Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pro-Lifer’s: We’re Missing the Mark (5 Alternative Approaches)

 “Life begins at conception!”
“A baby’s heart beats 18 days from conception”
“Abortion stops a beating heart!”

These are the standard rallying cries for the pro-life movement.

Educating women about when life began was a key pillar of the pro-life movement back in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was passed by the Supreme Court. It made sense to make a distinction of when life began to women in a time when early ultrasounds were uncommon. Since pregnant woman can’t typically feel the baby move until around twenty weeks, it was easy to disassociate early pregnancy with real life.

But folks, it’s 2017. My pro-choice friends aren’t idiots. They are smart, confident millennials who were raised in an era of solid science in terms of conception.  They’ve admired my early ultrasound photos and congratulated me wholeheartedly when I found out the gender of my pre-born babies. Even Hillary Clinton committed a Democrat faux pas when she referred to a fetus as a baby. They know that life begins at conception. (Here’s a pro-choice article that admits to this fact).

According to the pro-choice movement, our point of disagreement is on when a fetus goes from being a life to a person with Human Rights. Obviously, the pro-life movement believes personhood begins at conception, but pro-choicers point to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade as the ultimate proof that legal personhood depends on the fetus’s point of viability (a sliding date which is now as early as 22 weeks due to medical advances).

But the government hasn’t held this up. In 2004 Congress passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, recognizing that perpetrators who kill pregnant women should be charged with double homicide (or single homicide in the case that the woman survives.)  Wisconsin has had a similar law since 1998.

Then there are the increasingly dicey laws relating to surrogacy abortion and cases like Sophia Vergara’s custody battle over her frozen embryos.

It’s clear that the courts do recognize a fetus as a legal person, just not when he or she is unwanted.

The message? The Right to Life is not unalienable as the Founding Fathers’ proposed. No, in our nation, it’s a right only for the wanted. In fact, Planned Parenthood’s early slogan was “Every Child a Wanted Child.” Eliminate the unwanted.

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was a believer in Eugenics. She referred to immigrants and poor people as "...human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born."         

This argument is not about Babies Rights vs. Women’s Rights. It’s about the Right to Life vs. The Rights to Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Pro-choicers want us to believe that a mother’s Right to Liberty (choice) trumps the Right to Life for her unborn child.

If that’s the case, what about the mother who throws her screaming newborn in the dumpster after realizing too late that motherhood just isn’t for her? Sure, she could have taken it to a police or fire station, but we shouldn’t expect women to have to put up with such inconvenience. Her right to Liberty is more important than the baby’s Right to Life.

What about the woman who suffocates her paralyzed child to death? Afterall, the child would never be independent and we can’t expect a woman to sacrifice her time for an unwanted child.

What about the woman who “chooses” to buy heroin over mac n’ cheese for her toddler? She’s just choosing her Right to the Pursuit of Happiness over her child’s Right to Life.

It’s clear that on the hierarchy of rights, the Right to Life must come first, whether that life is wanted or unwanted.

This kind of thinking that only some lives have value leads to euthanasia of the elderly, racial profiling, torture, genocide, the death penalty, and high suicide rates. It needs to stop. In fact, the pro-life movement could take inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement (without taking away from their cause) in coining a new slogan: Pre-born Lives Matter.

We could also take a page from the book on suicide prevention. While the Pro-Life movement often focuses on making abortion illegal, convincing a desperate woman on this basis is as futile as warning a suicidal teen that suicide is illegal.  Instead, we need to focus on emotional, spiritual, psychological, medical and financial support for women in crisis pregnancies. Here are some of the suggestions for suicide prevention applied to abortion prevention:

  1. Listen and take their feelings seriously. Unplanned pregnancies do happen, and we need to validate that they do put a lot of women in crisis. Saying, “If you didn’t want a baby, you shouldn’t have had sex,” is not helpful.
  2. Let them know they’re not alone and that you love them. Be there pregnant women, and support causes that offer counseling for crisis pregnancies. Let them know that you love the baby, too, and that there are many hopeful couples waiting to adopt if they choose to go that route.
  3. Seek professional help. Help them to obtain medical, psychological, and financial services.
  4. Advise them that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Likewise, abortion is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
  5. Be there in the aftermath. Offer ongoing support to single parents, parents struggling with poverty or addiction, mothers grieving the loss of an adopted child, and parents grieving a misguided abortion. Adopt or foster children. Support organizations that stand up for the children of unwanted pregnancies or unfit parents.

While we have a long way to go, I am hopeful that the old rhetoric of simply “Life begins at conception” is slowly being recycled into more charitable approaches. I’m confident that the pro-life movement can work towards spreading the message that Pre-Born Lives Matter, Abortion is a Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem, and Help is Available.
Are you pro-life? Don't let this be true!

Here are a few organizations that are backing-up this approach:



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