This Giving Tuesday, we’re highlighting pro-lifers who have been emboldened by Secular Pro-Life’s work. Their stories affirm how essential inclusivity and facts-based arguments are to upending pro-choice narratives. As the national debate rages on, it’s more important than ever that pro-life organizations not only make space for pro-lifers from every walk, but also equip and empower them.
We hope that this series inspires you to support Secular Pro-Life through our Giving Tuesday campaign so that we can continue mobilizing diverse pro-lifers everywhere.
We’ve given Becca work to do.
Becca writes: “I remember debating abortion in middle school. I hated being on the pro-life side; they always lost. And I couldn’t come up with good enough arguments to satisfy my overachieving need for an A in class. The pro-choice side had powerful stories about desperate situations and coat hangers. All pro-lifers seemed to have were religious talking points. At the end of the day, the ‘undeniable fact’ that a fetus was just a ‘clump of cells’ always won the battle.
I remember feeling both furious and justified at the same moment. Mad when I couldn’t win, but reassured that the pro-life view really was junk. At best, abortion was an agree-to-disagree situation. At worst, pro-lifers were mercilessly foisting their own moral arguments on people. I became convinced that the pro-choice view was the only compassionate, level-headed, logical one to have.
I remained that way until I hit college. My own experiences as an assault victim, other friends’ traumatic abortions, my mother sharing that she had been conceived in rape, and further reflection on the sister I lost to a fetal anomaly left me wrestling with the hard cases.
I had only ever seen two kinds of pro-life activists: religious zealots, or cruel people shouting ‘baby killer’ at women outside Planned Parenthood. Sometimes these groups were one and the same. I was considering the pro-life position, but couldn’t quite get there. How could any reasonable person be pro-life?
Enter my friend, Scott. I can only remember one abortion conversation with him, but he was loving and fearless. He had been a friend for a decade; he always had my best interests at heart…and he thought I was dead wrong on abortion. What’s more, is that he was completely unafraid as we talked about it. Even as a pro-choicer who was convinced of my position, I could never say I was unafraid of that conversation. The awkwardness of disagreement, the flashbacks of middle-school debate failure, and the overall lack of real study on the topic gave me a place on the sideline much more than in the ring.
Scott’s conviction led me to evaluate whether I was being consistent when I valued the principles of dignity, nonviolence, and inclusion for those outside the womb, but not those inside the womb. After a lot of soul-searching, I gradually became pro-life.
But I was terrified to talk about it. I knew that I was personally pro-life, but that I couldn’t articulate a good reason why, other than my beliefs about the inherent value of human life. Whenever I brought it up with pro-choice friends, they jumped down my throat with statistics about abortion rates not being impacted by restrictions, or personal stories about how abortion ‘saved their life.’ Again, the pro-life view felt indefensible.
I worked at a library for eight years, so I genuinely believe there’s no problem that can’t be solved with gorging oneself on research. So I launched myself into that. I wasn’t necessarily trying to prove a pro-life point, but I wanted to uncover whether my pro-choice friends were right. It wouldn’t have changed my mind about the unborn, but at least I would know not to poke the bear if they had better data than me.
That’s when I found Secular Pro-Life. I distinctly remember the first article I found on a Google search: More Evidence That Abortion Restrictions Decrease Abortion Rates. The word evidence stood out to me. It’s hard to over-exaggerate how big my eyes got when I clicked into that article and didn’t find some religious op-ed, but rather a detailed overview of 32 peer-reviewed articles with links to MORE CITATIONS! Written by a woman with science degrees from UC Berkeley and UC Davis.
As soon as I saw it, I knew. These are my people.
Before I stumbled upon SPL, my pro-choice friends would post catchy memes about corpses having more rights than women, or pictures of the eggs they ate with sassy comments about ‘killing a chicken’ for breakfast. Others shared studies or NPR articles that felt hard to refute. They meant them as ‘gotchas,’ and I felt them as such.
But SPL had an uncanny ability to post a response to the exact viral things my pro-choice friends were sharing without me even asking. It became easy to hyperlink not just SPL content, but also to chase the high quality citations SPL sourced. I started defending the pro-life stance not just because it had become defensible, but because it was perhaps the only reasonable one with enough moral consistency and quality research to stand on its own two legs.
For a long time, my pro-life activism was relegated to Pregnancy Resource Centers; it felt comfortable to work directly with pregnant women, but not to defend the pro-life cause on public forums. I didn’t want to expose myself to an attack if I knew I couldn’t win the battle. Secular Pro-life erased that fear. They’ve made me bold enough to stop sitting on the sidelines and enter the ring…with gusto.
At this point I honestly don’t think there’s any pro-choice argument that I couldn’t refute with peer-reviewed research and plain old logic. I already know the Guttmacher article they’re going to pull on abortion rates, and I know exactly where Monica debunks it in her Myths presentation. I already know the claim they’re going to make about acorns not being trees, and the cute little graphic I can use to explain basic biology to them. I already know the claim they’ll make about foster care or disabilities, and I’m happy to remind them that inferring that it’s better to be dead than to ever experience these things dehumanizes the very real people living through them. SPL curated those citations for me. They made me a voracious consumer of good data and a hunter of quality talking points.
For a long time I’ve been unapologetically pro-life, but it wasn’t until I met Secular Pro-life that I decided I would never back down again. I went from being afraid to push my opinion on others, to being sure that this was the hill I wanted to die on.
Today, I still support PRCs, but I also volunteer in political activism to change legislation. I run a motherhood support group. I host protests. And more recently…I started working for SPL! Feeling equipped with information changes you. I’m not middle-school Becca dreading a C on her debate class final anymore. You want to talk about abortion? I’m ready if you are.”
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