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 Becca!
How did you arrive at the anti-abortion position?
Well, I grew up in a home that wasn’t religious or political; it wasn’t atheist, it wasn’t liberal. The topics just never came up in conversation. My parents would watch the president on the TV. I knew it was the president and that was about it. My big brother went to college when I was in 5th grade. He was very liberal. I had started forming liberal opinions but still had no clue where my parents sat.
One day in middle school I heard the word “abortion” on TV and I simply asked my mom what they meant. I was only like 12. My mom explained in a very neutral way and I kept repeating “so they murder the baby?” And my mom kept saying “no, not really” and I kept repeating back “but it dies?!” Finally the conversation ended with “all right.” This was 2014.
As 2015 approached, I kept an anti-abortion stance but would always argue with my middle brother who supported President Trump about how we needed to not let people murder babies but $22 an hour minimum wage was a good idea. He would laugh and roast me and we would get into big political controversies. Later, he went off to college and became a Democrat. Ironically enough before going to college he got me on his side. I never went back to my liberal stances. I still couldn’t tell you my parents’ complete political ideology.
I really appreciated Christopher Hitchens (a famous pro-life atheist) when it came to forming views on both religion and abortion. To sum my rant up, I have been pro-life since I found out what abortion was. When I argue abortion with pro-choice people today, or even pro-life people who say I cannot be pro-life and I have to be pro-choice because I’m atheist, I tend to tell them that giving murder a name like choice doesn’t make it socially acceptable.
How did you arrive at the atheist position?
As stated I grew up in a non-religious, non-political home. My mom and dad both grew up with religion. My mom even attended religious private school a majority of her school years. Occasionally if I used “god’s name in vain” my dad would tell me to stop, but other then that it wasn’t a topic of conversation. My one grandparent died when I was in middle school and I started questioning things because every time I told someone they died (this was my first ever big loss), they would tell me they would pray for me and my family. When I told them I didn’t understand, they would explain to me. I always followed up with something along the lines of “I don’t understand higher power.” Again never experienced this. I went through a rabbit hole of questioning faith, religion, higher power and dug into researching. For a while I just said I was agnostic because I wasn’t sure. I then had some traumatic experiences in high school which lead me to confirm atheism. However, I dug into research article after research article. I got so sick of answering why I was agnostic that 14-year-old me wrote a 17-page paper on how evolution worked and my stance on the idea of higher power. Whenever I share I’m atheist publicly, especially due to my political stance, I kind of get a weird look. I also always hear “did the church hurt you?” I guess that’s why, in their mind, people are atheists. I always reply with no. Simply because I have never been inside a church and they kind of look at me weird again. I remind them that atheists don’t know the answer to everything, but we simply have no reason to believe in a faith.
How do you contribute to the cause of saving lives in the womb?
Well, in many ways. I am a very very involved Republican in my state, city, and county. I have also served as a board member for groups that promote pro-life candidates. I have also always voted for pro-life candidates and it’s one of the three topics I look at before standing behind or working for a candidate in any race.
What words of wisdom do you have to share?
Being a pro-life atheist is hard. Remember the fight for life isn’t a political issue. It’s a life issue.