I was honored to speak to 1,000 people at the first annual Rockford Walk for Life on Saturday, January 23rd which was held about 90 minutes north of Chicago, IL. Part of my speech was included in the Rockford Register Star news coverage! I shared my story about how I became pro-life… as an atheist! You can watch the video and read my speech below:
My name is Chris Iverson and I have been doing pro-life work since 2004. But I wasn’t always pro-life and I want to share my story. When I was 19, I was a pro-choice atheist. When I say I was an atheist, I mean I didn’t grow up going to church. I didn’t know the difference between Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Judaism, or Islam, and I had never read the Bible.
I had some different friend groups. One of those groups were guys who played speed chess. One day, two of those guys got together. There was a protestant and an agnostic. They’re drinking coffee, playing speed chess, and having a great time. Then, they start talking about life and abortion came up.
The conversation got passionate as sometimes happens. My protestant friend said to my agnostic friend, “If a woman is 9 months pregnant, if you don’t think that’s a baby in there, you’re either lying or you’re an idiot.”
Now, I don’t suggest that as a way of sharing your pro-life convictions. My protestant friend later apologized for saying it. He didn’t apologize for thinking it, but he did apologize for saying it. They got over it. So, the agnostic friend very dramatically got up & said, “I will not have my intelligence insulted” and walked out.
Well, I hear about this little drama later when I am at Caribou Coffee with my protestant friend. I said, “So wait, you’re against abortion? Why would you be against abortion?” I was genuinely confused. I didn’t know anyone against abortion or if I did, they certainly never shared it with me.
He goes, “Chris, abortion kills a baby.” I was like, “Okay, what does that even mean?” He goes, “It’s very simple. Take a newborn. Can you kill a newborn?” I said, “Well no, that’s totally wrong.” He goes, “Okay, one day before they’re born, can you kill them then?” I said, “Oh, um, that’s a good point. I have to think about that.”
The next day, I went to Caribou by myself and thought about it. What’s the difference? There is none. How about 1 month before? 2 months before? There’s no reason to draw a line somewhere. Anywhere you draw a line, it’s discrimination. So, when does this human come into existence? Fertilization. So, I became pro-life as an atheist.
Years later, I became an evangelical and today I’m here with my friends from College Church in Wheaton, IL. We’re all here with our matching hats. But, in 2004, I went to my first pro-life event which was led by the heroic Joe Scheidler of the Pro-life Action League, who we are honoring here today. I totally loved the event and I’ve been involved ever since.
So, don’t believe the narrative that everyone is locked into their views on abortion and no one changes their mind. People change their mind. That’s why people become more pro-life as they get older. And don’t believe the narrative that you have to be religious to be pro-life. I was an atheist when I changed my mind by just applying the basic principle that the unjustified taking of human life should be illegal.
Finally, don’t believe the narrative that you can’t make a difference. My friends and I have literally reached millions of people with the pro-life message. The work and influence of Joe Scheidler has saved lives and shut down abortion facilities. I encourage you to find a way to be involved and bring our culture back to life.
Guest post by Chris Iverson, Chicago Pro-Life Future