Pro life is More than Being Anti Abortion
Pro life is a generally accepted term for people who believe that conception defines the beginning of life. Therefore, having an abortion is essentially taking a human life. For some “pro lifers” there are certain exceptions, such as a mother’s life is in danger, or in the case of rape and incest. But the common denominator is that life begins at conception.
I have a very strong conviction of life starting at conception. We know of Biblical stories of Jesus being conceived by the Holy Spirit and of John the Baptist being filled with the Spirit since being in the womb. Those two stories give strong belief to an unborn child is a living human being.
With that background, politically it has become quite a firestorm, with pro life people lobbying for Roe V. Wade to be overturned and pro choice people seeing that law overturned as an attack on women.
But here is where the discussion becomes more convoluted. For many pro lifers the emphasis is almost squarely on defending life in the womb and helping women to some degree with supplies and support after the baby is born. This is a very good thing. However, research has shown that the most common reason women get an abortion is financial, usually followed by their partners will leave them. This translates that most women who are supported financially and emotionally would keep their unborn child.
Knowing these facts would mean that to help women, especially single women, get good paying jobs, or provide some supportive network with child care would lessen the number of abortions. This for me is also being pro life.
Recently during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Matt and Laurie Crouch of the TBN network interviewed Bishop T.D. Jakes on how white Christians could better support black Christians. One of Bishop Jakes’ remarks was telling. He said that it is imperative that white Christians care for life as much out of the womb as in the womb. Jakes was simply saying that all life is important, not just unborn life.
On one of my earlier blogs (America’s Original Sin; White Evangelicals; and Black Lives Matter), I mentioned that I interviewed a black pastor and asked him the three most important issues to Christians of color. Let me recite what I wrote in that blog.
“My pastor friend and I got into a wonderful discussion on politics. I noted that overwhelmingly white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump and support the Republican Party. The majority of white evangelicals usually cite that the three most important issues are abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom. I asked my brother in the Lord if those three issues were his top three. Before I give you his priorities, he immediately said that those three issues are important to him and he felt almost all black evangelicals would agree. But his top three were racial justice, economic justice, criminal justice. He said that while abortion is morally unacceptable and is murder, he sees that African American people are on a daily basis so discriminated against that it affects them as human beings.”
So echoing T.D. Jakes, being pro life also means that you stand up for racial, economic, and social justice. When a person of any race or ethnicity is unjustly prisoned, helping them is being pro life. When poor people don’t have the resources to nutritious food, clean water, or adequate health care helping them is being pro life!
When we see the horror of the war in Ukraine, helping those refugees is pro life. When there are untold natural disasters in the world, such as the devastating earthquakes in Haiti or hurricanes in Puerto Rico, to be there with food, water, clothing, and other needed medical supplies, that is being pro life.
When you read carefully the Bible about Jesus’ priorities listed in various parts of Scripture, in almost every case He talks about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, taking people into your home, caring for the sick, and visiting the forgotten in prison (see Matthew 25:35-36). This, my brothers and sisters, is also what it means to be pro life.
James also defines pure and lasting religion in chapter 1, verse 27. He says in part “pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles…” So what we see clearly in Scripture is caring for people’s needs, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial is clearly on the heart of the Father and is without question BEING PRO LIFE.
If we believers don’t see pro life is more than being anti abortion, then we have reduced the gospel to a very narrow focus. All life is precious, in the womb and out of the womb. People are precious and Christians should be on the forefront of helping women keep their unborn children, and then helping any human being with their physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial needs. Then we will truly be called children of the Most High God and our witness will make a difference.