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Abortion as a “Religious Issue”

DAY 70

CHALLENGE

“Abortion is a religious issue, and those who disapprove of abortion must not impose their religious beliefs on others.”

DEFENSE

Abortion is not a “religious issue.” It is a human-rights issue.

Even if abortion were a religious issue, there is no reason why religious people should set aside their moral values on this topic or any other. Religious values have played an indispensable role in issues from caring for the poor and the sick to ending slavery and tyranny. To suggest that religious people should not bring their values to bear on public issues also misunderstands the nature of democracy, which exists precisely to allow people to express their views on how society should be run.

But the truth is that abortion is not a religious issue. When people say it is, they imply that it is a matter of faith rather than reason. This is false. A powerful case against abortion can be made without bringing religion into the discussion. Unborn children simply are innocent hu- man beings, and their innate right to life must be respected like that of any other innocent human being (see Days 88, 185, 191, 202).

It is a scientific fact that the unborn are living human organisms. This is not a religious claim. It does not depend on the teaching of any church or spiritual leader. It is a matter of basic biology, and only deliberate self-deception could allow one to avoid this fact.

Once you recognize that, the question is what you will do in re- sponse: Will you acknowledge the right to life possessed by all in- nocent human beings? Or will you begin the rationalizations people engage in when they wish to deprive an entire class of human beings of their right to life—whether that class be unborn children, the men- tally retarded, Jews, or anyone else.

In other words, the question is whether you will side with those who justify and commit genocide or with those who seek to protect innocent human beings.

From a moral perspective, the correct choice is obvious, but too many today use the claim that abortion is a “religious issue” simply to shut down rational discussion of the subject and evade the clear impli- cations of the facts.

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