I hesitated (more than a couple of times) before clicking "Publish" on this blog post.
There are lots of questions and thoughts I've had swirling around in my mind over the last while about the topic of abortion and what being "pro-life" really means. Attending the March for Life earlier this week brought some of them to the forefront for me, and my husband told me I should blog about them. So here I am. I'm working through my feelings on this topic.
Some people may be offended. Some may not. Some may agree with me. Others won't. I know that, and that's okay.
This week, I took part in the March for Life. It takes place every year in January to commemorate the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. There were around 500,000 people there (despite what the news media said...or didn't say).
I bet if you asked around at the rally, most of the people there would say that they are "pro-life." But I think if you look at it realistically, a majority of those people are really "anti-abortion," not "pro-life."
There's a difference.
You see, nominal pro-lifers--usually Conservatives (but not always)--tout the sanctity of human life. However, I can't reconcile the fact that many are so passionate about protecting an unborn child, but they are fine with murdering that child when he's grown into a criminal on death row. That's not pro-life.
A human life is a human life. If we say we truly believe in the sanctity of human life, that means we don't get to pick and choose between who we save and who we murder.
For the record, there is no difference in my heart between those who are pro-abortion and those who are pro-death penalty. You're killing a human being either way. I love you, but I don't agree with you.
It's that whole "thou shalt not kill" thing that I take seriously, I guess. I don't believe it's right to return evil for evil.
Yes, I know it's the law in some states, but that doesn't make it right in my heart. Yes, when you break the law in a particular state, you bear the consequences that come with that crime. If the consequence is death, it's death. Not much you can say to that...but, again, that doesn't make the issue right in my heart, and I refuse to vote for someone who boasts about the number of executions his state has carried out (I won't name names).
(Aside from all of this is the number of death row inmates who have been found not be guilty of the crimes they had supposedly committed. How many innocent people have been murdered because of our need for the "eye for an eye"?)
I was having this "pro-life vs. anti-abortion" discussion with one of my friends the other day and she asked me how I would feel if one of those murderers killed my child. If I'm honest, my first instinct as a mother would be to kill him. That's my vengeful human nature. I would probably hold hate in my heart. I would probably try to think of the most horrifying, painful ways I could carry out my revenge. That's my sinful nature, though.
That's not what God would want me to do.
I hope that if something like that were to ever happen to me or to someone I love that I would eventually find God's grace to be sufficient. I hope that I would realize that I have been forgiven much. I hope that I would allow God to love through me, despite my urges to exact revenge. I know I would hurt deeply for the rest of my life, but I hope that I would at least be able to let go of the desire to return evil for evil.
On top of the issue of "pro-life vs. anti-abortion", many of those protesting don't seem to think of all the issues that surround abortion.
Okay, so we change a teenage girl's mind and convince her not to abort her child. Then we pat ourselves on the back for our valiant efforts and drop the situation there.
What happens to this child?
If his mother keeps him, does he live in poverty? Is he on welfare? Does he have access to health care? Does he have the opportunity for a quality education?
If his mother decides she can't keep him, where does he go--into an already overrun foster care system? If he stays too long in the system, we all know it's unlikely he will be adopted. The sad truth.
We want to save the babies, but not take care of them as they grow up.
So YAY! Good on us for saving a human life...but, truthfully, we aren't doing anyone any favors because we aren't making sure that child we "saved" has the opportunity for a decent life outside the womb. We "save" him, but then we vote on issues that doom him to a life that is less than we'd accept for our own children.
During the rally, people were talking about Tim Tebow and the fact that he was saved from abortion, as though his mother's story is in any way the typical abortion story. It's not. He's the Christian champion du jour, but the fact that his mother--a missionary--didn't abort him is really not that surprising.
Tim Tebow seems to be a great guy. I'm not against him as a person. But he was not an unwanted pregnancy. His mother wasn't a unmarried teenage girl. He wasn't the consequence of an unprotected one night stand or a rape.
The latter are the people who REALLY are at the center of the abortion issue. Asking a missionary to keep her wanted pregnancy and asking a scared teenage girl to keep her unwanted pregnancy are two opposite situations.
Another blogger used the term "pro-birth"...because that's really what many people in the pro-life movement seem to be. It seems that our concern for the child stops at birth, when he or she is no longer the adorable fetus-in-distress we envisioned when we donned our anti-abortion superhero capes.
Abortion has been legal for decades and, if we're honest with ourselves, there's no end in sight at this point. I really don't vote at all based on the pro-life campaign topic because there are so many other issues that are relevant to right now and CAN change the life of a child who is spared from an abortion (or change the lives of MY children, for that matter).
I will always peacefully protest abortion. I don't believe it's the right choice, even though I know that God has given everyone the right to choose.
So this is my challenge. If you call yourself a "pro-lifer", think about what you mean when you apply that term to yourself. Are you REALLY "pro-life" or are you really just "anti-abortion"? They are two very different things.
What would it mean for you to truly commit to being "pro-life"? Realize that being "pro-life" means that you believe that you desire to apply God's mercy to those who are innocent and to those who are guilty. God's mercy doesn't discriminate between the innocent and the guilty.
The guilty bear the consequences of their actions (as we all do), but is it really right to spare one life and end another?
If you are truly pro-LIFE, when you vote, think about how the issues you vote on will affect the lives of the children you're trying to save. How will you vote on welfare? How will you vote on health care and Medicare? How will you vote on issues that affect the economy and the future job market? How will you vote on education?
As you can see, my thoughts surrounding this issue are a little black and white. I know there are gray areas to every issue, but I feel strongly that there really is a line between pro-life and anti-abortion. I won't vote Conservative just because a candidate says they are pro-life. I will vote on issues. How that will go this time around, I don't yet know, but I am keeping my eyes open and not blindly following after someone just because of their supposed stance on abortion.
I'm praying that God guides me. That's all I can do.