Abortion, religion, and false assumptions

Upon engaging in discussions about abortion, one will quickly discover that some pro-choice debaters have nothing relevant to contribute to the conversation. Instead of discussing the issues at hand, they repeatedly shout broad attacks – not directly on pro-life views, but on religious views they assume to be held by pro-lifers. Don’t believe me? Just take a few minutes to read through the comment threads here at Live Action News.

Often, such irrelevant comments sound something like this: “You pro-lifers are religious idiots! You magical thinkers believe that snakes and donkeys can talk!”

Regardless of whether they occur in online discussions or other arenas, clearly such comments are ridiculous on several levels. First, they are based on wildly inaccurate stereotypes of the pro-life movement. Many pro-lifers, including myself, are non-religious – and in some cases even actively opposed to religion. In an excellent article entitled “You Can Be an Atheist and Still Be Pro-Life,” Kelsey Hazzard, president of Secular Pro-Life, destroys the myth that pro-life ideals are inherently based on religion, turning the argument back on abortion supporters in revealing that “magical thinking is embedded in Roe v. Wade itself.”

The pro-choice movement as a whole could not survive without magical thinking. Pro-choice leaders are not about to educate their many supporters who believe either that abortion doesn’t really kill, or that the baby was never alive to begin with. Ignorance is votes.

In addition to employing wildly inaccurate stereotypes, pro-choice debaters who rely on objections to religion for their arguments are apparently ignorant to the obvious fact that religion can work both ways here. Consider the case of pro-choice activist Rabbi Lori Koffman.

On her decision to become a rabbi, she says, “It was a sort of irrational, illogical thing…I kept thinking, ‘Oh my god, crazy voices are talking to me, but I have to start listening to the crazy voices or they won’t go away. Either that or medicate myself.'” Koffman admits that she views the world through the lens of her religion. She also explicitly confesses that she views abortion as “a religious issue.”

Not only does Koffman view abortion as a religious issue, she actually considers it holy, calling the choice “one of the holiest decisions anyone will ever make.”

Now, it might just be me, but Koffman’s stance seems to be largely based on superstitious, blind, “crazy” religious faith. Not science. Not logic. Faith. However, the rational person interested in relevant discussion would not use this as an excuse to attack the entire pro-choice movement – based solely on objections to religion. There are several reasons for this. First, not all pro-choicers share Koffman’s irrational views. Second, pro-lifers actually have science and logic to support their views, which enables them to present a much more compelling argument than “you silly religious freak!”

To summarize, religion is only relevant to the abortion debate among individuals who base their views on religion. For example, it is perfectly acceptable for the pro-choice Christian to debate the pro-life Christian using Biblical references, because those references will likely be relevant to the views of both parties. It is, however, not even remotely relevant to argue against the entire pro-life movement based solely on objections to the Bible or other aspects of religion. It’s a waste of everyone’s time, and like many pro-choice talking points, it just makes it appear that the pro-choice camp is a bit short on actual, relevant arguments – which is likely the case.

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