It’s incredibly how politics gets all tied up with morality at times… both sides of the debate regarding abortion claim they are the more “humanistic” or “moral” side. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice sides are both positive terms (because if you’re not “Pro-Life”, you’re obviously AGAINST life, and if you’re not “Pro-Choice” then it’s because you’re AGAINST freedom of choice), but they’re thrown around almost indescriminately.
The Pro-Choice side, however, has two major benefits lacking in Pro-Life arguments;
1. It’s non-religious, and
2. It protects the freedoms of human beings.
While the religious foundations of Pro-Life arguments aren’t ubiquitos (and there are probably atheists who are Pro-Life), the fact remains that the first and most steadfast proponents of limiting abortion rights are those from religious backgrounds. Any debate which includes terms like “sanctity of life” or “soul” or even “human from conception” can all be traced back to a religious (and generally fundamentalist Christian) origin. While I won’t debate the existance of God in this forum, I will point out that religious beliefs should have no baring on legal decisions; the world is *not* all Christian, and those who aren’t shouldn’t be slaved to a dogma they didn’t choose (for example, how would Christians in America feel if laws were all determined by Muslim or Jewish dogma?). We must ignore religious calls to limit abortion in order to honour the importance of separating Church and State… the people of a nation, no matter how large a percentage adhere to a specific set of religious beliefs, should not be FORCED to follow that religion.
The more reasonable arguments of Pro-Life camps tend to focus on protecting the fetus (and therein the potential human life which it represents). These arguments focus more heavily on aspects such as the humanity of a fetus from the moment of conception (2 cells, one male and one female) straight through to the moment of birth. Correspondingly, they also attack those willing to “kill” a fetus which will one day become human… an act which is considered a form of murder.
The problem with these approaches is that you can’t have two Rights holders in a single body. The fetus is not an entity on it’s own… it is slaved to the body of the woman in which it resides, and the more rights you give IT, the fewer you allow the woman. And unlike the fetus, a woman is *not* a “potential” human, but rather an *actual* human… an adult who should have all the freedoms (and restrictions) any other human has. By telling this adult that they are not allowed to have an abortion, you are telling them that they no longer have the right to protect their own bodies. And while it is lamentable that there are people who use abortions as birth control, it *must* be allowed such that those who need (or choose to need) an abortion be able to receive one. And who are *we* to determine when an abortion is “acceptable” or not? Sure, for some people choosing an abortion to protect a career may seem insane… but for others, their work is far too important to risk losing their jobs due to a pregnancy. Even the most ardent supporter of Pro-Life views tends to allow some leway for rape, but even in cases that aren’t rape the woman may see the potential child as an unwanted reminder of a failed relationship, or coersion, or any number of reasons for her to have the RIGHT to choose an abortion.
We must protect the right of adults to make their own decisions. Those who would take away those rights must be carefully observed… for what seems “reasonable” today (denying abortions) leads to more unreasonable behaviour (denying birth control to sexually active individuals), which leads to extremist behaviour (denying women any rights as humans).