• An atheist’s reason for being pro-life

An atheist’s reason for being pro-life

Hey Dojo readers,

Many people mistakenly  believe that abortion is a “religious” issue. That there is a “war on women” (news flash: there is not) and it is being waged by “religious fundamentalists” who seek to impose their theocratic views on all the wombs in America.

Of course anyone who’s educated on the topic knows that there are various groups who oppose abortion for entirely non-religious reasons. Feminists for Life, The Atheist & Agnostic Pro-Life League and Libertarians for Life are just a few examples.

I came across this comment today on a Facebook thread by Julie Borowski that I had honestly never heard voiced before in all my years of discussing the ethics of abortion. It was from an atheist and–within the worldview of atheism–seemed fairly compelling:

I’m an atheist and anti-abortion. In fact, I would think atheists would be MORE anti-abortion than religious folks. Presumably, the soul would be ok if the baby is murdered in the womb. As an atheist, the person would be robbed of their chance to ever exist. Think about that a few minutes. From an atheists perspective, what are the odds that YOU, as an individual with your consciousness was lucky enough to exist? All the random combinations of DNA and parentage, the odds of you ever existing are incredibly slim (to say the least), and you would rob a being of ever being born?

Obviously from the perspective of Biblical theism, abortion-on-demand is a heinous evil. But within the philosophical ethics of atheism (which I admit to not be able to relate deep down) there’s a certain beauty to this response that, I believe, rises above the ethical framework from which it arose.

What do you think, Dojo readers?


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  1. Bogdan

    There is no single unifying atheist perspective, set of ethics, or philosophy. Atheism is a specific position regarding a single question: “Are you convinced that any gods exist?”

    If you don’t answer “Yes,” you are an atheist.

    Beyond that lack of conviction in the existence of any gods, the individual can adopt various other philosophies (such as secular humanism).

    I imagine that the person who wrote that Facebook comment must have had a fairly nice and enjoyable life. My life has had it’s ups and downs, but overall I am enjoying it quite nicely, and would certainly recommend others experience it. But, if the commentator’s experience of life were pure agony, they would not worry about robbing someone of the chance to experience it.

    Some experiences are NOT worth having, no matter how rare and unlikely they are to actually happen.

    Is it tragic that we have a world filled with human suffering? Is it tragic that some individuals will spend the majority of their life suffering and causing suffering for others?


    Unfortunately for us, there seem to be no gods coming to the rescue to solve the problem of human suffering on earth. We have to act on our own. And we can take steps to prevent human suffering, or we can take steps to exacerbate human suffering.

    Preventing an unwanted pregnancy through birth control methods prevents a sentient, emotional human being from suffering. Terminating a pregnancy before the fetus develops into a sentient, emotional human being prevents suffering.

    Forcing a sentient, emotional human to spend 9 months incubating a fetus against her will causes suffering. And what of the new human who will develop into a sentient emotional being, highly likely to lead a life of suffering?

    Modern society has largely accepted birth control as an effective and ethical method of preventing suffering, despite current and historical religious opposition.

    The underlying ethics are the same for birth control and abortion: prevent human suffering by preventing those likely to suffer from developing to a point where they can start to experience suffering.

    One prevents this by preventing conception, and one prevents this by preventing neurological development. Both prevent a sentient emotional being from suffering, and are ethically equivalent (while both being more ethical than forced births).


    Comment by Bogdan on May 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

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