We believe that the world would be a better place IF EVERY CHILD BORN WAS WANTED, loved, and whose parents were prepared and willing to provide them with a fulfilling life.
Many Americans feel that parents who aren’t able to afford basic needs for their children should receive assistance from private and government collaboration. In order to reduce these public costs, sex education should be provided to young people, as well as education about the responsibilities of parenting and the impact of raising a child in the context of a fulfilling life. Contraceptives should be made available. They are used by an overwhelming majority of sexually active couples, including couples whose religious dogmas officially prohibit them. In addition to abstinence, contraceptives serve to prevent most unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and abortions.
The objection of anti-abortion organizations to contraceptives and abortion is based on the religious belief that a soul enters the embryo at conception and that every act of sex should be for procreation. We respect their right to adhere to their faith and we recognize that they are sincere in their beliefs.
However, many women do not share these beliefs. They base their moral judgment on what they believe is best for themselves, their families, and society. They understand that giving birth to unwanted children without the physical, emotional, or financial resources to provide them a good life can have broad-ranging negative impacts. Government shouldn’t dishonor their moral perspectives by imposing criminal laws derived from sectarian religious beliefs.
The authors of the U.S. Constitution enacted as their First Amendment the provision: “Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion...” Our nation was intended as a secular nation without the divine authority of a monarch or pope. Our laws were intended to be enacted as a product of discourse among “we the people” about our collective judgement of what serves the general welfare. Thus our constitution excludes decisions based on faith or divine authority. Faith-based decisions or claims of divine authority are not debatable because there is no observation from experience to measure their consequences or disprove their assertions.
When morals are based on human experience, there are many reasonable circumstances by which women may choose to abort:
1 Victims of rape and incest understandably resent the men who impregnated them by force, took advantage of their minor age or abused their family role.
2 Married women with children who do not have the resources to care for more children sensibly don’t wish to diminish the quality of life of the family by having additional children.
3 Women who used a failed birth control device don’t believe that a flawed contraceptive is justification for assuming the responsibility of raising children.
4 Minor children who get pregnant and face the fullness of their circumstance may decide that they don’t have the maturity to raise a family.
5 Women who don’t want to continue their pregnancy alone after being misled by their partner into thinking he was committed to parental responsibility but then abdicated that responsibility.
6 Women who discover that their fetuses are genetically predisposed to developing serious diseases, like Tay-Sachs, don’t want to put themselves and their family through long-term suffering.
7 Women with limited resources who want to pursue a career that will enable them to be productive and independent don’t want to have children at a time that will interfere with a fulfilling life of work.
For these and many other reasons, one-third of women in their reproductive years make the choice to abort.
Women who make the choice to abort because of their judgment of the consequences of pregnancy and raising a child based on their life experience are morally honorable. Humanists come to this position by making moral choices based on collective life experience, not supernatural dogma.