What it Means to be Pro-Life
Yesterday I sat in church deeply disconcerted. A large banner hung in the church that said “God is pro-life. Are you?” and the mass was injected with messages against abortion. This week marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v Wade this week – a supreme court decision that legalized abortion and the reason many will be marching in protest in Washington this week.
This disconcerting feeling is nothing new to me when talking about abortion. It is an issue that I have given much thought to, but have remained undecided about. As a human rights activist, it causes me grief to not be able to take a stance on such a heated issue. First off, I have always hated the false dichotomy of each side: “pro-choice” v “pro-life”. Pro-choice does not equal pro-death. So you may have guessed, that I have historically leaned towards a woman’s right to choose. I have never been pro-abortion; it simply feels wrong to me that the government would have control over a woman’s body.
And so I sit, uncomfortably, in church while it is preached that God is “pro-life”. And then I have what may be my first clear thought on the issue. I ask: What does it really mean to be pro-life? What does God think about the children we drop bombs on? What does God think about the 30,000 children that we kill every day because we don’t share our water with them, and we don’t share our food with them, and we don’t share our medicine with them?
I grow more impatient and more upset. I feel sick. Why don’t we have this sort of movement to save their lives? Why aren’t we marching to stop the bombs and start the medicine? How can we keep ignoring these children?
Then and there, in my pew, I decide that as long as we allow a baby to die from dehydration I cannot stand against abortion. As long as we decide not to give a child a 50 cent treatment that will save her life, I cannot stand against abortion.
Haiti presents a perfect example of the suffering that need not be. I pray that we do not ignore the reasons behind the devastation happening there. It is a place where so many people already lived on the brink – in abject poverty. And this act of mother nature has pushed many over the edge. If we had cared more for the people of Haiti before January 12th, the level of destruction and the loss of life would have been far less. We did not cause this earthquake, but we are responsible for the level of destruction it is causing.
We have failed utterly to protect the sanctity of life of those children who are born. I reject the narrow definition we have associated with the term “pro-life”. I am not saying that this decision is right and I do not intend to create yet another false dichotomy – it does not need to be so that we can either save children who are born already or save the children who aren’t. However, it is the decision that I have come to, that for as long as we fail to take care of those children who are born onto this planet that we share, I will not speak out against abortion. And so, allow me to say that I am Pro-Life. I believe we need to stop killing, and start saving.