Pro-Life Isn’t Just a Religious Issue

(photo: Used with permission from WFLWC)

In the research I did for my post about the Walk for Life West Coast, I was intrigued to find out that one of the main groups supporting the Walk is Secular Pro-Life.

I was intrigued and spent a bit of time on their site. I smiled a bit at the welcome:

Welcome to Secular Pro-Life, a unique community of advocates for the unborn. All are welcome, from Atheists to Zoroastrians. We believe that science and reason are on the side of life. The pro-life movement is expanding beyond the cathedral walls. Be a part of history!

(By the way, it wasn’t a condescending smile, either. It was a “Hey! Cool!” kind of smile.)

According to their statistics, there are over 6 million non-religious pro-lifers in the United States. And, according to Monica Lynn, who’s representing Secular Pro-Life at this year’s Walk and is also speaking there, this makes total sense:

As a human organism, every one of us began as a zygote. This is a biological fact.

Some respond by saying, “Okay, yes, there’s a human organism there, but it isn’t a person.” But “person” is a philosophical term, not a scientific one. Definitions of “personhood” greatly vary:

Some say fetuses aren’t people because they can’t live on their own. That’s an inconsistent definition. Patients on respirators or dialysis can’t live on their own either. We still consider those patients to be people.

Some say fetuses aren’t people because they lack self-awareness or other cognitive abilities. That’s an inconsistent definition. Newborn infants and certain coma patients also lack self-awareness and other cognitive abilities. We still consider them to be people.

Some say whether or not a fetus is a person depends on whether or not the mother wants the pregnancy. That’s a subjective definition. It would imply one 24-week fetus is a person and another 24-week fetus is not, depending on their mothers’ feelings.

The only consistent, objective definition of a human “person” is a member of the human species.

In other words, science tells us the fetus is a human being, and reason tells us the fetus, as a human being, has moral worth. 

There seems to be a feeling that pro-life efforts HAVE to be a Christian or a religious “thing.” But pro-life is, in fact, a human concern. As Christians, we should absolutely be on board. But it’s not JUST our concern.

Lynn began attending the Walk in 2006. She walked as an individual the first several times and, in 2011, started attending as a representative of Secular Pro-Life.

She shares her hope in the pro-life movement:

Whenever I learn about pro-lifers who hail from non-traditional demographics, it gives me hope.

In the past few decades and even just the past few years, the American political landscape has shifted a lot on many social issues. But when it comes to abortion, people have stayed resolute. Polls show abortion has been and continues to be a heavily contested issue, with over half of America saying abortion is immoral and should generally be illegal.

It’s great that the pro-life movement has been so steadfast! However, I’d like to see us move beyond surviving to thriving. One of the ways we grow the pro-life movement is by making it more accessible to non-traditional demographics. So whenever I see non-traditional demographics (like secularists) join the pro-life movement, I feel hope for our ability to keep growing, to keep reaching more and more people.

And, of course, working with Secular Pro-Life lets me see more people join the movement. We’ve had many secularists come to us and say “I’m so glad you’re here! I thought I was the only one.” It’s very fulfilling to be able to give people that feeling of solidarity, and to give them the space to join and be a part of the overall pro-life movement. 

I can’t help but feel hope after this conversation too.