It is true that many people who are involved in the abortion debate and especially on the pro-life side are religious people. Many Christian Churches believe abortion to be a bad or evil act and they find it especially repulsive because it involves the destruction of a human life, something which they regard a very valuable. Do we then have a difficulty with entering into a debate or discussion with them? If their opposition to abortion stems from a belief in divine power of some description and we do not can we ever have a starting point?
It is not uncommon for members of the pro-life movement to be labelled ‘religious fanatics’ or ‘fundamentalists’ by those who oppose them, this however does little to help the debate. Rather its only intention is to undermine the persons credibility and in effect to destroy debate.
It is worth noting here that there are groups such as ‘Atheists for Life’ available at http://www.godlessprolifers.org/home.html who are non-religious and pro-life and also Christian, even Catholic groups such as ‘Catholics for Choice’ who believe in a woman’s right to abortion. This blogger has a little difficulty with the latter group as a brief look at their website will show that they rarely give the full picture.
For example their introduction to abortion:
The morality and the legality of abortion is an important personal and political issue throughout the world. Catholic support for legal abortion is grounded in core principles of Catholic theology, which respect the moral agency of all women. It is bolstered by respect for the religious freedom and rights of people of all faiths and no religious faith, by respect for plural and tolerant democratic societies and, most importantly, by adherence to the Catholic principle of standing with the poor and marginalized of the world who are disproportionately women.
Note how there is no mention or recognition of the unborn child.
These two examples alone suggest to me that a discussion is possible between religious and non-religious people on the issue. Indeed if a religious pro-life person’s convictions are based on a fundamental respect for human life there seems to be little difficulty since this an (almost) universally held principle. If both parties are willing to start from here and both willing to be reasonable the argument can be maintained.
The issue of whether religion restricts our freedom is another issue which is beyond the scope of this blog. However I doubt there are many religious people who would agree. Many would in fact suggest that it is their religion which makes them freer that a non-religious person.