I would consider the foetus as having some rights certainly from the point it is sentient (which might be as early as 6 weeks from conception since brainwaves have been detected that early on). I would want to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Life is all each of us have and all the foetus has, it will have only this one chance at life if we are right about no god and no afterlife, so I would have thought that killing it would be more of a serious issue for non-religious people than for religious people. I've always felt that way since I decided I did not believe in god, it actually made me more prolife than when I had some kind of god-belief. It was not until I started thinking for myself that I became pro-life, even though I know this is not a typical view among humanists.
I do believe in making an exception where the life of the mother is at risk and the only way to save her is abortion, but this is very rare (I don't think all pro-lifers agree with that especially some of the religious men who do not consider the woman and still believe she will go to hell if she aborts).
I know I will be accused here of not considering the woman equally to the foetus but I think it is worse and more cruel to tear it apart when it is a sentient being than to expect the mother to go through a pregnancy, as she still has her life and has the choice to give it up for adoption if she does not want to be a mother.
I do sympathise greatly with women in difficult situations pregnant without support, but I believe that abortion in place of the help they need is also letting them down terribly (see Feminists for Life), and my feeling is that the pro-life religious groups in the UK and the US do not always do enough to be inclusive to non-religious pro-lifers who want to work together to help make that support possible for more women.
I have emailed the O project about the problem I had with CARE as they would like to get religious groups and humanists working together to do good (no reply from the O project and a completely rubbishy reply from CARE head office which did not answer any of my questions, I keep hitting so many brick walls for some reason).
@ Caroline Kennedy who totally failed to answer my questions about CARE's nationally defined policy on the matter of whether they will accept non-Christians!
Thank you for your enquiry about volunteering. All our volunteers are trained locally at the pregnancy centres, so you might like to contact your nearest centre and find out if they are running a training course there. Going on a training course doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to volunteer, but the centre will be happy to welcome you on the course if you are able to meet all the requirements.
You can find your nearest centre by going onto careconfidential.com and clicking on Find a Centre.
From: Lesley Dove [mailto:Lesley@vegan4life.org.uk
Sent: 09 August 2008 11:31
To: Care Confidential
Subject: Question about volunteering as a befriender
I have for many years been interested in becoming a volunteer befriender for women in crisis pregnancy and beyond. I am pro-life and would not approach a pro-abortion-choice organisation as I am not interested in supporting someone in having an abortion, in all conscience I could not do that and they would have to go to someone who did not disagree strongly with abortion for that type of support.
I have approached LIFE asking if I can help but they did not do befriender services the last time I asked although they are non-denominational and would not mind that I am not religious (I don’t know why they do not do befriending as I believe it is very important). At the same time I also approached my nearest Care centre only to find that they would only accept Christians as befrienders. I was devastated by this. They did not know me, had not met me and I felt this was unfair to judge me as unsuitable, not so much unfair to me but to any pregnant women needing support who would not mind a non-Christian befriender, especially if you were short of help and in need of more befrienders.
I would like to know what your current policy is on accepting non-Christian volunteers. I certainly share the Christian respect for all lives involved and am only interested in being involved in a caring organisation that makes women feel less desperate and more supported in unplanned pregnancy so they are less likely to resort to abortion, this is my sole motivation. I feel that there is much common ground between us, if we could put our religious differences aside and see that ethically when it comes to respecting human life we are not so different after all.
With all due respect to your religious faith, I do not understand why my own lack of such a belief should be a barrier to me doing good for others in the way I feel especially drawn to.
I have not given up hope of becoming a befriender yet and would like to know if any of your groups might accept someone who did not share your Christian faith.