The hardest attackers of abortion are, more often than not, religious. Though there are pro-lifers from diverse backgrounds (many of whom are not religious), Christians are the most vocal opponents of abortion. Most pro-choicers interpret this to mean that being against abortion is a religious issue and thus confuse opposition to abortion with imposition of religious beliefs.
To anyone who has listened to reasoned non-religious arguments against abortion, this is obviously not so. But the question remains: why are so many Christians pro-life? An examination of the Bible will reveal only one passage in which miscarriages and premature birth are discussed in a legal context, but it is obscure and subject to multiple interpretations. In fact, most Christians do not know about it. Where else will we find details concerning the unborn? There are no other definitive passages.
Many pro-lifers cite Genesis, as it posits that mankind was created in the image of God. This is indeed true--we are endowed with reasoning souls--but it does not prove the point. It could be argued that the unborn do not have reasoning souls until they develop their faculties (this is one of the greatest lies ever told, although it bears the semblance of rational argument), and so this does not adequately explain the position for the majority of pro-life Christians either.
Here is the only real explanation: the pro-life philosophy is the logical result of the ideas and values presented in the Bible, ex: loving, kindness, compassion, and mercy. When Jesus said, “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish,” he was not referring only to born children and condemning the unborn to death at the discretion of their mothers (would that not be playing God, the ultimate exercise in arrogance?). He was saying that God cares about all of his children, even the ones whom society devalues and marginalizes. In fact, the God of Jesus is the God who destroys entire cultures for their selfish sacrifice of children, the one who curses “he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow.”
True Christianity looks back into the past and sees the will of God unfolding throughout history, and it is this will that has created moral law. Christians fear God and respect moral law. Many atheists still maintain their respect for moral law, although they cannot fully justify or explain it. Regardless of what one may believe about the origins of morality, the fact is that we all partake in its universal nature, and so moral reasoning does not depend on religion—it depends on God’s will working through the consciences of people. When people of any creed apply their consciences and avoid rationalization, morality becomes fairly black and white. If I proposed that murder is wrong, no one would disagree. The problem is when one changes the definition of “murder” in order to justify killing someone—one either denies humanity from what is most obviously a human being (after all, we were conceived, we grew, and we were born. We have always been humans) or one puts human life beneath other considerations (money, trauma, etc.).
The saddening part is that most pro-choicers claim to hold the very same values found in Christianity, but are willing to apply them everywhere except where it matters most. Indeed, it seems that one should only help to be helped, love to be loved. In the words of Jesus, “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.” A truly liberal philosophy entails extending the franchise of existence and life to all, not only to those who have power, and regardless of reciprocity. Anyone who professes otherwise is lying to themselves.
Rather than criticize Christians for remaining true to their faith and values, I would recommend to pro-choicers that they understand that the pro-life movement is composed of atheists and people of all religions and that pro-choicers should learn to apply the values they profess in their own lives.