A few weeks ago, an article entitled “The difference between pro-life and anti-choice” appeared in The Concordian. While I agree with many of the points presented, the central argument was a bit problematic.
I completely agree that it’s hypocritical to say one is pro-life and not care for poor, starving children, homeless, and anyone else. I applaud you for pointing out this hypocrisy. In fact, if you weren’t there to call attention to it, I would and have before. Because, yes, the Bible does say to love thy neighbor as thyself. While it’s not in the Ten Commandments, it is in the New Testament. Jesus is talking to a crowd, including some of the Pharisees and Sadducees (those whom Jesus called hypocrites) when one of the teachers of the law (meaning teachers of rules regarding offerings, sacrifices, and covenants) asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Jesus responds by saying it is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. He continues and says the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31). Is yelling horrible things at women as they seek abortion services loving one’s neighbor as they would themselves? Absolutely not. Is it Christ-like? Not even the slightest. Am I in any way condoning that behavior? Not at all.
However, I’d like to come to the defense of what I have witnessed as the majority of Christian pro-life activists who are quite different than the kind of pro-life activists the media likes to portray and the ones who yell hateful things to make women who have had an abortion feel guilty. These pro-life activists are nothing like the pro-life, or rather “anti-choice,” activists described in Feminism & Justice. Instead of “quot[ing] scripture at you [and] condescendingly say[ing] they are praying for you,” while doing “not a single Christ-like thing for someone in their lives,” the pro-life activists I know lovingly disagree that life in the womb is precious, valuable, and worth protecting. The pro-life activists I know wholeheartedly believe that God chooses to love each and every one of us unconditionally instead of choosing “not to love her anymore for having an abortion.” Even more, they live out the wisdom of Proverbs 31:8-9, which reads, “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (NRSV).
As a pro-life activist myself, I’m not like the “anti-choice” activists you’ve described, and I certainly would hope that those who read this do not jump to the conclusion that just because I am arguing a different perspective I either condone or actively participate in the hateful behavior of others who are “anti-choice,” because I do not. All life is valuable and sacred. Just like I advocate for the sanctity of human life in the womb, I do so for the lives of the poor, homeless, victims of human trafficking, women who choose to abort their baby, refugees, disabled, murderers, (dare I say it) the President Donald Trumps of the world who do not seem to value life in all forms the same way I do, and so many more. Olivia, you say it best: “To be pro-life is…practicing compassion and empathy for every human life.”
Those of us who are pro-life, and conservative for that matter, aren’t all “men who believe ‘rabid feminists’ are ruining masculinity, and women who claim they don’t need feminism at all.” Please, I implore you, do not lump us all into that category. Because it is neither fair, nor accurate. We don’t all think feminism is terrible. In fact, I would consider myself a feminist. I believe in “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes,” as the English Oxford Dictionary puts it. I’m sure being both a feminist and pro-life seems contradictory. But I don’t think it is. I think there is a way to reconcile the two by recognizing and embracing the differences between males and females and choosing to value the two equally, while protecting the life-giving capabilities of each and in turn, the life they create, even in the womb.