God & Abortion

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

By August Berkshire

Headshot of August Berkshire, smiling.

Many religious people claim that the god they believe in is “pro-life” when it comes to abortion.  They also believe in “ensoulment” at conception: that a “supernatural” “soul” somehow enters a human egg the moment it is fertilized by sperm.  Let us examine these and other religious claims to see if they make sense and are consistent.

God’s Example

Most religious people believe their god is all-powerful and all-good.  It naturally follows, then, that everything this god does must also be good.  (Would an all-good god commit evil if it had the power not to do so?)

It is often claimed that this god wants humans to be good as well.  If we imitate this god, who is all-good, wouldn’t that make us good too?  After all, this god wouldn’t set a bad example, would it?

Now let’s take a look at the human reproductive system.  If this god is all-powerful, then it either created the human reproductive process or it allows it to exist.  (Humans certainly did not design it or we would, at minimum, have eliminated labor pains.)

This god-designed or god-allowed human reproductive process results in up to 50% of all eggs that get fertilized in the womb being spontaneously aborted – often before the woman even realizes she is pregnant.  (This is often the explanation for late menstrual periods.)

From this information we can reach two conclusions: This god is the world’s biggest abortionist.  And, humans should have more abortions to keep up with the example that this god is setting.

It should also be noted that if this god knows the future, and if certain humans are destined to go to a hell after they die, then this god should make sure that those are the fertilized eggs that get spontaneously aborted, in order to reduce the future population of hell.


Identical twins are formed when a single fertilized egg splits in two.  This division occurs some time after fertilization.  For religious people who believe that ensoulment occurs at the instant of fertilization, this raises some perplexing questions:

Did the original, single, fertilized egg get two souls, so that later each twin could get one apiece?

Or, if the original, single, fertilized egg got only one soul, does this soul later split in two, so that each twin gets half a soul?

Or, if the original, single, fertilized egg got only one soul, perhaps it goes fully to one of the twins, while the other twin gets no soul.  (Would this lack of a soul in one twin account for stories of an “evil twin”?)


Not only can a single fertilized egg later split into two identical twins, but two separate fertilized eggs (each fertilized by a different sperm) can later fuse to become a single embryo.  Such an individual is called a chimera.  (Sometimes this person actually has two different sets of DNA.) This raises the same types of questions that arise with identical twins, but in reverse:

If the two separate eggs each got a soul at the time of fertilization, does the later fused single embryo have two souls? 

Or, did each of the two separate eggs receive half a soul at the time of fertilization, so that the eventually fused single embryo would have only one soul? 

Or, at the time of fertilization, did one egg receive a soul, while the other egg did not, so that the eventually fused single embryo would have only one soul?

The God of the Bible

In addition to the preceding issues, people who believe in the literal truth of the Bible will encounter other problems with the god they believe in.  Time and time again, this god either wipes out entire populations himself (the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) or orders the Israelites to do so.  Among the dead would have been numerous pregnant women, whose fetuses would thus never get born.  The result is no different than if the fetus had been aborted.


Many religious people claim that life (which they define as beginning at conception) should be our highest value.  But is this true?

Think of the phrase in the American Declaration of Independence: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Don’t we value liberty above life?  Don’t we admire phrases like “Give me liberty or give me death”?  Don’t we have great honor, respect, and gratitude for soldiers who are willing to die for American freedom?

If religious people truly valued life above all else, they would not be willing to die for their faith.  And yet religious martyrdom is often viewed as an admirable thing by the faithful.

To deny a woman the right to control her own body takes away her liberty and turns her into a slave of the state and/or religion.  Slavery, otherwise known as involuntary servitude, is something we should all oppose.

© 2009 August Berkshire

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