My Position on Abortion

abortionThis ought to piss pretty much everyone off.  I have tried to avoid discussions and debates on abortion for a long, long time now, mostly because they are all emotional cluster-fucks where people who spend all their time “feeling” instead of “thinking” congregate and whine at each other.  I can’t tell you when the last time I saw a rational debate of abortion from anyone, on any forum, from either the pro-choice side or the anti-abortion side.  I don’t know that it’s possible to even have one with the majority of the population.

So it was somewhat of a surprise when I ran across a discussion on a forum about rational approaches to abortion.  Of course, in just the first dozen posts or so, it was already going south.  Theists had shown up and were demanding that God said abortion was evil.  Feminists were showing up and screaming that stopping abortion was a violation of their rights.  The clueless were showing up and claiming that atheists believed a fetus wasn’t human.  It was already painful to read, but I decided to drop my opinion and see what happened.  It should have been predictable, but madness ensued.  I managed to pretty much piss everyone off across the board.

Let me clarify a few points then, in reverse order.  First off, I absolutely think that a fetus is 100% human.  Being human is a matter of genetics.  A human fetus is genetically human, it is just as human as an adult human being.  My response to that is… so what?  I don’t get hung up on whether something is human or not.  It doesn’t matter to me.  I’m not even all that concerned about the typical human emotional attachment to humanity.  It’s a matter of being able to scale the discussion and also being able to exempt yourself from the emotions.  See, people care about people because people are people and people want to be cared about.  That doesn’t mean that people are objectively important, just that people have a vested interest in being important.  Yes, a fetus is human.  Couldn’t care less on an intellectual level.  Enlightened self-interest aside, it has no bearing on the details of the debate.

Secondly, I’ve already had my say on the existence of rights and frankly, I’m just not impressed by anyone who shows up and declares themselves to have rights, especially if they’re doing it on the behalf of an entire gender planet-wide.  You have the rights determined by the society in which you live, no more, no less.  That means that in a nation like the United States, women have a legal right to an abortion because the society has determined that it is so.  It also means that in countries like Ireland, women do not have a legal right to an abortion.  You can hate Ireland and similar nations for their stances, most are based on religion, but you can’t single-handedly over-ride their social order because you wish it was different.  There simply are no universal rights to anything.

Third, I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Bible or any other religious book says on the subject, but please, can theists stop lying?  The Bible says nothing whatsoever about abortion, in fact, the closest you can get in the Bible is the story of Solomon where the parentage of a baby is in question and he demands the baby be cut in half and be distributed to the two women.  No, this is not abortion, but the ancient Hebrews didn’t even consider a child to be alive until it was a certain age, due to high infant mortality.  Lots of kids died and killing a pregnant woman wouldn’t get you a second glance because fetuses were property, not lifeforms.  Absolutely no argument that starts out with “God says…” will ever impress me, don’t even bother.

So what’s the reality?  In the United States at least, we have decided that the line between a legally protected human being and a legally unprotected human being is at the moment of birth.  That’s it.  It’s an arbitrary line to be sure but it’s the line that we’ve set, just like we’ve set the arbitrary age of 18 as the line between adolescence and adulthood.  Further, I don’t give a damn about women’s rights in the sense that anyone demands they have universal rights that are not granted by their society.  Women have certain rights in this country.  Those are the rights that they get.  There was a time when they did not have those rights.  Before that time, they didn’t have those rights.  Society as a whole, through the ballot box, gets to decide how we distribute rights in this country.  This is what society as a whole has determined.

Now to be honest, I would like to think that in a perfect world, there would be only a minimal need for abortions.  I’d like for people to be responsible, I’d like for birth control methods to never fail, I’d like every child to be a wanted child and for people to put the well-being of a coming child ahead of their own.  We just don’t live in a perfect world and never will.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care if you like abortion or not, you have to deal with it.  If you really don’t like it, try to convince enough voters in this country to overturn it and make it illegal.  If you can do so, if the majority of Americans suddenly decide that abortion should not be legal, then it will not be legal.  I wouldn’t hold my breath since most Americans are just fine with abortion, but I’m fine with people exercising their Constitutional rights to try to make changes in the law.  The same goes for democratic nations where abortion is illegal, if you can convince the majority of your countrymen that it ought to be legal, by all means go for it!  Change the system, but don’t whine about it if you’re in the minority and  just don’t like the way things are.  Learning to deal with reality is a part of the maturation process, just do it and stop whining.  Your rights exist only so far as the nation in which you live decides they exist.  If you’re really pissed at your lack of rights, find another nation to live in.

But it’s not fair?  Life’s not fair.  That’s another thing that everyone needs to get a grip on.

8 thoughts on “My Position on Abortion

  1. "Society as a whole, through the ballot box, gets to decide how we distribute rights in this country. This is what society as a whole has determined."

    This is a passive approach to rights. Perhaps it might be better stated as "Rights are those freedoms that are fought for and won." Just as American citizen's and were and are.

  2. I feel i don´t have nowhere near enough first person experience – i´m single right now, no intention to marry, I don't want kids and I never been in a long lasting relationship – to say anything of real significance in this particular debate. However, disclaimer apart, I do believe this issue should be of concern only to the woman (and her partner or next of kin, if that is the case). No one else should intrude. It´s her vagina, her uterus, her body, her decision. It´s a moral dilemma, no doubt. And it´s consecuences will affect her and her inner circle. I cannot conceive how an abortion, view on those terms, could affect anybody except the parties directly involved.

    Granted, i much prefer to see (in fact, I would love to see) an abundance of birth control campaigns and properly applied sex ed policies in schools, before seeing an spike in abortions. We cannot ignore the fact that a fetus is a human being. In consecuence, we feel a moral intuition that abortion is a no-no. It´s only natural. However, we must be clear headed and remain logical. There is a larger picture to look at, beyond the fact of mere unwanted pregnancy (or a clinically dangerous one, which I found even more obscene to object to). There is quite a few factors to ponder. There is a lot of soul searching and questions to answer honestly, before decide one way or the other. Whatever the outcome of that soul searching, we must remain – I think – supportive, non judgmental.

    Undoubtedly, this issue heavily implies, as is normal with any morally related decisions, a heavy burden of personal responsibility. The fact that a society has an abortion option, should not be take as a free card out of jail. And to me, that responsibility begins with contraception. In that sense, any religious claptrap should be out of the equation at all times. It brings nothing to the table, except wrongheaded judgments a priori and a holier than thou outlook that is far from humane. Such attitudes are of no help to anybody. Anyway, those are my two cents.

    1. I don't care if people are judgmental, I don't care if they hate the woman for having an abortion, people's feelings are their own and they're welcome to them. I do care if they do anything to harm the woman based on her having an abortion though. I do care if people try to get her fired, if they try to harm her social standing, if they try to beat her up or injure her physically, etc. We can't stop people for thinking what they think, we can stop them from acting on those thoughts and we should.

  3. I think your post makes a lot of sense. Pro-choice proponents who try to split hairs about when life begins, and say zygotes aren’t human, etc., are not being totally honest. We need to bite the bullet and admit that yes, abortion is the cessation of a human life – a killing. We also need to say, somewhat as you did, “so what?”. American society, like others, has determined that killing is acceptable in certain circumstances – capital punishment for criminals, killing enemies in warfare, etc. As you noted, we’ve drawn a line and said that human life begins, for legal and practical purposes, at birth – not at conception, or the third trimester, etc. Like you, I would prefer to live in a more ideal world where every child was wanted, where women weren’t sometimes endangered by continuing difficult pregnancies, etc. But, we don’t. Working to change the system (if one wants to ban abortion) or improve the system (if one wants abortion to continue as a legal option for women) are the ways to address the issue. And the arguments for both sides need to be based on grounds that will be acceptable to all. Therefore, arguments based on religion alone are foolish and wasteful of time and energy. Anyone who does not adhere to the religion at issue is not required to accept that religion’s tenets, a fact that religious fanatics (not all believers, just the fanatical ones) don’t get, and don’t want to get.

    1. Hey Chappy, long time no see! The fact is clear though, it doesn’t matter if it’s human, it doesn’t matter if it’s alive, it matters if it’s protected. If it’s not protected by law and social demand, then it’s fair game. People need to stop basing their entire worldviews on their primitive emotional responses and actually do some thinking.

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