Within the past week or so, two letters have challenged the belief that abortion is wrong -- albeit on different grounds. John Morgan of Arlington Heights asserts a woman's unalienable right to abortion using the concept of body sovereignty, an idea promoted by the late Marxist philosophy professor G.A. Cohen, among others. The second, by Emily Davidson of Des Plaines, characterizes opposition to abortion as merely a religious belief.
Mr. Morgan neglects to consider that the premise of body sovereignty is based on an individual's right to reject coercive use of their body or bodily functions for the benefit of another. His assertion overlooks the fact that a woman who engages in sexual relations has implicitly agreed to accept the potential consequences of such action, one of which is the possible conception of a child. Once she has made the decision to attempt to procreate, she has tacitly approved the use of her body for the nurturing of unborn life whether or not she intended to create such life. What coercion has the unborn child, a human being with all the rights of any other human being, exerted on its mother?
More basic is Ms. Davidson's total disregard for atheists who are pro-life. There are numerous websites and references to pro-life atheists and humanists available on the Internet. They conclude, in concert with their religious pro-life counterparts, that unborn babies are distinct human beings (based on science, not religion) from the moment of conception and are entitled to the same rights as every other human being. While it is convenient to make abortion a religious issue for the sake of dividing and minimizing opposition to it, doing so ignores that abortion is a truly universal threat to our human rights, one which continues to plague our society with the approval of our courts and laws.