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Abortion and Environmentalism

The Deeper Currents at Play

By Gus diZerega

The biggest and most divisive ethical issues of our time involve abortion and the environment. Does a zygote or fetus have sufficient moral standing to put its interests above those of the pregnant woman carrying it? If so, how much? Does the other-than-human world have any moral standing able to override human interests? If so, how much?

Significantly, of those most opposing abortion, few have interest in or recognition of the other-than-human world’s moral standing. On the other hand, most supporting a woman’s right to choose will be sympathetic to and sometimes deeply committed to environmental concerns. Individuals in both camps are usually ethically motivated, but they live in different ethical worlds.

These contrasting moral visions reflect a schism going to the center of contemporary America, a genuine clash of cultures capable of tearing the country apart. One is ultimately rooted in an agricultural order, the other in our industrial one. After explaining why I think this is the case, I will explore how we NeoPagans fit into the picture.

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