One nice thing about a blog that almost nobody reads is that I feel freer to write my thoughts on some very controversial subjects. I do not care to debate. I don't have answers. I have many, many questions. Writing it out helps me.
It became clear to me, after participating in the Right to Life March and listening to the speakers this year, that there is a huge divide between what being pro-life means to me and what it means to many who wear the label pro-life. This has been eating at me all week, and I’ve finally decided I need to sort it out – for my own sanity, you know.
Over the last five years or so it has become more apparent that many pro-life people (the vocal ones) do not speak for me. First off, I want to say that I am PRO-LIFE. However, I’m beginning to think that many of the pro-life people are more anti-abortion than pro-life. I’ve come to this opinion based on attending pro-life marches and rallies, being on numerous e-mailing lists, reading the writings of pro-life leaders.
Anyway, I want to get down what I mean when I say I’m pro-life.
Pro-life is huge. See the word LIFE in there. That is from beginning (conception) to end (death). Taking life as a whole, the time in the womb is the shortest part. Extremely important, but very, very small compared to the rest of life. Pro-life is supporting life. Inside the womb as well as outside. When we narrow pro-life to being anti-abortion, we remove the largest part of life. (I can already see arguments and problems with my reasoning, but I’m still working on it.)
So let’s address abortion by itself. I don’t believe we will ever see Roe v Wade overturned. In fact, I’m not sure that is the best way to fight abortion. We would probably end up with more people accused of crimes (according to the law) than our already overloaded court system can deal with. Women aren’t going to stop seeking abortions, and there are doctors who are going to provide them. Making something illegal doesn’t solve the underlying problem. What is the underlying problem? Wish I knew. The pro-life answer is probably a lack of respect for human life, not seeing the sanctity of human life. I see a definite lack of respect for humanity – worldwide – from the unborn to the aged and everything in between. It’s more than that. On a practical level then, what do we do? Try to reduce the number of abortions. Envision a world where abortion is rarely used. How? A few starters might be:
Education. Girls and boys educated about sex. Not just on a physical level, but on an emotional level, too. Teach respect. Can you even do that? We could try. I have personally seen much negativity being taught about sex among conservative Christians, but that’s for another time.
Contraceptives. Make them easily available and affordable. My insurance doesn’t cover contraceptives. Part of me thinks: why don’t you just use birth control? It’s so easy. Maybe it’s not so easy, though. Then I know people who have said they would be more upset and concerned over their child using birth control than having pre-marital sex. My daughter was getting birth control from PP, and it didn’t seem that cheap to me – especially for a young woman who doesn’t make much money. Again, boys need to be taught that they are also responsible for contraceptives.
Support. That young girl that is pregnant? She needs your help. From health care to maybe shelter, food, work, and a shoulder to cry on. I keep hearing about crisis pregnancy centers. Those are great, but I don’t know of any locally that provide health care, probably due to a lack of funding. They have clothes and referrals, but those girls need health care, during and after the birth. And I swear the next time somebody spouts off personal responsibility, I’m going to smack them.
I’m willing to listen to other thoughts. As long as it's not preaching.
Last week I spent an hour listening to pro-life speakers. Their main (only ?) concern this year was that we defeat health care reform. I heard nothing about education (many are opposed to sex education in schools), I never hear anything about making contraceptives more available (there would be problems with the Catholic and some evangelical pro-lifers), and I hear little about support. It’s always political.
Another thing. The pro-life movement seems to be a Christian movement; in fact, a conservative, evangelical Christian movement. While they were decrying health care reform (will increase abortions by the millions and elderly people will be dying off by the thousands), they didn’t miss a chance to encourage people to spread the Gospel of Jesus while they were campaigning against ‘Obama care’. I personally have met several Muslim and Jewish women, over message boards, who would like to be part of a pro-life movement, but find it impossible due to religion. I’ve even met a few non-religious people who self-identify as pro-life but want nothing to do with Christian groups. Shouldn’t we be reaching across the path to the other side? Is life only important to Christians?
With all the flack going on about Tim Tebow’s ad during the Super Bowl, I did a little reading. His mother was in the Philippines while pregnant with him. I think abortion is illegal there, so I’m not really sure if abortion would have been a legal choice. I’m positive even if she were here in the US, she would not have chosen to abort. I admire her choice. That’s fine. But. Just because everything worked out fine for her, there are many women in similar circumstances (major health issues) where things didn’t work out so well. Not everybody gets a miracle (regardless of faith, religion or how hard they pray).
While abortion is severely restricted in the Philippines, many women choose to abort and many end up in the hospital due to lack of proper care during and after the abortion. I found an article about a woman who went to an older woman for an abortion. She performed the abortion through massage (crushing the baby???). This lady bled for a week afterwards. She was begging God to forgive her. Why did she do it? Because she didn’t know how she was going to feed another baby. The one thing that becomes more and more apparent as I get older, is that life is not black and white. It’s rather a beautiful color of gray. I didn’t sleep well after reading that article. No-one should sleep well after reading an article like that. Especially pro-lifers.
Then there was the woman who found out that her baby was developing with only a partial skull and no brain. The answer I read? That we (including her) needed to learn to love sitting at the foot of the cross with Christ. Somehow, that just isn’t a good answer. This woman and her husband did decide to abort. Answers to these problems are not easy nor are they always black and white. I know what the Christian pro-lifer says about this, but I’m not clear what God is saying. The one thing I think both sides could agree upon is creating a world where abortion is rarely chosen. But to do that, you truly have to support LIFE.
Pro-life also means to me:
I’m opposed to the death penalty.
I’m opposed to war (although this appears to be a pipe dream).
I’m opposed to oppression, by religions, governments, the rich. Remove oppression, and we might be a good way towards eradicating war.
I believe people have a right, simply due to their humanity, to basic health care, clean water, food, simple shelter.
I believe in personal responsibility. I also believe in responsibility for the whole of humanity. I am responsible for my own actions. I am also responsible for humanity. I am inseparable from the whole of humanity. When humanity suffers, I suffer.
I would love to go to a pro-life rally that truly supports life.