Jay Atkins on Abortion: A Case of Absent Moral Authority

The idea that all men are created equal is absurd. It is patently and demonstrably false. We see the inherent inequality of people all around us, every day. Some folks are simply more capable, more accomplished and more valuable than others. You may quaintly argue we are all equal in that everyone possesses equal human dignity, but that’s just platitudinal drivel. It’s not actually true. In fact, based on observable data, it is objectively false.

(Of course, I don’t believe any of this. But, follow the pro-abortion logic with me for a moment.)

Once upon a time it was generally accepted that people are “equal” in that we are created in God’s image and thus posses inherent worth, but that time has passed. Enlightenment, postmodern and post-truth thinkers cured us of that simple-minded notion. No modern, intellectually honest person believes in the God of the Bible anymore. Ancient Western creation mythologies have, thankfully, been replaced by science, evidence and reason. We are also no longer bound by oppressive and outmoded biblical ethics. We don’t need a first-century Jewish man to impose his morality on us. We are our own sovereigns. We are free to pursue our own truth, live our best life and let our decisions be guided by reason rather than dogma. Which brings me back to my point. As a matter of science, evidence and reason, human equality is a myth. It cannot be empirically proven. In fact, it can be disproven. We need to accept it and move on.

What does any of this have to do with the abortion debate? It allows us to reframe it more honestly. It lets us approach it with reason as our guide, not emotion. It frees us to stop pretending abortion is a moral question. It is not. The moral arguments advanced by so-called “pro-lifers” are grounded solely in their interpretation of an imperfectly translated, bronze-age book of fairytales. That’s not reasonable, that’s insane. The idea that their dogma somehow puts moral constraints on twenty-first century people is hogwash. It’s time to stop indulging their delusion and take a new approach.

Let’s begin by dispensing with the most basic question in the debate: is a fetus a life? That’s easy, of course it is. I’m often amazed at the rhetorical gymnastics pro-choicers go through trying to deny this basic fact. Why fight biology? Arguing that a fetus is not life is fighting on the pro-life camp’s battlefield, and it’s futile. On that fundamental question they are objectively correct. Pregnancy is life, period. Let’s stop arguing about it and just own it. Why fall for the other side’s morality play? It’s argumentum ad passiones, and it’s lame.

We need to stop equivocating and simply have the courage of our convictions. Pregnancy is life and abortion, at any stage, terminates that life. So what. That’s not the relevant question. The real question is, when is terminating a life ok? And the answer is, it depends. Because human life is not objectively valuable, nor are human beings objectively equal, the decision to end a life is not a moral question, but a pragmatic one. Terminating a pregnancy is an exercise in cost/benefit analysis, nothing more.

From this understanding it is easy to correctly conclude that abortion should be universally legal. That said, our current architecture for contemplating abortion rights is woefully deficient. Proper cost/benefit analysis, grounded in science and reason, demands we rethink our current legislative and judicial framework. The chief problem with the current abortion schema is how impractical it is. Stated simply, we don’t know who we’re killing, and that is inherently wasteful. If we are interested in proper cost/benefit analysis, wastefulness is bad.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jay Atkins