On being [truly] pro-life

I grew up assuming that my Catholic upbringing automatically made me pro-life (similar to the false assumption that you’re also Catholic if you never attend Mass🤔). Moreso, I assumed that my right-leaning political views confirmed my pro-life mindset. Oh, how wrong I was.

As I’ve said—this is not a political blog. I could not— and would not fight to the death for either side. However, I recently told my mom that whenever I proclaim that I’m pro-life, I instantly feel a tinge of hypocrisy as being truly pro-life goes so, so far beyond a baby in the womb. With the debate heavily rallied around the moral and ethical implications of abortion, many people (and some Catholics) forget who they’re fighting for when they speak of being pro-life. Unsurprisingly, mainstream media has a name for this—the “anti-choice” movement—and I would not doubt that usurping the right to an abortion was the main thought for some who marched at yesterday’s March for Life. And yet, as a Catholic person, you should feel truly shaken to the core of the indignity shown to life in all its most basic forms.

The beginning of life is simple—man + woman = conception of baby. I believe we can all agree on this. (this is not a post on the horrors of certain birth controls or abortion; if you’re looking for a Roe v Wade based debate, this post is not for you). But, believing that every child has a right to life is only the tip of the pro-life iceberg (an essential and important tip for sure, but certainly not the end-all, be-all).

In order to be, pro-life, you need to love life-in all its forms. Loving womb-babies is simply not enough; and if that’s all you love then I’m sorry to be the one to inform you that you are indeed, not pro-life. If you believe that unborn babies have the right to life, then you must also believe that of the elderly, the immigrant, the inmate, and the mentally ill. Two years ago, my priest challenged his congregation on this very topic, saying that to most, babies are arguably the cutest, and perhaps easiest to love. But… can we love the post-abortive woman without condemning or judging her? Can we love the man who raped and almost killed her and is facing the death penalty? Do we love the immigrant family here illegally? Do we hurt for the Mexican mother about to be deported? Can we open our arms to refugees? Do we rally for mental health care to curb suicide? Does it matter to us how the elderly are cared for?

I am the first to say that I have a very difficult time loving and caring for most of these people and on some days, political views and stereotypes get the best of me. And every time I find a need to go to the confessional and strive toward loving each person if not for only one reason—that he or she is, indeed, a person. I used to stand unquestioningly with the GOP until the 16 children I taught Catechism to came to my class crying after our most recent election— some petrified that their parents would be deported. They asked me if I still loved them because they were Hispanic, and I was white. That is not what the body of Christ is supposed to look like, friends. It should also be noted that to respect someone’s inherent personhood in no way grants him or her exemption of the consequences of their actions. It simply means treating each other civilly and beginning to act on the injustices you see to the dignity of life wherever you are.

Being pro-life means being pro-baby but it also means being pro-family, so take #lovethemboth one step further and #lovethemall.

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