Is abortion debate based on politics… or worldview?

In a February edition of The Briefing, Albert Mohler, theologian and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argued that views on abortion are becoming more polarized, eliminating “middle ground” positions, and that the reason for this is more related to worldview than politics.

Mohler cites a Washington Post article penned by sociologist David Weakliem, in which recent trends on abortion views, gathered from the General Social Survey, are exposed. The results? “More people think abortion should always be legal. And more people think it should never be legal.” In other words, more and more people are beginning to see abortion as a clear moral issue, not a political issue to be compromised on in a tentative middle ground position.

Weakliem believes that the moral polarization on abortion is directly related to political polarization, such as Democrats and Republicans in Congress becoming even more opposed to one another over recent decades. But Mohler sees a more basic reason behind the shift away from middle ground positions on abortion.

According to Mohler, abortion is more basic than political; he refers to it as a “pre-political issue.” Basic worldviews, specifically views on the value of human life, are causing people to either realize that abortion is morally wrong, or to accept it as morally justifiable, argues Mohler. When it comes to human life, a middle ground position is very difficult to support logically, scientifically, or ethically.


Mohler reasons that if one approaches the issue of abortion from a worldview which holds that human life has dignity and worth at every stage, that worldview will tend to lead him or her to become more and more pro-life. Conversely, if the individual’s worldview holds that human dignity must be earned, or is awarded by society or by the state, he or she may tend to become more and more in favor of abortion.

While Mohler’s argument favors what he calls a “biblical worldview,” he raises some interesting points that apply not only to the religious, but to secular people as well. While not all pro-lifers identify with religion or the Bible, it is important that the thinking person be aware of his or her own worldview and what it is based on, in order to be better equipped to counter shallow arguments and empty slogans offered by the abortion industry and the politicians it funds.

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