Dean Barnett is pro-life, but he’s not religious, according to his column in the Boston Globe.
Barnett is a non-observant Jew, yet he he’s pro-life because of the moral logic that such a belief entails. And he doesn’t think one need be religious to be pro-life either.
The big moral question regarding abortion is, “When does life begin?” While most people agree that life begins at some point between conception and birth, pro-choice absolutists argue that life doesn’t begin until the fetus is fully delivered. Thus, they can enthusiastically defend a procedure like “partial birth abortion” where the fetus is partially delivered and then brutally “terminated” before it is fully delivered. At the other end of the spectrum, pro-life absolutists, reflecting John Kerry’s stated view, argue that life begins at the moment of conception.
While Barnett says he’s not an absolutist on either end, he’s not saying that life doesn’t begin at conception. What he does say is that you can’t know exactly when life begins from a scientific point of view, and thus ethics and morality would demand that we be cautious about it. In other words, if we aren’t sure life doesn’t begin at conception, then logic would tell us not to abort if we don’t know.
The problem with his logic is that there are plenty of pro-abortionists who’ve come to concede that life might indeed begin at conception, but so what? They are quite willing to say that even if the baby is a living human being, he has no right to make demands upon his mother and her body and thus she has every right to kill him.
Granted that still’s pretty much an extreme point of view, but the number of adherents to that view is growing. It’s part of that slippery slope so many have been warning about for so long.
I applaud Barnett for his forthright approach and honesty and for calling the mainstream media on its tendency to make abortion a “religious” issue, as if morality was a matter of worship style. But is this fighting a battle that the war has already moved beyond?