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Atheists and Abortion: Godless Views on the Legality and Morality of Abortion

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Atheism, Atheists, and Abortion:


Abortion debates in America tend to focus on religious perspectives and what religious believers think. Godless views on whether abortion is moral and whether a woman’s right to choose abortion should remain legally protected are almost never consulted. This is somewhat understandable, given the fact that there is no single atheist position on abortion and no authority to determine what atheists are supposed to think. This doesn’t mean, however, that atheists have nothing to offer.

Pro-Choice, Anti-Abortion Atheists:


A common atheist position on abortion can be described as pro-choice yet anti-abortion — or, at the very least, pro-choice without also being pro-abortion. This position recognizes a difference between the morality of abortion and laws on abortion. These atheists find abortion morally troubling at the very least, but think that criminalizing abortion would only be worse. They probably wouldn’t choose abortion for themselves and might counsel against it, but insist that it remain legal.

Pro-Choice, Pro-Abortion Atheists:


Not all supporters of abortion rights also have moral qualms about people choosing it. Some atheists believe that abortion should be a legal right not just on the basis of ideas like privacy and personal autonomy, but also because there are times when abortion is a moral good and the positive choice. The fact that a woman is in a position where the choice is necessary may be unfortunate, yet this doesn’t mean that making the choice is something to be ashamed of.

Pro-Life, Anti-Choice Atheists:


Although the pro-life, anti-choice position on abortion is most commonly associated with conservative evangelicals, fundamentalists, and conservative Catholics, there are atheists who oppose abortion as well. They aren’t typically anti-choice for religious reasons, but their conviction is as strong as anyone’s. At the same time, though, I haven’t seen any atheists who sincerely think that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder and that those involved should be treated like murderers.

Atheists vs. Theists on Abortion:


The Christian Right tends to portray all their critics and opponents as godless, ignoring the fact that on some issues godless atheists agree with them while religious theists disagree with them. To say that they are blind would be an understatement. Atheists and theists disagree on whether any gods exist; they don’t necessarily disagree on anything else. There is far too much diversity among both atheists and theists to assume that they stand on opposite sides of any particular issue.

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