Supporting life means more than protesting abortion
With the election only a few weeks away, there are many people who are single-issue voters on the topic of abortion. The willingness to vote for someone who is otherwise anti-life in every respect due only to your stance on abortion is concerning and riddled with hypocrisy.
If you are pro-life, actually pro-life, you probably are an incredibly empathetic person and one who would have issue voting for our current President a second time. The problem is that most people who self-identify as ‘pro-life’ are usually only pro-certain lives and should be called the much more apt name: pro-birth.
You’re not Pro-Life if you refuse to wear a mask or socially distance
You cannot one day claim to care about the lives of the vulnerable and ‘voiceless’ and then go and willingly endanger the elderly and immunocompromised. The arguments on the sanctity of life don’t just get to apply when they’re convenient for you.
My favorite line is, “We’re all in God’s hands,” as if the virus were something a benevolent God would choose to give to someone’s grandmother. Also, if you’re in God’s hands with this virus, are fetuses not also in God’s hands?
If wearing a piece of cloth over your face is too hefty a price to pay to protect another person, how is carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term for nine months, with substantial medical bills and physical wear, easily required of others?
You’re not Pro-Life if you’re anti-gun control
Gun control does not mean no guns, it means making sure that guns are carried and handled more carefully. Any responsible gun owner should have no issues with the law making sure people who don’t know what they’re doing don’t endanger the public or themselves.
Not to mention that one of the biggest things for pro-lifers is the protection of children. School shootings are a real and terrifying reality for children across the country right now. Helping to curve these shootings should be right at the top of the list for someone who is pro-life, and gun control is an effective way to help do so.
You’re not Pro-Life if you’re a Republican
This one may seem confusing, as the pro-life movement has aligned itself with the Republican party. While the Republican platform is based on political conservatism, it is also based on small government. Yet, pro-lifers usually use religious conviction to argue for their cause. Using the government to assert your beliefs and prevent religious freedom is the opposite of small government.
In a recent CBS News poll, 57 percent of Republicans said that the number of people that have thus died from COVID-19 is acceptable. No person who truly supports life would think any unnecessary death is acceptable, let alone 215,000 deaths and counting.
Add to this, that if you use religion as your reasoning for Pro-Life policy, you also aren’t patriotic. The founding fathers established a separation of church and state. Trying to force religious principles into law goes directly against what America was always meant to represent.
You’re not Pro-Life if you don’t support minority and oppressed groups
You’re also not pro-life if you don’t believe Black lives matter, immigrant lives matter, addict lives, refugee lives, every individual of every creed and background, including those who have had abortions, matter. If life having worth is universal, like many pro-lifers claim while advocating for a clump of cells without reason or consciousness, they should be able to see why all these groups have value.
Pro-lifers should be the ones shouting the loudest about children stuck in cages at the border. Pro-lifers should be the most outraged about police brutality against Black lives and every other act of injustice against a living individual. Yet they are often silent, because they are not pro-life, they are pro-lives that look like their own.
You’re not Pro-Life if you don’t support social institutions like welfare and universal health care
To ask a woman to have a pregnancy she does not want or cannot provide for, you have to give her the tools to raise that child.
Universal healthcare means that the fetus you cared so much about can go to the doctor once it’s a baby, that their parents can stay in good health to care for them. Food stamps and welfare mean meals for that child and clothing for school.
Yet, too often, individuals receiving funds from the government are labeled ‘lazy’ and are considered deviant, their children forgotten the minute they enter the world. The woman pro-lifers admonish for using food stamps at the grocery store could be the woman who didn’t have access to an abortion.
The minute a baby from a lower social class enters into the world, they are considered a burden to the system and deserving of a life stuck within the cycle of poverty. And you wonder why 74 percent of women who get abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, do so out of an inability to care for the child.
If someone was truly pro-life, they would want to support the systems that provide for children and their families. They would want to change the institutions in place that force babies and adolescents to spend their childhoods in poverty, as 18 percent of children in the U.S. do. They would not be fighting against these programs and labeling their parents with unflattering stereotypes.
You’re not Pro-Life if you aren’t advocating for children in foster care
You’re not pro-life is you would willingly scream at women entering a Planned Parenthood to get a breast cancer screening but ignore all the children in the foster care system. The argument often given to women against getting abortions is that someone would take their child if they didn’t want it. Tell that to the 400,000 kids currently in foster care in the U.S..
Again, the people who should be most upset about a child living without a home should be someone who self-identifies as pro-life. However, instead of trying to find every living child a home, they would more comfortably ignore them. In fact, many Republicans who align themselves with pro-life ideology stigmatize children in the foster care system as delinquents.
The mental gymnastics someone has to do to be pro-life but disregard children in the foster care system, while berating women making the only choice they feel like they have, supporting policy-makers who will negatively impact poor children and force women to feel trapped by pregnancy and then have the audacity to say they are the advocates of the unheard, whew, it’s a doozy.
Finding a home for every kid in the foster care system should be the first priority to someone who truly cares about children. Yet, when these children are born and enter the system, they suddenly slip the minds of pro-life advocates.
You’re not Pro-Life if you’re a Trump supporter
This is the most crucial point. You cannot support someone who sympathizes with white supremacists, is xenophobic, misogynistic and classist while purporting to be a supporter of life.
If you don’t see Trump as any of these things, then you don’t possess the emotional intelligence to empathize with other people and listen to those who have felt his hate. He has proven time and again that only certain lives have value to him. If you can support Trump, you are not pro-life, you are pro-controlling women’s bodies.
So you must ask yourself: are you really pro-life? Because you don’t get to make any caveats, you don’t get to say you are pro-some lives and disenfranchise the lives of others. You can’t just be outraged by abortion, you have to be outraged about every single infringement on the so-called sanctity of life.
The conversations around a woman’s bodily autonomy need to happen. According to a Gallup poll, since 2008, there has been a steady increase in pro-choice Americans and a decrease in pro-life Americans, but the numbers are substantial on either side.
People, from both sides, have lost the ability to have a conversation on this topic. But until pro-life individuals can address the hypocrcy in their name, listening will remain impossible.
For many people, pro-life arguments have become akin to religious practice, but that simply isn’t enough to convince the growing number of Americans who don’t identify as Christian or who struggle to see how an egg meeting a sperm equals life.
Especially while it seems many Christians who identify as pro-life ignore the teachings of Jesus, someone who undoubtably would have protected the poor, the elderly, the immunocompromised and individuals of every racial and national background.
The pro-life movment of late is becoming less and less compatible with Christianity. Jesus wouldn’t support a president who was sympathetic to white supremacist (especially because Jesus himself was not white).
It can be so exhausting watching people talk about being the saviors of life and the followers of Christianity while stamping on the lives of so many and ignoring Jesus’s teachings of love and understanding.
However, this doesn’t need to be the narrative. If you can get loud about Black lives, if you can support institutions that will help children and their families, if you can refuse to support a candidate antithetical to supporting life, then we can finally have a conversation about abortion and about the moniker ‘Pro-Life’.