heart-hand

On being a pro-life atheist

I was very disappointed to read Live Action’s article “Shawn Carney on the pro-life movement’s greatest victory” in which he says:

“And it has to be a religious movement because we can’t face this on our own. It’s too overwhelming. And when it’s based on our faith in God it means it’s something that’s never going away. There are few things as clearly religious in our country than the pro-life movement. It is one built of people of faith. And that’s our biggest asset….But that’s a crucial point and it’s the most important point – that this is a religious movement and that it is one made up of sinners.”

In fact, there are many pro-lifers who are not Christian. And it’s attitudes like Carney’s that make it very, very difficult for us to stay in the pro-life movement.

heart-handI am an atheist pro-lifer. I am not the only one. Secular Pro-life is an organization that draws nonbelievers from many walks of life. I can honestly say, if that supportive group did not exist, I may have left the pro-life movement long ago. Why? Because it is so demoralizing to be in a movement where so many of your fellow workers simply don’t want you there.

A while back, I posted a poll in a pro-life forum, where I asked pro-lifers if they would march side by side or work with a pro-life atheist. Almost half of them said they would not. They told me that they would not want to be “unequally yoked” with a nonbeliever.

Even worse was the reaction I got when I tried to volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center. They were open and friendly when I told them I wanted to work there. They listened when I told them I had had a great deal of experience discussing abortion on the internet, and had helped numerous women choose life. Then I told them I was an atheist. “Sorry, we are a Christian ministry” the woman said. “We don’t have atheists or nonchristians working here. But you are free to give a donation.”

I asked them if I could have a position where I wouldn’t be called upon to counsel women. Could I do paperwork or answer the phone? The answer was no. They wanted no help from me.

As an experiment, I took up the phone book and called nine crisis pregnancy centers. I did not find a single one that would allow an atheist to volunteer.

It is things like this that sap a person’s strength and bring down their morale. Being a pro-lifer is hard. I get a lot of ostracism from friends and family due to my work at Live Action. I have family members who won’t even speak to me. I have lost friends over the years because they didn’t accept my pro-life work. Getting so little support from pro-lifers is completely disheartening.

I often talk with women who are considering abortion. Yet I find myself reluctant to refer them to crisis pregnancy centers. These are places whose workers feel I am not even worthy to shuffle papers, who wanted nothing to do with me. I usually do refer them to the centers, but I never feel good about it.

As for 40 Days for Life, I tried to listen to one of their webcasts once. They started with a prayer- ok, I understand, they are a Christian group. Then we were treated to fifteen minute of rhetoric about Jesus. They made broad statements such as “We are a movement of Christians…” “As Christians we know…” By the time I was twenty minutes into the broadcast, I had to shut it off. I felt completely alienated and, quite frankly, rejected. It was the most demoralized and hopeless I have ever felt in the pro-life movement.

I actually began wondering- am I wrong? Maybe I shouldn’t be involved in pro-life activities. Maybe I just don’t have a place here. Maybe being pro-life is just for Christians, and I should stop doing so much and just let them go it alone. I have nothing in common with these people. These feelings of demoralization were so strong that I actually stopped working on my pro-life website and signed off my pro-life forums for a week or so. I needed a break to sort out my priorities. It was just too much.

I wrote to 40 Days for Life and gave some suggestions. What if, before the prayer, they said “We are happy to have pro-lifers of all religions listening, but now we want to talk to the Christians..” or “we especially want to talk to the Christians among us…” A simple change of words. It would make so much of a difference. But I never heard back, even though I wrote several times.

It is also tragic that the constant linking of the pro-life movement with religion has hurt the movement. There are many people who see pro-lifers as a bunch of religious fanatics. I have had many conversations with nonbelievers where I have discussed the pro-life issue from various angles. In some of these conversations, by the end, the person agreed with me that abortion was wrong. They thoughtfully told me they had never looked at the issue that way before. But then the conversation turned to getting involved with the pro-life movement- and everything changed. “They are just a bunch of Christian fanatics. I’m not a Christian. Why would I want to work with those holy rollers?” “It’s all about god. I’m just not a white/Republican/Christian/Straight person.”

In focusing on religious opposition to abortion, the pro-life movement has cemented into popular culture the generalization that being pro-life is the Christian thing to be. And being pro-choice is the nonreligious thing to be. So many atheists have never considered the pro-life position because they see it as a facet of Christian dogma. They wouldn’t consider going to a pro-life rally or reading a pro-life book in the way they wouldn’t consider going to church or giving their money to Pat Robertson. It simply isn’t for them.

Not to mention that many pregnant women, the very women we most want to reach, are turned off by religious rhetoric. When sidewalk counselors go up to women entering clinics and tell them “Jesus wants you to have your baby” or “the Bible says abortion is wrong” non-Christians who have no interest in religion are not likely to be moved. Roderick P, Murphy runs a crisis pregnancy center, one of the rare few that allows non-Christians to volunteer. He tells this story:

“A former director of Daybreak, a Boston-area CBC once used this true anecdote about educated women clients in an appeal letter:

Carol was afraid. How could this happen to me? She looked in the Yellow Pages and found Daybreak. Carol was a young professional woman and she was sure she wanted an abortion. She came in for a pregnancy test over lunch hour. She had questions about abortion procedures and their safety.

The counselor was able to connect with Carol closely enough to discuss risks, emotional scarring and the development of life inside her. Then she handed Carol a brochure full of great information that would further answer her questions. As Carol thumbed through the booklet, she seemed grateful for such accurate information… And then she turned to the last page. Across it was the name of the organization that printed the brochure. Among believers it was a reputable name. But because the word “Christian” stood out so clearly to Carol, she tossed the brochure into the garbage, and walked out. In that instant, our opportunity to reach her was gone.”(1)

How many Carols have there been? Some people can’t be reached with Christian arguments. They simply can’t.

Atheists get treated very badly by the pro-life movement. And pro-lifers who follow religions other than Christianity are also treated badly. There is a pro-life pagans group on Facebook, and they often attract trolls. The sad thing is that the majority of trolls they get are not pro-choicers, but pro-lifers. Pro-lifers who try to convert them to Christianity, accuse them of child sacrifice, or tell them they can’t be pro-life. It is a sad thing. I wonder how many of them will finally give up and leave the pro-life movement.

There is a reason why the pro-life movement is predominantly Christian. And it is not the reason that Carney thinks it is. The reason is that non-Christians don’t feel welcome. And while right now the pro-life movement is not exclusively Christian, if the majority of pro-lifers have the same approach to pro-life work as Carney, it soon will be- because all the non-Christians will be gone.

1. Roderick P Murphy. Stopping Abortions at Death’s Door (Southbridge, Massachusetts: Taig Publishing 2009) 57 to 58

  • BB

    i guess I’ll be the first to say, ‘Welcome ProLifer!!’ :) I rather often thought to myself whether or not the majority of pro-choice individuals were atheist or not (because of the Christian and Pro-life link), and why ANY living being regardless of religious belief or lack there of would NOT value life! I can’t even wrap my head around it… because being ALIVE and respecting all life on the this planet or in this universe for that matter (born or unborn) should be what we pay the utmost respect to. I was raised Christian. I still consider myself Christian, but I refuse to believe in any part of a religion or society for that matter that lessens the value of anyone, passes judgment, or is in search of power. My definition of God I find within myself, my very being, and if your words or actions don’t come from love and compassion, then that just doesn’t make sense to me. :) as far as I am concerned Sarah, we are the same. If we can all unite on one thing, Let it be Life!!!

  • Deege

    Sarah, I have had the exact same experience. The mainstream pro-life movement is so Christian-branded at this point, that often when I share my own pro-life views I am told to keep my Christian beliefs to myself. In fact, I am Jewish. Which has led more than one evangelistic pro-lifer to tell me I’m going to hell “even though” I oppose abortion. Nice. Sometimes it seems like the pro-life movement is a club for politically conservative Christians, and many Live Action pieces read like pep rally speeches for an “in-crowd” instead of reflecting the diverse views of pro-lifers and rallying around the one huge thing we agree on. I was always happy to see you posting here as a counterbalance. It should be enough to gather around the issue of ending abortion; there needn’t be any political or religious purity test to be a valued contributor to the cause.
    But what I have learned is that opposing abortion doesn’t require anyone to be part of an unwelcoming “movement”. I take a stand all on my own, on my own terms. But I’m still out here working to end abortion. And I’m glad you are.
    Whenever the mainstream pro-life movement brands itself as a Christian one or a conservative one, it is taking a direct action to exclude people and make consensus harder to achieve. I stopped posting here regularly when I saw that Live Action officially links with and co-sponsors events with the Family Research Council, which I believe to be one of the most divisive organizations on the planet. So I might not be back soon to see responses to this comment, but I wanted to let you know that I can empathize with your experience and that salute you for soldiering on.

    • Alden Smith

      I am sorry Deege that you are treated like that. Both of you. I devout Christian people should treat you like that. I have secular Jewish friend that is pro abortion and its killing me that I want so badly show her that her view on abortion is so wrong is starting slowly become minority view. A poll back in 2007 said 51 percent of America was Pro Life and maybe 42 was Pro Choice, but I messed up the last time and so afraid of losing her that I don’t want to push the subject.

      • Deege

        Alden: It might not change her mind, but if she believes pro-life is a Christian position you can show her real voices of Jewish people who are pro-life by sharing http://www.jewishprolifefoundation.org and http://www.inshifrasarms.org.

        • Alden Smith

          Thanks, I’ll see about it at least sharing some of their stuff on Facebook. She is a really good friend and don’t want to see her going this path that she is, but she is surround with nothing but Pro Abortion Women she has no Pro Life friends.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you. I think its a really good thing that Live Action published this piece- and gave a pro-life nonchristian a voice. LA has shown itself to be willing to work with nonconventional pro-lifers. I hope more and more pro-life organizations do the same.

      • johno

        Don’t back down on what you believe. I think some “so called” catholic christian leaders for example don’t even believe in what their faith says. A “Right-To-Life”. Look at Nancy Pelosi, Gov Cuomo, etc. I have more “faith” in what “you” are doing than them. I’m catholic christian and think Pro-Life atheists, agnostic, hindu, jews, buddhists, etc are awesome. Some in my faith cannot/or will not do what you do. Hang Tough and don’t ever give up what you believe.

    • Leslie Alexander

      I welcome and appreciate you, too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      • Leslie Alexander

        Also, some of the most brilliant people I know are Jewish. Thanks for being pro-life!

    • Anne Lastman

      Deege dont leave th pro life movement but please try and understand we the “christians” have also been vilified by athiestic movement. Only 6 weeks ago I tried to speak to a group of “athiesst” pro abortion (self proclaimed I didnt know) about my work (post abortion grief counselor-17 years) and I was heckled, jostled, and I became afraid. Then a chant of la la la la began with hands over ears. I said nothing about Christianity just “can we talk please, I have just come from seeing a client who aborted 3 weeks ago and she is devastated and a young man who cannot see his partner the same any more” and Deejee the la la la la began. In the end a policeman who was there accompanied me to my car. The last thing I heard was “Keep your rosaries of our ovaries” and a screeching laugh as another young couple went into abortion clinic.
      Deege, I have had my diary “booked out” (intentionally) by clients who didnt turn up (pro abortion individuals) So we who work in the industry are learning to protect ourselves. I have also been accused of supporting the killing of clinic staff because I am pro life. So its not easy for us also.

    • Chandler Klebs

      Do Jews have any specific beliefs that would make them likely to be pro-life or are they divided on it?

  • Sally Strange

    The fact that the people you want to work with are clearly irrationally bigoted against you despite your desire to help their cause should tell you something about the quality of the cause you’re supporting.

    • Lilian Stoltzfus

      No, actually, it shouldn’t. What you’re suggesting is based upon the ad hominem strategy or perhaps a genetic fallacy.

    • nonce37

      In so far as this argument works at all, it cuts both ways. If the bigoted ogres are all vocally opposed to dismembering children while the nice, tolerant, enlightened people are all in favour of it, then either dismembering children is actually okay after all, *or* the nice enlightened people aren’t really always so nice after all. (Heck, maybe the ogres aren’t as *consistently* wrongheaded as a nice straightforward narrative demands, which is not to deny that they certainly have their moments of dreadfulness.) I suppose it comes down, in a Bayesian sort of way, to which conviction you hold more strongly: that dismembering children is wrong, or that the nice, tolerant, right-thinking people are nice, tolerant and right.

    • Reality Check

      Exactly what I was thinking about the pro-”choice” movement! Because threatening to throw jars of urine and faeces at state legislators and yelling “Hail Satan!” is just so high quality!

  • Lilian Stoltzfus

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah. I, for one, welcome you to the Pro-Life movement.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you. That means a lot to me.

      • Lilian Stoltzfus

        It takes courage to join a movement which is made up mainly of people with beliefs so different from your own. It must be very hard for you sometimes, if it gets so bad as to discourage you from the cause itself. As a Christian, I imagine it would be tough for me if most of the people supporting a cause about which I cared deeply continually laced their discussion with atheistic/some-other-very-different-worldview statements and ideas. It would be easy to feel isolated and unwelcome.

        I’m one of those people who prefers the use of non-religious arguments against abortion. Sure, I believe God is central to the cause, but many people aren’t looking for a religious argument. The God I believe in is a rational one and is not offended by the idea of thinking carefully about one’s beliefs. Thus, there are plenty of rational reasons behind God’s desire for the protection of the unborn. Why shouldn’t I voice them? The Pro-Life position is so logical.
        Besides, this isn’t just a moral or spiritual issue; it is a legal issue in what is supposed to be a nation which separates the church from the state. If we want people to take us seriously in such a context, then we’d better know our secular arguments.

        So we have that uniting us at least, and probably more. So… thank you for what you contribute to the Pro-Life movement. I actually find the existence of Pro-Life atheists to be encouraging.

        • wineinthewater

          Exactly. The sad reality is that Christianity has a lot of baggage. For those of us who are Christian, evangelization is tough enough. But to make our pro-life “evangelization” contingent on our evangelization of Jesus? We really up the ante.

          So, I too prefer arguments grounded in human rights rather than directly in Christianity. They will appeal to a much wider scope of people, and are much harder for people to dismiss as “religiosity.”

          • Brandon Roberts

            good agreed the fetuses don’t care who keeps them from getting murdered they just want a chance at life

          • Chandler Klebs

            Exactly, the babies don’t discriminate based on religion so why would the rest of us?

          • Brandon Roberts

            so true.

      • Brandon Roberts

        i wanted to tell you directly i agree on the pro-life thing even though not your atheistic viewpoint but welcome to the movement there are tons of charities you can work with

  • Marauder

    I’m Catholic, but my reasons for being pro-life are more based on the scientific fact that an embryo/fetus is a human being, and sometimes all the religiousness in the pro-life movement drives me nuts. I get that there are a lot of pro-lifers who are religious and draw strength from that, but a lot of the language of religious pro-lifers is just not the language I speak. I went to Catholic school for both K-12 and law school; I’ve done five out of seven sacraments; one of my uncles is a priest; everyone I’m descended from has been Catholic for countless generations and everyone my husband is descended from has been Catholic for countless generations. I go to church every Sunday. But religion is a personal thing for me, and there’s this sort of evangelical bent to a big part of the pro-life movement that I’m not always comfortable with. I’m the person who prays silently and tries to follow the teachings of Jesus (ack, even writing a little bit about it here is out of my comfort zone!). Other people are the people who pray out loud in circles and say “to God be the glory” and talk about “witnessing for Christ.” I’m not saying people who do that should stop doing it. But it’s a culture that I don’t belong to, and while it’s fine if it’s thought of as *a* culture in the pro-life movement, I don’t want it to be thought of as *the* culture of the pro-life movement,

    If I was dangling off the edge of a cliff and someone offered to throw me a rope, I wouldn’t care who was offering me the rope, as long as they were using it to help me. I would need to be rescued and I’d just be relieved that someone stepped up to do it. Unborn babies just need someone to save them. They don’t necessarily need a Christian to save them or a Jew to save them or a Muslim to save them or an atheist to save them or a pagan to save them. When someone is offering to save someone’s life, that’s the priority, saving the life. I think it’s horribly misguided that the woman you talked to at the crisis pregnancy center didn’t want you to volunteer. Do you have Birthright in your area?

    I love how 40 Days For Life is so dedicated, and I know it’s done a lot of great stuff, but I would never personally do it because, again, I just don’t *do* praying out loud in circles and using religious terms to talk about abortion. Maybe somebody needs to start a secular version and do it during 40 Days For Life’s “off-seasons.”

    I’m sorry that you’ve lost friends and have family members who won’t speak to you because you’re pro-life. That sucks to the extent that I feel like I can’t offer adequate verbal sympathy about how much it sucks.

    Argh, I have run across so much stuff when it comes to movements being exclusionary towards the people who believe in them! Religious pro-lifers who don’t recognize or welcome non-religious pro-lifers, GLBT liberals who don’t recognize or welcome non-liberal GLBT people, GLBT people who seem to have a mental block that there’s a “B” in the acronym and think everyone with a member of the opposite sex is straight and everyone with a member of the same sex is gay…it’s like watching people shooting themselves in the foot over and over again. Why do people do this? I don’t know.

    I hope you don’t stop writing stuff, because being a GLBT pro-lifer without religious motivations can be pretty lonely and seeing your stuff always reminds me that I’m not alone. :)

    • Alden Smith

      I was taught that it was morally wrong for years since I lived in Alabama I really didnt need to defend why it was wrong. But I moved to Florida and I wasnt around that real strong Pro Life group anymore. In 08 I started getting more into the debate after most of my friends were Pro abortion and after my brief time in the Navy I began asking question then finally I found this site I was a little nervous about joining but after Gosnell I could stay silent anymore when I done with Nursing school I might do some work with you guys.

    • Rachel

      It’s all science with you, eh? So I’m assuming you do everything you can to make sure women have contraceptives, to prevent unwanted pregnancy that could result in abortion, good prenatal care, and food, shelter and care after the baby is born?

      • Faye Valentine

        Sure we do.

        Now, will you oppose the legal practice of killing children in utero with us?

        • Rachel

          You’re simply not being honest, Faye. The pro-life movement consistently supports practices that shame and harm women who “choose life”; leaves them with fewer and fewer options for feeding and clothing their children, etc., etc. More than that, many, many religious pro-lifers (including most of the ones writing at this site), oppose simple measures to **prevent** pregnancy — not to end, but to prevent. Why? Because it violates their religious beliefs, and those supersede any concerns about “life”.
          If you are concerned about “life,” you empower people to protect themselves against pregnancy without forcing your sexual mores on them
          If you’re concerned about life, you don’t remove access to health care (which, you know, saves lives)
          If you’re concerned about life, you don’t force women to die for dead fetuses
          If you’re concerned about life, you don’t starve that life after it’s born
          I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s not about life; it’s about pushing a religious ideology. “Life” is the pretext, to make it seem like a legitimate cause — but even those people who claim to hold the “life” of a zygote or embryo on the same level as a child, don’t. Like Kristen here [http://liveactionnews.org/my-so-called-spontaneous-abortion/], who flushed her “baby” down the toilet after the fact…I cannot imagine any mother flushing an actual baby down the toilet…but neither she nor the commenters found that strange. Whatever their words are, at heart they don’t regard a 7 week old embryo as the equivalent of a child. It’s nonsense, and their belief and sentimentalism, no matter how strong, does not completely overpower their sense.

          • Debby

            I would like to say, my husband and I came from poor families. Sometimes food was not there, and clothing was embarrassing. I was abused both sexually and physically. Guess what, I am happy to be alive, glad my mother didn’t have an abortion, and even though she didn’t know how to raise a child in love, I am alive. And for that, I am thankful. I am thankful to be alive, and now I have children of my own that are precious gifts. I have the chance in life to do what my mother was not able to, and keep our family line going strong despite that little mishap.

          • Marauder

            I’ll probably get this comment deleted if I swear, so imagine the more explicit versions of swear words where I’m using the less explicit ones.

            How freaking DARE you. How DARE you attack a woman who just had a miscarriage and was traumatized and is mentally and emotionally beating herself up for flushing the embryo down the toilet. How DARE you read what she wrote and read about how devastated she is and how she told her husband he should leave her, and then use that to attack her. I’ve read ignorant comments on this site and I’ve read mean-spirited comments on this site, but this is the first truly sadistic comment I’ve ever read here. This is the first comment I’ve ever read here that looks at someone’s outpouring of grief and guilt and uses it to cause that person further pain. How freaking DARE you.

            I don’t know what else I can say to you, except that while my reasons for being pro-life don’t have to do with religion, I do believe in God, and I’m going to pray for you because I suspect only a power beyond humanity can heal the cruelty inside you.

          • Rachel

            Nice way to ignore what I actually wrote. No one had an objection to flushing that 7 week old embryo down the toilet. I’m pretty sure everyone of those same posters would cringe in horror at the idea of disposing of the remains of a 7 week old infant in like manner. But if it’s easier to rant about me being a monster for pointing out something so obvious than to think about what I said, have at it.

          • Marauder

            No one was telling Kristen she shouldn’t have flushed the embryo down the toilet because she was already painfully aware of that. What’s the point of looking at someone’s grief over something they wish they’d never done and jumping down their throats about it? Do you really think that’s something people around here would do?

            You’re not a monster. I wouldn’t bother praying for you if you were a monster. But you cruelly decided to use someone’s outpouring of grief to try to score a point in an argument, ignoring the fact that this is about real people with real feelings. You saw vulnerability and you decided that the proper way to respond was to kick someone when she’s down. You looked at a woman who was hurting and you looked at people comforting her and you thought, hey, I think I can exploit this to my advantage. I don’t know what type of person does that, but it’s not a kind, compassionate person.

          • princessjasmine45

            Rachel, I think you are not being very honest.
            I don’t think you can name even ONE instance where pro lifers “consistently support practices that shame and harm women who ‘choose life’”

            What a load of tripe!

            Honestly, some of your accusations are so ludicrous and so seeped in paranoia and falsehood that it’s hard to even take you seriously. I mean, really: starve children after they’re born??? I actually could not stop laughing at some of your delusions…

            Let’s look at the “Choice” side, shall we? The side that claims to care about women’s health and empowerment…

            -If pro-choicers were so concerned about women’s health as they so often decry why have 42 abortion clinics been shut down for unsanitary and sub standard health conditions?

            -If pro-choicers are so concerned about women’s health then why do they consistently fight tooth and nail against health inspections for clinics. (see Gosnell’s grand jury testament–it was because of pro choice lobbying that his clinic was left uninspected for 17 years)
            Public parks are held to higher health standards than these bastions-of-women-saving-entities.

            -If the pro-choicers are so concerned about empowering women why is that they insist we need a sugar daddy(government) to pay for our $9 birth control?

            -If pro-choicers want to empower women, they why do they consistently support legislation that would keep a single mother on welfare and never further herself thru education and a better job?

            -If pro-choicers are all about choice, then why do they fight so hard against pregnancy crisis centers that offer an alternative choice to abortion?

            “I could go on, but you get the idea”

            The truth is, abortion is more about making a quick buck off the death of a child than the health and welfare of the woman. The pro-death camp will never admit this.

            Please do not pretend that a 7 week old embryo is any less human than a 7 week old infant out of the womb; or that a 7 day old is less important than a 7 year old.
            It just makes you look like you have zero knowledge in biology and embryology.

          • Rachel

            “Honestly, some of your accusations are so ludicrous and so seeped in
            paranoia and falsehood that it’s hard to even take you seriously. I
            mean, really: starve children after they’re born??? I actually could not
            stop laughing at some of your delusions…”
            That’s nice, dear, but when you’re done cackling, you might want to consider how pro-life Republicans are pushing for deep, deep cuts to foodstamps — that are used in large part by single mothers, women who have “chosen life”, to feed themselves and their kids. Hungry kids aren’t a laughing matter. You might also want to consider the words of pro-life Terry England, who wanted to make it impossible for a woman to remove a dead fetus because “cows and pigs” have to birth dead fetuses naturally, so why not women (making the story I referenced in my other post illegal, btw)? You might remember that it’s pro-life countries that implement rules that dictate that a woman cannot rid herself of a dying fetus — even if it’s killing her. In other words, you people claim the mother’s life (even though the fetus is doomed however it plays out) because you don’t get to birth the fetus. Now that’s pro-life! You might further consider that it’s the pro-life crowd (here included) that celebrates when Planned Parenthoods that do NOT provide abortions, ONLY providing other healthcare, get shut down — by pro-lifers. You might want to consider that it’s the pro-life crowd who wants to allow an employer to deny a woman healthcare coverage — that she has earned in exchange for her labor — if it violates his or her beliefs. Again, the list goes on and on. I will happily provide you more examples if you are interested, but I suspect you’re more than happy to ignore the reality of the matter.

            As far as your claims — which are, indeed, ludicrous…pro-choice Democrats are the ones pushing for easy access to education — whereby empowering a woman (and anyone else) to get OFF welfare and to be able to support herself and her child; it’s the pro-life Republicans who want to make education a “pay to play” sport.

            As for why pro-choicers fight against “crisis pregnancy centers”, it’s because these groups have been consistently shown to misrepresent facts, lie to and frighten women.

            Pro-choicers do not get alarmed when reasonable standards are applied to clinics; but when pro-lifers deliberately, with the openly stated aim of shutting abortion clinics down, implement absurd rules that no other type of healthcare clinic has to follow, of course there’s an outcry. Because the patronizing tones and absurd rationalizations fool no one.

            Finally, pro-choicers don’t want the “government” to pay for “$9 birth control” (btw, birth control is NOT a one size fits all, and the generic “$9 birth control” does work for many women; nice try, though). They want it and other health care to be covered by insurance policies that WOMEN BUY — either pay for directly, in cash, or are compensated with for time worked. If part of the remuneration for a person’s labor is health insurance, it’s ridiculous that her coworker’s penis pump should be covered because her employer doesn’t mind that but her birth control should not. What you’re describing is allowing an employer to deny a woman coverage to what the medical community overwhelmingly agrees is legitimate preventative care, even though her health care is supposed to be covered by her labor, because her boss doesn’t like it.

            All of which brings me back to my original point. I notice that you danced around support for the preventative measures I discussed. You claim you are driven only by science, etc., but you rail against measures that will actually prevent abortions — measures that, purely coincidentally I’m sure, coincide with your beliefs.

          • princessjasmine45

            ” you might want to consider how pro-life Republicans are pushing for deep, deep cuts to foodstamps — that are used in large part by single mothers, women who have “chosen life”, to feed themselves and their kids. Hungry kids aren’t a laughing matter. ”

            I never said that hungry kids were a laughing matter. I said your delusions were [a laughing matter]. Let’s be clear on that.

            The states in which Republicans are pushing for cuts to foodstamps are the states in which welfare abuses are rampant. No one is opposed to welfare short term.
            The Liberal attitude of keeping people on constant dependency is not at all liberating. Everyone here has been in line at the grocery store behind the chick with the perfect manicure, iPhone, designer hand bag and jeans paying for her food with food stamps… and then climbing into her brand new SUV. (I’m not saying guys don’t do the same thing btw).

            “You might also want to consider the words of pro-life Terry England, who wanted to make it impossible for a woman to remove a dead fetus because “cows and pigs” have to birth dead fetuses naturally, so why not women (making the story I referenced in my other post illegal, btw)?”

            Ah yes, the ill-though words of a few to describe an entire movement… right.. and Gosnell represents the entire pro-”choice” movement… of course…

            Well.. I guess he does.

            I mean PP cannot even come officially against infanticide…

            …And more and more of those Gosnellesque abortionists are popping everywhere…

            “You might remember that it’s pro-life countries that implement rules that dictate that a woman cannot rid herself of a dying fetus — even if it’s killing her. In other words, you people claim the mother’s life (even though the fetus is doomed however it plays out) because you don’t get to birth the fetus. Now that’s pro-life!”

            It is a myth perpetuated by the pro death camp that Pro life countries do not consider the woman’s health in abortion. Of course I’m not talking about countries like Afghanistan where women are considered second class citizens.

            “You might further consider that it’s the pro-life crowd (here included) that celebrates when Planned Parenthoods that do NOT provide abortions, ONLY providing other healthcare, get shut down — by pro-lifers.”

            It’s more of what PP stands for. It was created by eugenicist, Margaret Sanger, who considered black people “mongrels”.

            PP isn’t the only provider of medical care for poor women.

            “You might want to consider that it’s the pro-life crowd who wants to allow an employer to deny a woman healthcare coverage — that she has earned in exchange for her labor — if it violates his or her beliefs.”

            No one wants to deny a woman healthcare coverage. You seem to be prone to gross exaggeration.

            Please tell me when pro-lifers ever wanted to prevent employers from providing women heart medication, insulin, pre-natal care, physical exams, mammograms or even birth control if it’s a life saving medical necessity?

            THE EMPLOYER ALSO has to contribute to the plan. If something is not life saving, why should the employer be forced to pay for it? I had no idea penis pumps were covered under insurances… I would have objection to that as well as it’s not a medical necessity.
            Insurance plans are there to cover what is medically necessary. What we need to either a)prevent a disease or b) cure a disease. No matter how much you people wish it…. pregnancy is not a disease.

            No objection to diabetes meds or heart meds… but if a woman is working, there is no reason she cannot pay for her own sex life.

            “As far as your claims — which are, indeed, ludicrous…pro-choice Democrats are the ones pushing for easy access to education — whereby empowering a woman (and anyone else) to get OFF welfare and to be able to support herself and her child; it’s the pro-life Republicans who want to make education a “pay to play” sport.”

            easy access to education? Like the liberal Democratically run LAUSD?
            oh yes.. very good job there.. shining example of what happens when Liberals are in charge.

            “As for why pro-choicers fight against “crisis pregnancy centers”, it’s because these groups have been consistently shown to misrepresent facts, lie to and frighten women.”

            I’ve volunteered at several, and I’ve never seen this.

            I surmise that it’s another lie the pro death camp needs to perpetuate to validate their side.

            I think you may have CPC confused with abortion mills that refuse to show the woman a sonogram of the child she’s about the kill; who often times proceed with the abortion even after the woman has changed her mind. Their only goal is to make money.

            I’ll tell you what PCP’s do: we help single mothers (and other poor families) take care of their children so that the mother(or both parents) can go to school and/or get a job. We provide these children with food, clothing and shelter. We empower women to keep their child and their dreams alive.
            We do exactly what you want the government to do. Except we don’t force you to donate. It’s of our own free will.

            “Pro-choicers do not get alarmed when reasonable standards are applied to clinics; but when pro-lifers deliberately, with the openly stated aim of shutting abortion clinics down, implement absurd rules that no other type of healthcare clinic has to follow, of course there’s an outcry. Because the patronizing tones and absurd rationalizations fool no one.”

            Pro aborts have been blocking the inspection and the implementing of reasonable health standards” of abortion mills for decades. I repeat myself: 42 abortion clinics are being shut down for unsanitary conditions this year alone. I bet you’ll find a way to blame THAT on pro lifers as well..

            “All of which brings me back to my original point. I notice that you danced around support for the preventative measures I discussed. You claim you are driven only by science, etc., but you rail against measures that will actually prevent abortions — measures that, purely coincidentally I’m sure, coincide with your beliefs.”

            Sex is great. People should have it(in all kinds of ways) all the time and as frequently as possible. To me, it’s like working out or drinking coffee.
            I believe that women are not so helpless that we need others to pay for our leisure activities or our coffees.
            Even when I was a broke college student I could still afford a condom (more effective and less dangerous than the pill btw) before having sex with my boyfriend. Sex with my girlfriend was even better–no need to spend ANY money there.
            Having sex is like going to a movie or eating at a restaurant…. people do it all the time and should be able to afford it themselves.

            Still sure about my beliefs, are you?

            I’ve railed against measures that will actually prevent abortions? Really? When? Where? The only thing I rally against is forcing your morality on a small business employer. It’s their small business: which means they also get to dictate what hours they remain open and which products or services they want to provide to the public.
            Or should the government decide that as well?

            The government cannot force business owners to act against their conscience unless it’s a matter of saving a someone’s life.
            It is in the states interest to save a life, not take it. ( that’s why I oppose the death penalty as well).

            There are several private insurances that will cover birth control and women are free to purchase those if they want. In that way the employer does not have to contribute.

            Perhaps your anger would be better directed at the pharmaceutical companies that make birth control pills and IUD’s so expensive and not towards pro lifers who don’t want the children to have to pay for the activities of grown adults.

            (Incidentally, when I worked at CVS as a college student, men were paying out of pocket for their Viagra).

          • Basset_Hound

            Don’t forget to mention how libs have fought to block school choice programs that would enable low income children to receive an education, rather than to be trapped in schools that graduate functional illiterates.

          • Rachel

            A few things. An employer’s contribution to health insurance is done in lieu of further payment. It is compensation for time worked. The employee pays less out of pocket for insurance, and the employer works out a deal with the insurance company to get the cheapest rate possible (saving them and the insured). But it is not done out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s done as a form of compensation. That is no different than an employer telling the employee, “Oh, by the way, you’re not allowed to buy birth control with the money you earn at this job.” It is just another form of compensation for the person’s work — over which they should have no rights to limit.

            As far as the pill being less effective than a condom, yikes. Better double check that one. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/UnintendedPregnancy/Contraception.htm

            “No one wants to deny a woman healthcare coverage. You seem to be prone to gross exaggeration.”

            Might want to check the “Blunt Amendment”, which was only narrowly defeated (3 votes). Would have allowed an employer to deny ANY kind of coverage for ANY belief — with the stated goal to deny women reproductive care. But not only do some people want to deny women this care, they want to PREVENT them from using it — on penalty of losing their jobs, as in Arizona (https://www.google.com/#output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=fired+for+using+contraception&oq=fired+for+using+contrace&gs_l=hp.3.0.0i22i30l2.2070.4574.0.5665.24.20.0.4.4.3.415.4168.0j13j6j0j1.20.0….0…1c.1.23.psy-ab..3.21.3347.V7qKwyKx1KI&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.50165853,d.b2I&fp=6aa267eef08cee78&biw=1600&bih=737).

            Regarding crisis pregnancy centers…here’s (of many) such things that I’ve seen. http://www.salon.com/2013/06/25/caught_on_tape_crisis_pregnancy_centers_false_dangerous_advice/ Pro-lifers like to point to heavily edited tapes, that oftentimes completely change the meaning of the conversations, to try to show how PP is “evil”. A simple google search reveals ample evidence of the CPC problem. And yet you apply the “I didn’t do it therefore it doesn’t happen” filter here. Hmm…

            Furthermore, if there was oversight, rules that governed what could and could not be said (i.e. it was illegal and punishable to provide medically inaccurate information to women), I doubt there would be many objections. But, of course, these are “ministries”, and to do anything like force them to stick to the truth would be infringing on “religious liberty” (http://jezebel.com/5922330/court-rules-in-favor-of-crisis-pregnancy-centers-right-to-lie-to-women). That’s the danger. They can lie with impunity. It’s curious to me how so many with a zeal to enforce restrictions — all for the sake of the poor dears, of course — on abortion clinics feel no need to put any safety measures in place to govern these centers.

            “Ah yes, the ill-thought words of a few to describe an entire
            movement… right..”

            The problem wasn’t so much his words — they pretty aptly surmise his actions. The problem is that he and so many push things that do exactly what he described.

            “and Gosnell represents the entire pro-”choice”
            movement… of course…Well.. I guess he does.”

            I wonder if you even notice how absurd it is to complain that someone’s judging you by the (widely supported) actions and (conveniently overlooked, despite their accurateness) words of one pro-lifer, while judging all pro-choicers by a criminal whom almost no one, anywhere, supported…

            “easy access to education? Like the liberal Democratically run LAUSD?
            oh yes.. very good job there.. shining example of what happens when Liberals are in charge.”

            Again, same thing. You use one bad example, when the vast majority are “good examples”, to ignore the argument. Well done. Deflection 101.

            “The government cannot force business owners to act against their conscience unless it’s a matter of saving someone’s life.”

            Might want to check out United States v. Lee. While paying Social Security tax certainly has an impact on someone’s quality of life (no more than preventing unwanted pregnancy…), it still doesn’t fit your criteria. And yet that has been ruled constitutional. So, yes, the government can.

            “It is in the states interest to save a life, not take it. ( that’s why I oppose the death penalty as well).”

            Preventing fertilization is now murder as well? My, my. As far as the death penalty, ironically, that’s something I’m in agreement with many pro-lifers on — I think, when warranted by the crime, it should be used. But that’s another debate.

            “We do exactly what you want the government to do. Except we don’t force you to donate. It’s of our own free will.”

            Actually, in many states, you do exactly that — you get the government to give money to your “ministries”, which in many cases lie to women and provide medically inaccurate information.

            “Still sure about my beliefs are you?”

            You’re right, I was confusing you with the Catholic lady above.

            “I had no idea penis pumps were covered under insurances… I
            would have objection to that as well as it’s not a medical necessity.”

            That’s not the point, that you, personally, wouldn’t mind if these were not covered. People’s actions are not directed against coverage of penis pumps (covered by medicaid, btw). They’re directed against coverage of contraception — which the medical community has recognized as necessary preventative care. Pregnancy is not an “illness,” but its medical implications are wide-ranging and profound. The fact that a religious person doesn’t like it should have no bearing whatever on its coverage. Of course, if the “pro-life” crowd had their way with the Blunt Amendment, an employer could deny any and all coverage they didn’t agree with. Think premarital sex is immoral? No prenatal coverage for single moms. Think “gluttony is a sin”? Don’t cover overweight employees. Etc. What a picnic THAT would have been.

            “It is a myth perpetuated by the pro death camp that Pro life countries
            do not consider the woman’s health in abortion. If the baby will die
            anyway, the mother’s life must be saved. But efforts are made to keep
            both alive.
            Of course I’m not talking about countries like Afghanistan where women are considered second class citizens.”

            Or Ireland, maybe? (Google Savita Halappanavar)Or the US? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636458/

            “The states in which Republicans are pushing for cuts to foodstamps are the states in which welfare abuses are rampant.” Aside from the fact that this is untrue…you might want to check out what’s going on, right now, on the national scale. You might want to look at the justifications used for doing this — like those offered by Rep. Steve Stockman’s aide, published on his website, and heralded by many in the community (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/06/24/2204811/aide-to-conservative-congressman-fails-to-live-on-food-stamps-for-a-week/)…which more or less amounts to a modern day “let them eat cake” — nevermind that the “cake” in question is exactly what’s contributing to so many of today’s giant health problems.

            Fact is, the pro-life side overwhelmingly pushes measures to make it more difficult for women to prevent against unwanted pregnancy; impossible for women to end unwanted pregnancy (even from rape, and even if it’s killing her); and as difficult as possible for poor women who “choose life” to sustain that life, educate it, and prepare it for the future. You might not like to hear that — but the facts bear out my claims, and not your claim that it’s “exaggeration”. In the past 5 or so years, this has become the increasing reality of the “pro-life” crowd, whenever it gets power. (One example of many — back in W.’s time, education was a priority with Republican, “pro-life” legislators. Now they want to defund it.) Also, everywhere where the “pro-life” mentality has taken hold, women’s health is second to the fetus — even if the fetus is dying. Countries in our own times like Ireland, the Dominican Republic, etc. When “pro-life” Catholic ideology ruled the majority of the west, women’s lives came second to fetal life — or “natural death”. Every time that pro-life ideology reigns, women suffer needlessly. No thanks.

          • princessjasmine45

            First off, I apologize for the delay in reply.

            A few things back:

            “An employer’s contribution to health insurance is done in lieu of further payment. It is compensation for time worked. The employee pays less out of pocket for insurance, and the employer works out a deal with the insurance company to get the cheapest rate possible (saving them and the insured). But it is not done out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s done as a form of compensation. That is no different than an employer telling the employee, “Oh, by the way, you’re not allowed to buy birth control with the money you earn at this job.” It is just another form of compensation for the person’s work — over which they should have no rights to limit.”

            Even though it’s a form of compensation, it still forcing the employer to participate in purchasing [by directly paying for] something that is against his/her religion.

            You wouldn’t ask a Jewish employer to directly pay for your bacon as a form of compensation, would you?

            NO, that would be asinine.

            “As far as the pill being less effective than a condom, yikes. Better double check that one. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductiv…”

            Ok.. you get that one. But in my defense, I was commenting on sex in college… a condom IS better than the pill as the pill does nothing to protect against STD’s. Let’s face it, how many college students do you know who only have ONE partner during college life?

            “Might want to check the “Blunt Amendment”, which was only narrowly defeated (3 votes). Would have allowed an employer to deny ANY kind of coverage for ANY belief — with the stated goal to deny women reproductive care. But not only do some people want to deny women this care, they want to PREVENT them from using it — on penalty of losing their jobs, as in Arizona (https://www.google.com/#output….”

            Blunt amendment would have given employees the right to refuse coverage for men as well… so your claim of targeting only women is unfounded.

            As for the AZ bill:

            You didn’t actually read the bill, did you?

            If you actually took the time to read it, you’d know you don’t really need to get your knickers in a tight little knot over it.

            No where in the bill does it say an employer can fire a woman (or a man) for purchasing or using birth control.

            The ACLU’s account of the bill is hyperbole (But then, one could not expect any more from the group that defended NAMBLA).

            “Or Ireland, maybe? (Google Savita Halappanavar)Or the US?http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm…”

            um… ya…: in your words dear, not mine:

            “Again, same thing. You use one bad example, when the vast majority are “good examples”, to ignore the argument. Well done. Deflection 101.”

            yes.. well done!

            As a matter of fact, Ireland does allow for abortion if the mothers mental or physical health is on the line. Anyone not complying is breaking the law and guilty of medical malpractice.

            Ireland is still the 6th safest place for a woman to give birth.

            http://factsaresacred.ie/memes/is-ireland-the-safest-place-in-the-world-to-have-a-baby/

            Chile’s doing well too
            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510141909.htm

            “Aside from the fact that this is untrue…you might want to check out what’s going on, right now, on the national scale. You might want to look at the justifications used for doing this — like those offered by Rep. Steve Stockman’s aide, published on his website, and heralded by many in the community (http://thinkprogress.org/econo… ) …which more or less amounts to a modern day “let them eat cake” — nevermind that the “cake” in question is exactly what’s contributing to so many of today’s giant health problems.”

            You’ll forgive me if I cannot take anything from LWNJ “news” entities very seriously. You’ll have to do better than ThinkProgress, Jezebel, MotherJones et al as they’re not really valid sources of news.

            The “study” that you sent me on Catholic hospitals: 30 doctors…sounds expansive study.

            The fact is, the pro death camp has a vendetta against any organization that tries to help women keep their babies. They will make up anything to discredit CPC’s. It’s really not about choice for the pro death camp. It’s about making money off of abortions and controlling the population of minorities and the poor.

            The government isn’t the only entity that can help them. But the pro death camp will fight tooth and nail to shut down any one or thing (other than the government) that will help women and children.

            “Also, everywhere where the “pro-life” mentality has taken hold, women’s health is second to the fetus — even if the fetus is dying. Countries in our own times like Ireland, the Dominican Republic, etc. When “pro-life” Catholic ideology ruled the majority of the west, women’s lives came second to fetal life — or “natural death”. ”

            In order for you to claim “everywhere” you’d have to sample every single country where the pro life mentality has taken hold. Chile is an example where you are wrong. For the most part, you are also wrong about Ireland.

            Also, there is a tendency of the forced-deathers to ignore deaths due to legal abortion and only tout deaths due to pregnancy (even if it was the mother’s choice to continue the pregnancy).
            You might want to look up Tonya Reeves, Jennifer Morbelli, Dorothy Bryant, Mary Bradley, Jacqueline Bailey, Emitrice Andrews Alerte Desagnes, and the other hundreds of women who have fallen victim to LEGAL abortion and PP is the US.

          • GiannaT

            Um…whoever said that the pro-life movement was a faction of the Republican party? It isn’t. just wanted to point that out….

          • Rachel

            Here’s a recent example of a “scientifically literate” pro-lifer who wants women forced to remain pregnant, because, “the babies!” … but doesn’t think that “the babies!” should qualify for care while in the womb. Because “the babies!” are ‘all in all, Amen!’ when it comes to forcing women to term, and that’s pro-life; but healthcare during pregnancy, that might actually prevent miscarriage and fetal death? Pfhhh…what kind of nonsense is *that*? You act like these are real babies or something…

            http://freakoutnation.com/2013/07/10/author-of-texas-pro-birther-bill-argued-against-prenatal-care-because-theyre-not-born-yet/comment-page-2/

          • Lilian Stoltzfus

            You can’t use one person’s dumb ideas/words to represent an entire movement just because said person is a member of that movement. Kind of like guilt by association.

          • Rachel

            I wasn’t. I gave multiple examples of thinking exactly like this. Don’t forget that her latest “dumb idea” passed — through a special session, with the overwhelming support of the pro-life crowd. Just as the the moves to cut foodstamps, thereby depriving kids whose mothers “chose life” of food, etc., etc. are pushed by the same people who want to force motherhood and birth on women.

          • Holly of Hollywood

            “force motherhood and birth on women?”– what about those who want to FORCE death on innocent infants, born, newborn, and pre-born?

          • Lilian Stoltzfus

            I don’t force motherhood on women by being against abortion rights. Pregnant women are, biologically speaking, already mothers, and I don’t force women and men to conceive.

            You can talk about forcing birth on people, but remember that a woman who gets an abortion also delivers. Such women just typically deliver a dead embryo/fetus as opposed to delivering a live, term neonate.

            Also, the word “force” has a nice way of engendering an emotional response, but that doesn’t make your point sound. Think of all of the things laws “force” us to do. We’re forced to look after children in our care. We’re forced not to attack or kill people no matter how angry/offended/insulted/disturbed they might cause us to feel. We’re forced to abstain from sexual relations with minors no matter how many romantic feelings there may be on both ends. We’re forced not to give alcohol or tobacco to our children no matter how much we may want to do so…and no matter how much our children may desire it.

            Don’t stop at the word “force”. What is it being forced, and is it something which should be forced in a society which claims to respect human rights?

          • princessjasmine45

            yes, and here’s a recent example of the pro death camp

            The life of baby born on a table due to a botched abortion is STILL the mother’s decision. Right. pfhhh…what kidn of nonsense is *that*? You act like these are real babies or something…

            http://www.martyduren.com/2013/03/30/planned-parenthood-defends-infanticide-video/

          • Lilian Stoltzfus

            Hello Rachel,

            I really should be in bed, but I was thinking about your words in the above post and I wanted to get out a response.

            Your argument in the end of your post goes something like this: “People against abortion don’t REALLY put human embryos on the same moral plane as human infants. After all, no one fussed about Kristen flushing her 7-week embryo down the toilet. I know people would be upset if she flushed a newborn down the toilet. And since even people against abortion do this, they must be wrong when they insist that the life of the embryo is on the same level as that of a newborn.”

            First of all, whether or not the anti-abortion folks are consistent in the application of their ideals is irrelevant to the validity of the actual ideals. You cannot discredit an idea just because most of the people who believe in it apply it poorly; that’s faulty logic. One should go to the principles/beliefs/claims themselves and test those. Even if anti-abortion-ers don’t treat embryos on the same plane as infants, that doesn’t mean that embryos are not on the same plane as infants.

            Second, the reaction of people to miscarriage and stillbirth varies widely. Some women really do see a problem with flushing their embryos down the toilet. Even Kristen did:
            “I flushed it. I didn’t even think about it. I still have
            crushing guilt over that. I was in so much pain that I didn’t even think about the fact that the child I prayed for and wanted and was devastated to lose had just been discarded like a used Kleenex.”
            Many women and men deeply mourn miscarriage and firmly believe it to be the loss of a child. They’ll bury the body, name the child, and weep. They’ll refer to the embryo or fetus as their baby/son/daughter/child and be angry when others use different words or suggest flushing the body. Seems like those people really are treating the embryo/fetus in a way similar to the newborn.

            Third, there are other explanations as to why many people, even anti-abortion people, do not react as strongly to something like miscarriage as they do to the death of an infant after birth.
            A.) Human embryos are tough to get to know. We don’t see embryos. We can’t touch them or interact with them, let alone see them interact with us. They don’t demand our attention like a newborn does. We can’t form much of a relationship with embryos. When an embryo dies, it can be similar to the death of someone we’ve never met. Sure, we think “oh, that’s sad”, but we don’t really grieve because we haven’t formed a relationship with the one who has died.
            B.) It can also be said that human embryos, particularly in the early stages, aren’t really “cute” (though really that depends on who you ask). It’s as pregnancy progresses and after it finishes that babies sport features we’re programmed to find endearing. And it makes sense that we would – why should we find early embryos adorable when in healthy circumstances we shouldn’t even see them? It’s easier to have an emotional reaction to the something endearing or majestic. That doesn’t make or break the value of something less endearing. People tend to be more concerned about preserving tigers than a particular species of praying mantis, but none of that changes the fact that that praying mantis is just as much a member of the ecosystem than the tiger.
            C.) People react differently to the death of a newborn by violence or abuse than they react to the death of a newborn by something like illness or SIDS. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Sometimes babies die, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. It’s tragic and it’s terrible, but there is no human being responsible. But when a newborn is killed, people are not just sad, they’re outraged. The emotional response is different.
            In the same way, anti-abortion people react differently to the death of an embryo by elective abortion than by natural miscarriage. Therefore, you should not compare the anti-abortion response to miscarriage with the anti-abortion response to infanticide – it would be better to compare the anti-abortion response to elective abortion with the anti-abortion response to infanticide.

            My final point ties in with my third one and goes like this: Just because the emotional response of anti-abortion people to embryo death differs from the reaction to newborn death, that doesn’t mean that their intellectual/moral beliefs/convictions about the status of that embryo have wavered. We’re both against murder, but we’d each have very different emotional reactions to news of the murder of a loved one than we would to news of the murder of a stranger. Does that mean our

          • David

            “If you are concerned about “life,” you empower people to protect themselves against pregnancy without forcing your sexual mores on them”

            Please share more as to why being pro life means being anti-conception…

      • Marauder

        I’ve donated to 35 crisis pregnancy centers in 33 states and I’ve both volunteered and donated to Catholic Charities – which doesn’t only help Catholics. Ever babysat for ten homeless kids at once? I have.

        As for contraceptives, you can buy condoms at any gas station, grocery store, Target, Wal-Mart, you name it. You can get birth control pills for less than ten bucks a month at Target and Wal-Mart. What is it I’m supposed to be doing so that women have contraceptives?

      • Al Clerc

        Rachel, your argument is tired and worn out. Pro-aborts have constantly used the argument that pro-lifers are only concerned about the baby at birth but there are several programs that support the mother and child after birth, i.e the Project Rachel program. See Marauder’s post.

    • Chandler Klebs

      It seems that the Catholics I have talked to have their own personal faith. This is not exactly allowed among the Protestants. Is there such a thing as a Catholic Atheist?

  • Aly

    I share your frustration with the pro-life movement being branded “Christian,” since my beliefs about abortion are based mainly on science, embryology, and the like. I’m sorry that you have been ostracized in this way. I’m a Catholic Christian, and I have actually had times where I wished I could say that I am atheist and pro-life because I know so many people who would take me more seriously if I were, but because I am Christian they write me off, and say that it is just a religious belief. Even if I were atheist, I would be pro-life, and I think it is so important to have atheists who ARE pro-life to reach those who write off the movement because of the religious arguments. Stay strong and thank you for sharing! I hope this will be a wake up call to those Christian crisis centers who are unwelcoming to non-Christian pro-life activists who want to, and should be allowed to help!

    • Alden Smith

      I have the same problem with my Secular Jewish friend

    • sarah5775

      Thank you.

      • princessjasmine45

        I think some Christians can learn a good lesson from Atheists.

        Sarah, I deeply admire you for your stand against abortion.
        That you are an atheist (I feel) gives our cause even more validation.
        Please don’t give up the good fight.
        We NEED people like you. We need YOU.
        I’m so sorry and truly embarrassed for the way you’ve been treated.
        You are living proof that we don’t need a god or religion to be a good person and to do the right thing.
        Thank you for fighting the good fight.
        I think you are awesome

        • sarah5775

          Thank you so much for your kind words.

    • Claritas Pastor

      As a Catholic Christian who relies on science and embryology to defend my views, this is EXACTLY how I feel. THANK YOU, Sarah, for writing this! :D

    • LibbyBarnes

      “I have actually had times where I wished I could say that I am atheist and pro-life because I know so many people who would take me more seriously if I were, but because I am Christian they write me off, and say that it is just a religious belief.”

      I have those moments all the time! My background is the hard sciences, but people won’t listen to scientific arguments about abortion if they know you’re a *Catholic* scientist.

    • R.M.

      I feel the same way :< I also believe abortion is wrong because of basic scientific evidence, and yet sometimes even good friends reject my reasoning simply because I'm Catholic. They have been taught to think that there is no scientific basis for knowing that conception marks the beginning of human life, and they assume the only basis for thinking this is religion. It's very frustrating to have someone assume this.

  • CS

    As a Pro-Life Christian, I’m ashamed that other Christians would turn another away when we are supposed to be fighting for the same cause; instead they turn others away simply because they don’t share our faith.
    You have a right to feel welcome and they need to remember what exactly it is we’re fighting for.
    Thank you for not giving up. I apologise for your bad experience. I wish I could change things for you. We should welcome ALL pro-lifers with open arms and be accommodating to EVERYONE’S needs, not just the believers.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you.

  • Shiva

    This article speaks to me so, so much!

  • 1stCitizen

    I am sorry that the pro-life community has not been as open as you wish, but as for your attack of 40 days, may I point out that 40ty days is entirely from a biblical ideal. The purpose of 40 days is prayer and fasting….something taken from multiple passages of scripture. 40 days of prayer and fasting is used over and over agian in the Bible and therefore 40 days is distinctly Christian and cannot be seperated from those Christian underpinnings. I am sorry that in some instances you have felt rejected.

    • sarah5775

      I wasn’t really trying to “attack” forty days, just give an atheist perspective on them. I know they do a lot of good, but I don’t think any group is beyond criticism. I respect the people at 40 days for life, and appreciate that they are in the movement. I just want them to consider that their rhetoric can alienate some pro-lifers who do not share their beliefs.

  • amykinjomo

    Sarah, please please please do not ever give up the fight!! I’m so sorry to hear of your experiences. I happen to be a Christian, but my pro-life stance is rooted in the scientific and biological proof of an unborn child’s humanity. And yes, I do believe that my views on abortion happen to line up with my faith in God. However, everyone in the pro-life movement needs to embrace those from ALL walks of life, all ranges of beliefs or non-beliefs. Those who are of faith should pray hard and pray all they can, but at the same time, that does not represent every person in the movement. I’m EXCITED about groups like Secular Pro-life. I’m HAPPY to know that those who have no religious affiliation are willing to show that the pro-life community is not a bunch of bible thumpers. This is a human rights issue, not a religious issue. The overturning of Roe v Wade MUST be based off of the fact that science proves that an unborn child is a living human being and is entitled to legal protection. You, Sarah, are NEEDED! Thank you for all you have done so far. You will continue to do great things. And I know you are an atheist, but I will pray on your behalf for the hearts of the Christians in the pro-life community that have refused your help, that they realize the walls they are putting up (I hope that’s okay with you).
    You’re awesome and an inspiration!!!

    • Alden Smith

      The women that was Wade later became Pro life and so did the guy started the that Abortion Federation after seeing a sonogram

      • Basset_Hound

        The woman was the plaintiff, Jane Roe. She was Norma McCorvey who still lives in the Dallas area. Wade was the district attorney.

        • Alden Smith

          Oh I must read that post wrong I saw or at least forgot what it said

        • Alden Smith

          Oh I must read that post wrong I saw or at least forgot what it said

          • Basset_Hound

            No problem.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you very much. I really appreciate your kind words. And of course, I don’t mind you praying for me.

  • Leslie Alexander

    Please know that I, as a Catholic Christian, welcome you heartily and consider that we are very lucky to have you. People like me would never think of shunning people like you–we need you and all of the gifts you bring. Please don’t get discouraged by those who may be unwelcoming or provincial in their attitudes and certainly still have growing to do, as we all do. Thank you for all you do for life!

    • sarah5775

      Thank you for your kind words. :-)

  • Brian Harris

    i’m pretty sure the child, woman and family spared the horror and grief of abortion are not concerned about the religious views (or not) of the advocate who convincingly shares the facts about abortion and offers them hope and help. I’d tend to believe that Christians have a corner on pro-life ethics except that the vast majority of America’s pastors and church leadership purposefully shirk their scriptural responsibility to speak up for those being led away to slaughter. Thank God for any voice which speaks out to save a child and mom, especially in the deafening and shameful silence of this nation’s pulpits.

  • Rachel

    It is the reason that Carney thinks. Most people in the movement are there because they believe God — the modern Evangelical Christian or Catholic God — called them to “save the babies”. Most are there because they are spoon fed absurd propaganda, like the “fetus doll” images that circulated awhile back as “12 week fetus images”, and other such nonsense; they believe babies are God’s judgment on unmarried sluts, and gift to married women and rape victims. There are always exceptions, people who grew up with these ideas driven into their heads and turned to atheism but did not abandon the “pro-life” movement, etc., but they are the exceptions. What you experience is just another facet of the “love” that drives most of these pro-lifers to try to dominate the wills of women they know nothing about: they are champions of Jesus, and every woman who dares to have a life outside of staying home and rearing children, any woman who — God forbids! — decides when, how and if she’ll have a kid, and any anyone who dares to reject their God, is evil and must be punished, ostracized, and shamed. You fall into the last category, ironically enough aiding them to go after the first two. Strange bedfellows indeed.

    • Faye Valentine

      “…decides when, how and if she’ll have a kid…”

      No, you just really don’t get it.

      This has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion. It is that we know the basic SCIENTIFIC FACT that if a woman is pregnant, she ALREADY HAS AT LEAST ONE KID, and aborting them isn’t just deciding not to have a kid at that moment, but killing one who already exists and is alive. I don’t have to know a woman to know basic Biology. I don’t care about a woman’s motivations to kill her child, I just care that the child is being killed.

      As an atheist woman with a tubal ligation who has a job outside the home along with an education, I assure you I am not in the least concerned with “dominat[ing] the will” of any other woman. I just don’t want any child to be killed just because their mother decides it should be so.

      • Rachel

        With all due respect, Faye, a fertilized egg is not a kid. The building blocks of a person are not a person, any more than the building blocks of a vehicle are that vehicle. A blueprint and a pile of bricks is not a building. A single-celled DNA “blueprint” for a human, or a partially developed shell of a baby, is not a baby. It takes more than heart tissue (which we can grow in labs) to be a heart; it takes more than partially formed organs to be a person. Your idea of “basic biology” is very much at odds with reality.

        I imagine, if you dug deep enough, you would find that it’s based less on biology, and more on belief that you were led to regard as fact.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wynette-Sills/1301270993 Wynette Sills

          Rachel, biologically, when does a fertilized human egg become human?

        • Calvin Freiburger

          Fine. Here’s the digging:

          http://www.abort73.com/abortion/medical_testimony/

          Biology textbooks, medical testimony, even the concessions of honest pro-choicers. All properly sourced.

          Care to retract your statement “at odds with reality”?

        • Leslie Alexander

          No, it is proven irrefutably through science and human embryology that every component of a separate and individual life is present at conception and only needs time to mature. Just as a new born looks nothing like a five year old or a thirty year old. It is a human life.

        • Rachel

          Calvin, et al, certainly I do not disagree that the zygote is a genetic blueprint for a person, or that, with the further use of a woman’s body and resources, it can become a distinct person. Having a single cell o distinct human DNA, however, does not make you a person. Thus the medical and scientific community overwhelmingly agree (the handful of people you quote notwithstanding) that it is not killing a person to abort a fetus, prevent a zygote from implanting, or dispose of an embryo. That is where your belief and reality are at odds.

          Here’s a question for you to ponder. The female body naturally disposes of approximately 1/3 of those “fertilized egg people” before they ever implant. Do you think women are “natural born killers”? If so, why? If your reasons are purely scientific, I assume you’ll pick up on a few evolutionary benefits for what amounts, in your opinion, to human death. Thoughts on that? Are you cool with the idea that every time a couple has sex, “murder” might ensue? If you’re genuinely pro-life about this, what are you ideas — and how do you try — to stop this slaughter of egg people? If you’re religious, even if that is (supposedly) not the basis for your opposition to abortion, how do you reconcile the idea that God would have had to orchestrate the largest killing of humanity ever (1/3 of all human “babies”, across culture and time, dead) with the idea that disposing of these same zygotes is bad/frowned upon by God?

          • Calvin Freiburger

            Being a growing, distinct, genetically complete organism belonging to the species Homo sapiens unarguably makes you a living human being. You’re a person from conception onward because we reject the very premise of a distinction between “human being” and “person.”

            This is a distinction that has historically been invented for the sole purpose of excusing the extermination or subjugation of groups whose humanity we want to violate, like the argument that blacks were an inferior race.

            The way “person” is used by pro-aborts in this sense is philosophical, not scientific. It’s a claim about the value you assign to people who can’t yet think, feel, etc. — not a description of what they objectively are. (Even so, I’d love to see your proof that medical authorities “overwhelmingly agree” with you.)

            As to your questions about natural embryo deaths, it’s absurd to suggest the natural occurrence of death within a particular group somehow justifies intentional killing of that group’s members, or that forbidding intentional killing means we have to go to extreme, unrealistic lengths to prevent natural deaths we have no control over.

            Do high mortality rates in third-world countries mean their inhabitants have less of a right to life, or that it’s less wrong to kill them? How about people suffering from especially lethal diseases? Are the elderly less valuable?

            There’s always been an interesting theological discussion about why God would allow bad things to happen to innocent people, and we could engage in all sorts of speculating about naturally-disposed embryos – for instance, maybe God doesn’t ensoul them. These are questions we’re not presuming to know the answers to. But just as none of us would take starvation in Somalia as an excuse to commit genocide there, I fail to see why embryos’ natural deaths would justify their intentional killing.

      • Leslie Alexander

        exactly.

  • Scipio Africanus

    I think its unfortunate that you’ve had this experience with the pro-life movement. I think the worst thing about this movement is that it is so religiously centered, and I’m glad that there are groups like Secular Pro-Life on facebook that allows me to read reasons that go beyond religion. If we want to convince other people that abortion is wrong, we need to have many arguments that we can use, and a lot of people are not convinced by the religious reasons. I even asked a priest at the church I attend if we should work with groups like athiest and secular prolife groups, and his basic response was that the need to stop abortion was far more important. An attitude I tend to agree with.

  • Nzie

    I’m sorry. I’ve also felt people distance themselves from me, and had to work to prove to them that just because I hold an opinion they strongly disagree with doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends. Everyone should be welcome in the pro-life movement; there probably will be some things groups within it can’t work together on, but all people of good will belong standing side by side. I started following Secular Pro-Life lately because I get frustrated sometimes — being so strongly identified with faith can lead us to make bad arguments. “God says” doesn’t matter to an agnostic, even though it matters to us (I’m Catholic), and it certainly doesn’t matter to my friends and acquaintances who work in “women’s rights” (meaning abortion). As long as they can dismiss my views as trying to strangle other women’s reproductive organs with my rosary, they won’t even notice that I’m making arguments based off reason, philosophical principles, and science. More importantly, the policy-makers won’t listen, either.

    No one should have to be other than s/he is to work on preventing the death of the unborn. And thanks for writing this, Sarah – hopefully it can help. I’d be happy to stand beside you at any pro-life event.

  • diane

    Hi Sarah,

    I appreciated your piece and what you shared. And yes, welcome to the Pro Life movement. I too am a believer and follwer of Yeshua and YHWH, and feel sorry that you have experienced such a sense of rejection. It’s given me food for thought.

  • Megh

    Thanks so much for posting this. I totally agree.

    A little over a year ago, I was a patient visiting a CPC in my city and was not made to feel welcome at all, especially when I told them I was already pro-life and wanted information on adoption.

    In fact, I was even told that I was going to go to Hell because I was not affiliated with a religion. If they told me, a woman already against abortion, that I was already going to Hell for simply not following the same religion, what do they tell women struggling with the choice of abortion? Why on Earth would women care about ending a pregnancy and committing the ‘sin’ of murder if they’re told that they’re already going to Hell for not being baptized?

    • Marauder

      They told you that you were going to hell?! Eeek – if you want, tell me which city it is so I can make sure I don’t give to a CPC there. I’m trying to knit 20 baby hats per state for all fifty states.

      What happened with your baby?

  • theatreizlove

    I really do not understand this. Why would anyone turn away support and help for the cause because they have a different religion? That’s hypocritical and frankly rather stupid. I could care less what your feelings are on religion. If you think abortion is wrong and want to stop them, I will gladly accept them into the movement and appreciate their help.

  • Lori Sathre

    I’ve had similar experiences. Being a pro life pagan, I often find myself being rejected by both the Christian pro life groups as well as a lot of pro choice pagans.

    • lovethink

      I am so thankful to have you on my prolife team! “Pro life pagan” three words I NEVER thought I would hear! You made my day :) have you been banned from the Planned PArenthood Action fb page yet, I have been… twice. I never bring up religion, just science and logic, it makes them so MAD :). I’m Christian now but definately started agnostic and prolife based on science and logic. It wasn’t until I started working at a crisis pregnancy center that I figured out I needed a Savior.

    • Leslie Alexander

      You are not rejected! Thank you. :))

    • johno

      Some Christians are Pro_Choice like Politicians Joe Biden(catholic), Nancy Pelosi(catholic)Andrew Cuomo(catholic)etc. All say they are “God fearing” church going etc etc. I have more “faith” in Pro-Life atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Shintos, Zoroastrians, Druze, Circassians, etc. Good luck in what you believe. Some of the so-called believers don’t even believe what their faith says. A “Right-To-Life”. Hang Tough and don’t backdown.

  • Haley

    This is a wonderful article!! So glad you’re making your voice heard. I’m a Christian myself, and am very upset at how unChristian many self-proclaimed believers behave.
    It’s despicable, and I’m so sorry for your experiences.

    While a person’s faith may be their motivating factor for being pro-life, it is not exclusively religious. I’m glad you are able to put aside your experiences with offensive and inconsiderate people and see that this is not about you or I or one’s faith or belief system, but about the lives of children and the emotional and psychological scarring of women across this nation and worldwide.

    What has the human race come to?

  • lovethink

    Thank you Sarah! I too am sorry you have not felt loved by fellow prolifers. You are right , people just assume, prolife=Christian, prochoice=aethiest. Unfortunately, our Chistian churches are filled with prochoicers BUT more aethiests are turning prolife, YEAH!!! I started prolife agnostic-Chistian light, then volunteered at a Christian pregnancy center, went through the extensive training and ended up profoundly transformed and blessed! Please call one again and tell them you want to go through the training, have an open mind and see what happens. I can’t imagine them turning you down after getting to know you and you them. I’m off to like you on FB :)

    • Neal Murray

      How were you profoundly transformed and blessed? Do you mean you became a fully blown Christian?

  • Jason Pascucci

    Because of the fundamental difference in underlying philosophy, orthodox Catholics, orthodox Orthodox and those vanishingly few protestants who hold an indentifiably, fully, and coherent pro-life position are and ought to be very wary of getting in bed with atheists or the overwhelming majority of (liberal or pseudo-conservative) protestants on the subject.

    Without a foundation in natural law, reason (because it follows false first principles) ends up being radically untrustworthy in the clutches, as there is no measure outside the individual (blame Scotus via Descartes for that one). Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity, so we’re going to stop that.

    Indeed, for those who’ve been paying attention, the history of the last 100 years has shown those groups always have turned on us – it was the protestants that lead the way for the current status quo, because invariably, they end up falling to notions of eugenics and the claim that there is some gray area in human will where there is, indeed, none. Secular scientists decided they could lie and cover up the subject with impugnity, for political reasons, and they did, resulting in generations of youth who do not know the truth.

    I don’t see the verisimilitude of this article. That ‘(un)equally yoked’ thing, for instance: Christians acknowledge that’s obviously referring to marriage, so if ‘half’ of your sample said something to the effect you said, they’re either en masse outside any reasonable interpretation (not immediately credible), or it’s a literary dissembling for, in the best purpose, rhetorical effect.

    And that was just the first indication that there’s something a bit off about this article: it ends up being basically, on balance, emotive. It’s certainly not substantial: this uses the same arguments about lack of ‘inclusivity’ that liberals use, and there no reason why it couldn’t be seen as deriving from the same place (not to put too fine a point on it: narcissism).

    The self-interest note leads to another response: with the couple of recent wins, somehow, the pro-life cause seems to be making (slow) progress despite the lack of atheists. I would suggest an alternate thesis is that it’s because of the uncompromising stance and fundamentally coherent argument that a strong atheist can’t produce. The reason why this is the case is that there really is no coherent, defensible philosophical position for a positive atheist to hold the pro-life position in any sense strongly. Weakly, sure, sentimentally, seems to be the case here. Or a weak, semi-atheist can hold a stronger position, certainly, but they usually demur from calling themselves atheists.

    So, the upshot is that without at least what we call ‘natural religion’ (the sort of religion the Greek philosophers had, on balance), which necessarily includes natural law and at least has a chance of getting the first principles right, it is absolutely reasonable to assume an atheist is not substantially pro-life, and thus not particularly valuable to the cause.

    Finally, and fatally, to this article, both the opening (“In fact, …” ) and the culminating paragraph (“There is a reason…”) seems to be either delusional or dissembling, and in the middle, no objective evidence was presented supporting the thesis.

    So: nope.

    • Jameson Graber

      The funny thing about this critique is that it is just as stubbornly rationalist and stridently triumphalist as the modernism which you pretend to critique.

      Maybe you should just focus on the aspect of this essay that really matters: it’s a *personal* essay, designed to provoke thought about personal interactions within the pro-life movement.

    • nonce37

      If the natural-law tradition is really such a royal road to truth on questions of human dignity, how did doyens of the tradition like Aristotle and Aquinas go so far astray on the question of abortion? Furthermore, what was the record of natural-law-tradition adherents in opposing, say, New World slavery? I seem to recall that they were, on the whole, *well* behind benighted Protestants or even deluded Enlightenment thinkers on this issue. So if we need an anti-abortion movement composed solely of people who can be relied on to be right on all the big issues, we shouldn’t stop at excluding almost all Protestants, atheists, Deists and Wiccans: we should throw out the neo-neo-Thomist Catholics too, along with any other neo-Aristotelians we might find. The question then is who would be left inside the movement. Alternatively, we could adopt a policy of disagreeing with and pushing away people only *after* they say something which is clearly wrong from an anti-abortion perspective, and show due humility and circumspection about the idea that anyone has a grand intellectual apparatus which can be relied on to keep them out of that kind of error.

      • Jason R. Pascucci

        They didn’t at all go far astray: the definition of life they were operating on was “imminent self-motion to (its own) ordered end”, and the “soul is the form of the body”. Neither of them had the ability to detect the growth or movement of the newly conceived human. But we now _know_, in a way that permits no argument, they exhibit precisely all of those properties, which were definitional even 2500 years ago.

        Further, neither of them knew that some significant part of the form of human being is written into every single cell, whereas we have no such excuses of ignorance. We also know there is no ‘vegetative’ seed-state, every instant of life is ‘sensitive/animal’ with the in-built potential (used as a technical term) for rationality, making them no less human than someone presently asleep. And, thus, it’s no less abhorrent to slaughter a human in the womb as to execute a sleeping baby. QED, given the principles, but not at all in evidence at the time. And bereft of objective, natural law definitions, you fall back on will-based arguments, which is what got us where we are.

        Anyway, you recall wrong, although that’s not your fault. If you have a problem with slavery, take it up with the ancients and the Muslims, for whom it was an art, received wisdom, commanded in their holy books and law, and practiced with enthusiasm for great profit.

        Egalitarianism is _not_ a protestant or humanist phenomenon, and it’s another enlightenment distortion of the facts of history to claim it is:

        The Church (at Her best) had always been on the right side, towards an _increase_ in justice and mercy over against the secular authorities, this is true whether it was for the villeins or S. American or African slaves. Individuals often got it wrong for the natural reasons, and the notion of ‘just’ slavery – which was what Thomas was defending – was widespread, as it was near-universal practice in all times and in all places. However, in the West, slavery and quasi-slavery as a practice was being widely repudiated by the early 13-14th C, which is one of the reasons Thomas weighed in at all – with other forms of servitude proceeding to die out over the next few hundred years, far before the enlightenment, and even leading to it in a sense. The formal declarations against slavery in specific were made by Pope Paul III in 1537. While not in their final form, they were the obvious impetus and laid the groundwork for the enlightenment takes on the subject, and way before it.

        Finally, there is no a priori prohibition of slavery or murder for an ideological end in a hermeneutic of ‘hard’ atheism: we only have to look at the gulags, the cultural revolution, and the human abattoirs in the secular United States to see that, not just here-and-there, but in mass quantities only attainable by technological advancement. I would suggest, taken to its logical conclusion, secularist/hard atheism necessarily sees humans as not particularly more than complex animals in an absurd universe, which means (except for sentiment or utility)they are basically fit for slaughter. There is no transcendent in the view, no external will beyond their own, so no overwhelming value of an individual, just how ‘useful’ they are.

  • Stormii

    I’m one of those people who want a clear line between church and state. I don’t believe church morals should necessarily direct laws and such. I don’t consider abortion in this category because I believe – maybe naively so – that people behind the pro-life movement is in it for the unborn and not dictated because they want to force a belief on others. Yet it’s hard to believe when all you hear coming out of pro-life mouths are bible quotes and prayers. It makes me wonder if this is just a ruse to draw people to the Church. It sickens me. I’m a novice in the pro-life movement, just learning the facts and politics before I go out and actually do something and if this is what awaits me, I’m not so sure I want to go out there. I used to defend pregnancy centers, even though I wasn’t ignorant of their religious basis, I told people they don’t slut-shame or pressure into religion. Now seeing this… But as long as there are people like Sarah, secular pro-life groups (or groups of other religions, like Pagans and Jews) and you know, REAL Christians – the ones that actually follow and read the bible instead of just looking at it – then I’m not giving up on this movement.

    • Leslie Alexander

      Stormii, they are not all like that. I am glad you are with us!

    • sarah5775

      Don’t give up. There are wonderful people in the pro-life movement. Some people just need to reconsider their priorities and think about how they come across to outsiders. But there are many good, dedicated, sincere people in the pro-life movement.

  • Ashley Jo Taylor

    i know exactly how you feel

    • Mary Anne

      Sarah, just read your article. I know exactly what you are talking about, feeling, etc. Even though, I am Catholic, sometimes, I have problems within my own circle, or evangelical Christians because they don’t like Catholicism. After they had prayed alongside of me, I more or less, let them lead in prayer, and just pray what brings us together, not divides us. I was asked during a last 40DFL to talked about what it is at an evangelical church. So, hang in there. We are for life, human life, the human race. You are most welcomed to join with us, and be a guest speaker. We are not in this for a popularity contest. We are here for life, life is sacred. Blessings:)

  • Debby

    Wow, thank you for sharing this experience. I had no idea there was a fight on who has the say to pro-life. I am Christian. And I have come to finally desire to fight for the lives of these little ones. I have non christian friends, and I never would have thought to not work side by side my athiest friend who would also like to stand up and fight for the lives of the unborn baby child.

  • TucsonPaula

    It sounds like it is time for non-religious Pro-Life individuals to start the same kinds of services and organizations that those whom you do not relate to have started. It is always nice to have alternatives for those who don’t understand, or want to be affiliated with, a Christian group. I honor that you are Pro Life, and I encourage you to join with other like-minded individuals to do together whatever good you do not feel you can do alone. I am Christian, a Catholic actually, and I prefer to look at those things which we hold in common. I think it is helpful to lay aside what separates us, and work together for good based on those principles upon which we agree. Many Christian groups have been infiltrated over the years by people trying to tear them down, or put an end to the good work that they are doing, so many are understandably cautious. Some are also bigots, I am sure, but not all bigots are Christians. Just take the focus off of yourself, get to doing the good work that you can do, and you will eventually earn their respect, if not their friendship! I want you to think about something: as much as it bothers you that these individuals whom you have met are “in your face” about their Christianity, has it ever occurred to you to choose to NOT be “in their faces” about your athieism? I have been in MANY settings over my lifetime, where Christian individuals did not know I was Catholic, until after they knew me personally, as someone they had grown to respect. That magically made it possible for them to consider that maybe Catholics were not so bad after all. I know that it helped them to question their long held prejudices, some with no basis in reality. Here are some wise words that help me: “Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” So let us work together in what unites us, and lay aside for a worthy purpose, what divides us.

    • Marauder

      It would be nice to think that doing good work for the pro-life movement would lead other pro-lifers to respect you, but that’s not always the case. It should be, but it’s not.

    • sarah5775

      That is very true. I need to learn to be more accepting myself, we all do. I am making an honest effort not to debate religion or push the atheist viewpoint with pro-lifers, so that we can all get along. In the past, I have been assertive with it, but I am hoping that I can work with Christians and respect their religious beliefs. It is definitely a two way street.

  • Katie

    I am so sorry about your experiences and those of the many other non-Christians who have been turned away or looked down on by the pro-life movement. Even as a more liberal Christian, I often find myself turned off by the rhetoric that I know doesn’t speak to a large slice of the country and in large part doesn’t even speak to me! (Recently I read a pro-life article that made a slam against the suckers who believe in global warming in an aside – umm… not relevant and a complete turn off for those of us who are pro-life scientists and members of AGU!)

    I realized years ago that many of the most vocal and active pro-choice people are those who have been hurt by pro-lifers… who primarily want to act against a movement that they see as hateful. It confuses me, because no one that I know personally acts like that (to my knowledge), but I’ve heard so many stories about such judgemental behavior… and to the extent that I can apologize for other Christians and other pro-lifers, I’m very sorry for that.

    • sarah5775

      I think it is human nature to rebel against the people who hurt as, as well as to generalize that if the people we have encountered are hurtful, ALL people in that demographic are hurtful. I had quite a few bad experiences with Christians in the past (beyond what I have written here) and I personally need to guard myself that I do not lump all Christians in the same category. There are “bad apples’ in every orchard.

      • Cassandra

        Hang in there Sarah and keep your eye on the primary mission. You’re showing extraordinary character just in not condemning ALL for the actions of FEW.

        Divisions are the result of the human condition and it is not unique to the ProLife or Christian communities. Christians suffer from divisions in their own communities; even founders of religious orders have suffered from their own members sometimes resulting in the Founder being tossed out as leader [as is happening right now with the Friars of the Immaculata].

        Even the ProLife movement is shattered by division. Live Action has been suffering from condemnation from the likes of Mark Shea and Dawn Eden.

        All you can do is just focus on the true mission and realize others share the same kind of persecution from those who should be their friends.

  • James

    Hi Sarah. Thank you for this post, and thank you for standing up for life. As a Christian, the things you say about Christians in this post make me very sad and ashamed for my fellow-believers. I would like to be able to tell you that I believe the behavior you have been subjected to by other Christians is not commonplace, but I frankly believe it is *extremely* commonplace. On behalf of all Christians who are willing to examine their heart and behavior and test to see if it matches up with what we proclaim, I apologize for the way you have been treated. You are welcome to stand by my side for life any day!

  • Life!

    Dear Sarah,
    As Shawn Canery said “we are all sinners” and so all of these Christians that rejected you is wrong and not the way the should be treating anyone.
    I would like to apologize on behalf of them. They have no right to ever reject anyone. I heard someone say once that ANYONE is welcome to enter a Church no matter what.
    The pro Life movement should be the same.
    Thank You for all that you do!
    Peace!

  • Marisa

    Thank you, Sarah, for fighting for the right of these unborn babies to have life. Please, please do not give up the cause because you were treated unfairly by Christians. I’m sorry you had this experience. As a Christian, I try very hard not to use religious jargon in my arguments for being pro-life because I know people tune me out. If they can excuse what I’ve said because I’m “religious” and think I’m trying to impose my faith on them, they won’t stick around to hear the facts based on science and logic. I tell people abortion is not a religious issue; it’s a human rights one. The pregnancy resource center in my area, while being a ministry, does a lot of social work with the clients they see to help them choose life, instead of simply saying “abortion is murder”. They offer material and emotional support, parenting classes, and connect them with community resources, even helping them obtain insurance and medical services. Thank you again for fighting along side of us!

    • sarah5775

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • Monica Thompson

    I’m Christian, but pro-lifers of all religions or lack thereof should be united in this cause! Thank you for writing this article!

  • Joseph Langston

    I would like to tentatively say that you would probably find an appreciable number of pro-lifers among the ranks of those who self-identify as secular humanists…and I say tentatively because I am not willing to suggest that the majority of SHs are pro-lifers…there are probably some who are pro-choice as well, but I just think of secular humanism as one instance in which you have non-religious pro-lifers. I could see secular humanistic reasons for going both ways.

  • guest582

    Thanks for writing so candidly on this issue. I am a pro-lifer and a Christian, and I am very sorry that you have been treated so by other Christians. Even though my faith is the center of my life, I still decided to join Secular Pro-Life page on Facebook because I wanted to know how to defend the pro-life position from a more scientific position. As you said, most non-religious people are pro-choice by default, and I feel if we are ever to change the laws of the land concerning abortion we are going to need to present the non-religious with scientific facts, not religious dogma. Christian pro-lifers seem to be gaining a lot of ground as far as reaching/helping individuals, but it may need to be the secular pro-lifers (and those of us willing to stand with them) that start on the basis of science to change the country as a whole. I think its sometimes hard for Christian to relate to athiests because we don’t understand where their basis for morality comes from-insofar as each individual has their own structure of morality and we’re unsure which philosophy they hold to. For Christian it is the BIble, simple, usually. But their are numerous schools of thought and unless we specifically ask which you hold to, or it may even be your own, we are at a loss in understanding. Why do you believe murder is morally wrong? My first guess would be that you believe that what harms others is wrong. I would guess that most people feel this way, religious or not. And that’s good, from there we can show pro-choicers, scientifically, that a “fetus in the womb” is a person from the start.

  • Brett

    Hi Sarah. I’m Catholic and I want to say I am VERY grateful for all you do for the pro-life movement. Of course, from a religious perspective there would probably be many things that you and I would disagree on. But on the issue of “right to life for the pre-born” I am happy and proud to fight for this right along side with you. Thank you for everything you do to protect the right to life.

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  • Julia

    It should be clear to anyone, even without any religion, that abortion is wrong. That is why religious arguments are not necessary when trying to convince someone to be pro-life.
    But Religion must be a big part of the pro-life movement, because it is what keeps it going. You can’t say “God, go away, you are embarrassing and inconvenient to us” and hope to win this fight. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.
    Basically every leader of the pro-life movement is Christian, and without God, they likely would not be able to do the good work they do. It is all due to God’s grace that they can.

    I don’t mean that secular people should not be involved in the pro-life, or that work they do is not important. Everyone should be against abortion, and everyone is until they are brainwashed. Show a five-year old an ultrasound of a preborn baby, let them feel him kick, and there is no argument you could use to convince them that it is OK to violently tear that child to pieces.

    • Kevin R. Cross

      Because the arguments you use would make sense…to a five year old. Unfortunately for your position, they largely DON’T make sense to educated adults.

      • princessjasmine45

        oh yes, because “It’s-only-a-baby-if-it’s-wanted” is what every sensible educated adult seeped in reality and science knows…

        *eye roll*

        go study biology.

        • Kevin R. Cross

          I have. The information it provided put me quite firmly in the pro-choice position.

          And I should note, that’s exactly the kind of argument I was talking about. “It’s-only-a-baby-if-it’s-wanted” likely seems absurd to you. And well it should, since it IS absurd – and isn’t an argument that anyone would ever actually make. Strawmanning arguments like that to make points will never win you a single convert – it will just make your opponent conclude you aren’t worth having a dialogue with.

          Please understand me, here. I don’t have any real axe to grind with you – I am pro-choice, but it’s not something that dominates my outlook on life. Rather, it stems from my absolute commitment to bodily sanctity – the absolute right of the individual to the control of what happens regarding his or her own body. Since I do not concede that a person can have that right taken away from them for any reason, I can’t be anti-abortion.
          But the anti-choice arguments (and yes, I chose those words carefully) are very weak, and focus on the wrong point. Anyone who actually HAS studied biology would look upon the idea that a first-trimester fetus is a “baby” with disdain. It’s a cluster of cells. It has tremendous potential, to be sure, but – it’s a cluster of cells, and nothing more.
          Worse, you opponents’ REAL arguments resonate far more strongly, because they concern the other half of the equation, the one you all too often ignore or marginalize, but it’s the half that is undoubtedly and unquestionably a human being – the mother.

          Unless you can come up with arguments that take the rights of the mother into account, you will not convince many of your rectitude. Because even those of us with no horse in this race can see a massive difference between a bunch of cells and a human woman.

          • princessjasmine45

            “I have. The information it provided put me quite firmly in the pro-choice position.”

            Interesting as it had the opposite effect on me…
            Just about every book on embryology that I own states that life begins at conception.

            “And I should note, that’s exactly the kind of argument I was talking about. “It’s-only-a-baby-if-it’s-wanted” likely seems absurd to you. And well it should, since it IS absurd – and isn’t an argument that anyone would ever actually make. Strawmanning arguments like that to make points will never win you a single convert – it will just make your opponent conclude you aren’t worth having a dialogue with.”

            Yes, you are quite right… it is absurd.

            And I QUOTE:

            “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling–but not science,”
            –Pro-abort, Melissa Harris Perry July 21, 2013 on her MSNBC show.–

            oh yes she did.

            So, what was that about strawmanning?

            Not knowing what arguments your side comes up with is also a point that won’t win you a single convert. (not that you’re trying for that, of course).

            “..Rather, it stems from my absolute commitment to bodily sanctity – the absolute right of the individual to the control of what happens regarding his or her own body. Since I do not concede that a person can have that right taken away from them for any reason, I can’t be anti-abortion.”

            Yes, that’s exactly why I’m pro-life. I believe that everyone, including the child has a right to control what happens to his or her body. Developing humans in utero and infants do not have a voice. They cannot stand up for themselves. Its is up to us to stand for them.

            “But the anti-choice arguments (and yes, I chose those words carefully) are very weak, and focus on the wrong point. Anyone who actually HAS studied biology would look upon the idea that a first-trimester fetus is a “baby” with disdain. It’s a cluster of cells. It has tremendous potential, to be sure, but – it’s a cluster of cells, and nothing more.”

            But the Pro-death arguments (and yes, I chose those words carefully) are very weak and focus on the wrong point. Anyone who HAS actually studied biology (and embryology) would fully acknowledge that a first trimester fetus is a developing human.

            In the first trimester our

            - heart starts beating (week 4) A “clump of cells” with a heartbeat?

            - our eyes, ears and mouth have begun to form (week 6) Does a “clump of cells” facial features, if so, is it still a “clump of cells”?

            -our brian starts to develop and our face forms (week 7)

            -our eyelids, ears, upper lip and the tip of our noses are forming as well as fingers and toes (week 8)
            “Clumps of cells” have fingers and toes?

            -By week 9 we are moving

            -By week 11: All of our vital organs are formed and functioning. Ears are assuming their proper place and fingernail and toenail beds are beginning to form. Testes or ovaries are completely formed now also. “Clumps of cells” have sex organs? Really???

            So… tell me again how we are still just a “clump of cells” in the first trimester…

            When I was pregnant with my first child, my partner and I (we were still eating cup-o-soups and TV dinners off of our speakers because we couldn’t afford a real table in our studio apartment) could see his hands and feet as he pushed his way around in my belly. Since you are so learned in biology, would you please explain how a “clump of cells” can move around and kick me?

            I could hear his heartbeat…

            He hiccuped an awful lot as well… hah… and he still does!

            I wasn’t aware that a “clump of cells” could hiccup.

            I have a 4D sonogram of my second child. He’s smiling in it…you could almost see his personality… and sure enough, to this day, he has the that same smile..(he’s now 9).

            I didn’t realize “clump of cells” could smile… could you explain that too, please?

            When I was pregnant with my little girl, the genetic testing came back with a very high chance that she would have a fetal abnormality. It was difficult to see the imprint of her elbow sticking out through my belly. She kicked SO much more than the boys. I could feel her hiccuping too. But to the pro death camp, to people like you who are “absolutely committed to bodily sanctity”, she was but a mere “clump of cells”.
            Incidentally, even though she was premature, she had no fetal abnormalities.

            “Worse, you opponents’ REAL arguments resonate far more strongly, because they concern the other half of the equation, the one you all too often ignore or marginalize, but it’s the half that is undoubtedly and unquestionably a human being – the mother.”

            I thought you understood the pro-life argument. Clearly, you do not. We never marginalize the woman’s life. We contend that the child’s life is of equal value; not more, not less–equal.

            Woman and child both deserve the utmost care.

            “Unless you can come up with arguments that take the rights of the mother into account, you will not convince many of your rectitude. Because even those of us with no horse in this race can see a massive difference between a bunch of cells and a human woman.”

            Yes, because your “clump of cells” argument is so compelling.

            No one, not a man, not a woman has the right to end someone else’s innocent life.

            http://www.prolifehumanists.org/tag/pro-life-atheists/
            http://www.plagal.org

          • Mindy Robinson

            The infant has a body, what right do you or any other have to decide you have the right to murder and torture a living human? You contradict yourself. I do have an axe to grind with you and all like you. You are uneducated – I would suggest you start brushing up on biology, as well as the reality of abortion.

          • Kevin R. Cross

            I do not contradict myself. Even if I accepted that the fetus (NOT an infant) has rights or is alive (and I accept neither premise) it’s rights would not override the mother’s. Therefore, the mother would have every right to decide, at will, that the fetus was not welcome and would no longer receive support from her. Which is what abortion facilitates.
            Oh, and stop telling people to “study” or “brush up on” biology. Unless you have a doctorate I doubt you’re as well versed in the discipline as those you chastise.

          • Mindy Robinson

            Than you Kevin R Cross are a murderer , an abomination the likes of which has not been seen since Hitler. I suggest you go speak with experts , of course you won’t , you are not human, you are hell spawn and roll with joy in the blood of those you murder. What you accept? This is not about what you accept, this is about biology, science. What you accept means nothing, the facts are what have meaning. I am very well versed hell spawn, by science.

          • Kevin R. Cross

            Well, so much for a rational discussion. And what I (and others) accept is the very heart of the argument.

            I have encountered this irrational belief that science supports the anti-abortion cause several times. The fact is, biology supports neither side, because this is a question of morality and ethics – basically, what you will believe and accept. I’ve stated my position, and yours is rather clear. I see a blob of cells; you give it human attributes. Science is not on your side (but to be fair, it isn’t really on mine either).
            On the other hand, if you honestly can’t tell the difference between someone who espouses a moral position you find abhorrent and someone who murdered tens of millions, your moral compass must be so skewed as to render your opinion irrelevant to the rational human being.

          • johno

            Check out an ultra-sound it may change your mind. Maybe it wont but to me the pictures were an eye-opener. Hard to say just a blob.

          • Kevin R. Cross

            I’ve seen a few. But most of the ones that show movement and life are from a great deal later than the first trimester (which is what I was referencing – sorry if I wasn’t clear).
            I don’t actually disagree on the point that a fetus past a certain stage is alive. My problem with that is where you draw the line. I simply cannot agree that life begins at conception, and while the legal definition of “birth” is functional, it’s obviously not the whole story.

          • Kevin R. Cross

            I’ve seen a few. But most of the ones that show movement and life are from a great deal later than the first trimester (which is what I was referencing – sorry if I wasn’t clear).
            I don’t actually disagree on the point that a fetus past a certain stage is alive. My problem with that is where you draw the line. I simply cannot agree that life begins at conception, and while the legal definition of “birth” is functional, it’s obviously not the whole story.

    • Mindy Robinson

      At no time has Sarah suggested that “God go away”, quite the opposite, she respects our right to believe in God and does not take offense , does not try to shut us down if we speak of God. The problem is she was shut down by “Christians” – I would call them imposters. Sarah does not believe in God, Sarah has a good heart , to those of us who know God exists we also know that God works thru Sarah. Sarah is one of God’s children’s as our faith teaches us. Sarah does far more than I do in this fight, Sarah is a shining light in the darkness, a light that shines with hope and I believe that hope is sent from God.

      • sarah5775

        Mindy, that is the kindest thing anyone has said to me in a long time. I do hope that I live a life that Jesus would be happy with, if he existed. Thank you for your kind words

  • StMike1

    I understand you too well. I am in a same sex relationship, but I staunchly pro life. I am hesitant to explain my life to fellow workers even though I protest along side others at a Planned Parenthood site. I am a Christian and I know some will not want to hear that either. If you disagree with my life then think me no worse than your friends and family that are divorced, living together or in any other life with which you disagree. We need to stay together on this pro life thing. Understand we live together or die separately in a manner of speaking. Hate me later, if you need to do that, but for now, I stand out there along side other Christians getting flipped off and threatened because I may not be perfect, but I know what love is.. and life. If you let the enemy separate us and pit us against each other they will win, not just on pro life but on many, many other things as well. I can’t sleep at nights at times worrying about our country. Oh well, I just keep moving forward down this path one step at a time, until my God calls me home.

    • johno

      I have more “faith” in Pro-Life non-believers than say “God-fearing” Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden. Good Luck. Most people who are believers are not haters.

    • Lilian Stoltzfus

      “If you disagree with my life then think me no worse than your friends and family that are divorced, living together or in any other life with which you disagree.”
      ^Well said, StMike. I’ll be forthright and admit that I disagree with your choice to maintain a same-sex relationship, as it is sinful. However, you are right in pointing out that Christians should be just as opposed to things such as divorce and remarriage and cohabitation! The mainstream church has become rather oddly fixated on the issue of homosexuality.

      At any rate, I understand that this subject is very personal for you. Thank you for being honest with us here. I have no right to hate you, and neither do the people with whom you stand at Planned Parenthood. You should be treated with the love and respect that anyone else would be give. Welcome to the Pro-Life movement.

      • R.M.

        I second Lilian’s response. No one has any right to hate you – rather, we should all welcome you and value you. Every person should be loved and respected, no matter their beliefs. And I am so thankful to have you in the Pro-Life movement! You are irreplaceable and you are doing great work for the unborn.

        • StMike1

          Thank you Lilian for your kind response. I appreciate it. We in Texas have a court challenge now to our limiting of abortion providers to those that are in a hospital or sanctioned facilities. Pray for our state to continue to be aware of the need to put the sanctity of life first in our hearts, culture and society.

      • StMike1

        Thank you lol, I saw your response and do appreciate your kind and thoughtful response. God bless you, and I will keep promoting pro-life causes.

        • Lilian Stoltzfus

          :-)

  • J. King

    I’m so sorry you were treated so poorly. The pro-life movement should be working together, no matter what religion someone follows. I’m Catholic, I run a facebook page with fellow Catholics. We welcome anyone to our page. In our opinion if you are pro-life, that’s all that matters. Do we post pro-life messages and graphics with a religious theme? You bet, but we don’t shove it down anyone’s throat. No one has complained about the posts. I also like to share things from the secular pro-life page, because I know not all of our fans are religious, and I also know that religion is a turn off for some people.

    What you have to understand is as Christians, we are all called to spread the Word of God to others in the hopes of bringing them into a closer relationship with Him. What Christians need to understand is that shoving God and Christianity down someone’s throat, or rejecting them because they do not have a belief in God is not the way to go about it. My approach is to try and tell them about God, and if they don’t want to hear it, that’s fine. I simply say to them “If you have any questions or decide you want to learn about Him sometime, I’m here to help”.

  • me

    Thanks for standing for LIFE, Sarah! I’m sorry you have been treated like that; there’s really no excuse for it…. we need all voices for preborn children and their families, not just Christian voices.

  • Nathan Sheppard

    Sarah,

    Some days I get so tired of people, yes all people… but more specifically Christians. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian, I believe the entirety of the Bible, and I bear no shame in that whatsoever. The truth about the people who shunned you because your religious beliefs are different than theirs, is that they were disobeying the Bible by doing so. It’s not like you were seeking a position in their Church, if that was the case I could understand the practical (and Biblical) reasons for not endorsing that idea. However to inhibit you from joining a cause that needs advocates of every sex, race, and religion fully on board is completely counter productive. Also, if they were using their brains rather than their discomfort about someone who doesn’t believe their beliefs, they would have realized that they should have welcomed you in their presence so they could be an example of what a real Christian is supposed to behave like. Not a pious religious person who is too stuck up for people of different mindsets.

    So, from a Christian I am truly sorry you were shunned like that. That was uncalled for and unbiblical. If I knew you in real life, I’d gladly be your friend and hope that you could see God in my life and want to know Him like I do.

    Nathan

    • sarah5775

      Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate your comment.

      • Nathan Sheppard

        Thank you for your article and your response to my comment!

  • Joseph McCoy

    Whereas, I am glad Sarah is prolife and thankful she is in the fight and would welcome her talent, I think the offense she took at Shawn Carney’s statement is, well, a little off. She needs to consider that his audience to those remarks was a religious one. Not meant to exclude her or anyone else. Her treatment by the pregnancy letter is much harder to dismiss. In fact, it is disappointing.

  • JWH

    I have a question … do you receive worse treatment from atheists who learn you are pro-life, or from pro-lifers who learn you are atheist?

    • sarah5775

      The truth is, I don’t really encounter as many atheists – so I can’t really compare. I am not usually in atheist groups and forums as much as pro-life groups in forums. I am not active in promoting atheism (though I will defend my position if the circumstances warrant)so not being involved in atheist organizations I don’t really interact with other atheists a lot. Whereas I interact with pro-lifers all the time – writing for live-action, promoting pro-life groups on Facebook, working on my pro-life website – I just encounter many more pro-lifers than I do atheists. I have had some individual atheists give me a hard time about my pro-life views – many in my extended family, which is mostly atheist, clearly don’t understand where I’m coming from and find it mystifying that I devote so much time and energy to protecting unborn babies. They can be hostile at times.

  • Faith_Workman

    Someone needs to start up a non-religious-affiliated crisis pregnancy center! Seriously!

    • Mindy Robinson

      I am Christian , I agree with you.

  • maryf

    …Being Pro-Life is not a “RELIGIOUS” conviction… It is a “HUMAN RIGHTS” conviction. I AGREE with Sarah Terzo, the author: “In fact, there are many pro-lifers who are not Christian. And it’s attitudes like Carney’s that make it very, very difficult for us to stay in the pro-life movement. I am an atheist pro-lifer. I am not the only one. Secular Pro-life is an organization that draws nonbelievers from many walks of life. I can honestly say, if that supportive group did not exist, I may have left the pro-life movement long ago. Why? Because it is so demoralizing to be in a movement where so many of your fellow workers simply don’t want you there.” …

    …I DISAGREE with Shawn Carney’s article “And it has to be a religious movement because we can’t face this on our own.” … Sadly, the efforts to label as RELIGIOUS the respect of the sanctity of all human life at all ages has done a great disservice to the mothers, father and children of ALL ages by further dividing the Pro-Life and Right-to-Life efforts for healing and protecting the lives of ALL persons. Lack of humility and lack of mercy in “religious” circles are some of the many reasons why the Pro-Life effort is being stymied. We are not “fishers of men” and we do not “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” when we demand people climb into our little boat first.

    …In the Lord’s work there is room for EVERYONE including the thief on the cross, Mary Magdalene, the lepers, the tax collectors, and the Syrophoenician woman at the well…

    I welcome ALL who wish to come to the work of savings lives and healing hearts and minds…
    ——-

    Sarah Terzo – Thank you for having the courage to request your article be posted. You are correct in my view and I welcome you and all who are pro-life. It is the work of the Holy Spirit who draws people to Christ and the Holy Spirit uses many vehicles including the work of savings mothers, fathers, and children of all ages (pre-birth and after-birth). I am ashamed of the way you and others are treated by “pro-life” people who judge your hearts. Please accept my apologies for the foolish and arrogant comments and rejections of “religious” people who do not walk in love and mercy. We need you. Stay with us and gather in others to help with the harvest. I love you. God bless you and you are in my prayers.
    ——-

    • Mindy Robinson

      My immediate thought as well , this is not a religious movement, this is a question of humanity , an issue of barbarism and cruelty so evil it belongs to all of us. It is an issue that millions of Americans are fighting to end. I would also point out that many “religious” people bury their heads in the sand. I prefer standing at the side of an atheist who fights for life than standing at the side of a “Christian” who does nothing.

  • Mary Anderson

    I am here to tell you clearly that NOT ALL CHRISTIANS would agree with what these centers did in rejecting you and your desire to serve in this very important cause. Who is to say that you will not be used by God just because you do not believe in Jesus? The point of being a follower of Christ is to spread the message of Faith, Hope and Love. And who are these centers to say you cannot be used despite your atheist belief. God uses everyone to glorify the Kingdom of Heaven. When we presume to know what God wants, we then assume we KNOW best, not GOD. I am grieved deeply that so many “professed Christians” do this, which only hurts the very Faith that has saved me. On behalf of my one true God, Jesus Christ, please know how sorry I am that you have not been allowed to serve this worthy and important cause because you are not a believer. It is a travesty and shameful that this attitude persists. God uses ALL of us, and who is to say that because of your involvement, lives are saved..or even that perhaps one day..Someone would dare to ask you, Do you know who Jesus is and what He did for us? From a loving Christian woman and believer that what you have experienced is NOT what God is about!! Prayers UP!!!

  • Maxbps8

    Sarah I applaud your pro-life stance and courage in ‘coming out’ as a pro-lifer and risking what were mistaken friendships and family connections. Obviously you now know that those relationships were based on false foundations of closed minded individuals.

    As for the re-wording you mentioned (“especially Christians…” etc…). While helpful to consider, those changes would do nothing as the next Pro-Life atheist would just say, “Those words…That wording just made my feelings of alienation even worse.” In the end, these things are most impacted by one’s view and open-mindedness to objective acceptance. Words most certainly and definitely matter. Maybe simply stating, as you suggested, that “all religions as well as atheists and agnostics are welcome” would be the best ‘wording’ of all.

    Finally, I have to question your dedication, just a little, to a PRINCIPLE, not just a ‘movement’, if others’ views cause you to want to “leave”; though I certainly understand your feelings of being ostracized. And I, for one, will be more open to Pro-Life atheists. Frankly, the thought hadn’t really occurred to me before reading your article. So, Thank You for bringing to my attention.

    • sarah5775

      It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be pro-life anymore,I really could never abandon the babies. But emotionally, it upset me and made me want to avoid pro-life work. Pro-life work is hard and stressful for me. You have to deal with graphic images and information, you have to deal with angry pro-choicers, with family members and friends not understanding. It is easy to FEEL like giving up- that doesn’t mean i would- just that it made me feel that way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kruszer Kristine Kruszelnicki

      Thanks for understanding! Speaking as a fellow pro-life atheist who has received similar treatment as Sarah has (and even been told that if I don’t like the religious emphasis and public prayer, I should hold my own march for life and events, apart from the rest of the movement!) one thing that could really help would be if pro-lifers would not take every interaction with a pro-life atheist as an opportunity to evangelize us and “save our souls”. We’re here to work with you on saving lives, not to hear the gospel (trust me, we’re heard it!). Please be happy we’re on your team and just let us help you save lives! :)

      I’ve written several blog entries specifically to theists on these matters. You can find them here: http://www.prolifehumanists.org/category/dear-theists/

  • Kristine Kruszelnicki

    Secular Pro-Life isn’t the only group out there for atheists. I run Pro-Life Humanists, which unlike Secular Pro-Life is comprised almost entirely of atheists working primarily within the atheist community at atheist events. Sarah, you are more than welcome among us! In fact I would LOVE to have you join my blogging team or guest-blog for us.

    Would you and/or Live Action be amenable to my reposting this well-written piece from a fellow pro-life atheist on our blog at http://www.prolifehumanists.org ? Can gladly give credit to LA as first publisher.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me. We’re also on twitter @prolifehumanist (no s) and on FB /prolifehumanists

    • sarah5775

      I would be very happy to let you republish this article and to to write for your blog. Please emal me at sarah5775@gmail.com

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  • Kat

    Sarah, thank you for posting this article. I personally am *somewhat* agnostic, and am reluctant to go back to the church I was raised in because they are so pro-abortion. What most people don’t realize is that many denominations do not have an officially pro-life POV on this subject, and that many of the people who are would ostracize those who are non-religious are in fact in rebellion with their denominations on this subject. That’s one thing to keep in mind when dealing with the people who want to exclude you from the movement for religious reasons.

    I would be betraying my pro-life principles as well as the Christian principles I still believe in if I were to go back to the church (I was raised United Methodist). This is something certain denominations need to come to terms with as well as the people within those denominations who are excluding others based on principles their own religions don’t even (officially) believe in.

    However, Christians are fairly maligned in popular culture and many aspects of society at large, and the pro-life movement may feel like one of the few safe spaces they can feel free to express their beliefs openly. I feel that it’s wrong to tell them that they cannot do that, and even if one does not believe the same things that they do, it’s *just* as important to remain tolerant to their POV as it is for them to remain tolerant of yours, This is why I so fiercely defend the right of Christians (and anyone else) to defend their beliefs, even if I am no officially Christian (in a practicing sense).

    I do have to say – coming from another perspective – that I have read several articles at Secular Pro Life that have made me reluctant to embrace that organization. I even wrote to them a while back asking if they had changed their mind about their stated mission because a number of articles were being posted on bodily integrity that flat out stated that respecting an unborn baby’s right to life would give them rights no other human being was entitled to. There also were a number of pro-Marxist posts that I found troubling. Just as you might be scared off by some of the religious arguments you’ve found amongst pro-lifers, some of those who are conservative or Christian might be scared off by some of the other arguments they might find, especially if they feel that the people in the non-Christian group are hostile to Christians.

    Perhaps that is a unique perspective, but it’s based in experience. Several years ago there was a list for progressive pro-lifers, run by a woman who was pagan, bisexual, and claimed she was pro-life. At the same time she was running this list, she was also commenting on other forums about a legal case where a man went to court to try to stop his girlfriend’s abortion and how awful this man was to tell his girlfriend “what to do with her body” – definitely not a pro life perspective. She dropped out of the movement some time after that and let someone else take over her list. I’ve also seen other instances of people who come from nonconventional pro-life perspectives who are quick to “cave” when faced with situations like this, or who are more interested in putting down Christians or conservatives than in anything related to this topic. This leads me to be somewhat skeptical when dealing with nonconventional pro-lifers, especially if they spend a lot of time talking about slut-shaming and mandating free contraception. That doesn’t excuse what was done to you, especially in term of the CPCs, but it is something to keep in mind.

    • Mindy Robinson

      Hate begets hate , judge not lest you be judged. These are words of truth and the circle can only be broken by the rare individual who refuses to react to the hate or judgement of individuals within a particular group. This is a difficult , almost impossible feat, if the number of individuals is high within a particular group.

  • Sasha Kwapinski

    Sarah, I can relate to your experience. I have had similar experiences from “Christian”(?) pro-lifers who started raving at me and trying to drag me into a religious argument when they found out my beliefs. I am LDS(Mormon). I only mentioned my being LDS so people at the rally would know why I am pro-life – but immediately some yahoos would start raving at me, trying to “turn” me into a “Christian.” They certainly did not make me feel welcome there! I can see why many otherwise pro-life people would be turned off by the religious overtones that come from pro-life groups. Pro-life Christians shouldn’t feel that they need to keep their religious perspective under wraps, but they should also have the humility to realize that their “spin” on the issue is not the only one, and others have valid insights to present.

    Humility (being teachable) is supposed to be a Christian virtue, but many right-wing Protestant activists don’t seem to display much of it when someone has differing religious beliefs!

    As for me, I will stand along with pro-life Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, feminists, liberals, gays and lesbians, or little green men from Mars in affirming the right to life.

    • Mindy Robinson

      As will I. Some such as Sarah , I would consider it an honor to stand at her side.

  • Mindy Robinson

    Sarah I saw your article on pro-life news and did a little following of links to hopefully reach you. I am a Christian, my husband is an atheist. I love him, he is a good man. My point is I am pro-life and a Christian but I do not nor shall I ever take on an arrogant attitude with good people who do not believe in our Lord. You Sarah have done more than I to do good in this world. I want people like you in my life, I want good , decent people who bring joy and life. Yes I will speak of God, God is a part of my life, no , I don’t think I am better than you, quite the contrary, I think you are better than me. I would stand by your side Sarah and feel honored to be there. Thou you are atheist please accept what is a precious gift in my eyes, I would ask that God bless you if he has not already. You have my respect Sarah, you are a person of great courage, integrity and compassion. You are a leader Sarah, a gift to this world! Thank you Sarah.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me to hear that. Please look me up on facebook.

  • Patrick

    Sarah, thanks for sharing your story on behalf of the non-religious pro-lifers. I would like to encourage any non-religious person to join the Facebook group, Agnostics and Atheists Against Abortion. Everyone is welcomed to join!

  • binder890

    Sarah, thank you so much! As a pro-lifer who sometimes is a booth staffer for a pro-life display, I try very hard to make sure that our brochures do not have a religious orientation. I’m definitely a believer, but I’m so very aware that many people are not. Even for people who are believers, if that person has decided that God approves of abortion then religion is a losing argument. I’d much rather talk about statistics on depression and broken relationships. Your article is going to my next meeting of the Board of Directors. And if you’re ever in Rochester, NY, I’d love to buy you lunch!

    • sarah5775

      thank you. You should add me on facebook. Drop me a line so I know its you.

      https://www.facebook.com/sarahl.terzo

      • binder890

        Sarah, I just sent you a friend request on facebook. I’m Anne.

  • dude

    the issue of abortion isnt really an issue of pro life or pro choice… its an issue of one woman’s choice. the whole point, (and the reason pro choice persons have an issue with most religious dissenters), is that regardless of what you may think, that one pregnant woman has the right to choose whatever she wants, and your rationale, religious or not, should have no influence on her ability to pursue whatever path she chooses.

    like most people, i have no problem with a religious person, or whoever for that matter, making whatever choice they want for themselves, its when their choice affects another womans right to choose that i have a problem.

    again, literally NO ONE cares what you want for your own uterus, but if you choose to actively affect the decisions of other women, you are overstepping your boundaries.

  • Roger Resler

    Hi Sarah:

    Thank you for writing this article. I think you speak for many non-religious pro-lifers and I agree with the others who welcome your involvement in the pro-life movement. As a Christian, I am saddened when I hear stories like yours and yet, having grown up in the Christian culture, I understand the mindset. No doubt you already know what I’m talking about, but if not, let me try to explain a likely reason why you repeatedly got the reaction you did from pro-life Christians. For many, it goes back to what you mentioned about being “unequally yoked” with non-believers. I know this because it was my mindset for many years. I have changed my thinking, however, over the last decade as a result of interacting with atheists and agnostics in online discussions. It took time to come to the realization that – at least for the most-part – they are not “the enemy.”

    I can’t go into enough detail on a post like this to adequately explain all the nuances that underlie this issue. But it might help to consider the connotation that the word “atheist” conjures up in the mind of the average Christian. Whether right or wrong, we tend to think of an atheist as someone who is actively opposed to God – someone who actively, and in some cases militantly, works against the very things we hold to be sacred. We tend to think of someone like Madalyn Murray O’hare. My interaction with a number of atheists over the last few years has helped me to realize that that is an unrealistic generalization. Some atheists fall into that category while many do not. But for the average Christian, it’s much simpler to avoid anything that might be construed as being “unequally yoked.”

    The bottom line is: you should not have been treated the way you were treated. But the treatment you received is based on ignorance and a false but sincere sense of remaining obedient to one’s faith.

    I hope you will not become discouraged and I hope you will continue to fight for the lives of unborn children – not because doing so conforms to any one religious dogma, but because doing so is the right thing to do.

    I wrote a book entitled: “Compelling Interest: The Real Story Behind Roe v. Wade.” One of the main points I argue is that the pro-life movement is nearly always mischaracterized as being based solely on religious dogma, while the pro-choice position is alleged to be neutral. I argue that in reality this is completely backwards. The pro-life position is based on observable biological facts coupled with the immorality of killing innocent living humans while the pro-choice position is based on the unsupportable metaphysical assumption that human non-persons exist and that it’s morally acceptable to kill them.

  • Pierre

    I am happy to see that you beleive in Life. Abortion is wrong and science proves it. Life is sacred whether you are a Christian or not. I beleive in God and I beleive that abortion is killing a human being – abortion is wrong and can be seen by all. Have a good day and thank you for the work you do.
    Pierre.

  • Ann Pollak

    It doesn’t take religion to justify a pro-life stance. One can defend one’s pro-life views on the basis of science. I’m a practicing Catholic, but I surely welcome the opportunity of bringing anyone into the pro-life movement, whether Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, or other religion, or atheist or agnostic. Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your views.

  • Linda Heilman

    I welcome you with open arms.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • Al Clerc

    I commend her for her pro-life support and it is sad that she has been rejected by Christians but she must ask herself what is the basis of her pro-life beliefs and would she ever abandon those beliefs just because she has been rejected.

    • sarah5775

      I wouldn’t abandon my pro-life beliefs, the effect on me was more emotional- but it can be very hard to be in the pro-life movement- stressful. You get rejection from pro-choice friends and family members, you have to deal with disturbing, upsetting images and facts, and it can wear you down- so it can really sap your morale when people don’t want to work with you. Emotionally, it can take away your strength to do pro-life work. So it was not my opinions that were challenged, but my will and strength to do pro-life work

  • Roger That

    Sarah,
    Although I am Christian, I’ve thought for years how abortion is NOT just a Christian issue, but is a HUMAN and human rights issue. When I approach people for the first time, this is the tact I don’t go for Hell first, but ask why if they had the right to be born, why don’t other babies? (I have never gotten an answer.) It has to do with some humans in our society are given a pass to decide the fate of our most helpless citizens. We can learn a lot from your experience.

  • Celine of New York

    I was shocked to read that there are so-called Christian organizations that have turned away Shawn Carey from Pro Life organizations because he is an atheist!
    I am a black Catholic Christian and I cannot begin to tell you the bigotry I experienced at the hands of the nuns in Catholic school as a young child.
    Fast Forward to today. Pro Life is the issue and I am very surprised to read that people who are not Christians are turned away from Pro Life organizations! Which makes me think, people who claim to be atheists, are not because you cannot believe there is no God and then be against abortion, when abortion is the killing of a baby, created by God, in the womb.
    We Pro Lifers need ALL the people to stand with us against the killing of unborn babies throughout the USA. I personally do not care if you are an atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, etc. I stand with you in respect for Life.

  • JW

    I am very sorry to hear about all the hurtful experiences you have had as a non-religious pro-lifer–from people on both sides of this issue. That is very hard. Speaking as a religious pro-lifer, I am willing to work with people of all faiths or no faith at all in pursuit of sound strategies to end abortion forever. Moreover, I have followed your writing and think you are a fabulous writer on pro-life topics and that the movement is very lucky to have you. I would be honored to work alongside you in the field of pro-life activism.

    To add a little bit of my own personal experience to the mix, I would mention that I have troubles similar to yours–not with the pro-life movement but with the peace movement. As someone deeply concerned with avoiding war and promoting peace, I nevertheless feel alienated from and uncomfortable with at least certain elements of the antiwar movement. I daresay both these movements would do well to alter their approach to make themselves more open to people who are outside their usual constituency.

    • sarah5775

      Thank you so much for your kind words. they mean a lot to me. It can be hard sometimes, but knowing there are people standing behind me really, really helps.

  • Jack Parker

    I am another pro-life atheist. When I debate/argue with a pro-abortion libtard, their last statement is “you are just another bible thumping hypocrite”. When I inform them that not only am I an atheist, I am an adoptive parent. All they can do is gurgle from that point. I am unable to satisfactorily convey the profound gratitude I feel towards the parents who gave up their child so that I could enjoy the life of my, now grown, son. He has been the joy of my life. Please, please, please; all you who are contemplating abortion. Consider the joy you could bring to others by offering up your child for adoption.

  • Skipfaster

    Sarah, such foolish people! Don’t these “good Christians” recall what Jesus said?

    “But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us.”
    [Mark 9:39-40]
    As a pro-life Catholic Christian, I welcome you to the pro-life movement. Keep up the good work!
    Skip

  • Margo

    Sarah, I am so sorry that you have not been treated with more respect and love. It’s not that us Christians do not want atheists to be joining our efforts to end abortion, but rather that it pains us so much to see people reject the God who created them and loves them. It’s not about converting atheists, but rather about helping them embrace God’s love and grace. God is always there for you, waiting for you to open up and receive His countless blessings. Thank you for all you do with the pro-life movement.

  • AgentOrange5

    Sarah, I am so sorry for what you have experience. As someone who was a pro-life agnostic at one time (I am now a theist), I know exactly what you are saying is true. What I didn’t know at the time, is there is a reason for that. I think that many pro-life leaders (though not all), have absolutely no interest in ending abortion–if abortion were ended, so would their paychecks for “promoting life.” Over the years, I have seen leaders subtly making decisions that may surfacely appear to promote pro-life positions, while actually turning the public away from pro-life (one small example as you pointed out, is literature giving the impression that only Christians-and only certain types of Christians at that-are pro-life.) To be fair, the pro-choice leaders do this as well–there are leaders who do not want the complete and open access to abortion they claim to want, they want their to always be some “infringement” or opposition, so they can continue to collect their paychecks for “protecting women.” These pro-choice leaders also subtly make decisions that appear on the surface to be pro-choice, but which actively keep a pro-life opposition. It was a sad thing to realize that in a debate as important as an issue as babies lives, that greed is what drives many of the leaders.
    The best one can do, is make a difference in the lives of the people they know. Someone who truly believes in their cause, especially an issue as important as life, will accept help from any and all people, regardless of disagreements on other issues.

  • http://4christcrowncovenant.wordpress.com/ Angela Wittman

    Hey Sarah, You might not remember me as we did have some communication in the past, but it’s been awhile… Anyway, you’re a lovely lady with a heart for the unborn and I truly love you. I assumed you were a believer and thought of you as a sister in Christ. My involvement in the pro-life movement is an out working of my new birth in Christ Jesus. So, for me (and perhaps others) the faithfulness of proclaiming the Gospel and converting souls to Christ is what will truly change hearts and end prenatal child-killing. I hope and pray for your conversion to Christ. Your a beautiful soul who has done much good work, but works won’t give us salvation or peace – you’ll only find those things in Jesus Christ who has done all the work on the Cross.

    Love ya, Angela Wittman

    • sarah5775

      I actually was a Christian at one time, Angela. And I was miserable. I thought that God was going to send all my loved ones who weren’t christian to hell, and I was made to feel guilty about everything I said and thought, and for who I was. I am much happier as an atheist.

      • Margo

        I’m so sorry to hear you had a miserable experience. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, in fact, He does all He can to save every single person from Hell. In the end, we send ourselves to Hell by rejecting God, so we get to choose for ourselves, God doesn’t force Himself on anyone, but leaves us free to either accept Him or reject Him.

        • sarah5775

          If I had a child, and that child didn’t love me , I wouldn’t torture that child in fire for all eternity. If I did, if I set my daughter on fire for not worshiping me (or “denying me” if you prefer) , I suspect I would be arrested for child abuse. It is a perverse theology that would take Jewish people from the fires of Auschwitz and throw them into the eternal fires of hell for being the “wrong” religion. That would not be a god I would want to worship. Of course, I have done a lot of studying on when and how the bible was written, how it contradicts with history, science, archeology, and itself, to be reasonably certain I dont’ have to fear hell. But I always feel a little strange when Christians tell me I’m going to hell because, I can’t imagine how any human being could go to the movies, eat out, watch tv, and live life happily believing that myself and billions of others will be horribly tortured forever. I don’t get it…and I don’t want to. But that’s all I’m saying.. I don’t want to have a religious debate.

  • wineinthewater

    I am sorry to hear that as your experience. Sadly, it is not only atheists and non-Christians who can be alienated by the pro-life crowd. I was surprised at how familiar your experience sounded to what I have often experienced, even though I am Christian. But I am Catholic. I have often felt that sense of rejection from non-Catholic pro-life people and organizations. I have often found that their toleration of my involvement is contingent on my toleration of their proselytizing. And I have felt the same with political conservatism, that I can’t be pro-llife unless I am pro-Republican.

    Luckily for me, there are large swaths of the pro-life movement that were founded and are driven by Catholics. But it makes me nervous that those swaths are no different, just as alienating with our rosaries and roman collars. We don’t have to give them up, but they can’t be a litmus test, they need to be in balance.

    Sarah, I for one think you are essential to the pro-life movement. You are important as a person, as a voice, just like every other. But also, the voices we need the most right now are the non-traditional pro-life voices: the non-Christians, the non-religious, the non-Republicans, the academics, the scientists, the media. We need those people that society doesn’t associate with the pro-life movement. We need society to stop associating being pro-life with sitting in some other pigeon-hole where it can be easily dismissed. We need you.

  • Daniel Lafontaine

    This story is just plain sad and stupid on Christians and Catholics. Every time the Pope says a speech, one of the first things he says is, “To all people of good will”. Sarah, I am sorry. We need to open our hearts more. Please forgive us our sins.

  • Tricia

    Personally, I am encouraged by non-religious people or people of other religions being part of the pro-life movement! Even as a Christian, I often feel that I have little in common with the conservative, fundamentalist Christian pro-lifers. I am honestly not interested in religious arguments against abortion and wish that more Christians would lose the religious arguments in favor of the much-more-compelling logical arguments against abortion. It’s only recently since discovering blogs like yours and hearing secular pro-life arguments that I have actually felt like I wanted to get involved in the pro-life cause. I really enjoy your articles and appreciate hearing your perspective on the issue of abortion. Please, please don’t give up!! You are very much needed and so valuable to the cause of life! I would gladly work side-by-side with you!

  • GiannaT

    You’re an important part of the pro-life movement, and it was decidedly UN-Christian of those places to treat you that way. Hang in there. <3

  • Stephanie Larsen

    One of the first rules of journalism is to know your audience, so if your audience isn’t Christian, don’t use religious arguments. That’s like trying to convert an Atheist (no offense) using the Bible.
    So, hi.

  • Doug Fournier

    Sarah, Deege, and anyone else that has felt alienated by Christian Pro-Lifers, on behalf of all of us Christians (and yes, I will boldly speak for ALL of us), please forgive us. We’re human and do dumb things, just like everyone else you know!

    Christianity has never been about exclusion, but instead it’s about inclusion. Though I know you don’t believe as we do, what Christians know is that Jesus died for ALL of us – that’s His example to us. Now I don’t know about you, but to me there is nothing that is more inclusive than God-in-the-flesh dying so that ALL of humanity can have eternal life if they choose it.

    That being said, I do imagine it can be difficult for Christian folks in the Crisis Pregnancy Centers to reconcile your belief system with theirs. The two belief systems are almost diametrically opposed to one another. But there is common ground, and that is what needs to be built upon – by both sides.

    Thank you for being pro-life. You’re truly an asset and advocate for the unborn.

  • MLB

    I am a Christian. I cannot speak for other Christians, but I think it is ridiculous to say you would not walk next to a pro-life unbeliever. Where is the love Jesus commanded us to have for our neighbors? This story broke my heart. I hope Christians will read it and reconsider discriminating against other people and instead support them for fighting for the right of other humans to life!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kruszer Kristine Kruszelnicki

    Sarah. I too am a pro-life atheist. My group Pro-Life Humanists (find us on twitter, FB and our blog) is almost entirely comprised of atheists – and you are more than welcome to intact with us there! You and I have a vital role to play within the pro-life movement. Our fellow atheists are more likely to listen to us than they are to a pro-life theist. In fact, many have outright told me so! I am actively involved in the atheist community and in bringing pro-life truth to people who would NEVER speak to or take seriously a pro-life theist. I’d love to have you on board. There’s definitely room for us in this movement, even if we have to carve one out ourselves! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/kruszer Kristine Kruszelnicki
    • http://www.facebook.com/kruszer Kristine Kruszelnicki

      Sorry for the repost. I thought my comment the other day hadn’t been published, but I see there’s a second section of comments below. Oh well. It’s just as true and you’re just as awesome the second time around. lol ;)

  • Terese

    Sarah – after reading your article, my heart sank. Reading the other comments has, for the most part, encouraged me to see that there are many other pro-life Christians like myself who would be willing to stand side-by-side with you in this battle. I hope you have been likewise encouraged.

    I have been on staff at a pregnancy care center. I can only speak to the one where I worked, but part of the mission beyond providing a loving environment for men and women to come have have free pregnancy testing, and some free prenatal care (including sonograms), along with adoption information/referrals, and some post-natal support (baby clothes/furniture,) is to also see people come to know Christ as Savior and Lord. This was not a forced issue, and we were trained and did training with our volunteers to be sensitive to those whose hearts might be open to hearing more about a relationship with the Lord. if a client was not open, it was not forced or even discussed.

    That being said, I can somewhat understand how a PCC would not quite know what to do with a non-religious pro-lifer! It would certainly make it a challenge for a non-religious volunteer to agree to the statement of faith and the overall mission. (I am not trying to excuse any rude behavior, nor the rejection that you felt, but hoping to help explain what might have been behind it.)

    Our volunteers and staff were all Protestants or Catholics (and some churches were wary of us because we allowed Catholics to serve.) I can honestly say that in my six and a half years there, I never ran into a non-religious pro-lifer, but wondered then and now where you were…and where the Jewish, Islamic, and other religious pro-lifers were.

    I do believe there are PCC’s and other Christian pro-life groups who would prayerfully consider allowing non-religious volunteers and members. It may be that it is time for a Pro-Life Alliance that would allow for religious (not just Christian) and non-religious members to come together in support of life. It seems that given the number of non-religious responders to your post, those of us in the Christian pro-life community need to continue to hone our message so that we can reach a broader representation of men and women who are facing unintended/unwanted pregnancies. I believe there is certainly room for organizations with a Christian ministry approach as well as room for those who want to approach it from strictly medical/scientific one. I think there is also a time when we will all need to join hands in unity for life. I do not believe that doing so will compromise my belief or yours in the least…as long as we maintain respect for one another.

    So my challenge to you is to continue to make yourself known. Yes, you will encounter some discouragement, and some rejection, however continue to fight the good fight for those who cannot speak for themselves. I believe that as you do, you will find that there will be many more Christians who will stand with you than against you. We are out there. :-)

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  • Laura Paxton

    Sarah, love your article! If you’d like to work for a crisis pregnancy center, look for a 1st Way or other Catholic CPC in your area. We don’t proselytize, aren’t allowed to bring up religion (unless the woman herself does) and we don’t even ask what religion people are when they interview.

  • LibbyBarnes

    Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for writing this! I lead DC’s 40 Days for Life and we try really hard to include every bit of talent and dedication from anybody and everybody… but you inspired me to try even harder. Also (Live Action’s research assoc here), I don’t know WHAT I would do with ClinicQuotes.com. Ugh. Don’t like imagining it. I 100% welcome you in the pro-life movement. I definitely don’t welcome you *to* the movement. You’re unequivocally already here; you’ve done far more than a lot of us for life!

  • Margo

    Carney’s whole point was that the pro-life movement IS hard, challenging, draining, yet, there is a source of strength for us to persevere and that’s through Christ. We cannot fight this fight (or really any fight) on our own, we need God’s grace.

    If you feel uncomfortable, maybe that’s God’s way of drawing you near Him. Just some food for thought :)

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  • Elkay

    Sarah, I think it’s awesome that you have had the bravery to not only share this piece but to sacrifice relationships with friends and family doing what is right. I’m not an atheist, but I think it’s super important to not alienate non-Christians and to also use non-Christian based arguments. Even as a Catholic, it’s the non-faith based reasons that really solidified my pro-life beliefs, and I doubt that I’m the only one in that boat. I’m sorry some people have made you feel that way, definitely NOT Christian-like! Keep fighting the good fight; I’d be happy to stand by your side :)

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  • http://www.mindtheevangelical.blogspot.co.uk/ itsahoneybadger

    Sarah, thank you so much for writing that, I hope it achieves its purpose and the appropriate responses from those in the Pro-life movement who need to hear it.

  • Micaela Suarez

    I never thought about this before. i am a christian and am writing a paper on abortion in references to world views, i will be sure to not make broad sweeping statements like that atheists would never be pro life. I appreciate you and your stand for life and I am so sorry that people have treated you that way when you were trying to help. That is really wrong, I dont understand why stereotypical Christians do what they do… its definitly not cause they act like the Jesus that I know… I also appreciate you being mature and stating the facts without slamming people, especially people that kind of deserved it.

  • Caren L. Mark

    Thank you so much for sharing Sarah. Even though I am a Catholic (hence a Christian), the reason that I am pro-life is not a religious one. It is based in logic and science. You are invaluable for your insight, as you hone the issue down to the core. Please keep it up and continue reaching people of every walk of life and orientation, as we all would defend them inutero! Peace!

  • R.M.

    I am also a Catholic Christian, and I am so so thankful to have you in the Pro-Life movement! I would be honored to march side by side with you. I am ashamed that people who call themselves Christians would reject you. We need Pro-Lifers in all walks of life, from all different backgrounds, and we need to show the world that being Pro-Life is not about religion, but about human rights. It is very frustrating to me when people think that my being pro-life is simply a product of my being Catholic, as if the only possible thing that could motivate me to stand up for the right to life of the unborn is religion. Your presence shows that this is not true. And your presence is very encouraging to me. Keep up the good work and please don’t leave because we can’t do this without all of us working together!

  • Nicole Tozier

    Everyone has already said what I want to say, but here I go anyway. I was raised Christian, and I still live that lifestyle(I phrase that vaguely, I know, because there’s so many different ‘denominations’ these days and I’m sick of the stereotypes; this isn’t about what I believe anyway), but as a teenager, I began to more closely examine what I’d been taught. I wanted to make my own decisions, and know that I wasn’t being a “sheep”(if you’re unfamiliar with that reference, let me know). And in the end, I decided I WAS pro-life…but not because of what I’d been taught. Because science proves what I already believed deep inside: that life begins at conception, and nothing can negate that. One of my biggest frustrations thus far: same as yours. Being pro-life means being Christian. From my point of view, while there is nothing wrong with linking those two beliefs, they are not automatically connected. That is a personal choice one makes, and not everything having to do with the pro-life movement has to be religion based. In my mind, that’s the fastest way to turn off the other person in a debate about the two sides. What we need is to be compassionate and understanding of the other side, thereby earning their respect and friendship. I don’t care who you are, bullying someone on the other side, telling them they’re going to hell, or whatever, is shameful. And it made me reticent to share my beliefs. Until I realized, I don’t have to. I can be that compassionate friend, who does nothing more than shares the scientific facts that so resonated with me, and in the end, no matter what the other person decides, choose to love and accept them anyway. My goal is to teach other Christians to see this, so that you and so many others are not turned away by religion and its connotations. Thank you so much for writing this; I never realized how alone I felt until I realized I am not alone. It is comforting to know that I am not the one person out there that is cringing as I watch my own ‘people’ butcher ‘our’ spiritual beliefs, as well as harm the pro-life cause. I know that people like you can help to turn the stereotyped tide, and it makes me so determined to keep fighting from my end.

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  • Brandon Roberts

    thank you for sharing and it’s nice too see an atheist actually go along with everything in science i do believe in christianity but i know most people are pro-life (or at least think it) but remember you will have too deal with many obnoxious people and i’m glad you believe the truth about unborn children

  • Chandler Klebs

    “In focusing on religious opposition to abortion, the pro-life movement
    has cemented into popular culture the generalization that being pro-life
    is the Christian thing to be. And being pro-choice is the nonreligious
    thing to be. So many atheists have never considered the pro-life
    position because they see it as a facet of Christian dogma. They
    wouldn’t consider going to a pro-life rally or reading a pro-life book
    in the way they wouldn’t consider going to church or giving their money
    to Pat Robertson. It simply isn’t for them.”

    This is definitely something I have noticed. I have decided that I WILL go to a pro-life rally if I get a chance. I have also read some good pro-life books. Since they are written by Christians, I see where their arguments are weak. I believe that I have a stronger pro-life position as an atheist. This life is all I have and I feel responsible for my actions in a way that Christianity robbed me of for so long. I try not to let my anger at Christians get in the way of my goal of ending abortion. I have met some nice Catholics which I happen to understand.