Is Pro-Life only about abortion?

"We are told that being pro-life requires us to adopt very particular views on contestable issues like environmental, criminal justice, social welfare or immigration policies. This argument often fails at a basic logical level, but worse, it often neuters the moral case against abortion and is used by enemies of the church to prove the church’s purported hypocrisy." - American Reformer

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

The writer has some good points. "Pro-life" is being used in some dubious ways lately. I don't think his example from Karen Swallow on RNS isn't one of them though, and he seems to construe Pro-life too narrowly.

My comment on his post...

In many ways, Francis Schaeffer’s How Shall We Then Live? launched the modern pro-life movement. It was about more than abortion then and is now. It was, and is, about the sanctity of life. For example, Schaeffer had a lot to say about euthanasia and assisted suicide and similar end of life issues, as well as about beginning of life issues.
We can’t just be dismissive about broader applications of the “life is sacred” principle and insist that only abortion matters.

If memory servers, Schaeffer had a lot to say as well about use of human embryos in research, etc. So there's definitely a history in the movement of caring about more than abortion. 

And if there wasn't such a history, the reality of the sanctity of life has broad implications beyond protecting the unborn.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

My main problem with many other Christians on this issue is what about the kid after birth? If he has a defect do most Republican Christians support taxes and welfare to care for her? The fact is that is a resounding NO. What is the father is abusive? Little to no support for services to help her. One rinky-dink ministry won't help the thousands that need this assistance. What about the dead-beat dad who won't help the mother financially? Will you fund aid to care for them? Too many Christians won't. They oppose taxation, or absurdly say other services need to be cut before they'll give on this.

What about school to prison? Its a reality? Would you rather pay $25,000/yr for good schools or $125,000/yr for a good prison. The fact is too many Republicans are just fine with good prisons and bad schools.

Its tragic.

And don't deny this. I have met hundreds of Christians who think this way.

Joel Shaffer's picture

If the pro-life movement was more "womb-to-the-tomb" in its approach and strategy, the pro-life movement would have a much bigger coalition and many more black Christians and many more young adults as well.  The question that Mark bring up, "What happens to the kid after birth?" is the main issue hundreds of people over the past 30 years that I've had conversations with who straddle the fence when it comes to abortion and Pro-Life.   

When Constantine outlawed abortion and infanticide in the Roman Empire, he also provided government welfare (distributed through the Church) and legal protection for woman and children to help those in poverty  (“If any parent should report that he has offspring which on account of poverty he is not able to rear, there shall be no delay in issuing food and clothing” (Theodosian Code, II.27.1–2).)

That's a far cry from conservative pro-life law makers such as Senator Ron Johnson who stated,

“People decide to have families and become parents. That’s something they need to consider when they make that choice. I’ve never really felt it was society’s responsibility to take care of other people’s children.” 

I realize that many progressives have taken Johnson's statement out of context, but Johnson seems to have broken away from compassionate conservative message that he built his politics on.  His "Joseph Project,"  which was a great idea for how church can help with employment, transportation, and etc... was a good step in the right direction for alleviating poverty.  

Larry's picture

Moderator

I have met hundreds of Christians who think this way.

I have to say that you have the wierdest friends. I have never heard any conservative say these things and the only people who claim it is said can't manage to produce any evidence for it being said.

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

I have met hundreds of Christians who think this way.

I have to say that you have the wierdest friends. I have never heard any conservative say these things and the only people who claim it is said can't manage to produce any evidence for it being said.

I submit as evidence any conservative church in KS and the entire Republican contingent of the KS state legislature.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I submit as evidence any conservative church in KS and the entire Republican contingent of the KS state legislature.

This is why I said, "the only people who claim it is said can't manage to produce any evidence for it being said." Referencing the supposed views of large groups is not evidence for a position. I know a lot of people who think that raising children is the responsibility of parents not the state. I don't know of anyone who thinks children should starve or freeze rather than getting help from the government. My guess is that you don't know any of these either. 

The question is rarely "Should we take care of children and people in difficult places?" The question is almost always, "What is the best way to do that?"

 

Larry's picture

Moderator

If the pro-life movement was more "womb-to-the-tomb" in its approach and strategy, the pro-life movement would have a much bigger coalition and many more black Christians and many more young adults as well. 

Making "pro-life" into "womb-to-tomb" is similar to those who responded to Black Lives Matter with All Lives matter.

Of course all lives matters, but BLM as an idea was focused on a very particular concern. Every pro-life person would say "womb-to-tomb" matters but "pro-life" focuses on a very particular concern.

It may be that this expanded coalition is not as concerned about the primary issue and that is why they are not onboard.

As I said above, the question is rarely "Should we take care of children and people in difficult places?" The question is almost always, "What is the best way to do that?"

But I don't think we should dilute and distract the Pro Life movement by including other things. It is about abortion, the greatest moral tragedy of our times.

pvawter's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

If the pro-life movement was more "womb-to-the-tomb" in its approach and strategy, the pro-life movement would have a much bigger coalition and many more black Christians and many more young adults as well.  The question that Mark bring up, "What happens to the kid after birth?" is the main issue hundreds of people over the past 30 years that I've had conversations with who straddle the fence when it comes to abortion and Pro-Life.   

When Constantine outlawed abortion and infanticide in the Roman Empire, he also provided government welfare (distributed through the Church) and legal protection for woman and children to help those in poverty  (“If any parent should report that he has offspring which on account of poverty he is not able to rear, there shall be no delay in issuing food and clothing” (Theodosian Code, II.27.1–2).)

That's a far cry from conservative pro-life law makers such as Senator Ron Johnson who stated,

“People decide to have families and become parents. That’s something they need to consider when they make that choice. I’ve never really felt it was society’s responsibility to take care of other people’s children.” 

I realize that many progressives have taken Johnson's statement out of context, but Johnson seems to have broken away from compassionate conservative message that he built his politics on.  His "Joseph Project,"  which was a great idea for how church can help with employment, transportation, and etc... was a good step in the right direction for alleviating poverty.  

These two situations are completely unrelated. Modern birth control is extremely effective and gives adults much greater control over their reproduction. This was simply not the case in 4th century Rome. For Johnson to point out that people are exercising their choice prior to conception is not a denial of compassion toward those in need, and any position which ignores parental responsibilities is neither compassionate nor conservative. His Joseph Project demonstrates the marriage of social support and individual accountability, not a repudiation of either. 

Dan Miller's picture

My own church followed the direction of Aaron and Mark here.

I don't think that's bad, necessarily. But I am more in line with what Larry is saying here. I think having a day like "Sanctity of Human Life" Sunday is a good thing. To me that puts focus for one day on why we as Christians should oppose abortion. 

Yes, there are other good things that the church should be doing. But why does this one issue (abortion opposition) lately seem to cause Christians to want to bring up other issues? Next month is Black History month, and I don't expect us to say, "Yes, it's Black History month, but let's not forget that all races have historical contributions to Christianity. So we're going to look at the history of all these other races."

Not that that would be wrong, either. None of these "days" are required by Scripture. If you don't want to have one or any, fine.

Analogy: you've got four kids and on each child's birthday, he or she gets presents, their favorite cake, blows out the candles, etc. Except one child, Timmy - every time his birthday comes around, you say, "Timmy is important, but ALL you children are special and important! So we have presents for everyone and everyone is going to blow out the candles together." What are you communicating about that child?

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

I submit as evidence any conservative church in KS and the entire Republican contingent of the KS state legislature.

This is why I said, "the only people who claim it is said can't manage to produce any evidence for it being said." Referencing the supposed views of large groups is not evidence for a position. I know a lot of people who think that raising children is the responsibility of parents not the state. I don't know of anyone who thinks children should starve or freeze rather than getting help from the government. My guess is that you don't know any of these either. 

The question is rarely "Should we take care of children and people in difficult places?" The question is almost always, "What is the best way to do that?"

 

Larry,

First, as you say in another post, I never said "from womb to the tomb" welfare.

Second, remember the book of James? Be warm and be fed... that's what a lot of people are effectively saying when they say "parents should raise children." Of course parents should care for the children, BUT LOT'S OF THEM DO NOT! If we outlaw abortion, and therefore have more children who are born that previously would have been aborted, when need more government services to care for those kids. It's patently obvious.