mean I like it, or approve.

And that brings us to the political question, which is not so moot. We live under the laws made not by us, but by those we elect to make them. And when it's time to vote, I have to vote my conscience. I expect every voter to do the same, exercising his power with honesty. For my part, I choose to defend and side with those defenseless persons of complex emotions and thoughts who I do not see as mere potentialities, but as beings whose only fault is that they are in the earliest stages of their development. These are beings distinct from the mother in having their own unique DNA signature that they will carry throughout life. I feel that the most objective scientific conclusion is that, though they are hosted by the mother, they are most assuredly not "the mother's body".

I didn't invent the biology and can't control it, but know that we can control our own actions. To the extent that I'm pro-choice, I feel that those choices should be (and usually can be) made long before conception. I take an active part in those choices by not participating in the conception of lives I would not support. I do encourage contraception, but even more so I encourage some serious thought when it comes to picking your partners. Sex is a risky business, best left to those who have the fortitude to handle those risks. My two youngest children (twins) were unplanned. Yet they live. When force is involved the question is not so easy, so I would find exceptional abortions to be reasonable.

I realize that when YOU vote, you will most likely side with (who I see as) the not-nearly-so-defenseless parents, who very often choose not to be inconvenienced by a life that they had a not-insignificant hand in bringing into existence. I also recognize that you don't characterize your decisions this way and that there are far more factors involved, and that there are no easy answers to those who have considered the problem fairly. I trust that you're voting your own conscience, so I'm willing to live with the result, whether it goes "my way" or not. And I'm not going to jump down your throat and drag you down, however you vote on this issue, or however you feel about it, because you're as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.

I will disagree with you, but not hate you.

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