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In the Service of All Life

Towards a Contemporary Pagan Ethics of Abortion

In: Religion and Gender
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  • 1 Iowa State University, USA, Ames, IA
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Abstract

This paper explores and attempts to propose a NeoPagan, or Contemporary Pagan, ethics of abortion. As a still relatively new religious movement, Contemporary Paganism and the various earth-centered religions (including Wicca) that fall under that umbrella are continuously in the process of creating theology, morality, and practice. Within the religious landscape of the United States in particular, this means engaging with the fraught issues of reproductive healthcare broadly and abortion specifically. This article explores the paradox of Contemporary Paganism’s overall ethic of affirming life and holding all life sacred while also giving primacy of place to individual Will, bodily autonomy, and personal and sexual freedom—ethical principles that lead the overwhelming majority of practitioners to adopt a pro-choice stance. The article describes an ethics of abortion in which Contemporary Pagans find that their pro-life politics and their life-affirming spirituality are not paradoxical but in fact are a coherent whole.

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