Christopher Hitchens was a committed atheist and fierce opponent of religion in general, appearing in many debates arguing against the existence of God, published a book called God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, and even attacked the virtue of Mother Teresa in a film titled Hell’s Angel.

So the following fact might surprise you: he was against abortion.

In a debate with Christian philosopher Jay W. Richards, Hitchens condemned religions that praised infanticide, which prompted one of the moderators to ask him if he was involved in the pro-life movement.

Here’s his surprising answer:

“I believe the concept of ‘unborn child’ is a real concept, yes, and I’ve had a lot of quarrels with some of fellow materialists and secularist on this point.

“If the concept ‘child’ means anything, the concept ‘unborn child’ can be said to mean something. And all the discoveries of embryology, which have been very considerable in the last generation or so, and of viability, appear to confirm that opinion, which I think should be innate of everyone. It’s innate in the Hippocratic Oath. It’s instinct in anyone whose ever watched a sonogram, and so forth.

So ‘yes’ is my answer.


It’s important to note that he did think there could be situations in which the unborn child could be morally killed. And he specifically attacked the Catholic Church for its strong “no exceptions” positions, as well as its opposition to contraception, which he thought could be helpful to prevent the need for abortion.

Nonetheless, it seems noteworthy that someone of his beliefs would generally defend the moral value of the lives of the unborn. Are pro-choicers sure that the pro-life movement is simply a matter of religious people wanting to impose their religions on other people?

Here’s a video of him explaining why he was pro-life:

[See also: 5 Feminist Pioneers Who Were Against Abortion]

[See also: SNL Educates Millions of Viewers on the Pro-Life Views of Susan B. Anthony]

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