Life Before Birth - A Different Perspective

Well ... I don't know what happened to my original post of this article which was originally written in 1992 and which I posted here a couple weeks ago, but SOMETHING happened to it. I continue to think that, as a matter of women's rights and the whole Pro-Choice / Pro-Birth issue that it deserves to be here, and if someone thinks otherwise, I would like to hear their rationale before unceremoniously rendering the following to the bit bucket. Again, please note, I was not a fully fledged rationalist / atheist back then, and I'd like to think I've grown a little in the intervening time.



  • Life is precious, none may be taken capriciously.
  • There are three possible outcomes of a pregnancy:
    • Birth
    • Abortion, due to human intervention
    • Abortion, due to God's Intervention (also stipulating an omniscient, omnipotent God; there are no accidents!)

Fact: In 1951, between my birth and the birth of my first sister, my mother had a miscarriage. The cause of the miscarriage, at the time, was unknown. My parents are by no means fatalists, but a comment about "God's Will" would not have been unexpected. Had a doctor 20 years later looked at my parents' medical workups, he would have looked at this incident and shook his head. Why? My father was blood-type A-positive; my mother is O-negative. What had happened was a case of Rh mismatch, which has caused uncounted miscarriages throughout history. Sometime after this event, some researcher discovered an anti-agent to this syndrome, now known as “RhoGAM,” and since that time, a lot of mothers haven't had to go through the agony of a failed pregnancy.

So what about all those kids who didn't make it through the nine-month sub-lease because no one knew about RhoGAM? Sinners before their birth? Punishment to the parents for some other arcane sin? If so, what about all those who benefited from RhoGAM? Did God decide all of a sudden to reprieve them or was Man able to trump God's Ace (that one doesn't sound likely for an omnipotent God!)? And how many other pregnancies have failed throughout history, long before antiseptic abortion was available, because God decided they wouldn't go to term? The count would make the total number of abortions in the history of man, antiseptic and otherwise, look like a comparison between the Pacific and a glass of water. What kind of God capriciously disposes of life in this manner? No God I could worship!

The fact is, all of those failed pregnancies had reasons: failure to implant, Rh mismatch, hormonal imbalances, a million other reasons, some of which man is learning to control to the point of potentially eliminating failed pregnancies altogether. I have little doubt that we could potentially live to see the day when prenatal medicine develops to the point of being able to frustrate any agent which would prevent a pregnancy from running a full 40 weeks to successful delivery. Are those children spared God's Wrath, or are they damned because of man's intervention? The plain fact of the matter is that there are those who bridle against God's taking of an unborn child for no discernable reason than His Will, then turn around and scream bloody murder when man does the same thing. Which is the greater sin? I have no answer for that one; I just do as I grok.

All I can see right now is people complaining about killing God's pre-born creations when He Himself has wasted a vastly greater number with no more explanation than "His Will Be Done." Is each failed pregnancy a reflection of God's Will or random chance? For myself, I cannot subscribe to a belief system which would have God so deeply involved at the pre-born level and simultaneously hold that man is a creature of free will. The concept is absurd to the point of being ludicrous. Does all of the above constitute an excuse or justification for abortion? Maybe, maybe not, but it DOES put the issue in a different perspective.

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Comment by Loren Miller on January 26, 2010 at 1:48pm
Thing is, Jim, I'd rather she had the RhoGAM available to her and not have to go through that at all.

But the point is that the theists want us to value life über alles with no ifs, ands or buts, yet they fail to recognize that the process of procreation by its very nature is a lossy one. I assert that it is at least as much that a woman asserts the right to control her body (and possibly in so doing, acts against their deity) as it is the supposed loss of life.

Oh, one other note: my mom has had an abortion ... did so with her eyes open ... and doesn't blink when she talks about it.
Comment by Loren Miller on December 12, 2009 at 4:11pm
Dave, you and me and several other people I know have come to that very same conclusion. S'pose there's anything to it?!?
Comment by Loren Miller on December 12, 2009 at 12:53pm
It's a toss-up between Heinlein's Stranger and his Job: A Comedy of Justice as to which one I get the bigger kick out of, especially as it comes to skewering religion, but both have their innings. I've also read the first three books of L'Engle's Time series, and while I enjoy them, the first is clearly the best of the three and they do tend to lean a touch toward C. S. Lewis' end of the writing scale a bit ... but that's for other places.

Once again, our theist buds fail to fully consider the implications of what qualities they ascribe to life, whether pre- or post-partum. Logic, reason, and common sense need not apply there.

More's the pity.
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on December 12, 2009 at 12:40pm
After looking at your profile page along with this particular blog - it totally makes sense you're a Heinlein freak. Me too. After a nun (sister Max - must have been a hippy lesbian, only thing I can figure) read us: A Wrinkle in Time in the sixth grade, I was hooked on speculative fiction and randomly picked out Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. My brother and I read the cover off of Stranger in a Strange Land - which definitely had something to do with my atheist awakening.

Heinlein would have totally agreed with how ludicrous a picture a zygote being poked with pitchforks in hell would make.
Comment by Loren Miller on December 12, 2009 at 12:27pm
I would think original has to attach along with the whole life-soul thing, Howard - package deal, very likely. The theists aren't limited by brain density, consciousness or any of that crap, so they're free to assign whatever features they want. Big of them, don't you think?

As to the "joys of paradise," I have NO idea what constitutes "zygote fun;" I'll leave that for another poster!
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on December 12, 2009 at 12:16pm
This begs a question I have never asked before: If life begins at conception (or even before), does original sin attach at the same time?

I know that many Christians have some arbitrary 'age of accountability' (Baptists?) But what about Catholics and Episcopalians?

Hardly seems fair at all to burn a zygote for eternity. Actually, hardly seems unfair either since it doesn't even make any sense at all. Can you torture a zygote?

Conversely, can a zygote experience anything, let alone the 'joys of paradise'?



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