Pro-Life Priorities

The other day I read one of the most horrific, truly mind-boggling statistics I’ve ever read. But I will get to that in a second. First I want to establish a few points. I am pro-life. Obviously. Hopefully that is clear from my writing. But sometimes I am so embarrassed by the 1% of pro-life people that believe they are furthering the cause when really they are just giving others ammunition against us.

A few months ago I read this post on pro-life euphemisms. The author very articulately scolds pro-life advocates that put their energy into not-so-important hair-splitting instead of something useful. She talks about people who correct mothers that use the phrase “welcome into the world” at their child’s moment of birth. They argue that we “welcome the baby into the world” at conception and “meet for the first time face-to-face” at birth. I read that and said, “Ok, I get your point. Technically this is correct. Nit-picky, but ok, I get it.”

Then a few weeks ago I read this from a pro-life advocate, “A baby should be named as soon as the mother knows she is pregnant, giving that baby a girl and boy name. Deciding to name the child until after they are born only reinforces the thought process that they are not a person until birth. From the moment of conception, they are a child of God, and individual deserving of love and care, by name.”

Ok, now it’s time for that horrible statistic: In New York City, 41% of pregnancies ended in abortion in 2009. Among the black community, the rate of abortions was 60%. Sixty percent. Really, I cannot wrap my head around this.

When pro-choice people rip on pro-life people, their main arguments are that pro-life people are out-of-touch with reality and do not understand the burden that comes with an unplanned pregnancy.

When some pro-life people tell me that my Facebook status of, “We welcomed Maria Catalina into the world Feb 10,” actually degrades our sweet baby’s humanity or when they tell me that we obviously don’t value her personhood because we didn’t name her until six hours after she was born, I believe they give this “out of touch with reality” accusation some credence.

Forty-one percent of babies are killed in New York City and you are wasting your time and energy on this? There is SO much work to be done.

Just off the top of my head, here is a list of more important things we need to do:

  • Provide more widespread crisis counseling.
  • Talk to girls at a younger age to help them develop a healthy positive sense of self. Too many girls grow up with the goal of being sexy. Too many girls grow up thinking their self-worth is based on how much men desire them, thus, making them want to be sex objects rather than teachers, lawyers, doctors.
  • Change the explicit nature of media and marketing.
  • Change the way people think and talk about sex.
  • Pray fervently for women that find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy.
  • Expand employment opportunities so that people have ways to support their families.
  • Work for a just wage, because even if someone has a job that doesn’t mean it pays the bills.
  • Reform the health insurance industry to better support pregnant women.
  • Offer widespread parenting classes.
  • Show compassion.
  • Share more stories of women who were supported and helped, and told they could make great mothers if given the chance.
  • Educate people on financial literacy and financial stability.
  • Help people feed their families.
  • Provide better and safer communities and neighborhoods in which to raise children.
  • Improve the schools we send kids to.
  • Help parents teach their kids about sex.

So much needs to be done. There are so many factors that affect a woman in a crisis pregnancy. Why, why would pro-life advocates waste their time on such trivial semantics? I know that language is powerful and changing language can be a powerful tool, but, please, there are such bigger battles to fight. Let’s focus, people. After all the big stuff is figured out, fine, I’ll be willing to engage you in a lively debate on wording, but until then, quit yapping and start working.

Here are some examples of true progress toward decreasing the amount of abortions that I have heard of recently. A chapel opened in Fargo, North Dakota, that is located across the street from the only place in North Dakota that performs abortions. This clinic only performs abortions on Wednesdays, so the chapel is open on Wednesdays with Adoration celebrated until the clinic closes. This is what I like to see. Creative thinking. If we opened an Adoration chapel next to every abortion clinic, I am positive that it would effect great change. Or there is a new order of Sisters that take a vow to “protect and enhance the dignity of life” and daily counsel women in crisis, women with past abortions, and single mothers. Here in Austin the diocese offers regular training for anyone interested in staffing the Gabriel Project hotline or the Project Rachel hotline. These are great, concrete steps toward fighting abortion.

You will hardly ever win anyone over by being condescending and uncompassionate. It’s not that we have to be PC when it comes to talking about abortion but we do need to convey a sense of understanding. If a woman is truly dealing with a crisis pregnancy, the last thing she needs to feel guilty about is that she hasn’t decided between Kate with a K or with a C.