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Unconvincing justification of possible murder

Posted By Obadiah Shoher On December 7, 2006 @ 7:11 pm In values | 17 Comments

[The US House of Representatives did not pass a bill to administer painkillers to fetuses before abortion. The bill hopelessly attempted a physiological justification of a metaphysical opinion.]

People, religious to any extent at all, must logically regard abortion as murder. If the soul exists, then in all likelihood it enters the human being at the very moment of conception. Some religions permit abortions only to save mothers.

Atheists, on the contrary, have good reason to support the choice of abortion: physiologically a twelve-week fetus is not a viable human being. Religious and atheist values are incompatible here in the extreme, in the definition of murder.

Pascal thus argued for theism: if God indeed exists, we gain a lot by believing in him; if he doesn’t, we lose almost nothing by believing. A similar argument applies to abortion: in the issue of possible murder, it’s better to be on the safe side. Life always involves choices and risks of involuntary transgression. Heinous criminals are executed and later proven innocent. The ‘safe side’ might be interpreted as less than a blanket prohibition of abortion.

Lifestyle abortions are evil. Risking murder (if God and soul exist) to save money for a new car or vacation is a crime. In some circumstances unrelated to a mother’s health, abortion might be feasible. Abortion could be treated similarly to capital punishment and performed only on court order.

The decision to abort or carry a child is not the woman’s only. Men are legally obliged to support their children. Abortion of their offspring can be a moral trauma for men no less than for women. Men should have their say in abortion hearings.


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