Speaking Personally- Part V of a Pro-Life Series
Wed, 12/23/2020 - 11:13am admin
The Last Word: To Pro-lifers
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
A truly pro-life culture must be one in which society is agreed about one very important thing: accepting the benefit of sexual activity is accepting the risk that accompanies it. To borrow an example from author Jennifer Fulwiler, every culture has two unspoken lists: a list of circumstances in which it is normal and acceptable to welcome a child into the world, and a list of circumstances in which it is normal and acceptable to engage in sexual relationships. For most of human history, these lists matched.
I have repeatedly argued that the hardships caused by an unplanned pregnancy have been largely answered by social progress. Women have more choices now than they did when Roe v. Wade was passed. Families have more access to resources. In terms of supporting a crisis pregnancy, this is a good thing. This progress has occurred alongside a progressively permissive sexual culture, however, which I would argue is a bad thing.
If the two lists I mentioned above are not essentially the same list, unplanned pregnancies will be a crisis far more frequently. That is, if a baby would ruin your life, it would be best to take no chances. It is possible that my ideas about abstinence are old-fashioned and prudish. It is also possible that social progress could not have happened without progressively permissive sexual culture, and trying to reverse a sexually permissive culture could pin a scarlet A on single mothers.
That is why I am addressing this last installment to pro-lifers. To those of you who agree with me about these opposing forms of progress, I exhort you to live in a way that prioritizes choices that respect life, that accepts and celebrates the existence of every child. We must not live our lives or vote our ballots in a way that allows us to be accused of caring only about the unborn.
Living as though every human life has value is easier said than done, but it can begin in small ways. Make everyday choices that foster a culture that treasures families. If you see a mother alone with small kids in the grocery, keep an eye out for her. Maybe her toddler is in the escape phase. Maybe she is self- conscious about how much the kids are fidgeting. Eye contact and a word of encouragement can be a balm.
Be vigilant for opportunities to help struggling families where you can. Let us be a community in which a struggling mother does not assume she will be harassed or judged for needing help.
I am not so naive to think that everyone who asks for help has honestly tried every other way to get what they need. But what does it cost to respond with love if you have something material to give?
Some of the most passionate pro-life crusaders I know protest outside a Planned Parenthood every single Saturday. Not everyone has the time or the temperament to do so, but promoting a pro-life culture is a state of mind. It is fighting for the rights of the unborn, but it is also having compassion for mothers. It is offering to babysit for a neighbor. It is opening your home to a child in need. It is welcoming with joy every new child born in your own family.
In short, the change we need is a change in the social narrative about abortion. The change must come from the action of pro-lifers. If every new life had always been greeted with a joy and a solicitude for its wellbeing, would there ever have been a need for abortion?
Based solely on my own lived experience, I would never seek to diminish the complicated social and economic factors that accompany adding a person to the world. That is why we, as pro-lifers, cannot allow social stigma, preconceived ideas, or fear to overpower the miracle of a new life. Let us be the proverbial village it takes to raise a child.