With the new law taking effect in Texas in regards to abortion, the words “Pro-life” are once again being thrown around. So too are “Pro-Choice” and a myriad of other phrases in between the two. When this argument rears its head around America’s dinner tables and Facebook accounts, you can be sure there will be much visceral and anger to be had by all. But one thing that has always concerned me is the grouping together of certain words that typically play out into a structure of belief the words do not actually mean. To be fair, this is done in the pro-choice camp as well, but more concerning to me as a Christian is the melding of meanings for the term pro-life.
A world definition that Doesn’t Measure Up
The definition of Pro-Life according to the dictionary is “opposing abortion and euthanasia.” But I would argue that being for life is so much more than the beginning and end of life. As Christians, we must be more concerned with life than just its beginning and its end. I also find it very telling that a “pro” stance would only be defined by what it is against, rather than what it is for. This strictly oppositional language narrows the definition away from a Christian definition and into a political definition. As a “Christian” stance, this definition just doesn’t measure up to the calling of the Christian in regards to being for life.
Was Jesus Pro-Life?
This depends on what your definition of Pro-Life is. If you hold to the narrow political definition as stated above, the answer is no. Since abortion and euthanasia, as medical procedures did not exist, the incarnate Jesus would have had no official political stance. But we must also understand that to the Christian, the very definition of life is found in the person of Jesus Christ. So in order for us to understand a true definition of pro-life, we must understand how Jesus lived His life. How did Jesus see life?
I would argue based on the book of John that being pro-life for a Christian means to free the prisoner, care for the broken, and to save life even at the cost of your own. The problem with the political pro-lifer is that their focus is on the beginning and the end. Jesus was focused on the here and now. In short, a political pro lifer cares about date of birth and date of death, Jesus cares about the dash in-between them.
Pro-Life is about Life
By the example of Christ in the Gospels, pro life is a way of life, not a political end. We cannot claim to be pro life while allowing children to starve through the inaction of the church. Being pro-life means feeding the poor, and caring for the homeless. Pro-life means concern for the widow and the elderly. Shoving the elderly into a wholesale nursing home and moving on is not pro-life. Truly being pro life means caring for life at all stages, not just during pregnancy. If your concern is the unborn, but you have no concern for the 5 year old starving down the road, you are not pro-life. You are simply anti-abortion.
Pro-Life or just Anti-Abortion
Pro-Life is a Christian stance, anti-abortion is a political one. As a church, we need to break away from the clutches of political parties and the state in their race for the politization of abortion. We need to advocate not only for births, but for the state to shore up the welfare system for children whom we force to be born through legislation. Pro-Life means advocating for the education of children as well as ensuring their belly’s are full. Jesus fed, clothed and spiritually educated those He came in contact with. This is the definition of Pro-Life. We, as the church need to be more than just a political tool of the state. We need to be the very hands and feet of Jesus. Christians must feed, clothe and educate those we wish to be born into this world. A child is worth more than their moment of birth. Its high time we started treating them that way.