So you handpainted your placard to picket the local abortion clinic.
So you like, share, and comment on every picture of an unborn baby that crosses your newsfeed on Facebook—with gusto.
So you marched with them women in Washington or New York or Auckland even though you weren’t invited and asked not to attend.
So you’re so intensely pro-life that you’ve mastered every argument, approached it from every angle, and can (and do!) argue down every pro-choicer you cross paths with on the Internet.
But you’re probably not pro-life.
Because pro-life does not mean merely anti-abortion.
And the distinction is fundamental.
As a Catholic—if that’s what you are—Holy Mother Church is unequivocal: life should be protected from conception to natural death.
And that includes everything in between.
To be truly pro-life means not to merely castigate a young, vulnerable woman for having an abortion; or to shame a woman for even considering the option.
To be truly pro-life means to support those destitute and struggling young women financially, emotionally, and spiritually as a means of guiding them out of that very darkness and towards a better way.
And once their baby is born it can’t stop there either.
Being truly pro-life means supporting those mothers, those families, in their very first days but, then, going further. Our commitment to the protection of life from birth to death means supporting those babies as they begin school with good education, of helping to take care of them physically by advocating for fair and accessible health care for all.Our commitment to those babies, now growing, and their families, means we must speak with one voice in our support of good social programs to raise those them out of poverty; and access to good, meaningful work to give them a sense of pride, ownership, and purpose.
And to be truly pro-life means to loudly and proudly fight for the protection of life, all life, and so when a vulnerable, helpless young Syrian boy and his family wash up on our safe and peaceful nation’s shoreline we embrace them as unhesitatingly as a father embraces his long lost son.
In fact, being truly pro-life means we shouldn’t merely accommodate them but welcome them unequivocally.
Because those lives matter, too.
To be, truly, pro-life means so much more than being against something but it is those, the loudest voices, which often crowd out the others.
To be Catholic—if that’s what you are—and pro-life means to adopt a stance much more robust than what we’ve seen in recent days, and months, and years.
And, yes, ultimately we need to rally our forces behind saving and protecting the most vulnerable in our society: the pre-born who are being murdered at alarming magnitude—yes, your participation in marches and maybe even some of the stuff you share on the Internet is worthwhile but we can’t stop there, because young children, single mothers, impoverished families are suffering and dying, too. And, thus far, our efforts simply aren’t good enough.
To be truly pro-life means to understand and protect the absolute, God-given sacredness of life from conception to natural death—and everything in between.
And it’s that in between bit that we’re not that great at and if you don’t understand that then you’re probably not pro-life.