“I believe that life starts at conception”

By Pip Murrison &

Profile speaks to President of Students for Life Durham Joëlle Lucas about her newly ratified society and the pro-life movement in Durham. An interview with President of Durham Students for Abortion Access can be found here.

Why are you pro-life?

I grew up in a Christian home. It is kind of assumed in that tradition that you are pro-life because we believe that humans are incredibly valuable, that life is a gift from God. But when I was in high school one of my friends asked me the hard question. She said, ‘Well what would you do if a girl was raped or something?’ And I hadn’t thought about that. I went home and I asked my mum that question. My mum just started crying and she looked at me and said well obviously that’s horrendous and that’s awful, but we don’t kill children for the sins of their fathers. We are actually fighting for two victims, we are fighting for a woman and her baby, who were both hurt by someone who was abusive. I think because I heard that emotional, kind response, I became pro-life, it helped cement that.

Do you think that abortion will be abolished worldwide in our lifetime?

I hope that it will be abolished in our lifetime. I would really like to see women given more options, and the abortion numbers to decrease. When abortion was passed in both the UK and the US, especially in the US, the tagline was ‘safe, legal and rare’ – right. Well over 200,000 abortions in the UK is not rare, especially when upwards of 90% of those abortions are not because of health of the mother, they are not because of rape, because of a deadly problem or the foetus or anything like that, they are simply because of inconvenience.

Is abortion unacceptable in cases of rape?

I believe in embryology that life starts at conception. I believe that every human deserves human rights – that includes the child. The woman who was raped, her body was violated by the rapist. When you choose abortion, you are also violating the life of the unborn child right, it’s a similar kind of crime just in a different way, I think that both are wrong. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have compassion, I think that rapists should be put behind bars at the very least. But I don’t think that having an abortion would fix rape. I have done studies on post-abortion counselling and things like that, and it’s so important and vital that we understand how many women are suffering from post-abortion trauma. If a woman in a normal situation chooses to have an abortion and she suffers from post-abortion trauma, then you go to the woman who is already suffering from the trauma of rape and then add post-abortion trauma on top of that. Why would we want to add to the problem? ‘I was violated, then I tried to get rid of the problem, so I violated and ended up killing another person.’ I just don’t see abortion even in cases of rape as consistent or ultimately really caring, and nothing is going to undo it. We have to find the way that’s going to create the least amount of trauma.

Is it ever okay to have an abortion? Even if mother’s life at stake?

Pro-Lifers want to save as many lives as possible, hopefully mother and child but if it is a situation where we have to do something as if you do nothing the woman and the child will die, in that case we chose the operation that will save the most lives.

Many would argue that the right to choose abortion is a human right, how would you respond to that?

Some would argue it’s their human right. I would think that it’s not consistent and not correct because then you’re disregarding the human right of the child. The child inside your body is not your body. That’s a separate human. No woman has two heads or two hearts. It’s a separate body. And no person should be able to decide who is valuable and not. These children are just as valuable. But the only difference is somebody decided that they were valuable or not. I think we get into really really sticky territory as humans, when we start deciding that because someone is smaller than us, less capable than us, less able than us, maybe looks a little different than us, that we have the right to decide that they are not human. Because that’s how we get the holocaust, that’s how we get slavery, that’s how we get things like racism and ableism and whatever else you want to call it. If we say that every person is valuable, then we have to include the unborn in that.

Donald Trump says he is Pro-Life but with ‘caveats’ i.e. abortion is acceptable in cases of rape and incest. Obviously, you don’t agree with the caveats, but do you support Trump, based on his Pro-Life stance?

I’ve been really surprised with how pro-life President Trump has been, because I was concerned, and thought maybe he’s just saying that to get the Republican vote, who knows. I’m not one of those people that will say we have to agree on every single point in order for you to get my vote… but Pro-Life was the main one and I think anything we can do to protect women and reduce abortion I think is a good thing.

Why do pro-life activists struggle to make their voices heard over the pro-choice campaign?

I think it is because it’s swept in with other things in Conservatism. Not because I’m ashamed, but because I would be scared. Oftentimes there is that silent majority where you have one small group of people yelling really really loudly and everyone else is like I have my voice but I don’t need to shout. That can be the case with people that are pro-life. If you say you are pro-life in the wrong crowd, you’ll get hate, you’ll get bullied, people will make fun of you and they will make assumptions about you and before you even have a chance to say anything about I care for women or that I spend a lot of time wanting to champion for women and things like that, they’ll say you racist, bigoted, women hater, anti-feminist, Nazi. And you’re just like, well you’ve already decided who I am, what more is there to say? So I think that that causes a lot of people to want to be silent.

You talk a lot about how being pro-life for you is tied up with female empowerment. Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

I generally don’t use the term ‘feminist’ because of what the feminist lobby stands for today, I don’t agree with them on a lot of things. I don’t agree with third wave feminism. I would agree with first and probably second wave feminism. Actually the first feminists were all pro-life. They were huge champions for women. A lot of what feminism is doing today is really just trying to turn women into men. I just don’t understand that. What the original feminists were trying to do were to say we can be women, we can love being women and have jobs and vote and we don’t have to become men to do that. That, to me, is what being feminist is and what I would like feminism to return to. To say we don’t have to be men to be valuable people.

Do you think that the scare factor of having an unplanned pregnancy whilst at university drives students towards abortion? How would you advise someone who has an unplanned pregnancy?

I would say absolutely. Not every woman is the same, for some women it would not matter what the options were, they would just want the abortion. But for the majority of women I have spoken to, when I have said if were to get rid of everything that would be impeding you having this baby, be it funds or a house or a jobs or a boyfriend or whatever, they most often would say yes I would want this baby. I see a massive problem there, that if they had the support they would want their baby and our response is ‘too bad, we will just give you an abortion any way’. So I would encourage them to think 10, 30, 40 years down the road, and you look back and can say I made the right choice, the best and most loving choice for me and for this baby. I think all to often we think abortion is the undo button. What we don’t talk about is how emotionally difficult it is to end the life of a child, to live with that, we live in a culture that tells women if you chose an abortion you should not feel bad about it, you should feel empowered and you should get over it.

Disclaimer: All views and research cited above are those of the interviewee and are not necessarily reflective of Palatinate.

Image by Joëlle Lucas

5 thoughts on ““I believe that life starts at conception”

  • Helping women see that abortion is not the only answer to a difficult situation is kind, humane, loving and positive. Joëlle explains very clearly why she and her friends want to protect and help women and babies. Those who call for “choice” ought to support them. Ask the “abortion access” group why exactly it is so important that the baby should die.

  • Great courage to speak up with so much compassion. From the moment of conception the baby in formation has unique DNA. This is a new begining. A unique distinct individual with untold potential. Abortion kills this life and discards it as if trash. Millions of lives cast aside. Terminated. Killed. Abortion up to birth is legal in some States and still the pro abortion lobby deny this is a person with rights. A culture that kills children in the womb and at birth needs to wake up and look at this for what it is. Infanticide. One life dies at the will of another.

  • Great responses Joëlle to some tricky questions. Your love for women in unplanned pregnancies and for babies really shines through here.

  • A very well written article on an important issue

  • ” I would really like to see women given more options”

    other than to have or not have an abortion, what would these options be?


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