Many people within the great pro-Life cause have wondered how they can win over or attract people with non-religious, secular mindsets. After all, the pro-Life movement is largely peopled with Christians. It's a tough prospect but not impossible for those secularists who are open-minded.
In as far as I can determine, the pro-Life position must be presented to the secularist on the basis of three pillars of truth which they can accept(in as much as they will accept the idea of Objective truth):
The secularist must be persuaded on the premise of universal human rights and fostering human inclusion. In order for rights to be universal they must include all human life or they are not universal, but selective. This is the first pillar of truth to present to the secularist. Use the slogan "All human rights for all humans". Secularists love slogans, it gives the impression they've thought an issue throught and have cleverly boiled it down to a few words.
We must establish very early the biological fact that life reproduced sexually begins at conception. This is not opinion or metaphysical contention ― it is plain experimental evidence. This is a critical point for people to understand. It is the second pillar of truth for the secularist. Use the slogan "Human rights begin when human life begins."
At this point the secularist is apt object and say, “Surely you’re not asking that an embryo should have the same rights as a baby or a women!?” Well, yes, that’s what we are proposing. Anything less is sophistry and bigotry.
This concept is foreign to modern sensibilities. Remember, it’s been over 40 years of abortion on demand in Canada and 37 years since Roe v Wade in America. The philosophy of “Choice” is deeply ingrained into the public mindset as the highest of ideals. Life advocates must patiently present the ethical shift toward always choosing life under every circumstance and place ... as though it is a new and revolutionary moral paradigm shift. And to many secular ears and hearts, the idea of always choose life is a new paradigm. Remember, many secularists do not view every life as valuable or worthy of living.
The choice of always choosing life must be presented on a foundation of love and inclusion. Life advocates must speak in terms of universal human rights, within the human family, community, inclusion, acceptance of disability and extreme age as enriching our collective human experience not detracting from it.
We can appeal to great human rights documents such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The American Declaration of Independence and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They all place the Right to Life first, and rightly so. Without the Right to Life guaranteed, all other rights become arbitrary and uncertain. This is the third pillar of truth we present to the secularist.
The inherent problem with appealing to secularists about Life issues is that there is no consensus of objective truth to which we can appeal. A secularist may agree on one or even two of the pillars of truth but when the third is presented they are apt to see they are being asked to place truth over agenda and abandon previous held views. They may have a caricature of "pro-Lifers" as shrill and unreasonably rigid. Their thinking is not linear or logical. Their conclusions are often driven by appealing agendas or unstable feelings.
Remember these are people whose truth is relative, vague and situational. The secularist is motivated by self-interest and personal autonomy more than the Common Good.
It is into this environment that we re-introduce love as the highest ideal rather than "Choice". We re-introduce other-centered love that always gives life and lives life. Life advocates must lovingly promote the giving and living of life in all its eventualities and all its circumstances. To do this is to celebrate love. To take away or deny life – whether it be one moment after conception or the senile old person in a nursing home, or the anguished sufferer of a terminal or chronic disease, is the antithesis of love.
Life advocates must present this extravagant and expensive love as a new ethos and the bedrock for a Culture of life and inclusion for everyone to enjoy from conception to natural death.