You march today on behalf of the sanctity of life.
This is something that is important to you. You believe that every life is sacred, a gift from God. You cherish new births and believe that a birth is a blessing, no matter what circumstances led to the birth or what circumstances await the child after its birth. You march today with this uncompromising view, believing that every new birth should be cause for celebration. Those that oppose you are seen as immoral, likely to burn in hell for their beliefs. You proudly wear pro-life buttons and stickers and you decorate your car with bumper stickers that let every stranger know just how you feel. You're there today in Washington, DC because you believe that every child deserves the gift of life.
But are you truly pro-life?
To be pro-life literally means being "for life." So whose life are you for? Let me guess: you're for the life of an unborn child. This makes sense. You believe that every child once conceived should be brought into the world. That is what it means to be pro-life, is it not?
But what about the mother's life? Is her life sacred? Because if so, you should know that there are times when the only way to save her life is to terminate the life of her child with an abortion. Do you consider that murder? Does that violate your pro-life stance? Would you prefer that both the mother and the child die? If so, if you're willing to sacrifice a human life that could be saved, does that make you truly pro-life?
I get it. The life of an unborn child is sacred and should be preserved at all costs. But we've already seen your lack of concern for the physical well-being of the child's mother. What about her emotional well-being? Many of you believe that If a woman is raped or incest is committed, then she should be expected to bring this child into the world. So although we save the child's life, how do we impact the mother's? How does a mother live with seeing the face of her rapist each day for the rest of her life? How does she sleep at night knowing her child has 23 chromosomes from someone who openly violated her? What kind of quality of life will she be able to achieve having to constantly relive this horrific event? If you're willing to put a woman through all this, does that make you truly pro-life?
And what about the child itself?
You're concerned about this child's well-being in the womb, but what about its life out of the womb? Let's start with the situation the child immediately faces. Many of these children are born into poverty and face difficult circumstances. In fact, White people are the largest number of SNAP recipients at over 40%. This is a program that will literally keep these children alive. So, knowing that you're concerned about life, were you actively protesting the 500,000 adults who lost SNAP benefits in April of 2016? Are you actively contacting your representatives and asking that no cuts be made to the SNAP program moving forward? Because the SNAP program has a proven record for helping those in poverty. If you're apathetic to the cuts of a program like SNAP that genuinely improves the quality of life for children in poverty, does that make you truly pro-life?
And what about the child's education?
Education is often seen as the great equalizer in life, but children in poverty often start behind the eight ball and are never able to catch up. We know you're concerned about a child's birth, but what about his or her access to public education? Are you advocating for universal pre-K which has been shown to be sorely lacking in low-income communities? What about school choice? Are you protesting school choice that is only available to the more affluent families thus leaving low-income families without an actual choice? Do you support gun control legislation that would keep our schools safe? Did you lobby your representative in 2013 after gun control legislation got stalled in the Senate? If you aren't concerned with an uneven education playing field for low-income children, does that make you truly pro-life?
And what about sex education?
You're marching today because there are too many abortions. We get that. But what is your stance on sex education in schools? Are you aware that abortions are at their lowest levels in 40 years? Do you support abstinence-only education, even though it has been proven to actually increase the teen pregnancy rate versus the national average? And what about the new president, who openly bragged about sexual assault? Have you expressed concern over his lack of respect for women? Have you discussed with your son how it's never okay to grab a woman without her consent? If you aren't discussing the proper respect a woman deserves, does that make you truly pro-life?
And what about teen pregnancy?
Again, as we've discussed, you want to limit the number of unplanned pregnancies. So then why are you marching today against an organization like Planned Parenthood? Let's start with the obvious: they provide abortions. But, these are not tax-payer funded. In addition, you should be aware that it only 3% of the work that they do. So what do they do with that other 97%? They provide sex education to 1.5 million teens and young adults. They provide free contraceptives. They provide STD treatment and screenings, breast exams, and cancer screenings. Given all that, the organization estimates that it actually prevents 579,000 unwanted pregnancies every year.
Yet you all, in your pro-life views, have chosen to vilify this organization. Why is that? Why would you intentionally attack an organization that is on your side? You want to ensure that children are safely brought into this world yet you demonize an organization that does everything in its power to make sure this happens. Think about that. Planned Parenthood's goal is the same as yours: to help bring healthy children into this world. To provide sex education to those who are uneducated. To provide contraception to those who have chosen to be sexually active. To provide STD screenings to those who might be concerned. This is an organization that has been attacked by a terrorist and is constantly targeted by politicians who want to cut its funding. If you all want to shut down this organization, does that make you truly pro-life?
These are the questions I pose to you. It's easy to be pro-womb. But being pro-life means supporting a person's safety and well-being after their birth as well. If you're living your life based on tenets of the Bible then you have to follow all of the tenets. If you honestly see abortion as murder then you need to make sure that those populations most likely to need an abortion are getting support through federal programs, a good education, and access to preventative services. If you don't support all this, if you don't believe that these programs are services should be provided, that's your right. But you should know that these programs and services are the best way to lower the abortion rate and to best honor the sanctity of life as it was intended. If you still reject all this, by all means, march today and express your views.
But in doing so, you can no longer pretend to be truly pro-life.
An Actual Advocate for Women