David Silverman, president of American Atheists, has recently been featured in an article on The Raw Story, in which he first asserted that, "Christianity and conservatism are not inextricably linked".
Although it would seem the vast majority of Conservatives are Christian, it is arguable that not all them are, and that some may even be atheists. Silverman confirms that conservative atheists exist and even goes so far as to call himself "fiscally conservative". He also said "that social conservatives are holding down the real conservatives."
Silverman also brought up various social concerns that many Conservatives have, citing theocratic tendencies for those concerns with, perhaps, one exception:
“I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion,” said Silverman. “You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.”
That one quote has sparked quite a bit of unrest in the secular community. I've read several incredibly concerned comments and articles about this quote, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned, too. However, I have decided to reserve judgment until a clarification has been made.
What Silverman said, exactly, is that "there is a secular argument against abortion". Let's define "secular".
1. of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.
2. not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred ): secular music.
3. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with nonreligious subjects.
4. (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order; not bound by monastic vows (opposed to regular ).
5. occurring or celebrated once in an age or century: the secular games of Rome.
Nowhere in this definition is mentioned morality, science, logic, or reason. It is preferable that these things would go hand in hand, but that just isn't always the case. Not all atheists are humanists, and not all atheists are skeptics. It is vastly unfortunate that a trait I thought would really help to separate the wheat from the chaff doesn't quite do the job. There are immoral and bigoted atheists. There are atheists who believe, firmly, in the existence of Big Foot, atheists that don't vaccinate their children, atheists that believe in homeopathy, and even atheist misogynists.
Enter Secular Prolife.
If you really want to understand the secular argument against abortion, feel free to peruse that organization's website. I was pleasantly surprised to see a quasi pro-woman perspective or two when it came to rape and sex education, but they qualify as certifiably misogynistic. They hold that a fertilized egg is a person and worthy of certain rights, namely life. They dismiss the rights of the woman as secondary and claim a moral high ground in defending embryonic and fetal personhood. Being ignorant and/or misogynistic while being secular is very possible, if incredibly sad and infuriating.
I have established that a secular reason against abortion does, in fact, exist. I assert that it is a terrible one fueled by a misguided desire to defend the "helpless" and treat women as second class citizens. It is my hope that Silverman was referencing these reasons as merely existing, and couldn't dismiss all the opponents of abortion as religious because of it. Saying that something is real is not the same as saying that it is good or justified, and I can't, in good conscience, react with condemnation for what he said without some kind of clarification.