What is “Pro-Life”?

What is a “culture of life”? How do you define it? When someone speaks of a “culture of life” or “pro-life” agenda, it is usually assumed that abortion is the topic at hand. Abortion is not the only issue that pertains to the sanctity of life. If someone wants to literally be a pro-life voter, there are a wide variety of policies that that moniker supports.

How about starting with an easy one? The death penalty. Is there anything more clearly pro-death? There is no logic in calling yourself “pro-life” when you support the death penalty. If you support the death penalty you are saying that you are morally ok with not only killing people, but letting the (fallible) state decide which people to kill with your blessing.  Perhaps someone has other moral reasons they can cite for supporting the death penalty, but they can’t still call themselves “pro-life” with any integrity.

Here’s another gimme – war. War = death, it’s kind of the modus operandi for winning a war. Aside from the direct killing of soldiers by soldiers, with war comes countless life altering tragedies and injuries. The pollution of war equals death to those living things around it. The corruption inside war equals death for those willing to take risks for money or power. The private contractors are let loose to roam lawlessly across the land, bringing violence and oppression. Living in an occupied land means living in fear; simply being alive is not the same as living. Please don’t call yourself pro-life if you support war, especially pre-emptive ones wars of aggression.

Is it part of a culture of life to allow corporations to pollute our water supplies, harm our animals, disrupt natural systems, and poison our food? Is it life giving to look away as humans are abused and exploited in the name of profit? All life relies on a certain level of purity to our air, land, and water, there is nothing – no industry, no product, no privilege – that makes it acceptable to poison us all.  If you don’t believe in protecting the sanctity of nature and those natural systems that sustain life, you are not pro-life.

Universal health care is pro-life. We can live our lives when our basic health care needs are attended to. Unchecked pain, fear of debt, and exclusive access – hallmarks of a health care system that puts profits before patients – is not pro-life (it’s pro-profit). In fact, someone in a dismal health care situation is more likely to consider numbing pain or their reality in an unhealthy way.

Humans are not born to be slaves, we each want to carry on with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When corporations turn us into slaves, or indentured servants, or take away our dignity, or abuse us, or force us to work against our morals, we are alive, yet not. When a company sucks the life out of you so you have nothing for your family, no time for community, and no living wage, they are not working on a pro-life agenda. Like stories you can read from our own history of slavery, the plantation owners were all for more babies, they couldn’t wait for those babies to become commodities. In those stories you can read the anguish of the enslaved parents at bringing another life into the world under hellish conditions, knowing that their offspring will be treated like expendable chattle. An unregulated capitalist dynamic promotes death to humanity.

Guns may be useful in providing sustenance for families – we are at the top of the food chain and all humans (even vegans) have some amount of “death” in their diet (think of the earthworms). It is part of our natural evolution to eat meat, but guns aren’t a part of our natural evolution and they are used for so much more. Guns can and have brought about human death on an epidemic scale. Handguns and automatic weapons are designed to kill people (sure target practice is fun but you don’t need steel bullets to pierce a piece of paper-that is not its end use). Those working to limit the availability of guns and frequency of human death caused by guns would earn the “pro-life” moniker more readily than those that believe all guns should be available and unrestricted. Gun lovers want to be prepared kill; killing is pro-death.

Again, even with acknowledging our omnivorous tendencies, humans often kill animals unnecessarily. Animal testing, environmental devastation, cruelty, or entertainment. If you are a polluter, a trophy hunter, a sadist, an eater of factory farm animals, or a supporter animal testing – you can’t say you are pro-life. There are humane standards for how to treat animals – even how to end their lives if we are going to eat them. Treating animals humanely is pro-life.

The joining of a sperm and egg is a special moment in time – especially if that sperm and egg are going to unite, go full term and become a person. Eggs are fertilized round the globe, round the clock, in every species that procreates via sex.  All of those moments are special if they create another being. For some of us, we want to protect all of those zygotes – at least human ones, for others, we want to focus on the living breathing people that have already arrived. Those that are pro-choice may believe in the sanctity of life just as much as those who are anti-abortion; they could also claim the title of “pro-life”.

It is pro-life to help moms-to-be get nutrition and health care.

It is pro-life to help mom-to-be get educated.

It is pro-life to ensure the baby has adequate nutrition and child care.

It is pro-life to see that all families are earning living wages for their work.

It is pro-life to provide education for the child.

It is pro-life to require unpolluted space to raise a family.

It is pro-life to stop war.

It is pro-life to recognize that life is much, much more than anything that could be held in a petri dish.

Anti abortion advocates work for what they believe in, we should respect that they are following their own moral code at the very least. For many of them, the struggle is a spiritual calling, which is an honorable quest. However, a heightened level of sanctimony tends to come with the “pro-life” label and it is part of why this debate is so polarizing. Pro-choice advocate are not the opposite of pro-life, far from it. Many times those same advocates also don’t like war, guns, pollution, or our grave corporate machinery. Recognize that though your idea of life – no matter which “side” of the debate you’re on – does not have a monopoly on supporting life. We need to break this frame and call anti-abortion activists exactly that – unless they want to consider the entire roster of ways our state sanctions killing. Voting “pro-life” means voting in the interest of all living humans, not just one issue.

Pro-choice could be broken down in a similar manner. Both labels, “pro-life” and “pro-choice”, are the products of marketing an idea. They are good hooks, but inaccurate. Let’s use our hearts and brains to talk to one another about these issues important to us.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

15 thoughts on “What is “Pro-Life”?

  1. Luke Haskins says:

    First of all, I think that being pro-life is defined as the ideology someone who upholds and defends one’s right to Life, as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, and outlined specifically in the Constitution. Being pro-life means that direct violation of one’s right to life, just like direct violation of the rest of the inalienable rights, should be dealt with by the Federal government. Also, being both conservative means that you are pro-inalienable-rights in general.

    Now that that’s over with, let’s look at the other issues, starting with the death penalty. Now we see that it specifically has to do with justice. Justice is the key here. We take away the Liberty of an individual, another such inalienable right, by putting people in prison. We do so because the people have made wrong choices which then has led the law to punish them. This comes with a fundemental idea, that only the person himself or herself (and God, if you are a Christian) can personally choose to have these inalienable rights taken away. By violating the law, which is most often created to ensure that other people’s rights aren’t violated, the person in question has made the decision to give their rights up, and it lies in the hands of the government to decide what should happen to them. And because I believe that only very few things should be federally legislated against, and the elected official belongs to the people anyway, it’s not too big of a problem, and won’t be taken to a Hitler-like extreme, where the government getting offended doesn’t lead to the death penalty. It’s moderated by morality, and gives the person a choice: keep your rights and obey the law, both federal and state, or violate the law and give certain rights up to the state.

    People who think that we need to get involved in war are not war-happy, they actually have reasons to go to war, mainly, for one of two reasons. The first is to defend ourselves, like in the War on Terror, where they killed us on 9-11-01. We risk our lives for our country because we want to save the lives of those we love. If we don’t, not only do we die, but also those who we love die with us. Would it be right for us to allow our brothers to die? We fight so to save those who we love, we give our lives up to protect millions more. The other reason we would go to war would be something like we saw in WWII, where Hitler was killing the Jews. Is this type of war justified, going to protect the rights of others that don’t belong to our country? I still have yet to decide, so I won’t get into that. Also, don’t forget that as you said, being alive is not the same as living. The former is up to the federal government to protect, the latter is up to the individual.

    I’m not an environmentalist, but I am for taking care of what God has given us. I am not anti-nature. I am not going to WORSHIP the earth either, that’s what seperates me from environmentalists. When you spend SO much time trying to fix a non-existant problem in an area of which God has control, it becomes obsessive, and slightly paganistic. As far as the government goes, the feds should seek out to end murder, direct violation of Life. The environment should be dealt with in the same way as bad living conditions are: the media should get the public’s attention, and the people collectively should do something about it outside of the federal government. Now, if global warming is really a threat to humanity, though I don’t believe it is, I might understand getting the world to try to do something as a whole, but legislation depending on the earth’s situation will lead to unpredictability in government, and might justify very ratical steps in big government, such as regulating the kind of car that people are allowed to drive. That being said, there is no violation of Life that solely consists of natural causes that we truly cannot control, because you can’t say it’s the fault of anyone, other than the entire rest of the world. The right to Life, therefore, should consist of a person intentionally killing another person, either a direct or intentional violation of one’s Life. You hit someone with your car while you drove drunk? You killed them. You left the car on in your garage and accidentally killed people? You killed them. You drove an SUV rather than a Hybrid? I don’t think that you should be held responsible for the earth’s collapse and destruction, which once again, I don’t think is going to happen anyway.

    Universal health care is not what pro-life people are for. As I said before, only the people themselves (and God) have the power to take away their own inalienable rights. Bad health either stems from bad choices health-wise (their own choices), or they were simply born that way. In either case, no one has the power to tell anyone that they HAVE to take care of those people, it is solely up to the individual to fend for themselves. But that doesn’t mean that those around them CAN’T help them either. In fact, they SHOULD help, and the leaders of America should encourage them to take care of those neighbors who truly cannot help themselves. But they shouldn’t be forced to do so.

    Capitalism is capitalism, we’ve been over this. The media tells the people what’s wrong with McDonald’s hamburgers, less people go to McDonalds, until the company fixes the problem. If they don’t, there’s always Burger King, and McDonald’s will go out of business. You are not enslaved to your job if it’s unfair, and you can always go to another. Capitalism is most certainly not anti-life.

    The idea of gun rights is a tricky subject, but murder is murder, and murderers will be judged. Guns don’t kill people, and they are not, therefore, the root problem. The murderer isn’t worried about the law anyway, and won’t be stopped by legislation. They will still get their hands on a gun, and the knowledge that the person that they want to kill won’t be able to defend themselves is a big deal. In that light, there is a certain healthy fear that those with murderous hearts have, that the other person may be just as prepared, and therefore, it actually saves lives. Either way, though, it gives anyone an equal opportunity to defend themselves. If it’s not a gun, it’s a knife, if it’s not a knife, it’s a rope, and if it’s not a rope, it’s the lead pipe. Evil is evil, and we all need to have an equal opportunity to defend ourselves. If you don’t want a gun, fine, then don’t choose to buy one. It shouldn’t be illegal on the federal level, because it in and of itself does not harm rights.

    Finally, your point about animal life, it has nothing to do with human rights, which is the only being that the inalienable rights apply to. So a chicken’s life is not to be seen as equal to human Life, humans have dominion over animals, who have no true sence of reason, only instinct. And according to the bible, God gave them to us for that purpose.

    • Damona says:

      The forum is a brighter place tahnks to your posts. Thanks!

    • Mauriane says:

      I happen to be one who hears from GOD, which most will call metnal illness but I call a gift. But a gift born out of the fact that I didn’t allow my own child to be born in 1984 when I was 19. I was contacted by GOD in 2003 and told only in 2008 that the reason I was supposed to have figured out was not for my virtues but because of MY sin in the murder of my child by abortion. I was told that a woman and in fact nobody else either has the right to choose as it is choosing death for a living being who has the right to choose life. And so abortion is taking that right away without the consent of GOD. Who does very much exist. Another reason abortion and also euthanasia and murder in any form are sins and also plain murder which should all be illegal is because I was told by GOD that the soul does not live on when one is murdered, including when one is aborted. In every other instance of death death which is natural GOD has the chance to take the person’s soul out of the body before the body is dead and to take it to the next realm, which can include another stint on Earth for those not yet fully deserving Heaven. And every person who goes on to Heaven is the person who has survived his physical death only because it was the death planned by GOD. Even when a person survives an accident it is only GOD’s plan. Why then can’t GOD plan for abortion? HE can. But HE won’t. It is up to us all to save the babies and the young soldiers and those being killed by the Al Quaeda and all the muggings and home invasions and all the family disputes that turn deadly. We need to be all informed that there is life after death but only for those who dies a natural death. Therefore even capital punishment isn’t right because a person who might be able to be better in a subsequent lifetime will not be able to make up for the wrong he or she did in this lifetime.If you want to scream about the right of the mother to choose abortion, then also realize that the mother is choosing a Hell for herself if she realizes what she is doing and if she has been told it is death for her child. Which is the way it is sometimes. And they just prefer to be thinking of themselves as I did when I was feeling too young to go through a pregnancy and also too unable to afford the expense. I didn’t even consider having my baby and it didn’t even occur to me that it was already a baby in GOD’S eyes and also in the fact that it was having all the DNA to know exactly the eye color, the height, the hair color, the intelligence and also in great part the personality. So how can you say that it is only a bunch of cells when all that plan is already there from moment one? You can’t. And the woman and also her parents or husband or boyfriend doesn’t have the right to choose abortion which is death for the child.

  2. Kris says:

    I agree with you. I never call anti-abortionists “pro-life”, and I wish others would quit doing so. I’m not just pro-choice; I’m pro-abortion. Considering the world’s state of over-population, over carrying-capacity of the planet, climate change, pollution, frequent human-caused extinctions of an increasing number of species, lack of food and other basic needs for huge masses of already living humans, and so on, I truly believe that being pro-abortion is the ultimate way to be pro-life.

    • Luke Haskins says:

      Um, that’s very dangerous, and quite destructive to the value of human life. Being pro-life means that you value human life in general, so killing off people in order to possibly “protect” the rest of humanity is very anti-life. I don’t want to call it Hitler-like, but saying something like that deserves such a title, does it not? Just… be careful, there.

      • Kris says:

        Luke, I said I was pro-abortion. That does not in the least resemble “killing off people” as you said. We would agree that “killing off people” is not pro-life. Even if “killing off people” would be better for the ability for humans and other species to continue life on this planet, neither of us would promote doing so.

      • Luke Haskins says:

        Kris, the implication within your statement, that you were “not just pro-choice,” but entirely “pro-abortion,” is that you are not only condoning abortion, but encouraging it, at the least. What do you mean that you are “pro-abortion?” Pro-death? If it means that you are encouraging, or worse, enforcing the ending of the life of a child, then I would say that yes, it deserves the phrase “killing off people.” Maybe I’m off base, that’s why you need to explain the answer to that question, “What do you mean that you are ‘pro-abortion?'”

      • Kris says:

        Luke, abortion does not end the life of a child. But we could debate that forever and you are probably so anti-abortion and myself so pro-abortion that we’ll never get anywhere.
        But you know what blows my mind? Often anti-abortionists care and advocate for embryos while ignoring the millions of suffering babies and children in this world, whether they suffer from starvation, lack of clean water, lack of shelter, lack of love, or worse, torture, rape, and having our tax-dollar bombs dropped on them.
        Why do you think that is? When there are so many babies and children in such dire need of help, why do you suppose so many would rather fight for the unborn?

      • Luke Haskins says:

        This is my final comment, then I’ll leave good enough alone. Abortion at the very least violates a being’s RIGHT to Life, doesn’t it? I mean, there is most certain a being inside of you. Whether or not it’s alive is what atheists and Christians debate quite often, but so seldom do they stop and realize that the declaration, when speaking of inalienable rights, names off the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, Life named first of all. Protecting those is the one and only function of the federal government. By “getting rid” of the being in question, it is taking away the child’s right to Life, as we see, as if we had left it alone, it would have become whatever your definition of Life is, thereby taking away it’s RIGHT to that Life. That is where the crime is committed.

        I, in all honesty, have no idea why so few look at children in dire need of attentions, such as orphans. Why too many people of this country don’t work to save the needy by their own means is far beyond me. I think that so many are fighting for the shrinkage of government, that they feel they don’t have the time to financially help those around them. Both are important, and we are fighting against legislation that will kill both child and adult alike, and besides, it’s very hard to give to the poor when the taxation system is so messed up. However, we have a responsibility to both our neighbors AND to our government, so you are certainly right about that. I think that we need to look at both the violation of rights AND choose to help those struggling around us, as I would want others to do for me.

      • Amy Meier says:

        “Abortion at the very least violates a being’s RIGHT to Life, doesn’t it?”….

        Sorry, you will not be able to find consensus on the presumed fact that there is an autonomous “being”. All Christians do not line up on the side of believing that a “human being” exists inside of another person. Many Christians would go along with the observable behavior of breathing unassisted by anyone else. This is not a Christian vs. Atheist question.

        Thanks for the comments and considering another opinion.

  3. Kris says:

    Luke, you wrote a lot that deserves talking about, but for now I just want to comment on your line, “Capitalism is most certainly not anti-life.” In capitalism, money is the bottom line, yes? If money is the bottom line rather than clean water, clean air, sustainable lifestyles, access to wholesome food, etc., then corporations will sometimes choose to dump toxic chemicals into waterways when they can save money (make more profit) by doing so. Toxic chemicals in our waterways causes not just the death of animals we rely on for food, but the death of humans as well. There are countless such examples of corporations causing death and destruction of our world. So how is capitalism not anti-life?

    You also said, “Bad health either stems from bad choices health-wise (their own choices), or they were simply born that way.” What about when someone gets cancer because they unknowingly drank polluted water poisoned by a corporation?

  4. Kris says:

    Luke, I want to add that I would agree capitalism does not necessarily have to be anti-life. There are many books, such as ‘The Ecology of Commerce’ which show how a capitalist system could work in favor of life.

  5. Navi says:

    , i am pro-life because 1. an unrbon fetus is still a human life that should not be sacrificed, 2. abortion harms the woman involved as well, and 3. I believe God has a plan for every life and that even if the child is unwanted by their biological parent(s), they were conceived for a reason. I understand that many people bring up the fact that unwanted pregnancies can often be a result of rape or some difficulty that endangers the mother’s life. but as difficult as it sounds, i still believe those cases occur for a reason and that God has a plan for them. if He hadn’t wanted the child to be born, no egg would have been fertilized.even if you do not have faith in God, in the majority of cases the mother is not going to be harmed by having the child. adoption is always an option, and if the reason behind not carrying the baby to term is simply because they do not want to deal with the responsibilities of pregnancy or the humiliation of being accidentally pregnant, is that really reason enough to justify murdering an unrbon child?on the feminist note from above, i definitely do not agree with the truly liberated woman quote, and thank you Frank for reminding us that violence or any other characteristic knows no gender bounds. gender roles are what we make of them, and saying that violence is a male-only issue is certainly flawed logic. just as validating the death of an unrbon child by saying that protecting the lives of people who are already alive is a higher priority is flawed. even if you believe that a fetus is not truly living, doesn’t that child represent another opportunity for the next Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, or Martin Luther King, Jr.? not to sound callous, but the pregnant woman has experienced life and had at least some time to contribute to society. though she may not be ready to give up her chance, is the slight possibility of her death during labor enough reason to deny the child even an opportunity to contribute? that seems selfish to me.i apologize if i offended anyone, but it wouldn’t change what i said.

  6. Jodi says:

    I am pro-life because I am alive. I value my life, and I am gfaterul that my mom decided to let me breathe. I have a disabled child who loves life and is glad he was born. I have a younger brother and an older sister who were given up for adoption and both of them are glad to be alive. My parents were poor and often relied on welfare to support me, nonetheless I am gfaterul that they didn’t decide to terminate me or my other siblings as I love my life and each of my siblings lives. I’m pro-life because my sister had an abortion to save a man she loved from suffering the consequences of their pregnancy as he and she were both married to different people when she became pregnant and he is in the military and if his wife or her husband pressed charges he would lose rank, pay, and possible face jail time for infidelity. Now that he is soon to be her ex-husband, I wish she would have kept that baby, and then maybe she would have been saved from years of irresponsible, self-absorbed, abusive, selfish decisions of this man by allowing him to suffer the consequences instead of making the baby pay the price 😦 I am also pro life because I am not God, and no one else on this earth is either, therefore we do not get to decide when any other human being should cease to live on this earth. Only God who has infinite knowledge, forsight, and wisdom should make that choice, if Adam and Eve had known that and acted on that then we wouldn’t have people choosing to take eachother’s lives, God knows that and so do I and that is why I choose life. I don’t follow the thinking that God is responsible for death and suffering, I know that God allows us to destroy eachother and ourselves because he will not force us to make the right choices. But .. we are not God and so we cannot give eachother the right to make immoral choices.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: