by Ben Johnson
BETHESDA, MARYLAND, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Young activists are planning on sharing “the pro-life, pro-woman, and pro-science message” at the American Atheists National Convention taking place March 25-26 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Secular Pro-Life, an organization of atheists and agnostics who defend the rights of the unborn, will set up a booth, distribute literature, and speak one-on-one with the convention’s attendees next month. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Richard Dawkins.
“The pro-choice view has become a default for atheists, because nobody is reaching out to them,” the group’s president, Kelsey Hazzard, told LifeSiteNews.com. “We allow the pro-life movement to be seen as a religious thing and [say], ‘Oh well, let the pro-abortion movement have the atheists. We can succeed without them.’”
Secular Pro-Life at the West Coast March for Life this year.
“I just don’t think that’s wise,” she said. “If we’re going to make abortion unthinkable, we have to make it unthinkable for everybody.”
She and Canadian pro-life activist Kristine Kruszelnicki will man the booth, displaying first-trimester fetal models for convention attendees to examine, and “secular literature debunking the argument that legalized abortion is necessary to save women’s lives.”
Hazzard, who is a senior at the University of Virginia School of Law, said the group is in its fourth year. Its FaceBook group now has more than 700 followers.
Since its founding, it has produced online publications exposing the myths of the pro-abortion movement and highlighting the importance of adoption, and created a booklet for sidewalk counselors entitled “Abortion is Forever. Get the Facts First.” Other titles, such as “Is Abortion a Religious Issue?”, a companion booklet “Who Are Pro-Lifers?”, and “Pro-Life for Everyone,” challenge the notion that all pro-lifers are motivated by religions.
Speaking with atheists or agnostics requires a different set of arguments and references than speaking to people of faith. “First of all, we talk about prenatal development, because that is an area where there is a lot of misinformation,” Hazzard told LifeSiteNews.com. “Then we talk about the secular ideas of human rights.”
“Historically, whenever we have decided as a society that a certain group of human beings are not persons, that’s never turned out well,” she said. “We really think that we have the power to decide whether or not someone’s life is worth living before they’ve taken their first breath. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?”
Atheists and agnostics are more likely than any other group to favor abortion on demand. A 2010 Pew Research survey found 85 percent of atheists and agnostics believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Secular Pro-Life notes more than half (51 percent) of unplanned pregnancies that occur to an atheist or agnostic woman end in abortion – a higher rate than any other religious identification. “Atheists are at risk of abortion, actually slightly more than average,” Hazzard said.
Despite being a minority, Hazzard said the American Atheists’ convention’s organizers “have been very cordial and welcoming.” She noted similar presentations before campus atheists groups have been well-received.
“We look forward to a lively debate with pro-abortion convention attendees,” Hazzard told LifeSiteNews.com. “We also look forward to providing a support network for those atheists who are already pro-life, but who are uncomfortable with the religious tone taken by many major pro-life organizations.”