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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Secularism and the Pro-Life Movement

David French rebuts the notion that the opposition to abortion is inherently religious:

Atheists are extraordinarily concerned about the environment. Atheists and agnostics are more opposed to the death penalty than any major religious subgroup in America.

Yet atheists are also overwhelmingly pro-choice. But that does not mean that arguments against abortion are inherently religious. One might say that it means that many atheists are inconsistent. Just as many atheists rightly challenge Christians to square their opposition to abortion with their support for the death penalty, I’d challenge my atheist friends to learn about the distinct and separate biological humanity of the unborn child and square their support for abortion with their opposition to the death penalty.

Nat Hentoff couldn’t square that circle. He believed in life as a “seamless garment.” He used a phrase called the “indivisibility of life.” In a 1986 speech, Hentoff wrote that he was deeply influenced by a left-wing thinker named Mary Meehan, and he quoted one of her most famous arguments:
It is out of character for the left to neglect the weak and helpless. The traditional mark of the left has been its protection of the underdog, the weak and the poor. The unborn child is the most helpless form of humanity, even more in need of protection than the poor tenant farmer or the mental patient. The basic instinct of the left is to aid those who cannot aid themselves. And that instinct is absolutely sound. It's what keeps the human proposition going.
This is not an inherently religious argument. It is an argument that reached a man who did not believe in God. It is a moral argument, and moral arguments are not the exclusive prerogative of people of faith.

In fact, while pro-life leaders often make religious arguments—especially to religious audiences—when you talk to veteran pro-life volunteers, they’ll tell you that biology, not the Bible, is often their greatest weapon the in the battle of ideas.

Why do crisis pregnancy centers constantly seek funding for ultrasounds? Why is one of the best, most concrete things you can do for life is to donate for ultrasounds? It’s because of the biological reality that ultrasounds reveal. Parents reading this thread likely can immediately remember the feeling of incredible joy when they heard that first fetal heartbeat. Many of you posted ultrasound pictures on your refrigerator doors