As I scrolled through my Twitter feed, one particular meme gave me pause. On the left side is a pregnant woman with three pro-lifers encouraging her to give her baby life. On the right side is the woman holding her baby with those same three people telling her to get out of public housing, stop using food stamps, and just get a job. While the narrative that all (or even many) pro-lifers act this way is simply not true, it leads me to the question:
Are we really pro-life? Because, if we are, we should be pro ALL life.
If so, we should be caring about the unborn after birth. And I don’t just mean the babies. When there are 100,000 American children in foster care waiting to be adopted, how can we say we are pro-life? I am well aware that it is much easier to place an infant and that for every infant placed for adoption, up to three dozen families are waiting for one. I am well aware that ANY woman in America in a crisis pregnancy can find a forever family for her child by the time you’re done reading this article. I am 100% pro-life, and in the infant adoption process myself, so I get all that. (I also support crisis pregnancy centers, and highly suggest you do the same – through both volunteer work and financial contributions.) Yet, I am becoming more and more aware that if I am going to be pro-life, I have to be pro ALL life. I have to be for the unborn and infants, but also for children, adolescents, young adults, and elderly.
There are different methods and lots of disagreements about the best way to demonstrate support for all life, and setting government assistance aside for the the sake of this particular article (and argument), I want to offer four practical ideas for helping people throughout the life span:
1. Foster or adopt a child through the foster care system…or support someone who is.There was an article recently that said that if one family out of every three churches in America adopts a foster child, the foster care system would cease to exist. Think about what would happen if one family did adopt, and the members of those three churches rallied behind that family making sure their needs are met (i.e. providing emotion support, taking meals, offering to baby-sit, etc.) Listen, I am a social worker and counselor, and know the challenges that these precious children face as a result of being removed from a neglected or abusive home. But they are worth it. So, foster, adopt, or support someone who is.
2. Sponsor a child/family.There are many reputable organizations (such as Food for the Hungry and Compassion International) that help provide for the needs of children and their families in third world countries. Through a nominal monthly donation, you can help keep families together, preventing children from becoming orphans around the world. You can do this same thing on your own for a single mother/father family you know. Ensure they have clothes, food, heat/air. Be there to show them you don’t only care about them when their children are in the womb, but that you care about the entire family unit throughout every phase of life.3. Mentor teens and young adults. If you really don’t want to see people on government assistant programs, help them along the way. Mentor an at risk teen, which helps to reduce them turning to unhealthy relationships or activities. Help a student through their trade school or college program so that they don’t drop out due to lack of income. Don’t turn your back on people of this age range, saying they should have it all together. Instead, help them get it all together!
4. Be there for the elderly. The elderly among us are to be revered, but we tend to toss them aside. Have you walked into a nursing home recently? If not, you should…go and see how even in the best of facilities, those who have poured so much into all of us are left alone and lonely. Visit them. Call them. Send them cards. There are so many ways to encourage them and to demonstrate that their lives have value too. Research shows that friendships help reduce serious issues such as dementia. Let’s be friends with those who raised us, mentored us, and loved us.
If you say you are pro-life, are you willing to be pro ALL life? Are you willing to out your money and time where your mouth is? If so, I hope you will follow through with one or all of these suggestions.