Once a month or so, the Secular Pro-Life blog features a short interview with a pro-life atheist. (See the full series of interviews here.) Although Secular Pro-Life is not exclusively for atheists, historically atheists have played a key role in the organization. As atheists become more prominent in the pro-life movement generally, we’re excited for the opportunity to share their stories. This month, we welcome atheist B.K.S.
How did you arrive at the anti-abortion position?
Until around the turn of Roe, I was pro-choice. In fourth grade, my family started attending a Catholic church. We attended the “Walk for Life” multiple times, but I was about 11 at my first walk, so I had no say in going. I thought abortion was okay. I honestly think I was pro-choice because my mom is pro-life. I cannot say I have ever wanted to be like my mother, and I think that greatly contributed to my opinion on abortion.
In college I lived on a very liberal campus and one of the common views was being pro-abortion. How could we take away a woman’s right? It’s okay if I don’t have an abortion, but why would I ever take that choice away from another woman? Groupthink got to me. I was already pro-choice when school began, but by the time it ended I was the most pro-choice I had ever been. When my sister told me she was having an abortion (which ended up being her first of three), I didn’t bat an eye. It was her choice, so why should I care?
Several events started changing my mind.
In May 2021, I had my daughter at 28 weeks. I developed severe preeclampsia with pulmonary edema and had to have an emergency c-section. It happened so quickly. One morning I was told I would be going home the next day, and by that night, they were preparing my ICU room. I am genuinely surprised how well I handled the moment, because I now deal with PTSD from it. I would never wish this situation on my worst enemy.
A few years ago, a friend developed pregnancy complications and was scared she would not meet viability (24 weeks). Luckily she did. I talked to a NICU nurse, and she said the earliest baby she’s cared for was 23 weeks. I was shocked! 23 weeks? I didn’t know babies could live that early. I started researching viability.
Later I learned of the group TwentyTwo Matters. I was astonished that babies can live as early as 21 weeks outside the womb yet doctors refuse to help them. This made my blood boil. How can a baby live before “viability” and a doctor refuse to help them? What about “do no harm”? Purposefully not caring for someone and letting them die is harm. The indirect killing of a baby is harm!
I had never previously given pre-viability abortion a second thought, because babies cannot be born before viability and survive, right? Wrong. I began to notice an injustice.
I started advocating for changing the definition of viability. How could I say a baby born at 23 weeks and 6 days is less valuable than a baby born at 24 weeks and zero days? My pro-life beliefs started to click. I had been dehumanizing babies in the womb because of their age. I had been advocating for the suffocation, dismemberment, and lethal injection of preborn babies. It was a harsh reality to face. It was a slow process–about a year–before I began calling myself “pro-life.”
I used to say I was okay with abortion because I couldn’t stop a woman from getting one, because it was legal. Then Roe was overturned. Realizing we could ban abortion lit a spark in me. We can finally stop the unjust killing of unborn babies. I’ve only become more passionate since. I am now going back to school to get a biostatistics Ph.D., which I intend to use to conduct perinatal research, specifically with the aim of lowering the recognized age of viability.
How did you arrive at the atheist position?
As a child, I was mostly atheist, and my parents did not care. For reasons I no longer remember, in the fourth grade, I begged my mom for us to start going to church. She was raised Catholic, so she chose for us to start attending a Catholic church. I chose to be baptized and take my first communion.
By the time sixth grade rolled around, I began questioning my faith. What ultimately made me start leaning away from religion was my mom’s forcefulness regarding attending CCD and church. I chose to begin going to church, so why was I being forced to continue going to church? It infuriated me. I started looking into other religions and science. I realized that there is no way to prove God is real, so I became agnostic. One day I was questioning a brother and nun and all they would tell me is that I need faith. No, I need answers. This put me off.
I slowly became an atheist. I believe there is not enough scientific evidence to suggest God is real. I want proof of something before I can believe it.
How do you contribute to the cause of saving lives in the womb?
I have a pro-life TikTok, I donate to an organization that gives everything away for free to pregnant people with no questions asked, and I attend pro-life meetings and participate in the club at the university I work for.
What words of wisdom do you have to share?
“A person is a person no matter how small.” -Dr. Suess
Exhale is a free resource for anyone who has been affected by abortion. Call 1-888-493-0092 Text: 617-749-2948