It’s an interesting world we live in. Abortion has been a divisive hot button subject for many decades at this point. To some degree it’s inevitable that any subject with end up with two polarized views. What I find strange though is that those two sides have become extremely associated with political camps. In America, you see this every election. The Democratic candidates campaign for the rights of women to have an abortion, while the Republicans, to varying degrees, want to stop abortions and make them illegal. Think about that for a moment. Abortion takes the life of an unborn human. People may argue whether that’s justified or whether the unborn are persons, but that is still the core of the subject. What does this have to do with political conservatism and liberalism? I contend that the issue of abortion really ought to transcend political affiliation. Abortion is not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue. Where you stand really ought to come down to what you think about human life and value. But I would bet that a large percentage of people who have an opinion on the matter have never asked those questions.
Abortion is a Human Rights Issue
The core question is what is the unborn? If the unborn are living human beings, can we justify killing them? This is radically different from something like foreign trade or immigration. This is a question of human rights and value. Are the unborn human beings with rights? If so, killing them can hardly be justified. If they are not human beings with human rights, then this debate is pointless and we should all move on. All the other questions that play into the political nature of this, such as gender equality, population control, healthcare, etc, are all secondary issues. They should be considered, but much like the topic of slavery, the politics need to be informed by the ethics. Whether or not abolition would put a financial strain on people and communities, or how to properly incorporate the newly freed people into a society still brewing with racism, are all secondary issues. At that point we recognized that owning another human being was wrong, and we would just have to deal with the consequences of making it illegal. Whether you think abortion is right or wrong, you must address the underlying moral concerns, rather than throwing around the secondary political questions.
Do Men Just Want Power?
This debate is often presented in a certain way by Pro-Choice advocates. It shows up all the time in memes and tweets, rarely with deep analysis and support. The debate is presented as if the only people who oppose abortion are men in power who want to control women. I see similar claims like, “If men could get pregnant, nobody would oppose abortion.” This kind of notion is, I believe, at the heart of why the Pro-Choice movement is associated with liberalism. Presented that way, abortion is a way to gain independence and equality for all people. Well, almost all people. It takes the rich and powerful down a peg.
But first, this ignores the countless women who oppose abortion. Find any picture from the March for Life in Washington DC. You will notice there is no shortage of female representation. This goes back to the politicization of this subject. The argument is presented as liberal citizens vs conservative politicians. Second, this makes the very big assumption that the unborn are not people. Because the party that campaigns the hardest for equality for everyone is the same party that is trying to dehumanize everyone until birth.
Church Vs. State
I think the last facet of this is where religion comes in to play. The reality we live in is the republican party is far more closely tied to the American church. While I would contend abortion should not be a political issue, it does have a great deal to do with worldview. The reason that Christians are largely Pro-Life is that their worldview holds all human life as valuable, and that the unjust taking of life is wrong. You can believe that without being a Christian, which is how we often make the case. Before you launch into crusades and witch trials, yeah, I know we haven’t always done the best job of that.
Someone with a more humanistic worldview, typically seen more among liberal democrats, tends to take God out of the equation. What you end up with is that your value only comes from what other people decide. But if even your own parents want you dead, then why not let them kill you? If there is no transcendent value to a human being, of course you’re going to push for the mother’s desired convenience.
So this lands us with a weird state of things. As with most issues, it’s about the underlying worldviews. But for some reason that has been misconstrued to be about politics. Nothing about being a republican says you need to oppose abortion. If the unborn are not human, then we are wasting our time and making people’s lives unnecessarily difficult. But, if Christianity is true, your party is irrelevant. If the unborn are valuable human beings with rights, I would challenge you to set aside your politics and do the right thing.
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