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Pro-life pagans join Christians to defend babies

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Pro-life pagans join Christians to defend babies

Last summer’s videos about Planned Parenthood’s use of baby body parts stirred the pot of America’s abortion debate and maybe a cauldron or two. I recently interviewed by Skype two officers of the club Pro-Life Pagans: Alexandra Maniatis in London and Dawn Kuha in Oregon. Both pro-life mothers once faced the decision to abort their children, and both consider themselves witches.

Despite having profoundly different religious beliefs from many people in the pro-life movement, the Pro-Life Pagans have found a niche working side-by-side with Christians to defend the unborn.

Maniatis’ mother forced her to have her first abortion at age 13. A neighbor had raped her, but Maniatis wanted to keep the baby. Then her doctor took out pen and paper and drew three circles, claiming her baby was no more human than the cells he had just drawn. She relented. After a scarring second abortion at age 17, doctors told her she would never bear children. Twenty-two years later, she gave birth to her son, now 7 years old and autistic. Maniatis says she’s an activist “in the memory of my two [aborted] children.” Her activism began with her own mother, who became pro-life after the birth of her grandchild.

Maniatis pauses to sip her orange juice, and Kuha jumps in. The U.S. Army veteran takes a long drag from her cigarette. Years ago her husband, also a veteran, helped her decide not to abort a child conceived through rape. She now has four daughters.

Kuha said she knows people who became pro-life after watching the undercover videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, which exposed the abortion giant’s practice of buying and selling aborted fetal tissue.

Members of Pro-Life Pagans offer different reasons for opposing abortion. Some focus on the sale of body parts, but for most, respect for nature figures prominently. Maniatis says many “traditional witches” (practicing through herbs, spirits, and centuries-old rituals) believe curtailing motherhood defiles “the sacred feminine.” Kuha (a less traditional, “eclectic” witch) considers abortionists’ practice of killing and harvesting “items” unnatural. She points to the “difference between death caused by nature and death caused by murder,” and calls it “completely unethical to kill unborn babies.”

Chris Overholt, another Pro-Life Pagans member, objects on libertarian grounds: “The one thing that separates libertarians from anarchists is non-aggression. I support completely a woman’s right to govern her own body. But a baby is not her body. You can’t abort your own body.” Abortion, he concludes, is an act of violent aggression.

The club’s combination of members with libertarian, socially liberal, and pro-life views places it in the political middle. Kuha believes single-issue pagans can hover here indefinitely. Despite the group’s outlier status, most mainstream pro-life clubs receive the pagans well, and vice versa. Kuha has found that, with few exceptions, even Christian groups recognize Pro-Life Pagans as an ally in the fight to protect the unborn. “We can discuss politics and religion somewhere else,” she says, “but on abortion we can unite.”

Michael T. Hamilton Michael is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute's mid-career course.

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