Thoughts about abortion from “an atheist and secular kind of guy”

David Harsanyi, a self-described “athiest and secular kind of guy,” asks the important questions about the ethics and politics of abortion in response to the recent polls showing that a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.

After a life of being pro-choice, I began to seriously ponder the question. I oppose the death penalty because of the slim chance innocent people will be executed and because I don’t believe the state should have the authority to take a citizen’s life. So don’t I owe a nascent human life at least the same deference? Just in case?

Now, you may not consider a fetus a “human life” in early pregnancy, though it has its own DNA and medical science continues to find ways to keep the fetus viable outside the womb earlier and earlier. It’s difficult to understand how those who harp on the importance of “science” in public policy can draw an arbitrary timeline in the pregnancy, defining when human life is worth saving and when it can be terminated.

The more I thought about it the creepier the issue got. Newsweek, for instance, recently reported that 90 percent of women whose fetuses test positive for Down syndrome choose to abort. Another survey showed that only a small percentage of mothers even use the test. So what happens when 90 percent of parents test their fetuses? Does it mean the end of the disorder, or are we stepping perilously close to eugenics?

Choosing life for babies with disabilities is now newsworthy.

He also comments on the case of “gender based” abortions in Sweden:

Recently, Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare ruled that women are permitted to abort their children based on the sex of the fetuses. In the United States, a woman can have an abortion for nearly any reason she chooses. In fact, a health exemption for the mother allows abortions to be performed virtually on demand.

If you oppose selective abortions but not abortion overall, I wonder why? How is terminating the fetus because it’s the wrong sex any worse than terminating the fetus for convenience’s sake? The fate of the fetus does not change; only the reasoning for its extinction does.

Read the whole article here.

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