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Atheist Community of Austin
Does ACA have a stand on abortion?

I only ask because I tried to join American Atheists back in ~1994, and when I visited their office, the guy said I had to be pro-choice to be a member of AA. I knew the Freedom From Religion Foundation was pretty pro-choice as well.

Seemed to me at the time that the pro-choice position was (a) purely a reaction to the fact that many Christian denominations are actively anti-abortion, rather than (b) a fundamental (if you'll pardon the word) concept of atheism.

Where do you folks fall?

ACA does not have a position on abortion. We do think that some of the anti-abortion reasoning is suspect, but there are perfectly good reasons for both sides of the debate. Most of the ACA folks do agree that reducing the need for abortions is a good thing and we are proponents of education, including sex education. Neither of these is an official position.

--Don

Thank you. I never thought atheism required a particular position on that issue, so I appreciate your official impartiality (while acknowledging that it certainly seems that the great majority of atheists also happen to be pro-choice).

As an after thought to your comment, I'll note that I think that some of the abortion reasoning is suspect on both sides (thus the shrill nature of the "debate"), but that is probably a topic for another web site!

--Walter

Walter,

You're right that atheism and abortion are really very different topics. With many of these topics, it seems that conservative Christianity often makes a stand based on questionable reasoning and seeks to impose their ideas on others. In such a case, we feel compelled to point out the problems in the reasoning and potentially assist in wresting control from the self-appointed decision makers.

Tracie, Matt, and I did an Atheist Experience show on the topic, episode #449. You can watch it via our atheist-experience.com web site. Many of the contradictions I'm alluding to were brought out in that episode.

As far as the abortion topic itself, it really boils down to the problem of trying to make some sort of binary policy decision or law about something that is inherently a long process of maturation from cells to a full human being--shades of gray. I don't think there will ever be a one-size-fits-all answer to the question.

--Don

>and seeks to impose their ideas on others.

I have friends who are Christians who I doubt would ever personally choose to have an abortion--but they understand that it's their decision, and they respect the rights of others to think and behave differently. I have no problem with these Christians and feel no need to make any effort whatsoever to change their views.

What I found interesting about the show we did was the very agreeable response we got. It seemed to me that the feedback, from Christians and atheists alike, was that it should be left to the individual to decide. And again, most Christians I know don't seem to want to make it a political issue, either. And I'm fine with them having their personal view and opting to proceed with a pregnancy, rather than have an abortion, if an unexpected pregnancy should occur.

I do not think most people find abortion to be a highly attractive solution to an all-around unfortunate situtation. The only real problem that I've ever seen spawned from the differing abortion views is the one Don noted above: whether or not one group's views on the issue should be dictate behavior across the board, to very many others (religious and nonreligious) who don't feel the government should be involved in such decisions.

To be prochoice means that I have to be OK allowing people to _not_ have abortions if they don't want to have them. And I have to be OK accepting that someone may hold a view opposite to my own. I would never dream of enacting legislation that would force women to undergo abortions against their wishes. I would consider it an extreme violation of their legal right to choose to have a baby if that is their decision in a tough situation. And I would support that woman's right to her choice--to have her baby.

Anyway, just to confirm that if a person is personally prolife and an atheist, I don't see any conflict with that, either. The issues are not inherently connected, and someone's personal view of abortion doesn't really affect me or concern me. In fact, it's actually none of my business.

ACA is for atheists. As far as I know, that's the only thing they're looking at.

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