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Atheist Ethics and Abortion

Posted by on 23/08/2015

Some atheists seem to have strongly held beliefs about a whole host of things that have nothing to do with the existence or non-existence any deity/god/supreme being. And they are not always as clear about the evidence behind  those beliefs as they could be.

 For example, there is the ‘supernatural’. Most atheists do not believe in any form of telepathy, extra sensory perception, reincarnation, out of the body experiences, (except where that feeling has been induced by science) or any form of life after death. The reason is that there appears to be little or no evidence to support such beliefs. 

And I say the same thing – show me the evidence. 

But there are other areas where atheists are expected (or perhaps more respected within scientific circles for a particular attitude), to have certain views as a part of their atheistic ‘persona’, such as being pro-abortion.

Says who? Just because most churches are anti-abortion does not mean that atheists should automatically take the opposite point of view. Let’s take it from the women’s health point of view. Women should have control over their own body, and that’s not in doubt, but the growing body inside them is a separate entity. The argument can be made that an unwanted child would not have a good life and would have been better not to have been born. The mother may have to interrupt her career. The rest of the family may have a bit less in terms of material comforts. The unwanted child may be treated badly (although surely death is the worst form of child abuse) or grow up in a deprived environment. The parents may be able to save up less towards their first house. 

All this is true, of course, and yet there is still the fact that the growing body inside the pregnant mother-to-be is not a part of the mother’s body it is a separate (but dependant) entity, and if given the chance to live would no doubt be grateful for being alive unless so badly abused that it were suicidal, or (and this does not follow) so badly brought up that the child grew into a criminal providing no contribution to our society. 

The fact is that most of us are grateful to be alive and are a productive part of our society. And who knows what an aborted child (or whatever you want to call it at various stages of development) would have grown up to be? Sure, it could have been a couch potato spending its most productive years in front of the TV, scrounging on benefits. But it could have become a doctor or nurse. Or a physicist teaching us about the universe that surrounds us. Imagine the test were available to Steven Hawkins’ parents to diagnose that the child would grow up to have Motor Neurone Disease. The advice would probably be to have an abortion. And yet Hawkins has proved to be one of the most important thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. A contributor whose unique mind has given us insights into sub-atomic physics, astrophysics, time, space, gravity, black holes, and many other areas of science which he has popularised through his painstakingly written books. The world would be a much poorer place without him. Should he have been aborted before birth to save him the pain that the illness that started to strike him down whilst he was still a student would bring him? I think most people would answer ‘no’. He is, incidentally, an atheist. And glad to be alive.

How many brilliant minds has the world lost through abortion? How many chemical engineers, doctors, physicists, inventors, researchers, architects, humanitarians, Nobel Prize winners, and ordinary people who nevertheless would have played some part in this world, have we lost through abortion?

So back to women’s health. It is definitely a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. HER BODY. But I don’t see how it can possibly be her right to choose what she does with little James or Sareem growing inside her. 

And what harm does the abortion cause to the woman having the abortion?

Women’s Health after Abortion

www.deveber.org/text/whealth.html

Some short extracts:

  • Abortion increases a woman’s overall risk of breast cancer by 30 per cent.
  • The risk is likely much higher in women who have a first abortion at a young age, or who have a family history of breast cancer.
  • Since 1957, 23 of 37 worldwide studies show an increased breast cancer risk with abortion, a risk as high as 310 per cent.
  • Ten of fifteen U.S. studies confirm the abortion-breast cancer link.
  • The biological rationale for breast cancer development is related to the woman’s unprotected internal exposure to estrogen when a pregnancy is abruptly terminated early in gestation.
  • The magnitude of the risk has, until recently, been hidden by studies of poor quality, many of which have failed to separate induced abortion from low-risk spontaneous miscarriage.
  • The medical establishment is often slow to accept and respond to emerging data, slowed further, in this case, by the conflicting politics of abortion.
  • Recent studies have connected a higher risk of cervical and ovarian cancers to previous abortions, though the degree of risk varies from study to study.
  • A consistent finding has been the protective effect of full-term pregnancies against the onset of cancers of the reproductive system.
  • Researchers have found a connection between abortion and rectal cancer.
  • With reproductive and rectal cancers on the increase in women, more studies are needed, specifically to examine the connection between abortion and cancer.
  • A large-scale, authoritative Scandinavian study establishes post-pregnancy death rates within one year that are nearly four times greater among women who abort their pregnancies than among women who bear their babies. The suicide rate is nearly six times greater among aborting women than among women who give birth. These findings refute the oft-heard claim that induced abortion is safer than childbirth.
  • There is an urgent need for independent studies of maternal mortality related to abortion, and medical facilities should be required to keep more accurate and informative records so that women may be better served in this area.
  • Women report pain levels that are usually much worse than suggested in pre-abortion counseling.
  • Severe pain after abortion is strongly linked to depression before and after abortion.
  • Pain can be a key indicator of serious medical complications, a fact not often told to women.
  • Pain levels reported by women may be dismissed or minimized in surveys conducted by abortion practitioners.
  • There need to be more independent studies on the connection of abortion to pain.
  • After an abortion, women are more likely to display self-destructive behaviors including suicide and attempts at suicide; mutilation and various forms of punishment (including repeat abortions and sterilization); drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse; and eating disorders as a way of denying or minimizing the guilt, pain and numbness they feel. 
  • Women who abort often have trouble bonding with the children of future pregnancies and have a higher chance of eventually abusing them, which leads to a cyclical pattern of abuse-abortion- abuse.
  • It seems clear, given the frequency of negative behavioral outcomes for women after abortion, that more thought needs to be given to appropriate therapy for women (and their children) who are at risk.

——————

How abortion hurts women | NRL News Today

www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2013/…/how-abortion-hurts-women/

Aug 23, 2013 – In addition to its risks to a woman’s physical healthabortion can have …  with her partner and others and can adversely affect men and children.

A short extract:

Psychological risks of abortion

In addition to its risks to a woman’s physical health, abortion can have negative psycho-social consequences. A 2011 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems among women who had undergone abortions; nearly 10 percent of the incidence of psychological problems was directly attributable to abortion. These problems included anxiety, depression, alcohol use, drug use and suicidal behavior.

A large-scale Finnish study found that the suicide rate following abortion was nearly six times greater than the suicide rate following childbirth. Conversely, although abortion is sometimes justified on the basis of mental health, a 2013 study concluded that the termination of unintended pregnancies had no therapeutic psychological benefit.

Abortion can also damage a woman’s relationships with her partner and others and can adversely affect men and children. Many women and men now regret their decision to procure or encourage an abortion, and many seek support and help to deal with their grief.

Dangers should not be ignored

————–

To go on, A Woman’s Right to Choose is the most common pro-abortion statement. However, what has become clear is that women are not being given the full right to choose because the majority of women who have abortions are not aware of the risks, both short-term and long term. It seems fairly clear that in particular private abortion clinics would be going against their own self-interest to fully inform abortion candidates of the risks involved. They’d lose money. A Swedish study on the first link above, shows that the majority of women given pre-abortion counselling and informed of the risks, chose not to go ahead with the abortion. So yes, give women the right to choose, but ensure that they are fully informed of the risks involved.

I’ve made the point here that abortion is a matter of women’s rights, but the right to choose should lead to a fully informed choice, not simply a choice that is made and carried out without being fully informed of the risks and the latest research, and that abortion may harm a woman far more than carrying on with the pregnancy. This is a matter of fact that every candidate for abortion should be made aware of.

Finally, you may want to read www.easyabortion.com

John Bremner