Back on March 11th, Hemant Mehta, over at his Friendly Atheist blog, had a guest post by Kristine Kruszelnicki that attempted to give some secular arguments against abortion. Naturally Mehta received some heat for the post. However his need to ‘debate’ abortion didn’t include allowing a rebuttal from the group Secular Woman. I agree with Secular Woman that abortion shouldn’t be debated like some kind of flavor of ice cream.
Kruszelnicki’s post was a response to a comment American Atheist President David Silverman made to a reporter that there were secular arguments against abortion.
Here is a bit of the “rebuttal” Mehta rejected:
Hemant asked for “A) a rebuttal to the specific things Kristine wrote about and B) the facts/data behind why being pro-choice makes sense”. While we understand why either of these might be considered the appropriate response to publishing a poorly reasoned, “pro-life” argument without comment, we feel those are not what the atheist community most needs right now. PZ Myers and Brianne Bilyeu have ably addressed the pseudoscience and non sequiturs of the original post. Avicenna has dealt with the humanitarian cost of “pro-life” stances. Commenters on the original post and across the atheist internet have made the argument that the bodily autonomy of people with a uterus does not disappear when that uterus is filled, the argument on which current legal rights are based, and they’ve done it repeatedly and well.
These flaws in anti-abortion arguments have been documented and countered for as long as the arguments have been used. Tacking “secular” onto their description does nothing to make the arguments more valid or more worthy of being treated uncritically. We see no trend toward giving global warming denialists space to uncritically present their pseudoscience and poor argumentation simply because they aren’t all motivated by religion. We see no reason to do so with abortion.
It’s disheartening when so-called atheists use warmed over arguments that are so old and discredited that even theists hardly use them any more. It gives atheists a bad name.
It seems to me that people who aren’t personally affected by an issue think debating that issue is always okay. I think it’s immature thinking especially when we are talking about human rights like abortion.
Human rights aren’t up for a debate or a popularity contest. If you don’t think the right to an abortion is a fundamental human right then you have a problem.