Tuesday, June 5, 2007

But Are We Really Pro-Life?

Abortion. It's the hot-button issue that has virtually transformed most Christians into "single issue voters." Whatever else a candidate may be about, if he/she is "pro-life," then he/she is our candidate! But are any of us getting the feeling that we've been duped? Are any of us catching on to the fact that far too many politicians on both sides of the coin use the issue of abortion as a political litmus test? Or use their "pro-lifeness" to deflect from their other stances that aren't very life-friendly? Just because a candidate is "pro-life," doesn't necessarily mean they are going to do anything about it. I'm against people having mullets, but that doesn't mean I'll pursue outlawing them.

If Christians are serious about being pro-life, then we have to ask better questions and require more than just a "pro-life" stance. We MUST abandon the prevailing mindset of all that matters is getting a "pro-life" President in the White House and that merely getting abortion outlawed on paper will stop abortions (however, it is imperative to get it outlawed to show as a nation we do not condone abortion, but I'm referring to actually solving the problem, not the mere condemnation of it). Legislation alone will not and cannot solve abortion.

Before abortion was legalized, 27% percent of American women were still getting abortions. When America had overwhelming "pro-life" leadership with Reagan as President and a Republican Congress, abortion was not eliminated. Not only was abortion not eliminated, but abortion rates went UP. During the Clinton Era (I know some of you will hate to hear this) abortion rates declined significantly. But why? Because Reagan was evil and Clinton was good? Not at all, but it's their policies on OTHER issues that played a part in increasing/decreasing abortion rates.

The problem with the abortion issue is precisely that we've made it a single issue. We've elevated it to such a high priority that we EXCLUDE and neglect an entire host of other moral issues that are connected to eradicating abortion (do not be mistaken, abortion should be top priority because it is so vile and damaging to the unborn, the women who get them, and the society that allows it, but it won't be achieved without tending to other issues).

Anyone who studies abortion rates will discover that they are intricately intertwined with poverty rates, unemployment rates, and prevailing social conditions. Over 2/3 of women who have abortions are living below the poverty line. Sometimes we like to paint the picture of women getting abortions as elite feminist Nazis who kill their unborn without a care in the world. But the reality is, the majority of women getting abortions are poor, backed into corners of desperation.

I contend that we cannot call ourselves pro-life until we start responding to the conditions that contribute to abortions. The pro-life stance needs to broaden, not because abortion is somehow irrelevant, but because it is SO important, SO vital that we must broaden our stances on other LIFE issues to ensure the elimination of abortion. We can't claim to be pro-life and only pursue the outlawing of abortion. We have to take on poverty reduction, education reform, job security, economic climates, and other life issues that don't necessarily affect the unborn, but do indeed affect life: such as war and caring for the environment, etc.

Joel C. Hunter, the pastor who left the Christian Coalition because they feared broadening their agenda to poverty-reduction and caring for the environment would make them seem "liberal," said,

"if we are going to care for the vulnerable, we ought to care as much about the vulnerable outside the womb as inside the womb."

This is vital, not because poverty and abortion are issues in competition with one another for our commitment, but because they are irreversibly connected. Both need to be dealt with to be truly pro-life.

I think actress Patricia Heaton has the right idea about the proper combination of speaking and acting on pro-life positions. She's not silent about her convictions, but also works to provide options for desperate pregnant women in the form of adequate housing, funds for education, job security, and community support; something the pro-life movement on a whole is lacking.

Presidential-hopeful Mike Huckabee once said

"I believe life starts at conception, but I don't believe it ends at birth. We've got to be concerned about a child's education, safe neighborhoods, health care, better schools, clean air and water, the access to a college education. To care about a child's entire life, that is pro-life."

There is a valid criticism of pro-lifers that care for the unborn and stop caring about their fate once they are born. Birth is not the finish line in the pro-life race. Let's be pro-life in a way that utilizes both talk and action, both individual and corporate responsibility, both justice and compassion.

Here's a site to a good article that connects the dots between abortion and social conditions. http://ww.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=3198

7 comments:

musicmommy3 said...

Awesome, awesome, and um, awesome!!

You really made me think. Michael and I had a good time discussing this one.

Blessings!- Angela :)

Tia Lynn said...

I'm glad. Usually I just make people mad! haha!

Tara said...

Wow. Tia I have been reading some of your older stuff because I really like what you have to say. This is the MOST balanced 'Pro Life' post that I have ever read. I didn't think that anyone else out there thought like this. I love the quote by Huckabee: "I believe life starts at conception, but I don't believe it ends at birth. We've got to be concerned about a child's education, safe neighborhoods, health care, better schools, clean air and water, the access to a college education. To care about a child's entire life, that is pro-life."
Good Good Stuff here!!!

MDMOM said...

I am SO jazzed to find your blog. I've been yearning for intelligent discussions like this. You are spot-on about the pro-life issue. I want to read everything on here but I've got to go to bed.

Tia Lynn said...

Thanks mdmom! I always love feedback and various perspectives on issues! Come by anytime!

Anonymous said...

This was excellent.

Maddie

Anonymous said...

First off, I would like to say that I am actually pro-Choice, however I really liked your article. Although my personal beliefs are that women should be able to choose what happens to their bodies, I also believe that many people cannot access all the available choices... where is the choice in that? I agree with you. It is important to not just think about the zygote/fetus/baby but also the world that a fetus and full term baby will experience inside and outside the womb. I think that this is something that all people, pro-choice or pro-life or neither, should be worrying about. Can we create a "pro-humanity" group? Maybe we can all participate in that one?!?!