The quick tl;dr?
As an aside, interestingly enough there is more than just religions that believe in/acknowledge a soul, including some prominent science to relay more meaning to this for all including secular/skeptics even abortion apologists.
What does having a soul mean to abortion? Well, the essence of what a soul is depends on the religion, some are limited to just “energy” while others are more intricate as being a whole of you that when together make you, you, and apart you simply are “less than.”
To carry the point the soul in terms of humans, according to many religions, is the “ride of potential.” Meaning our physical existence is an experience for the soul. To learn, to be, to love, to die, whatever the purpose, our soul is there to find out through our existence. Some believe this energy keeps moving from one physical manifestation to the next, but this is irrelevant to the discussion.
What does “ride of potential” mean? Well in lay and secular terms the easiest way to describe it is via “equality.” This term is bandied about by many on the left and right of this debate without any rhyme or reason, but for the sake of this argument the best way to sum up “equality” is thusly:
“All men(sentient humans) are born equal, but they do not end up equal.”
Now, the use of the word “born” in this statement is intentional, especially in the context of abortion, but we’ll come back to that.
What this means is all humans have the same potential of life that every other human has. What that life might be limited or unlimited to is up to karmedic circumstance, but regardless it’s still potential.
The religious belief is that potential is something that the soul seeks to experience. Now most religions won’t fully try to suppose when the “soul” enters the body, “breath of life,” “if the heart beats,” “if there is brain activity,” etc., because it doesn’t matter. Time is irrelevant to potential. Abortion is the severing of that potential, not unlike murder. That body was marked for that soul, and now the soul has no ability to experience the life it should have had. It doesn’t matter if they were “born” or not, the distinction is clear. This is the effect of equality.
If you had a gun with a bunch of bullets, they all would have the same potential energy from being fired. Where they ended up, the ground, a tree, a target, the skull pan of an enemy, it doesn’t matter, the potential is the same. Now if you took out a round just before firing, pulled it apart, ground the powder into an inert substance, melted down the shot, clipped the primer and sold the brass for scrap, one might say that you’ve completely obliterated the potential energy of that bullet; that it is no longer equal in potential to the others. It would be no different if The Flash or Quicksilver caught it mid flight and flung it into an incinerator. The potential was wasted.
Critics of the words above will now unerringly be screaming, “my body, my choice!” Let’s ask this, what are the main reasons for an abortion?
“You’re not ready to be a mother.”
“You’re unsure of the father’s ability to provide, and you can’t.”
“You’re too young.”
“You’re too old.”
“You have five already and can’t afford another.”
“You forgot your pills, just this one time.”
“You are unwilling to be a single mother.”
Does anyone notice something strikingly similar in all these reasons? The word “you?” Let’s look at “Your body, Your Choice”… the “you’s” outnumber every other word two to one. Abortion is about you. Your right to eliminate the potential of another human being, regardless of if you think that human’s soul is a brother or sister to you (as some religions do).
What do we always hear when someone get’s murdered?
“Oh! She had her whole life ahead of her.”
“She wanted to cure cancer!”
“He was only in the beginning of his life!”
“Such a shame.”
“What a waste.”
All of this bemoans the potential of the individual involved, the murder victim. There is no equality in that loss of potential, both in murder and in abortion.
No-one can argue that your right to choose was more important than another’s right to life. That is the essence of advocating for murder.
The most interesting thing about this whole thing is that now only women can be blamed for this debacle. 664,435 abortions were performed in New York alone in 2013. If these were added into the murders for New York for 2013 the New York per capita murder rate would be 1271 times the global murder per capita for that year. That’s just New York alone.
Now why “only women?” You’ve done it to your own. “My body, my choice” demands that no man can be responsible for a woman deciding to have an abortion. It’s all on you.
Women, by the hundreds, made the conscious choice to have abortions to the tune of 1 for every 7 women (6.622, in New York, 2013), and they and only they can take responsibility for that.
Is this the foundation of feminism?
Is this the pillar upon which it stands on?
Does equality really matter to you when you’ve made your desires more important than the potential of another human being?