I consider myself pro-life. Yes, I am against abortion. No, I do not protest abortion clinics or shame women. I believe in supporting women during and after pregnancy. I recognize that making abortion illegal will only drive women to unsafe abortion clinics. I believe in providing women with other options. I believe in supporting poor women and giving them a means to support their families. I believe in showing them they are beloved by God, no matter what they choose.
But when I say I am pro-life, I refer to so much more than just abortion. I look to the scriptures and find a God who does not fit the description of the average pro-lifer. I see a God who values all life. I see a God who is:
- Pro-weapon (gun) control: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;” (Matthew 5:38-39, NRSV) “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, NRSV)
- Anti-death penalty: “they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (John 8:4-7, NRSV)
- Pro-welfare: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 23:22, NRSV)
- Pro-universal healthcare: Jesus healed a woman with an evil spirit (Luke 13:10-17), a woman suffering hemorrhages (Matthew 9:20-22), ten men with leprosy (Luke 17:11-19), and many others who were considered unclean and/or outcasts and were rejected by their society.
- Pro-living minimum wage: “You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt.” (Deuteronomy 24:14-15, NRSV). This verse is meant to protect people who are destitute from being taken advantage of by their employers.
- Pro-feminism: This one is tricky, and I plan to address it more extensively in the future. However, for now I would like to direct you to two verses: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NRSV) “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, NRSV)
- Pro-immigration: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34, NRSV)
The first president of my alma mater, Asa Mahan, was an abolitionist during the Civil War. He taught that because we are all created by God, all people have intrinsic worth. Intrinsic worth means our worth cannot be taken away. It is an inherent part of who we are, given to us by God. Many pro-lifers would have us believe that unborn children have intrinsic worth, but the poor, the outcasts, the immigrants, the non-Christians, the non-whites, do not. Although Mahan used the idea of intrinsic worth to fight slavery, it can be applied apply to any violation of human rights.
Pro-lifers say they support the sanctity of life, but then pick and choose who it applies to. I think this is a huge contradiction. I want to take back the term pro-life. Yes, unborn children have intrinsic worth, but it doesn’t end at birth. To call oneself pro-life should mean you see the intrinsic worth of ALL people, and follow God’s call to protect ALL life.
*While many of the pro-lifers I have met match this description, I also know others who do not