Austin Petersen, a Missouri Republican candidate challenging Senator Claire McCaskill, has a fantastic article in the Springfield News-Leader entitled “Why I’m a Pro-Life Agnostic.” The first half is devoted to how he came to question the existence of god—which, tragically, involves the death of his mother at the hands of a corrupt pharmacist. He then turns to the secular sources of his pro-life convictions:
I’m passionately pro-life and believe that Roe v. Wade was one of the cruelest, most heinous decisions ever made by our nation’s leadership.
It’s also one of the most hypocritical decisions, one that goes against the very fiber of who we are as a nation. The Declaration of Independence lays it all out quite clearly. Some truths are (or at least should be) self-evident: that we are all equal, no matter our parentage, race, class or age and that we all have a right not only to liberty and to pursue happiness, but to life itself. History judges societies based on how they treat their most vulnerable members. And when future generations remember that nearly a million abortions occur each year in this country, they will rightly judge us not only for our lack of compassion but for the way in which we betrayed our founding principles.
My pro-life position isn’t just ideological, however; it’s also quite personal. When I was a child, my parents met a woman who had an unwanted pregnancy and was considering abortion. They persuaded her to carry the child to term and offered to adopt after she was born. The woman agreed, and thanks to her courageous decision, I have a wonderful sister named Jodi.
That would be enough for any person to reject abortion—but Petersen also credits us!
Petersen knows that he has an uphill battle ahead; very few people have ever been elected to Congress as open nonbelievers. “But,” Petersen writes, “I can’t in good conscience say that I do believe or that I don’t believe when that’s not the case. I have chosen to be completely transparent and honest with the people of Missouri, even if that means I may lose some support.”
Republican primary voters will choose between Petersen, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, and several others on August 7. The winner will face Senator McCaskill on November 6.