What if pro-lifers were really pro-life?

Sister Joan Chittister says, “We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.” Twitter photo.

by Rob Howard
Political Columnist

I’m tired – really, really tired, of hearing people say they are pro-life. As if that defined everything about them, when in fact they really mean they are anti-abortion and pro-birth.

Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie, and an outspoken advocate of justice, peace and equality, says this far more eloquently than I can:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed.

“And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

What would our country look like if the Republican Party were truly pro-life? It might mean that they would find a lot of commonality with their Democrat friends.

I get it that a significant number of people, although not a majority, are against abortion. I’m not personally wild about it either. But I am in the pro-choice camp because I don’t believe I have a right to impose my beliefs on others.

Let’s consider what a true pro-life outlook would be.

If you want to reduce abortion (it will never be wiped out), it seems that you would want to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And that doesn’t mean not having sex. I mean, get real! It means you would need to support family planning and birth control. You would need to encourage schools to have comprehensive, age appropriate sex education. And the number of abortions would go down, because the number of unwanted pregnancies would go down.

A pro-life stance would mean that mothers would have good healthcare during pregnancy, and good care during and after delivery for both her and her child. It would mean that we would explore ways to prevent poverty, because that is a major cause of hunger and lack of health care for both children and adults.

Fighting poverty would also mean that we have an education system that prepares kids for life and holding a good job. McDonald’s may be “America’s best first job” but you wouldn’t want to survive at that wage level for the rest of your life, would you?

And it would mean that you would support a minimum wage that gave people a chance at the American dream – having a decent place to live, affordable healthcare, enough food and the ability to provide for the children that have a right to life.

It would mean that, if a mother can’t provide for her child and chooses adoption over abortion, the child would be placed with a loving couple, without regard to whether they are opposite-sex or same-sex.

Being pro-life shouldn’t mean just surviving. Part of having a good life is having good health, so we should make sure that every American has good healthcare at an affordable price.

And part of good health should mean we stop treating mental illness like it is a second class disease. Every insurance policy I have ever had lets me see my doctor for low or no copay. For seeing a therapist, there are both larger co-pays and has a limit to how many visits you’re “allowed” each year.

Rather than condemning them to a life of shelters, hunger and begging on street corners we should treat our mentally ill homeless. Throwing them in jail doesn’t work either. Former Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel once said that he ran the largest mental health facility in the state – the Oklahoma County jail – but I’ll bet inmates receive minimal care beyond medications.

Being pro-life would mean we wouldn’t ruin someone’s life by jailing them for minor, non-violent offenses like possessing a bag of pot.

And of course, anyone who knows me knows I think being pro-life would mean you wouldn’t have the death penalty.

I’m not seeing many people who say they are pro-life supporting any of these positions. It sure would be nice if they did.

Copyright The Gayly – September 14, 2017 @ 9:45 a.m. CDT.