The right loves to use the term “pro-life” in reference to its views on reproductive rights. We can often be guilty of forgetting that being pro-life means more than just decrying abortion. Abortion is the slaughter of the most vulnerable members of society. It is morally reprehensible and needs to be stopped. However, it is imperative that we not stop caring for a child once it leaves the womb and enters the world. Pro-life people cannot only be a line of defense for unborn babies – if we are pro-life, we must be pro-life for everyone.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should support legal immigrants and encourage legal immigration.
If the political right wing wishes to bolster an image of compassion and kindness, it must support immigration. Many conservatives have leaped onto a bandwagon which incessantly screams that all immigrants, including those who come here legally, are criminals, here to take the jobs of Americans. Not only are these talking points utterly false, but they are also deeply xenophobic and offensive. If you truly believe America is the greatest country in the world, it is not compassionate to refuse people originally from other countries the joy of living here. Though it is not ethically necessary to support open borders, it is ethically necessary to support legal immigration for people who wish to come to America for a better life. If you want to call yourself pro-life, you should support the dreams of people not born in America to live happily and freely.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should care about making sure the environment is clean for future generations.
Keeping our environment clean and beautiful is an incredibly important issue, but it has become somewhat of a partisan one. The left has strongly gripped its monopoly on environmental issues simply because the right has allowed it to do so. If we fight for the right of unborn babies to live, we must also work to improve the earth on which they will live.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should fight for the rights of the marginalized.
Pro-life activists should be pro-life for all life. We should fight for the human rights of women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBT individuals, and the economically less fortunate. The pro-life movement should advocate for a better quality of life for everyone.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should care for the poor, sick, and hurting.
You are not pro-life if you do not have compassion for the poor, sick, and hurting – period. Choosing to stop caring for someone after they are born is hypocritical. Pro-life means caring for other human beings no matter their state in life.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should create an economy that works for everyone.
You should be economically compassionate to be truly pro-life. This may mean primarily removing the government from matters of welfare and the like. It has been proven that free enterprise is better able to help people. It could also mean contributing your own money to causes which will assist others.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should strive to make our education system the best it can possibly be.
It is in the best interests of our society to have the best possible educational system that we can. This is one of the most important ways you can exhibit your care for people outside the womb – being an education activist. Children need to hear different opinions and experience diversity. This can be accomplished through programs allowing children to attend the best schools around them, whether public, private, charter, magnet, or home schools.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should ensure that civil liberties are granted to all people.
Everyone is endowed with rights that no person should be able to take away. These, according to Thomas Jefferson, include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fighting for unborn lives is a good start. We should go further by fighting for the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Every American should have the right to free speech. We should all be able to practice his or her religion. Every American should be able to own a firearm with which to defend herself or himself. Liberty is just as important as life.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should guarantee that women with unwanted pregnancies have ample resources to choose from instead of abortion.
Most women who have abortions do so because they think their lives will be upended entirely if they are suddenly and unexpectedly burdened with a child. It is important to remember that a mother has just as much worth and value as her unborn child does. Pro-lifers often like to use emotionally charged arguments along the lines of “What if the baby you just killed would have grown up to cure cancer?” It is easy to forget that the mother could also cure cancer if given the opportunity to study to become a medical researcher instead of raising a child she did not plan to have. This is why it is crucial that we reform our nation’s adoption system. Doing so would greatly increase a woman’s options when deciding whether or not to have an abortion. She could bring life into the world without drastically changing her own.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should support the rights of those with whom we disagree.
To be truly pro-life is to desire a better quality of life for everyone. That includes those with whom we disagree ideologically or in terms of lifestyle. It is also important to remember to treat people with different political or religious ideologies than you respectfully and with compassion.
If we call ourselves pro-life, we should be civil and sincere in caring for our most vulnerable.
Finally, if we want to be truly pro-life, the way in which we go about advocating for the lives of the unborn must be sincere and kind. Civil conversation and a true desire for everyone to experience the gift of life is the only way pro-life activism will be effective.
*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the view of the FFL organization.*