A common accusation about pro-lifers is that all they care about is ending abortion, and not what happens to the children and families if the mothers choose life. In reality, I think most pro-lifers feel a heavy responsibility to give, not just to stop abortion, but to make the choice for life easier. And if they don’t, they should.
I always wish accusers could meet my mother in law, who started a crisis pregnancy center years ago and has since spent countless hours of her own time delivering diapers and providing childcare and transportation for the families who came there for help. (The crisis pregnancy center may be one of the most misunderstood charitable organizations of our day, spending much of their time and budget providing practical help to mothers and children.) They should meet friends of mine who are foster or adoptive parents to kids in crisis situations. When these parents interrupt their lives to run from court-mandated visits to therapy sessions, and when they choose love a child who’s dealing with great loss or trauma, they’re living out their pro-life position in a practical and often messy way. We could argue that there should be even more people like this, but the idea that pro-life people as a rule lack compassion is laughable.
With that in mind, most sermons, blog posts, and articles in the pro-life bubble focus on action, which they should. Our primary concern ought to be ending the killing of innocent and inconvenient human life, and providing concrete help to women who make a choice to bring their babies to term. So we give.
But what if there’s something major we should receive from this worldview? What if being pro-life changes not just an unknown child’s life somewhere, but yours and mine, right now, every day? Because it would be a shame to support the pro-life agenda and yet miss a rich, life-changing side effect of the pro-life position, which is:
If every baby is created in the image of God, so am I.
If a child born in dire poverty or with a disability is worthy of life and the love of God, my life matters too.
If a terminally ill person deserves the right to life and then a death with dignity in God’s time, I do too.
We rightly condemn Germans who turned a blind eye during the Nazi era. We condemn them for their apathy, but we should also pity them. Because when they decided not to act, they handed over their own inherent value to the state. If the right to life in Germany had to be earned by having the correct ethnicity, politics, or level of ability, everyone’s life was potentially disposable at the next whim of a dictator. If poverty, race, or ability is a determining factor in whether or not someone should be be allowed to live to birth today, nobody is worth very much.
But pro-lifers claim that all human life is valuable and deserving. If I’m truly pro-life, I also have to be committed to the idea that my worth is not measured by the size of my bank account, my appearance, my health, or whether I’m married, divorced, widowed, or single. My worth isn’t based on whether I or others feel I have a lot to give, or whether in fact I have much of anything to give. My worth isn’t determined by whether I was planned or unplanned by my parents. None of this should affect my worth at all.
I am valuable every day of my life because I’m made in the image of God. He doesn’t make a mistake for the mother in poverty who needs help raising her baby, and He didn’t make a mistake when he created me. I don’t have to do a single thing to prove my worth, because it’s not based on anything I ever did, nor can it be taken away by others. It’s fixed, a done deal. When I claim to be pro-life, this is a truth about myself that I don’t have the right to question–and I don’t. It makes me thankful and humble, and it frees me to be a whole person.
Because I’m pro-life.