The Pro-Life Whole Picture

Part of me is absolutely terrified to write this post. I know, already, that by reading this post is about pro-life, you are likely making assumptions about me. About what I may or may not believe. But stick with me, because I am trying to make a point. (Hopefully succeeding in making a point anyways haha 😉 ) I’ve been working on this post for something like a month now. I really want to say it in a way that will be well received. And I am also partially chicken to publish it.

Let me preface this by saying, I am going to use the word we. But I don’t mean it for any specific person. And I don’t even mean it about myself. There are things in here I have not said. I just didn’t want to use something as pointed as you, because I felt that would come off the wrong way. I feel like I’ve already apologized too many times at the beginning of this post 😉

The Pro-Life Whole Picture

But fellow pro-lifers, we have got to talk. If we really want to be about doing what’s best for women. If we really want to be about not just being anti-abortion like pro-choicers say. If we really want to do these things, we have got to start looking at the big picture of the candidate.

Because what does it mean when we say we want to support women, but that the only way to do that is to pick candidates who give lip service to being pro-life but then they have sexually harassed women? What kind of message does that send? Because we pro-lifers fight so hard against being labeled as only caring about the baby and not the woman, but if we give in to candidates who campaign on pro-life but act in a way that’s reprehensible towards women, what do our actions say? Those actions speak far louder than any words do. When we say that we are pro-life, but then we elect candidates who are against things like paid family leave and other benefits that would make parenting a better option for many people, what does that say?

When we say that every baby is wanted and every baby is welcome and then turn around and cut welfare and cut programs that help many people like WIC and Medicaid, what does that say? When we make snarky comments about how you shouldn’t have had children if you couldn’t afford them, doesn’t that go in direct opposition to the culture of life we say we are trying to create?

When we say “all lives matter” (I put this in quotation marks because I recognize that it is a problematic phrase meant to dismiss the concerns of an entire group of people), but then we tell certain people they aren’t welcome here or dismiss their concerns that there is a lot of racism around us and how it affects their lives, what are we really saying? There are so many complicated things in this one sentence alone that I’d like to unpack farther. I hope to at some point.

How can we say children are precious and turn around and continue to cut funding for education and special needs education?

I have, somewhat intentionally, shyed away from specific examples. It’s not that I couldn’t find them, because I definitely could. But more because I don’t want to get this post bogged down by a thousand links and have my point be missed. However, I recently finished the book Overwhelmed* and I did want to bring one specific example to light because I think it so very well illustrates all the other general points and because I would say it’s relatively unknown among people my age. The fact of the matter is, the United States once came very close to having universal childcare. However, it was killed, largely in part, due to Pat Buchanan, who worked for then-president Nixon. I have watched my friends struggle to find safe and affordable care for their children. It almost didn’t have to be that way.

The reality is, when we continue to dismiss the very legitimate concerns of people, when we continue to cut funding, when we continue to refuse to listen, we are hurting our own cause. We are becoming deaf to the big picture. I am not writing any of this to say that abortion is okay. The reality is, I don’t think it is – that for me is very cut and dry. I feel very firmly pro-life in respects to my personal ethos. But I am writing this to say that abortion doesn’t exist in a vacuum – that the other political realities matter too. And we can’t let politicians merely pretend to be pro-life in order to get the votes of a certain voting block. We need real change, not someone who is just saying what they think we want to hear.

I used to think, once upon a time, that a candidate’s position on abortion wasn’t the only one that mattered. But then, I met some in the pro-life movement who I respected and who were older. I thought, therefore, that meant they were wiser. They had lived through more history than I had. And they told me that it was the only thing that mattered. And for a while, I felt that way too. But, I’ve come to realize, that I can respect them and listen to them. However, that doesn’t mean that I have to think the same as them. And I’ve swung back around to my original position. Abortion isn’t the only issue that matters when it comes to who we vote for.

I have struggled in this post to figure out a way to explain this, without offending anyone, but it’s hard. I know, on this subject, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. Do I still want abortion to be illegal? Yes. But I don’t just want to make it illegal and leave thousands of people unsupported. I don’t want to live in a culture where we’re always thinking we are better than the next person who needs more help than us. Life has humbled me many times and I have learned that it could always be you who needs help.

In many ways, I feel unqualified to write this post. I’m no longer as active in the pro-life movement as I once was. That isn’t because I stopped caring, but because my life got totally consumed for a while by these two small humans I’m raising. I’m trying to teach them to be compassionate and caring human beings. That takes a lot of effort and energy.

I don’t write this to tell you guys how to vote or how you should do your politics or anything like that. I mainly write this because writing helps me process. I’ve learned, sometimes it is the stuff I am most afraid of saying that I need to say the most. I could be wrong – I’m not so arrogant as to think that I have every political problem figured out. But I would like to start a discussion. A respectful, civil discussion – is it still possible to have one of those? I hope so. Life is complicated. I don’t have all the answers. I can only do my best to think and pray and try and figure out every day how to make the world a better place.

What does it mean to you to be pro-life? 

*It was an excellent book, I highly recommend it. 

Image courtesy of yodiyim at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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