Pro-Choice v. Pro-Abortion

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I read somewhere recently a statement that implied that no one was pro-abortion. (Was it at Jeanne's?) And initially that made a certain amount of sense to me. I could buy the fact that very few people actually thought of abortion as a "best practices" procedure.

However, I am not so certain when I examine the issue closely. When anyone speaks on the issue (and of course all we really get is sound bites) the only thing I tend to hear is a recommitment to "protect a woman's right to choose" (repugnant enough as it stands). However, where are the politicians who are explaining how we will help that woman have a child and still maintain a reasonable quality of life. Statistics show us that single mothers sit as a majority at the very base of our economic scale. True, not all single mothers are impoverished and we don't understand the full complexities of what causes these conditions of poverty. However, the statistics would seem to suggest that young single women who have children are likely to fare poorly.

Is it any wonder that a scared teenager might seek an abortion (perhaps with the collusion of boyfriend and even parents)? How then does a supposedly "pro-choice" politician make the choice for keeping the child viable? How does such a politician suggest we remove the poverty stamp from such an arrangement? I have heard nothing.

Hearing nothing causes me to think that pro-choice is pro-one-choice, not really about providing opportunities to make the right decision. If that is the case, a politician has no right to claim that they are "pro-choice." They are pro-abortion. And of course we have all recognized that.

But there are still those who say that the label unjustly stigmatizes people who in conscience are against abortion but who are stalwart defenders of the right to choose.

Well, then, my reply would be--truly defend the right to choose. Tell us how you would support women who make the right choice. Tell us how you would help the poor and downtrodden. Tell us how you would make life better for these oppressed. For until such a politician does so, he or she is not pro-choice, and certainly not pro-woman. They are pro-abortion.

On the other hand, I hear too much about removing the (non-existant) right to abortion from the pro-life side and not enough about what should be done to help. I don't think we mean to be so callous, but it sometimes appears that we are so focused on bringing a child into the world that everything else blurs out--permanently. Once the child is born, how will it be cared for? Who will care for the mother of the child? How will the family be nurtured and made strong? We need to remember than in most cases the person having the child has already demonstrated that they are not strong on making good choices. How do we help them understand and learn to make better choices for themselves and for their families?

Frankly, I'm sick to death of hearing about pro-death politicians and pro-death legislation, with all the frothing and fomenting that goes with it. We are all pro-death until we devise schema that allow unfortunate individuals pushed to the edge a chance to truly choose life. Merely outlawing abortion is insufficient. I need to hear along with this passion for saving the unborn a passion for saving their mothers, their families, and their lives down the road. I know it's there. I just don't hear enough about it.

It is exceedingly worthwhile to work for the elimination of abortion. But while we do so we do well to remember that we need to have facilities, institutions, and programs in place that will aid struggling young mothers and their children. This is true even when the mother decides to give her child up for adoption. Often a pregnancy in a young life has disrupted education, family life, and stability for the young mother. What will we do for these young people? Are we prepared at this point to receive and accommodate the enormous needs that must be met if we could stop the abortion machine?

Let us truly be prolife then, moving forward with a two pronged foray. Do not let our rhetoric be solely, "Stop abortion now," but let it also convey a notion of loving, caring for, and nurturing young mothers and children. Let us be seen as not merely opposing, but building something positive for the future.

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I got the link to this from Steven Riddle. What is interesting is that, before his flip-flop on abortion, I was leaning towards Kucinich. Of course, none of the below is a viable candidate to me now. See Mr. Riddle's... Read More


Good points Steven.

The last four Habitat for Humanity homes my group built were for single mothers with two to four kids. At our pro-life pregnancy center we also provide, when needed, diapers, car seats, clothing, formula - whatever is needed to support women in making a pro-life choice. We provide parenting classes too, and have just started a Bible-study group for our clients. And there's a teen abstinence program in the works.

So I guess all that goes to say that there are definitely needs beyond the pro-life 'moment of decision' out there, and some of them are being met. But, all of those things I mentioned have been done with no Federal government funding at all (just a pinch of local funding). Maybe it's because we are not making these things known that people are not aware of the needs? If people were more aware, would they push their politicians on the issues? Has the Church really done enough work educating people about these sorts of social justice issues, and why they are so important for a healthy society?

It is quite the positive that what are called emergency pregnancy centers is a growing trend. They far outnumber the abortion clinics and the pro-life community is largely in sync with what you are saying.

Much of what needs to be done (as with most things) is at the community level. Politicians are not going to create a pro-life environment, they can mainly help by not making it worse. Our best efforts of time and prayer can be directed at our own cities.

Only at the political level does working towards outlawing abortion make sense. Removing this temptation will prevent millions of women from being pressured into making this mistake. So I say it is another case of Both/And and not Either/Or.

The organizations that support "choice" and the activists and politicians that support PP and NARAL really have no plans for the other side of choice. PP, or NARAL do not have one center for women to have children. No pre-natal vitamin programs. No financial support for un-wed mothers. If someone goes into a PP center for advice what are the odds they counsel them to have a child? About zero.

But there is always the temptation to be more against abortion then you are in support of helping women who find themselves in this situation. The pro-life movement like all of us also needs a daily examination of conscience.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 30, 2004 8:18 AM.

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