Pro-Life/Pro-Choice

Let’s start the conversation here. Everybody is pro-life. OK, everybody who is not Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Honestly, do you know a single person who would describe themselves as pro-death? All of us are pro-life, and none of us is infinitely pro-life. All of us value some lives more than others. Is there a person living who feels the same way about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. as they do about the assassination of Osama bin Laden? Have we had the kind of public mourning for children killed in drone strikes in Afghanistan as for the children gunned down in Newtown? If you had to make a choice (and you do) between feeding your own kids and feeding kids in Libya, is there any question who gets fed? We all are pro-life, and we all put more weight on some lives than on others.

Yes, a fetus is a human life, and if you have been trying for that pregnancy, then nothing could be more precious. And yes, the human body routinely self-aborts fertilized eggs, and unless we are trying to get pregnant no one really thinks of that as even sad, let alone tragic. When we say we treasure life, we mean that we treasure the lives that we choose to cherish.

We make religious assertions: “Life is sacred.” “We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” And those assertions matter. But we are fooling ourselves if we think that those affirmations have easy and obvious applications in the real world. Some people are pro-life, but in favor of the death penalty. Some people are pro-life, but support sending troops into combat. Some people are pro-life, but believe that people need access to guns so that they can defend themselves with lethal force. Some people are pro-life, but favor the right of terminally ill people to choose the means and timing of their death. Some people are pro-life, but favor access to safe and legal abortions. In the real world absolutes fall apart pretty quickly.

So what then are we to do? Choose life. Knowing that the way you choose life might be different than the choice someone else makes. Because, really, all of us are pro-choice. We all want to be free to follow the dictates of our conscience. Everyone wants the autonomy to examine the world in which we live and our place in it, to make the best of what we find, to create love and prosperity and justice. Everyone wants to find their way to life more abundant—for themselves, their family, their friends.

For one woman choosing life might mean choosing to carry a pregnancy to term even though she knows that she can’t raise that child, choosing instead to place the baby for adoption. For another woman choosing life might mean having an abortion so that she can finish her education and build a decent life for herself—and potentially for children she might choose to have in the future. Both are choices. Both are life-affirming.

The job of religion is not to set out false absolutes, declaring that the church has the capacity to decide which lives matter the most. The job of religion is to call us to continually examine what it means to choose abundant life, and to make life-affirming choices. And then the job of religion is to remind us that we must continually expand our vision of which lives matter, of who deserves to have life abundant.

  • Kathleen Lehmann

    Great post! Thanks!

  • miri

    Have we had the kind of public mourning for children killed in drone strikes in Afghanistan as for the children gunned down in Newtown?

    Well, if it were George W. Bush doing the droning, we might very well have such public mourning. But with a Democrat terminating children’s lives in the name of the war on terror? Crickets.

    Not the point of your post, I know. But still.

  • James Boultbee

    This is a weak attempt to reframe the debate surrounding the genocide of abortion going on worldwide. All you are doing is saying no one really values all human life equally, no one really wants people to lack choice; therefore abortion can be permisable. You are dong nothing but justifying the most horrific crime in human history with jargon and clever word games.

    • Tina

      “This is a weak attempt to reframe the debate surrounding the genocide of abortion going on worldwide”

      What about all those children world wide dying from POVERTY!? Every think of them, James?

      Besides you haven’t a clue what the word Genocide means besides using it as an overtly emotional tool. Let’s look up the definition shall we?

      geno·cide
      the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group

      abor·tion
      the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus

      “lf you are doing is saying no one really values all human life equally, no one really wants people to lack choice; therefore abortion can be permissible.”

      If you cared so much about life, why aren’t you stopping death penalties, adopting children in foster care, help cull the deaths of women DYING DURING CHILDBIRTH, providing the all the necessities for women who are carrying to term to HELP them raise said child? Stopping the government from slashing SNAP, Welfare, WIC and head start programs or those who are low income and their families so they can eat and not starve to death? Hey, how about abolishing abstinence only education and UPDATING it to REAL sexual education or better yet, easier access to contraceptives, to you know PREVENT ABORTIONS?

      But how silly of me, you don’t want to PREVENT them, you just want abortion and contraceptives to “go away” just to appease your conservative brains at the thought of women DARE having sex OUTSIDE of marriage. How about you stop masturbating their James if you value “life” down to the very single cell, hm?

      Sorry, but you don’t value life, this is all about CONTROL. And it doesn’t matter what religion or non belief you have, it’s the same across the board: Women should be punished, women should be forced to have children regardless if they want them or not, our opinion DOESN’T MATTER, we are to KEEP SILENT and DO AS WE’RE TOLD. That’s they way your kind wants it and you’re doing everything so this country becomes a theocratic nation.


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