A few years ago I was reading through a heated discussion on abortion and read a phrase that essentially said, "Pro-lifers aren't actually pro-life, they're just pro-birth." I found the statement both exasperating and patently false. Yesterday, a similar phrase was issued on another friend's page. This time it didn't make me angry, it was just plain hurtful. I told my husband about this statement last night and about how hurt I was over this sentiment. He quietly took my hand and led me into the room where our three children were happily playing together and said, "Right. Our daughter is clear evidence that we're only pro-birth." I then told him that I was considering blogging about this but that my emotions would get the better of me. For the first time in ten years of marriage, he encouraged me to act on my emotions...and so I will.
My introduction to the pro-life movement was through my parents. My parents have lived their convictions on many levels and that is certainly a major factor in my own strong conviction surrounding the sanctity of human life and the protection of the unborn. My parents' willingness to open their hearts, schedules, home, and resources to teen moms was certainly not just pro-birth. I have countless friends who have counted the cost of living out their pro-life convictions. To list a few:
Friends who chose life for their own child knowing he might not live through birth due to chromosomal anomalies.
Friends who chose life for their own child knowing she'd face profound challenges, but that her life was created by God and was just as valuable as the lives of her "normal" siblings.
Friends who chose life for their sweet girl who was diagnosed with Down's before birth. (Side note: 67% of American babies diagnosed with Down's are aborted and 90% worldwide.)
Friends who chose life for their darling boy who was diagnosed with Down's.
Friends who have said, "Yes!" to adoption, some have done so multiple times, so birth families would feel empowered to choose life.
Friends who make significant financial sacrifices to support Crisis Pregnancy Centers and/or Adoption Grant organizations.
Friends who make financial sacrifices to help birth moms and dads fund their educations.
Friends who volunteer countless hours to provide free childcare so moms and dads who have less than ideal circumstances can go to work/school.
Friends who chose life in spite of the pressure they faced to choose otherwise.
Doctor and nurse friends who donate their time and expertise to serve Crisis Pregnancy Centers and/or to moms in crisis pregnancy situations.
The list could go on and on, but the last one I'll mention in this blog is a very emotional one for me- our precious girl's birth mom, her extended family, and her birth dad. The first time I met Alanna's birth mama I was overcome with the bravery she showed in choosing life in spite of the many hard things she faced with being a teen mom. She wasn't merely pro-birth. Her mom and many extended family members who supported her greatly through her pregnancy truly lived their convictions. Her birth dad's willingness to trust us with the little girl he loved, and loves, has reminded us in a tangible way that conviction takes courage of action. We dearly love these young people with whom we share a most profound connection. The accusations of "pro-birth" are especially painful when I think of these dear people.
Most pro-lifers are not the type of people to toot their own horns and defend themselves when accused of being "pro-birth only." Most prefer to act in quiet, unsung ways for various reasons. It is likely that we will choose to become exceedingly careful in our outward voice against abortion because we want to be very thoughtful of our daughter's future feelings regarding her adoption. We also, like most pro-lifers, want to keep the door widely open to women who have endured an abortion and now need a soft place to fall. As I have read and have been told by personal acquaintances who have gone through an abortion, abortion providers do not provide after care counseling and the emotional toll is tremendous. We want those women to know they are loved and not condemned. There is much grace, love, and hope that can be found within our ranks...and you won't have to look very hard to find it. We're eager to love you. We're eager to show you hope and compassion.
Why are we pro-life? Because the unborn are the most vulnerable, the most helpless, and the most voiceless in society. Who will speak for the defenseless if we don't?
"Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa of Calcutta