My views on abortion. Pro-life, cautiously pro-choice.

I’ve been debating the abortion issue with some pro-life/anti-abortion types on Alex Jones infowars{a site dedicated to conspiracy theories} and places frequented by fundamentalist/conservative pseudo-christians recently. And I’m beginning to re-think my views on abortion again. The following is my views which I emailed a few friends and decided to just cut and paste to my blog here.

I find the issue of abortion is far more nuanced and complex than most on either extreme side= anti-abortionists and pro-abortionists in their rhetorics suggest. I’ve long struggled with my views on abortion. Of course when I was a born again pseudo-christian I was hardcore ANTI-abortion/Pro-life. But after I left the faith I quickly became hardcore PRO-abortion/choice. I think in both cases I jumped the gun on the issue and allowed myself to be guilted and conned into supporting views which I now realize are shallow and hypocritical on both ends of the spectrum.

Here is why.

First off, as a person who rejects ‘revealed religion” and monotheism{I say this as a non-sectarian way of including anyone and everyone else, whether hardcore materialist rationalist such as most nu-atheists, deists, agnostics,etc, but also to include people of other religious, spiritual, mystical beliefs of other religions or philosophies about spirituality and the material realm,etc, and this includes spiritual atheists/deists/agnostics as well} I know I’m not alone in having more nuanced views on the issue. Famous{or infamous, take your pick} Anti-theist/nu-atheist, contrarian, materialist, skeptic rationalist, journalist/writer, etc Christopher Hitchens of all people{author of “god is not great”, “letters to a young contrarian”, “missionary position: mother theresa in theory and practice”, books about various thinkers and people from all sorts of political, religious/non-religious, social, etc paradigms} was known for his nuanced views on abortion as well. He said he believes the the term ‘unborn child’ has objective and valid meaning and that he was principally pro-life/critical of abortion, though at the same time he supported the right to abortion simultaneously, and I am somewhere along his lines, SORT OF, I differ is a few small regards. Hitchens views on the issue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens%27_political_views#Abortion

Christopher Hitchens on abortion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFRN3kp4MiA

Hitchens: humanism and abortion:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8HhTKzmvas

I believe that the facts show that after the 3rd or 4th month the unborn fetus is INDEED a concious /sentient individual and child and seperate individual from it’s mother, not just a virus, clump of tissue, not just a ‘growth” or like an appendix, but a completely unique and seperate human being, Science backs this up{the pro-choice/abortion mainstream generally do not, with some exceptions of course}. The fact is that by this point the baby’s/fetus’s organs are developed, it has a brain and also brainwaves, heart/heartbeats, and the ability to sense or feel physical pain and pleasure, amongst other things.

I do of course still support abortion within the first 3-4 months though given certain facts I may be willing to push that back a little to within only the first couple months. I’m still re-thinking and re-tooling my views on the issue as I restudy the facts on fetal development. Of course, the zygote or embryo is not yet a sensing, thinking human being, though of course from conception it DOES have all the genes in it that make it a seperate individual entity from it’s mother{concious and human or not}.

Many pro-choicers are against late term abortion though, after the 23-24th weeks, when a fetus can become viable if it were to be extracted due to mothers medical needs, preemies basically. And this has been my own position for several years, supporting all abortion up to that point, the point of viability. But when I consider the humkan form, the brain/waves{ie: sentience}, heart/beat, senses[with which to feel pain or pleasure; this one is a big one btw when combied with the sentience/brainwaves and heart/beat},my gut does turn when thinking about fetus’s aborted even beforehand[after the first 8-12 weeks or so in utero} and that they are very human life indeed and that when they are being aborted{usually, not always, for selfish reasons of the parents or society} they DO feel the excruciating pain of it and of the methods of abortion, they DO have a sense of fear, and it seems to me like torture of a tiny pre-born baby, and I do wonder how even materialists/rationalists/non-religious/non-theistic as well as theistic and/or deistic spiritual people not of a specific religious inclination of of one not fundamentalist/revealed religion oriented can deny it and underplay the severity of this?

I think birth control and of course RU-487, the morning after pill is an important thing. To stop the development of it before it can reach that point, when it is just a zygote seems to me reasonable and a good thing. It can help prevent over-population and can help those not ready for raising a child{for whatever the reasons} I’m all for that and will remain so.

Unlike the Hitch[and there others like him, if you google- “pro-life atheists” or pro-life rationalists or the “materialist case for pro-life/anti-abortion” or any variation of that topic theme, you find not only a far right christian/muslim fundamentalists pro-life or anti-abortion or at least of a nuaced view that does’nt exactly fall into the mainstream por-life or pro-choice mainstreams view, and not only do the fundamentalists have their reasons-often unreasonable like that because their god endows it with a spirit of conception even birth control or morning after pills are bad…which we and I do not agree with obviously; allthough perosnally I can see valid arguments for the idea that we all have spirits from the moment we are concieved, because it is not a physical entity it is not harmed though all things considered every soul should have a right to not be quashed before it’s physical body is even developed, but I would argue therefore that it is a PREFERABLE thing to not terminate AT ALL…but that as a realist it’s better to do so to prevent worse things coming from people not being ready to parent their children and all the horrible things that come from giving birth and being horrible parents or kids having to be adopted out and not know the people who concieved and gave birth to them,etc,etc}.

I have been thinking of supporting abortion up to the end of the 2nd, perhaps 3rd or 4th month, though I even still feel uncomfortable with the fourth month and to some degree the latter part of the 3rd month, before that, fine. And of cours emost abortions do occur within that time frame anyways, but many others do not{probably more than many are willing to admit}, very few happen later-term of course and when they do usually under very specific circumstances and I feel that if the baby and mother are both going to die if it does’nt take place and the baby is going to die no matter what….saving the mother is the best option, no sense in both dying.

Anyways, as I said nuanced views. I find most so-called anti-abortion/pro-lifers and most so-called pro-choice/pro-abortion types ignore the nuances and facts for their opposing ideologies sakes, and in this compassion for both the mother and child, especially the child is beeing over-looked, facts are being ignored by both ideologies.

So in short I am I think pro-life and principally opposed to abortion unless it takes place within the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy. I don’t think people should take it lightly though, or treat it as if it’s just any medical procedure like any other. After this point we have a sensing, sentient tiny human being/baby that most methods of abortion after that point are quite brutal and torturous to it, I don’t know that it is so unreasonable to compare it to infanticide, genocide, or torture. I find it ironic that so many that would excuse or downplay this severity are often also the same that would freak out over non-human animals being harmed or tortured{as of course they should}, it seems like a cognitive dissonance on their part.
However, I am pro-choice/abortion up to that point anyhow, but afterwards?
I’m on the fence as to whether or not to ACTIVELY Oppose it after that point or not. I’m hestitant too; but by the same token my concience tells me simultaneously, probes me and suggests how can I not give these facts, given the tortureous brutality of the methods of abortion after 12 weeks, they can be very brutal to that tiny sentient, sensing entity…that by that point it cannot be denied{by sonograms and photos} that it is a tiny human baby/child that is no less so than a later term fetus or a newborn or a child or youth or teen or adult or old person, and at the last no less a living entity than any other creature.

Lastly, some links to videos, articles, and sites by pro-life freethinkers and leftists of various sorts{since the issue is usually painted as fundamentalist revealed religionist/conservative/right wing= pro-life/anti-abortion and freethinkers/non-theists{and deists}/rationalists/secularists/feminists/leftists/etc= pro-choice/pro-abortion}, these people and videos and sites reveal that this stereotype is not always true and that there are some who at the very least morally/ethically and scientifically question the legitimacy and morality of abortion:

I thought that an atheists/nontheists{and liberal theists and/or deists}, freethinkers, secularists, feminists{or pro-feminists}and leftists these videos and articles/sites might interest you.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

“Atheists who Oppose Abortion”{What do Christopher Hitchens, Robert Price, Arif Ahmed, Nat Hentoff, and other atheists/nonbelievers reject besides God?}
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFfNUBypo2k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI1qnebq2ik   (Christopher Hitchens
Noam Chomky- BTW, Chomsky does’nt specifically imply himself as pro-life/anti-abortion here nor anywhere, he merely philosophizes on the legitimacy of ALL views in regards life/death and anything else.
Nat Hentoff
Arif Ahmet
Richard Price
Don Marquis)

Atheists that support pro-life logic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2Fsvdj2GOw

Secular pro-life; “unscientific bullshit montage”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqQFpOUsElg


Feminist, pro-life, and atheist: article;
http://www.fnsa.org/fall98/reed.html

http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/lifestyle/2012/10/being-pro-life-doesnt-make-me-any-less-lefty

http://www.secularprolife.org/

http://www.godlessprolifers.org/home.html

http://www.prolifehumanists.org/tag/pro-life-atheists/

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading this and viewing these links. My last words are thus: before coming to a conclusion on the issue of abortion, do SERIOUS deep thinking and research in regards fetal development, in regards every view of the issue pro and con and inbetween, as you should do with ANY issue, idea, claim, belief,etc before coming to a conclusion and before choosing any sides. Do not simply go along with the crowd or your peers wherever your views/values/ideology may fall. Question everything, challenge everything, think and research, consider this and any issue from all possible perspectives and paradigms, than choose what makes most logical sense and also concurs with what your own heart tells you as well. Be objective, keep empathy in mind. Thank you.

One last thing I must note. That the majority of abortions occur within the first 8-9 weeks anyhow. So, obviously severely opposing them would be illegitimate, as the fetal development facts show that up to this point the embryo/fetus does not yet have fully detectable brainwaves{indicating conciousness/sentience} nor does it have fully developed nerve endings with which to feel pain/pleasure/etc{however it could be argued that ability to feel pain may not be fully relevant, there are born adult human beings whom have an illness that means they cannot feel pain- “Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA)”, this of course does not make them any less human or deserving to live and not be harmed}.

My arguments are meant to question the moral validity of abortion after this period. When the Fetus DOES have ability to sense pain/pleasure{nerve endings}, has brainwaves, etc. However, the lack of pain/pleasure/nerve endings thing does not constitute a fully logical or valid argument for abortion either, taking into context that even some born humans with the inability to feel pain{Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA)} does not make them any less human or any less deserving of rights to not be harmed.

 

 

 

-ADD: My letter to the local newspaper “The Brandon Sun” about the issue:

//”In regards “abortion factions get tense” Brandon Sun, Friday, October 4th, 2013. I know this letter is belated by a few weeks, but I felt the need to weigh in now as I have been reconsidering my own position on the issue of abortion and wanted to shed some light on the issue from a more balanced perspective than what is usually heard from the two extreme sides.

I was pro-life/anti-abortion till age 25,  from thereon I was pro-choice/abortion for several years. I have examined this issue from all perspectives, as of recently I have debated some pro-lifers and they challenged me to re-tool my views on the issue.
I believe a pro-life case can be made from a rational, and even materialist perspective. Would I say I am pro-life? Yes. I would also say I am cautiously pro-choice at the same time. I am not alone in this amongst those not of a fundamentalist religious worldview. Several prominent freethinkers from infamous Anti-theist, intellectual, contrarian writer Christopher Hitchens{RIP} whom said he believed that if the concept ‘child” has meaning than so does the concept “unborn child”{and indeed, it is curious how if one wants their fetus, they call it a child, if they don’t they use the dehumanizing clinical term ‘fetus”}, to Writer and thinker liberal christian atheist Robert M. Price has expressed pro-life views. I am not an atheist nor liberal christian myself, I count myself theologically a Panen-Deist and am inclined towards a type of Luciferianism. My own views on abortion are as nuanced and complex as the issue of Fetal development and abortion are.

I have come to a view that supports the right to abortion within the first 2 to 2 and a half months of pregnancy. I hold that late term abortions are indeed a killing of a human being and person and a unborn child/baby in the third trimester and also in the 2nd trimester. It is a fact that most abortions occur within the first trimester and most of those occur within the first several weeks, before the embryo becomes a fetus or when it is just on the cusp of it, before it has brainwaves and senses with which to sense pain/pleasure{there are electrical signals within the developing brain by week 6, but the frontal lobe or parts of the cerebral cortex, the parts that birth concious thought/sentience, are not yet fully formed, but beginning, so brainwaves that can be measured as awareness are not in place quite yet within the first trimester}. So the extreme anti-abortion side has no valid arguments against abortion in the first couple months of pregnancy. However, biological brain science does reveal that within the 2nd trimester all these things come into focus, along with the nervous system and nerve endings.

Given these facts, I find it sad how both the mainstream pro-life/anti-abortion and the pro-choice/abortion movements rely more on emotional appeals, logical fallacies, and half-truth rhetorics to make their cases. I believe both extgreme ends miss the boat, ignore the facts, and muddle the issue, and refuse objective reasoning and ulimately genuine empathy as well on this issue. I cannot see how the anti-abortion side can be opposed to abortion within the first couple months of pregnancy{they use the God instills a spirit at conception argument alot; which true or not is irrelevent as to whether this is the murder of a thinking, sensing human being at that point}, the pro-abortion side ignores the facts of fetal development that are inconvenient to their ‘abortion on demand” and ‘my body, my choice” rhetorics.

Most abortions, in Canada about 64% of abortions last I read, occur within the first 8 weeks after conception. So, from my personal view and I believe the objective facts on the issue, these abortions are not murders, cannot be reasonably argued to be so. That is a small majority of abortions. However about 1 in ten are done either in the 2nd or 3rd trimester, most of those in the 2nd, a very, very small number are done in the 3rd[and usually only in extreme cases, such as when the baby is going to die anyhow and the mother will too if the abortion is not done}. However, my pro-life side is very concerned about this fact because that means that hundereds if not a few thousand abortions done every year are done to sentient, feeling tiny human babies, and this fact cannot be denied objectively by the pro-abortion on demand side. Though this is a minority of abortions, which is many more thousands a year, it is still at least several hundred to a few thousand unborn children{not mere unthinking, unsensing clumps of tissue or like tumors or appendixes} that are killed each year{and even though the Zygote and embryo are not yet at that stage of brainwave and senses, they nonetheless contrary to mainstream pro-abortion views are not just outgrowths of the mothers own body, but scientifcally proven seperate entities with their own DNA, this does not in my opinion make them yet persons in the moral and legal sense of sentient, sensing persons, but it most certainly makes them HUMAN “beeings” in the objective sense of those words}.  The stats differ elightly in the U.S. and differ variously throughout different countries{abortion stats, not fetal development stats and what each stage of growth ethically implies about what rights should be given or not given to them}.

This issue has far to long been monopolized by unreasonable hypocrites on both sides, the voice of reason, objective facts, and genuine empathy have all but been censored out of the debate for rhetoric and fallacy driven idealogues on both sides, and the media and govt have encouraged this, extreme controversy sells I guess, but it most certainly is not the voice of truth in the matter.

I for one do not wish to see abortion made illegal, it should remain legal and readily avaliable for within the first couple months of pregnancy. However something does need to be done to put an end to or aty least lesson the numbers of abortions committed in the second and third trimesters, which are indeed murders. Abortionists that do later term abortions{in 2nd and 3rd trimesters} should be, in my opinion, brought up on charges{though not the mothers and the mainstream pro-choice MOVEMENT, most are just brainwashed and not malevolent, but doctors that do later term abortions know full well that what they are killing..and with very torturous and gruesome methods I might add, is a undergrown unborn child}- 2nd and 3rd term abortions are indeed tantamount to infanticide. Late term fetus’s and newborn babies do not have much substantial differences between them, this is a fact proven through science, the same science which the extreme end of the pro-abortion movement ignore and rely on pseudo-science and logical fallacies whilst accusing the extreme end of the pro-life side of these fallacies, both are guilty of them. Both need to be corrected with the facts! There are many more and better methods for dealing with unexpected and unwanted pregnancies than abortion, and even abortion in the first trimester should be used unless there are no other alternatives.

Many would rather this issue just goes away and that no more public debate happens about it. It cannot and should not go away, not until these issues are addressed objectively and empathetically by both sides and the laws reflect these facts about fetal development. As it stands now, abortion can be done right up to the point of Viability{when a fetus/child can survive outside the womb; which frankly is another irrelevent factor, as irrelevant as the extreme fundamentalist religionists/far rights anti-abortionists referance to potential immaterial souls} , somewhere between 20 and 24 weeks. And 1 in ten are done between week 15 and week 24 in utero}-when no one can reasonably argue that the fetus is not objectively a smaller human baby with nerve senses and brainwaves and full human form}- so the debate needs to be re-oppened and laws need to better reflect these facts and realities, because no matter how you slice it…at least some abortions are murders of unborn human children!

For more info on the materialist case against abortion{I am not a materialist myself, I am a spiritual person, but wish to be objective} please visit http://www.secularprolife.org/ and http://www.allourlives.org/ , as well as google the materialist and atheist or nontheist case for abortion, and I recommend visiting youtube and viewing the videos which feature Christopher Hitchens position on abortion as well as the videos for ‘atheists against abortion”.

Let your conclusions be rationally and objectively drawn from an extensive research of the facts regarding abortion and regarding fetal development. Only then will truth and justice be served in regards this issue!

Thank you.

Will Baker

Brandon”//