When folks ask me, as President & CEO of Care Net, if I’m pro-life, I answer, “No. I’m Pro Abundant Life.” Well, you can imagine what the next question usually is, “What does Pro Abundant Life mean?” So, I’d like to explaining that, and then tell you why I think the pro-life movement needs to become the Pro Abundant Life movement.
One day I was reading an article about how effective the pro-choice movement has been in adjusting its messaging over the years. For example, they’ve gone from talking about “products of conception” and “clumps of cells” to “choice” to “reproductive justice.” And, of note, all of these message changes were and are to mask the truth that abortion is ending a vulnerable human life.
In any case, as I was reading this article, God downloaded a thought into my head, which I quickly scribbled into the margin of the article. I wrote, “Pro Abundant Life.” Then, I spent months thinking and praying about what this phrase means for Care Net’s work and for the pro-life movement as a whole.
The inspiration behind the term “pro abundant life” is John 10:10, from the Bible, where Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” What exactly was Jesus talking about? What is this abundance that God has planned for each life made in His image?
Well, when you examine John 10:10 in the original Greek, you learn that “abundantly” actually means superabundant in terms of quantity and superior in terms of quality. So, Jesus is really saying that he wants to take us back to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve, before the fall, had eternal life with God forever. Moreover, Jesus is talking about two types of life: Bios, which refers to physical life and Zoe, which refers to a unique kind of spiritual life that only comes from a relationship with God. So, essentially, Jesus is talking about heartbeats that are heaven-bound, both inside and outside the womb. Indeed, one can be an atheist and be pro-life but one can’t be an atheist and be pro abundant life.
So, Jesus was not just pro-life. He was pro abundant life. Therefore, as a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t I be as well?
I then realized that the birth of Jesus gives us amazing insight into the very abundance he referenced in John 10:10 and a model for the response of the pro-life movement. In the nativity narrative, Jesus’ birth was the result of an unplanned pregnancy, from Mary and Joseph’s perspective. They were betrothed to each other, which means they were essentially married but hadn’t yet consummated their marriage. So, God gave his son both a mother and father, united in marriage, who loved each other, loved their child, and loved God.
Of course, God is sovereign, and scripture could have been written in a way that Jesus would have come into the world via a single mother. But, it was not. Jesus came into the world in a way that accomplished God’s purpose without violating the high idea of His design for the family—even though Mary’s pregnancy was unplanned from her perspective. Indeed, the Holy Family was wholly family and as pro abundant life people, as much as possible, we should seek to build these types of families as well.
So, for Care Net, as a pro-life organization, I believe God wants the idea of giving children abundant life, just like Christ himself had, to permeate our work. And the good news is that all of the factors that were at play in Jesus’ birth are the kinds of things that prevent abortions and help children not just survive but thrive after they are born and reduce the chance their mothers will have repeat unplanned pregnancies.
So, when Care Net talks about being Pro Abundant Life, we are talking about not just being pro-life, but being pro-gospel, pro-family, pro-marriage, and pro-fatherhood. These are all things that reduce the demand for abortion. For example, if we inspire and equip men to be good fathers and a positive influence for life from the moment of conception, then fewer women will feel they lack the support they need to carry their children to term. And of course, after children are born, having involved fathers and committed husbands improves their economic, educational, emotional, and physical well-being.
In other words, we want our work, and the work of the pro-life movement as a whole to not just be about saving a baby, as God-honoring as this is, but also about raising a child in a Godly family. Moreover, only with this approach can we see the kind of personal and cultural transformation that’s needed to make a game-changing impact on abortion in America. Remember, more than half of abortions are to women who have already had one. That sort of transactional culture is not what we need – we need a transformational culture.
That’s why our vision is a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families.
So, I’m hoping that you will join Care Net in turning your pro-life passion into Pro Abundant Life action this year. We don’t have a mother, father, or unborn child to spare.