I’m Secular Pro-Life.
Here’s What That Means.
By Lauren, freshman at Cal Lutheran University
By Lauren, freshman at Cal Lutheran University
That was the mentality I held for most of my life in terms of elective abortion. I knew the church I grew up in didn't support it, but the "pro-choice" people in my life made some pretty convincing arguments that I really couldn't wrestle with due to my lack of knowledge on the subject. Then, in my junior year of high school, I had a series of incredibly educated men and women speakers walk into my life who gave their life testimonies, and revealed how abortion has impacted all of them personally. They then proceeded to make their own pro-life arguments using facts, logic and secular philosophy to formulate ideas and support opinions. Their insight inspired me to go out and build a case for my own pro-life viewpoint, and so here I am, now a pro-life advocate and ambassador for the unborn.
Now, I know that many of you reading this are probably up and arms by this point, shocked that a college-educated woman and member of Her Campus could be such an oppressor of women's freedom. But look, here's my view: I am ALL FOR women's rights! I was raised in a home where my father and mother parented my sister and me in way that actively fostered the upbringing of confident, capable, educated women. Both my parents are strong supporters of a woman's right to choose her own contraception, health care, path of education, career, religion, spouse and so on. I am in complete agreement with them on all of these topics. A woman's "right to choose" what she does in her life is a powerful, necessary, God-given right. It gives her mastery and authority in her own life, which is so, so empowering. However, while I do support all of these rights and more, I simply don't support ANYONE'S right to kill another living being.
I am an active supporter of a woman's ability to choose how she lives every aspect of her life, up until she wants to electively terminate a life that is not her own. That is a moral and philosophical issue that I believe cannot be overwhelmed by any amount of logic or reasoning. Our morality is completely lost as soon as we start to disrespect the sanctity of life.
I’d like to scratch the surface of the secular argument that supports my pro-life stance. There are so many ways you can complicate the conversation surrounding abortion, but the most important question to answer, as asked by Scott Klusendorf in his book, The Case For Life, is “What is the unborn?” After all, if we’re merely removing a clump of cells, then an abortion procedure is no more amoral than having a malignant mole removed, and there is no need for controversy. I’m going to argue that the entity being aborted is living, distinct, whole and human, with life beginning at conception.
As Klusendorf is careful to point out, this argument never claims embryos to be mature human beings, but just that they are “distinct, living and whole members of the human species, regardless of size or location.” A zygote is formed from both the mother’s DNA and the father’s DNA—making the zygote a distinct, separate entity with its own genetic code. Then the zygote divides itself and grows into the next stage of development, eventually developing into a full human being. This makes the zygote whole from conception. And it’s human because it is the living product of two humans.
Once I’ve established that the entity being aborted is in fact a human, I debate the justification for electively terminating another person’s life. I wish I could get into every aspect of this issue with you all. But I encourage each one of you, regardless of your opinion of this topic, to check out The Case For Life, which recaps every part of the argument I just gave and then addresses what’s left from every possible angle. The first 70 pages of his book, which includes a detailed version of the argument I just gave, are available on Google Books for free.
My goal when sharing my personal view of abortion is first and foremost to always stand on an educated platform, and secondly to always come from a stance of love and compassion for everyone involved in the situation. From the mother, to the father, to the families involved, to the embryo, let me make this clear: I am not here to condemn those who have had abortions. I personally know women who have been in that position. They are often afraid, overwhelmed and sometimes even ashamed of where they have ended up. I will never condemn anyone for choosing the seemingly easiest way out of what is often a desperate, vulnerable situation. However, I do believe that the reality of abortion—the real procedures, the real human being that is aborted, and the real consequences for the mother—need to be talked about much more publicly, because many people out there simply just aren't aware of the facts.
My heart goes out to all of those who have ever struggled with this situation, and to those who are struggling to reconcile this situation with any possible guilt, confusion, shame or regret they may be feeling. Please know that there are pro-lifers out there who don't just care about your baby, but also care about you. At the end of the day we just want what's best for you both, which is the right to live a long, full life.