Monday, May 7, 2012

Soul Abortion

Politics and religion, the two subjects that should not be discussed at the dinner table. Each have their share of hot button topics, none more so than those that overlap between the two. Today I’m talking about one such topic, the morning after pill.

You may wonder why I don’t cover the broader issue of abortion. It’s because I have no clear stance on the matter. I’m pro-choice for first trimester abortions and pro-life for third trimester abortions. Any demarcation as to when exactly my stance changes is largely arbitrary, so I vaguely point to the second trimester. My feeling is that there are valid, secular reasons not to abort an unwanted fetus, but only religious reasons to oppose aborting an unwanted embryo. Plan B provides the perfect example of religion fueled opposition and is the safest for me to discuss without hesitation.

Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), such as Plan B, are intended to disrupt ovulation and/or fertilization. They are basically just a higher dose of standard birth control and likely don’t abort anything. Even so, the rivals of the pills claim that they could be an abortion, and any chance of this is a chance of killing another person.

When they say "person" or "baby" or "human-being," remember whatever terminology a theist uses for that thing in mamma's belly, they really mean a “soul.” In their eyes, a person begins at fertilization because a divine entity has delivered a soul to a collection of cells. I don’t buy the angelic stork hypothesis. It won’t be some immortal essence that brings conciousness to the unborn child. It will be it’s brain...and it doesn’t have one yet.

So if you are opposed to abortion and you are opposed to the morning after pill, I’m going to write off your opinions as magical thinking. If you are opposed to abortion and you support ECPs, then we can talk. My opinion remains flaky until the theoretical question of “would you have an abortion?” becomes practical...and seeing how I’m not a woman, I doubt it ever will.


  1. I agree with what you are saying regarding the morning after pills---they are not an abortion. Abortion itself is a bit more hairy. I consider myself pro-choice, but do have limits. Like you I would be okay with an abortion in the first trimester and opposed to them in the third trimester. I am not educated enough on embryonic development to draw my "line in the sand". I do feel that during the first three months a decision can and should be reached, barring emergent issues (health of mother, etc). At some point, choosing an abortion becomes an irresponsible choice in my opinion---I am just not sure when that time is.

  2. Every time I hear right-wingers refer to emergency contraception as "abortion," I want to scream. As you mentioned, their insistence on calling EC an abortion pill is rooted in the belief that life begins at conception, which is extremely problematic. To boot, EC access is very important for preventing unwanted pregnancies ... so it prevents abortion in the first place!

  3. When you say you are pro-life in the third trimester, what do you mean exactly? Would you be against an abortion in the third trimester if the mother's life is in danger? What about if there are congenital defects and the baby would likely die soon after birth? My (limited) understanding is that this is generally the only time third trimester abortions are done.

    1. I would evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. :-)

      Off hand, I am against third-trimester abortions for reasons other than medical emergencies.

    2. I figured as much but thought it was worth clarifying :)