On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
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15-07-2013, 08:41 AM
On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
(Wasn't sure if this was the right forum for this or not, but here goes...)

The fact is-

Okay, back up. It is my opinion that we (humans) don't have a good definition of life. And hell, maybe we don't have a good definition of death, either, but that's not the point.

The point is, is that in spite of my being an atheist for over a year now, I still cannot seem to get myself to enroll in the pro-choice camp, if you will. I still feel like, while on the surface I would never presume to tell another woman what she can and cannot do with her own body, in my heart I am still very much pro-life. In other words, I still feel that somehow, once the sperm meets the egg, there's no way I could convince myself that that little cluster of cells (if it would even be a cluster of cells at that point, 'cause I'm not sure on that) isn't already a human being. I feel like, after that point, it's just all development, and that everything that's needed for that little cluster to become a human being is already there.

As far as other issues are concerned, I pretty much line up with the majority of other atheists (at least if my understanding of the views of the majority of atheists is correct). I am pro gay-marriage (but then, I never agreed with the church's hard line against homosexuals, so my being pro gay-marriage as an atheist isn't such a stretch) now when I was raised to believe that homosexuality was most definitely wrong. I value the environment and our role in protecting it far more than I ever did before, since I believed like most Christians that the world was going to end soon anyway. I lean toward more liberal views, in other words, than I ever did as a Christian, but it's the abortion issue that's tripping me up.

Which is kind of weird, I think, given my views on life that isn't human. Animals, for instance. Where an average person would cry or at the very least tear up at those animal shelter commercials, I don't bat an eyelash. Same for if I see a dog or cat ran over on the road. Or any other furry animal for that matter (though I have gotten teary-eyed or concerned over, in no particular order: a lizard that got caught up in our riding lawnmower and had his tail and legs cut off but was still breathing, a turtle trying to cross the road, non-poisonous snakes in our yard that my husband wanted me to kill because "all snakes are bad" when I argued for the positive role they play in keeping pests down so I guess it's that I care about a different subset of animals, like lizards and snakes and turtles/tortoises, etc.). That is not to say that I am not disturbed when I hear about cases of animal abuse, but it's not exactly the harm to the animal that bothers me. It's that, often the next step up from someone torturing or hurting an animal is to do harm to another human being, and I think that is where my real concern lies. It's not that I don't care about animals or don't think they should be treated properly, because I do, but it's simply not one of my "pet" issues, if you catch my drift. I think humans have enough problems to sort out within our own species, much less worry about other species. I care, first and foremost, about the continuance of the human species. Everything else comes second.

So maybe that could explain my pro-life leanings? Don't know.

It's not that the concept of the soul is what's keeping me in the pro-life camp because I don't believe in souls anymore. Anything that I would identify now as even remotely soul-like would be the brain, as I believe the mind is a product of the brain. And even this type of "soul" certainly does not remain intact throughout life's various bumps and hiccups. Whether it be through injury or Alzheimer's or the like, people do change, do lose parts of what we would identify as "themselves", whenever things like that happen. So my hesitance on the whole abortion thing doesn't have anything to do with souls, far as I can see because if I don't believe I have a soul, why would I think an embryo would, either?

Anyway, when it comes down to it I suppose I'd have to define myself as pro-life with exceptions in that, if a mother's life were in danger due to her pregnancy, I believe that the mother's life takes precedence over that of the child's because the mother already has people who love her, who depend on her. Thus, the loss of her life would constitute a bigger loss to society than would the child's.

I don't know. Like I said, on the one hand I don't feel like I should be able to - or even want to - dictate what another woman can and cannot do with her body, but on the other, at what point does that little cluster of "stuff" become more than just a part of her body? Doesn't he or she attain his or her own rights to life at some point? I think so, but at what point these rights are attained is difficult to say.

Did any of you converts (or rather de-converts) from Christianity/religion struggle with this issue? Or did you immediately jump into the pro-choice camp? If you did struggle, have you come out of it and since settled into either a pro-life or pro-choice stance?

Thanks!

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15-07-2013, 08:48 AM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
(15-07-2013 08:41 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I still feel like, while on the surface I would never presume to tell another woman what she can and cannot do with her own body, in my heart I am still very much pro-life.

You are not pro-life. You are pro-natal.

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15-07-2013, 09:04 AM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
(15-07-2013 08:48 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(15-07-2013 08:41 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I still feel like, while on the surface I would never presume to tell another woman what she can and cannot do with her own body, in my heart I am still very much pro-life.

You are not pro-life. You are pro-natal.

Hmm. Never heard of that. Can you elaborate?

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15-07-2013, 09:10 AM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
Okay, I just looked up this pro-natal thing, and I want to clear some things up.

I certainly do not advocate people having tons of children just because or in some effort to follow Biblical scripture (like Quiverfull stuff). I strongly believe that birth control should be used in most situations - teenagers who aren't well-equipped to become parents (bearing in mind that I was a teenage parent, and while I think I did well, I don't believe it was ideal), those who aren't financially in a position to support children, those who aren't emotionally-equipped to support children, etc.

I do not think that people are "bad" if they choose not to have children at all. That is certainly their choice and I am one who never thought I would have children at all. Honestly I never would have planned for them. But I was not educated very well on the subject of pregnancy and birth control, so it happened. And then I had my son, after I was married.

Anyway, if pro-natal means thinking that everyone should have as many children as they are going to have, that is most definitely NOT my stance.

Just wanted to clear that up.

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15-07-2013, 09:26 AM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
You are certainly not pro-life. Unless one is an absolute pacifist, no one is pro-life. If you are against abortion, you are either pro-natal or anti-choice.

Then what, precisely, have you got against abortions? Ninety-eight percent of abortions occur before brain waves are emitted. The latter two percent, which occur during the second trimester, are typically performed as a result of threatening medical problems.

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15-07-2013, 10:47 AM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
In normal political discourse "pro life" = legislation to restrict or eliminate legal access to abortion, while "pro choice" = the abolition of such legislation. I think the evidence is that legislation to restrict abortion is consistently detrimental to the health and wellbeing of women and their children.

"pro choice" is not the same as saying that abortion is wonderful, or that finding yourself in the position of an unwanted pregnancy you would likely choose abortion. It just means getting government out of the way and letting women choose for themselves.

I don't like abortion, but I'm pro-choice.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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15-07-2013, 10:59 AM (This post was last modified: 15-07-2013 11:25 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
Which point, exactly, in the long complex process of "sperm meeting egg" do you think an ongoing biochemical process becomes a human being ?
When exactly does it stop being "potential" human life", and "actual" human life ? Is a clump of cells with no neural tube, and no brain a human "person" ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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15-07-2013, 12:23 PM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
(15-07-2013 08:41 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  (Wasn't sure if this was the right forum for this or not, but here goes...)

Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. It means that you'd leave the decision to the individual to decide and you stay out of it.

This probably belongs in the political section or maybe health. I'm not sure it really belongs in the Personal issues and Support section -- unless I have missed something -- which is entirely possible.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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15-07-2013, 12:29 PM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
(15-07-2013 09:26 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  You are certainly not pro-life. Unless one is an absolute pacifist, no one is pro-life. If you are against abortion, you are either pro-natal or anti-choice.

Then what, precisely, have you got against abortions? Ninety-eight percent of abortions occur before brain waves are emitted. The latter two percent, which occur during the second trimester, are typically performed as a result of threatening medical problems.

So it's more of a term thing. Gotcha.

Anyway, I guess from what I had read, there was no clear way of knowing when exactly the unborn could perceive pain, or even that brain waves could be detected in these unborn. But that does make me feel better, though I don't know enough about brain activity to feel 100% better.

This is most likely a VERY stupid question, but I'm guessing that the start of brain waves is like the signal of the brain being "on"? In the sense that it can perceive pain, etc.? Is there never a time that the brain could in fact perceive pain but not emit brain waves? Again, I apologize for my lack of knowledge in this area.

(15-07-2013 10:47 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  In normal political discourse "pro life" = legislation to restrict or eliminate legal access to abortion, while "pro choice" = the abolition of such legislation. I think the evidence is that legislation to restrict abortion is consistently detrimental to the health and wellbeing of women and their children.

"pro choice" is not the same as saying that abortion is wonderful, or that finding yourself in the position of an unwanted pregnancy you would likely choose abortion. It just means getting government out of the way and letting women choose for themselves.

I don't like abortion, but I'm pro-choice.

Again, I guess I've had a severe misunderstanding of the terms thus far. In Christian-speak, "pro-choice" was synonymous with advocating murder or loving the slaughter of babies - it was a very loaded term and I guess I'm still carrying some of that around.

I do believe that women should be able to choose. I hate when others try and tell me what to do or how to run my life, so how could I trespass on someone else's choices? So I guess we're alike in that I don't care for abortion, but I don't want to limit someone else's choices.

(15-07-2013 10:59 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Which point, exactly, in the long complex process of "sperm meeting egg" do you think an ongoing biochemical process becomes a human being ?
When exactly does it stop being "potential" human life", and "actual" human life ? Is a clump of cells with no neural tube, and no brain a human "person" ?

That's the question I struggle with, hence the post.

But, because I believe that the brain is what makes us who we are, is how we experience life, then if I knew exactly when the brain came to a point of being able to perceive pain (there's a theme here, I guess) then I could wholeheartedly agree, or rather - feel at peace - with abortions performed before that time. After that point, I would argue that they should not be done unless the mother's health is in danger.

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15-07-2013, 12:41 PM
RE: On the fence regarding the abortion issue...
(15-07-2013 12:23 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(15-07-2013 08:41 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  (Wasn't sure if this was the right forum for this or not, but here goes...)

Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. It means that you'd leave the decision to the individual to decide and you stay out of it.

This probably belongs in the political section or maybe health. I'm not sure it really belongs in the Personal issues and Support section -- unless I have missed something -- which is entirely possible.

You haven't missed anything. This isn't something I'm personally struggling with, as in, I'm not dealing with abortion myself nor do I know of anyone with whom I'm personally acquainted that is considering an abortion. It's just a mindset I'm struggling with and I'm trying to find my own stance by hearing more from you guys on how y'all arrived at your own particular stance.

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