Monday, January 26, 2009

My Rosaries are Nowhere Near Your Ovaries: Good, Secular Pro-Life Arguments

I've begun to realize that most people who are pro-choice view any religious language - from the most concrete "Abortion is wrong because the Church says so" to the vaguest, most unassailable, "Life is sacred" - as justification of their view that anyone who is pro-life is trying to force his religion on the rest of the world. This, of course, is not true. While the idea of people joining the Church pleases me greatly - and I was never so honored as when a friend asked me to be his RCIA sponsor - my pro-life views have almost nothing to do with that. They just make sense. They just feel right. I understand the perspective of pro-choice people, which tends to be well-intentioned, but I really can't fathom how most of them come to their views, because, to me, the right to life is. . . self-evident.

While secular arguments for the pro-life position resonate with me precisely because life is sacred, they work just as well, I think, if that premise is left unspoken.

Imagine: "You shouldn't kill babies because all life is sacred." Works for me.

But try this: "You shouldn't kill babies." That works for me, too, and I think it works for everyone.

I'd imagine most people inherently believe life is sacred, but many will not explicitly acknowledge that, and trying to make them do so turns them off entirely. They know there's something special there, so they won't fight it, as long as you don't make them admit that "sacredness" is real, or that life's inherent worth is God-given. Just leave it at "life has inherent worth," and you'll get a whole lot further with some segments of the population.

With that in mind, consider this the introduction to a series of posts on the completely secular pro-life arguments that I find most compelling. I'll do my best to leave God out entirely.

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