Abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, along with a variety of health care services for women. The Virginia General Assembly last week approved legislation that requires abortion clinics to be regulated as hospitals, and providers say the stricter regulations will force many of them out of business. Both measures were pushed by anti-abortion activists. Should personal and religious views be allowed to prevent women from having access to a legal medical procedure?
It may be helpful to point out that several questions have here been rolled into one: 1) federal funding of Planned Parenthood is a budgetary issue; 2) regulating abortion clinics as hospitals concerns public health; 3) allowing personal and religious views to influence legislation is part of living in a democracy; 4) finally there is the question of whether abortion is primarily about the woman's right to choose or the child's right to live.
Pro-life activists may be responsible for these legislative proposals, but the proposals themselves ought to be evaluated on their own merits, as affecting the budget or public health.
Pro-lifers would also claim their view is not religious. To propose that shops be made to close on Good Friday would be religious. To say that the state should protect the life of the unborn child is simply to acknowledge that the embryo is human life.
Thomas G. Bohlin
March 4, 2011; 5:30 PM ET
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