While driving to the store last week, I passed a house still exhibiting political commentary with a few yard signs out. Over the next couple of days, I had to drive by the house again. The signs, I’m sure have been out for a while, but they stood out during these trips. The signs said, “I Vote Pro-Life.
Somewhere along the way, we have come to view pro-life as anti-abortion. It sounds a little better to say pro-life over anti-abortion. Everyone wants to be for, rather than against, something. Pro-life also sounds a little more noble than saying you are anti-abortion, anti-choice, and/or anti-women.
Mind you, I am anti-abortion and pro-choice. It is possible to be both at the same time. Would I prefer there be no abortions? Yes, that would be the preference. We can even get to the point of abortions being rare if, as a country we did a few minor actions, but major shifts, such as providing birth control to anyone requesting it (teens and adults), had excellent health classes discussing ways to prevent pregnancies, taught both girls AND boys that no means no, along with saying abstaining is okay, and love doesn’t equate with sex. Prevention is much preferable than unwanted pregnancies. Sadly, most conservatives I know have no patience for prevention discussions. It is all about being anti-abortion in isolation, but abortion does not occur in isolation. Many events have to happen to get to that decision, when taking preventive measures is the most effective decision, stopping it all before a pregnancy begins.
What got me was this person, and this is only an assumption, but an educated assumption, this person really has no interest in the real meaning of the term pro-life, which the conservatives have co-opted because it sounds better for media and fund-raising statements.
To define pro-life, which I’m sure you have heard before, but conservatives, and some liberals, rarely state, is pro-life is to actually care about the living as much as one cares about an embryo and a fetus.
Pro-life is to:
- Believe in, and push for, all encompassing physical and mental health care for all people
- Believe in, and push for, all people to have food on their table each and every day
- Believe in, and push for, all people to have adequate shelter each and every day
- Believe in, and push for, all children to have equity of educational experiences
- Believe in, and push for, all to have access to a free public college education
- Believe in, and push for, equal rights for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or disability
- Believe in, and push for, a social safety net for people of all ages
- Believe in, and push for, legislation to combat climate change
- Believe in, and push for, Internet access for all in this digital age
- Believe in, and push for, all children to have a loving home with a loving family, including allowing adoptions by willing families, gay or straight
- Believe in, and push for, legislation to support new babies and their families through excellent pre-natal care, extended paid time off once the baby is born, excellent childcare, and excellent pre-school programs for all
- Believe in, and push for, common sense gun regulation and legislation
These, and so many more things, are indications of actually being pro-life, helping the living and the unborn.
I think it is past time to reimagine, retake, and redefine the meaning of pro-life in our society.