June 2022


Since the Supreme Court of the United States struck down, last week, the fifty-year old decision made in Roe v. Wade, which granted federal protection for women who seek the right to abort pregnancies, I have been wondering about those who celebrate the decision.

I am not addressing here the political hot potato and emotional baggage of those who may rightfully claim the title, pro-abortionist. I am not one of those. I would much prefer that women and families be granted the medical care, financial security, social support, and moral protections that would make many abortions unnecessary. Those supports are not in place, however. Aside from issues of rape and incest, violence enacted upon women, abusive relationships, and disparities in racial and ethnic realities, the lack of support for women and families makes abortion a cultural and societal reality.

I address, instead, those who have taken the opposite stance, the Pro-Life perspective. Aside from the political designation of ‘those who oppose abortion,’ I think being pro-life is important. I think Jesus was pretty pro-life.

Herein lies my wonderment, however. What Jesus would mean by pro-life and what political activists mean by Pro-Life differs considerably. I do not think Jesus would have been a pro-abortionist, either. On the contrary, I think Jesus would have worked with people to take responsibility for the social circumstances of fragile pregnancies. He would have seen the need for change and done something about it. He would have embraced life, in all its qualitative aspects, and called his followers into responsibility for provision and protection of those qualities. This might include things like having enough food, a safe place to live, clothing, social dignity, cultural affirmation, equality, safety, and justice in the streets.

That, it seems to me, is Jesus’ pro-life. It is unlike the anti-abortion Pro-Life stance. What, I wonder will the proponents of the Pro-Life stance do to help the many pregnant women who result from a ban on federal protections for abortion rights? Will they feed them and their children? Will they house them? Will they get them out of abusive and destructive relationships? Will they protect them, care for them, honor their dignity? Will they take them in and see them through, since the social safety net has been removed and the financial lifeboat has sunk? Will they insure that the next generation will survive poverty, or more boldly, escape it? Or will they move next on issues of contraception, moral turpitude, and scarlet letters? It is frightening!

I join Jesus in being pro-life, but I cannot accept the Pro-Life political stance. The latter is too removed from the former. Like much in our age, I find the Pro-Life stance too angry, too divisive, too judgmental, too racially and ethnically motivated, too power-based. It seems to me to be no more than a political control mechanism that takes us back to the good ole male-dominated, racially motivated, culturally biased attitudes of the pre- Roe v. Wade era.

This comes as a surprise to no one, I am sure. I just wish that all who claim Jesus, and those who would just want to walk a more just way of life, could embrace more fully his pro-life stance and reject that of the political anti-abortionists.

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