Eugene Cho wrote on Instagram, “To support both the equality of women and the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but I know we’re not alone. May we press on. And may we lead with hope.”
After I marched with my wife and 3 children on Saturday, people from the right kept asking me how I could march with a pro-choice movement. When I’ve written about being pro-life in the past, people from the left keep asking me how I could be so cruel or backward.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a defense of being pro-life or an attack on being pro-choice. If you want to learn more about why I am pro-life, you should read this.
There are many reasons I chose to march with the Women’s March last weekend even though I am a Pro-lifer. Hopefully, these three will help you understand why I showed up.
1. I am Pro-Life, not Anti-Abortion.
The position that most defines my political and sociological outlook is being pro-life. I don’t mean the typical pro-life of anti-abortion. I mean pro-life like in favor of all life. I fully support, and try to encourage others to support, the life giving issues of the Women’s March: Ending violence, access to birth control, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.
For many people, both on the right and left, one’s ideas about abortion define their ability to contribute to the conservative/liberal cause. My conservative friends were mad that I was marching in support of abortion, and those on the left were mad that any pro-lifers wanted to march at all.
However, I try to support justice where I find it. And the vast majority of this platform is unequivocally just, so I and my family supported it. In fact, if their platform was fully enacted, abortions would actually happen less often than if the entirety of the conservative platform were.
2. I want abortions to become unnecessary more than I want them to be illegal.
The abortion rate is lower now than it’s been since abortion became legal. The reasons for this are pretty simple to understand.
Most women get abortions because they have other children, feel they are too poor to have a baby, or they feel unequipped to have a child. The liberal platform tries to solve each one of those problems in different ways. We have become much better at educating girls and women on how to avoid pregnancy. We’ve given women access to more effective and less expensive forms of birth control. We’ve expanded programs like WIC and CHIP that provide financial help.
Each of those efforts has helped lessen the burden women often carry alone.They get pregnant less often because they have access to affordable healthcare, which includes contraceptives. They are less scared when they get pregnant because there are more financial, educational, and communal opportunities to help them be successful mothers.
I support the Women’s March platform because we both want abortions to happen less often, and we know the best way to do that is through education, contraceptives, and support.
A really effective way to increase the number of abortions is to cut funding to Planned Parenthood and to enforce the Mexico City Policy. This may seem counter-intuitive, but we know there is a direct link between access to contraceptives and abortion rates.
Also, outlawing abortion has very little effect on how often it occurs. If you want abortions to stop, you can fight for their legal abolition, but you must also support contraception, education, social welfare programs, paid maternity leave, and subsidized childcare.
3. Abortion should not be a Christian’s only or highest priority.
I’m sure this will be my most contentious point for my more conservative friends, but here goes…
Abortion existed, was prevalent, was legal, and was debated in Roman culture 2,000 years ago. Their poets and philosophers wrote about it. The early Church developed a reputation for compassion because of their habit of adopting infants that had been abandoned in post-partum abortion.
Even with abortion being such a presence in the ancient world, Jesus never spoke of it. He spoke of money and hatred and serving the poor and making peace and children. But he never spoke of abortion.
Jesus would agree that abortion is a problem, but the solution is found in the things he told us to do. The solution to abortion is not found in laws but in loving your neighbor. If we were better at defending the dignity of and caring for women, the poor, the lonely, and the scared, then abortion would no longer be necessary.
I’ve felt for a long time that us Christians should be defined by what we’re for rather than what we’re against. Jesus was against adultery and lying and stealing, yet the people who knew they were guilty of those things flocked to him. Magdalene and Matthew and Zacchaeus knew above else that Jesus would love them. It was in response to Jesus’s love that they turned away from sin, not in response to his judgement.
Women and doctors that support, get, and give abortions should know that we in the Church love them and fight for them well before they think we believe they are evil. If we do not demonstrate the value of all life, womb to tomb, then our arguments against abortion are nothing but clanging cymbals.
Most of this post is directed to my fellow followers of Jesus Christ that were confused with my participation. However, to those offended by my presence because of my pro-life stances, I will continue to show up and continue to work towards a more just world. I hope our chant of “No hate. No fear. Everyone is welcome here!” is something you truly believe and extend to me.
I do not expect you to count me a member of the intersectional feminist movement, anymore than I expect to be a member of the Black Lives Matter movement. As a white male, I do not expect to be greeted with open arms and gratefulness. I hope to listen and to learn from you.
Perhaps I will be one of your greatest tests. I know how hard it has become for me to be loving and accepting of those who recite the Apostles’ Creed and are full of hateful words. Will it be as hard for you to love me when I stand next you in defense of the poor and the immigrant and the environment and in the fight for better education and contraception, but believe life begins at conception and should be protected?