Pro-Life or “Anti-Abortion?” Who Decides???

Tonight I wish to tackle a few varied thoughts on the topic of “pro-life” and what that really means.  In the generation of “political correctness,” one of the things often mentioned is to call people or groups by their preferred terminology.  For example, most people of African origin in the United States tend to prefer the term “African-American” to “black.”  Most actively homosexual people prefer “gay” to a host of other terms, some very ugly and derogatory, and the majority of females today tend to prefer being referred to as “women” rather than “ladies.”  I for one think we should honor and respect those wishes for the most part, at least, unless it totally violates our personal convictions as the people of God.

What I find amazing, however, is that the reverse respect is not particularly applied. The very same people who would never disrespect someone racially or ethnically have no issue with changing the terminology used for those of us who are “pro-lifers” just for one. Almost without exception the term now chosen for us is “anti-abortion” while they remain “pro-choice” and would be very deeply offended if we called them “pro-abortion” or, worse but more accurately, “pro-deathers.”  Yet one day someone, somewhere, decided it was more “correct” all around to change our  movement’s preferred name, without asking those of us who actively support saving the lives of the unborn, as “anti-abortionists.” And somehow it seems to have stuck.

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Part of the issue of course is valid–there are many supposedly “pro-lifers”  who are anxious to save the unborn but do not show much concern for the currently and visibly alive here on earth, such as those in abject poverty or immigrants, or those on death row. Whatever one’s view on those issues, at very least we must deeply and actively care about the people who are in those situations. That too is part of being “pro-life” and always has been.   Still, should it not be our choice what to call our own movement?  I think the answer is fairly obvious.

But there is a deeper issue at hand. What is the motive behind this unasked-for change in terminology?  I would contend it has to do with the continuing attempt to bring us together with the “pro-choice” movement. And while there are people on both sides of the issue who are honestly of good will, and who care deeply about society, we as “pro-life” folks have the specific goal of eliminating abortion from society, or at very least lessening its frequency and perceived need. That of course is a huge threat to the other camp whose main concern is the “woman’s right to choose.” President Barack Obama, arguably one of the most blatantly “pro-choice” leaders in the entire world today, rather creepily used the 39th anniversary of Roe v Wade to express his desire to keep abortion “safe and legal.”  Here are his remarks on a day which many of us mark as one of the most tragic in world history. He rejoices for the women while we mourn for the untold millions of unborn.

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Image via Wikipedia

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What is so blatantly and patently  false about this line of reasoning is something which should be painfully obvious to all, no matter what the economics, ethnicity or genders involved.  Simply this–with the rare exceptions of rape and incest, women do not generally become pregnant all by themselves. The Supreme Court ruling in 1973 supposedly was put into place to “protect” the woman’s right to choose what  she does with her own body–but with no consideration whatsoever that she has already made that choice by freely joining her body to another human of the male species in order to create the crisis situation in the first place. Very few pregnancies are forced upon anyone.
Yet the father has no “choice” at all in whether to save or raise his own child simply due to the physical location of the unborn baby. How that can be considered “Constitutional” by a Constitutional attorney who is now our President is beyond imagination to me. I was told last year by several well-meaning people, when I posted some similar items on my Face Book page, that, as a male, I simply had “no vote in the matter.” Period. This kind of prejudice against life is absolutely staggering to me. For the record I in no way judge the women having abortions and never have, and I say that with all of my heart, but nor do I believe that the rights of the father should be dismissed either, to say nothing of the unborn child. The prevailing attitude has gone from one extreme to the other in so many tragic cases.  May God forgive us all for contributing to this problem, whether directly or indirectly.  And my silence and apathy has done so many times in the past.  I pray it will do so no more however.
I might add that the same line of reasoning applies to the decision to force insurance companies to pay for contraception, also led by Obama administration of late.  Below is a link to a powerful article on this topic.  Even if you do not agree, I would challenge you to check it out with an open mind and heart.  The writer, Thomas Peters, shares some tremendously compelling points:
I would only add the following to his remarks via the comments which I also posted on his page:
People wonder why Catholics have joined forces with conservative politics increasingly over the past few years–a question I have asked myself as well even after returning to the Church. Well here is an example of why. We as Catholic Christians are in the dubious position of believing in social teaching that is generous to the poor and needy, as well it should be, however having even those terms redefined for us by the far left in ways such as this. We should pay for someone’s contraception so that they can freely have sexual activity without, as President Obama once said regarding his own daughter and potential grandchild, “being punished with a pregnancy.”  And the mantra is, “they are going to do it anyway.”  I am not sure when enabling people to do that which many of us consider to be sinful, as well as harmful to themselves and society, became the government’s job to enforce and regulate. But here it is.  We thought George Orwell‘s “1984” would come about by dictatorship, and in reality it is coming about instead in the name of freedom. But it still ends up to be a very real form of personal oppression, by practicing, as Pope Benedict XVI aptly calls it, “the dictatorship of relativism.” And that is even more insidious because those of us who believe otherwise have gradually become the “narrow and intolerant” if we dare to disagree. Frightening.
The bottom line: we do really live in a “culture of death” as Blessed John Paul II told us while on this earth.  And if we do not speak up, exactly who will? Especially when the media and politically elite within our society attempt to subtly silence and pigeon-hole us by stealing our own “Pro-life” terminology? Think about it.
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14 Replies to “Pro-Life or “Anti-Abortion?” Who Decides???”

  1. I really liked your excellent posting. I would like to read more of your stuff. You make some very good points in a powerful, persuasive way. It is interesting to me that the pro-choice camp does not like to refer to the baby as “baby” or “child”, instead cling him/her “tissue” or “products of conception”, thus denying personhood. Thanks for you hard work and thoughtfulness on this topic. Mary Ann McAtee

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  2. Note that people who jump down my throat for saying “pro-abortion” have no compunctions about calling those who disagree with them “pro-war” or the nonsensical “anti-environment”. Or lumping farmers, researchers and hunters as “animal abusers”.

    Also, “pro-choice” ideologues do not support “choice” in any other issue. Libertarians are pro-choice. The abortion lobby is simply lying.

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    1. I think I am with you, Will, just clarifying are you “Pro-life” in the sense the article refers to? As to the rest of your comments I wholly agree, I just was not sure on that point. If you get a chance to clarify please do. And thanks again for posting!

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  3. Cuts both ways, dude. Do you know how many sides refer to the other side not as “pro-choice” but “pro-aborts?” Hardly in deference to their wishes, and that totally adds more heat than light. We are anti-abortion, and that’s AP style for a reason.

    For what it’s worth, the AP Stylebook also puts them down as “abortion rights protesters.”

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    1. As to “cutting both ways” I thought I did…in fact the first paragraph was an appeal to do exactly that. I have never called the “pro-choice” camp any inflammatory names and am simply suggesting that the media and others do not do so to us either. Blessings and thanks for the post.

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  4. And while there are people on both sides of the issue who are honestly of good will

    You are more generous than I. I find it hard to believe that anyone could hold a pro-choice position with good will. Ignorance possibly, and even that would be bordering on willful ignorance in the vast majority of cases.

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    1. Well, you’re presuming clear thinking. But schools don’t now, if ever, teach clear thinking. Instead, all claims are a mish-mash of positivism and relativism, and everyone who doesn’t examine their foundations carefully ends up tending a trend.

      I agree that I couldn’t trust someone who did examine these foundations and yet retained them, but most people are too busy working to afford the rent to care. Mind, it’s not a question of capability but interest.

      Whose fault is that? Ours, I say. We lack living and spreading and even knowing the truth, so no wonder people are driven by the passions and their selves. Prostitutes and tax collectors will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before those who know the law but do not live in love of God.

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  5. I agree entirely with what you said except your notion of “judging.” Pro-life advocates have a perfect right to judge other persons’ actions, just as judges do so in a courtroom, legislators do so when making laws, and media opinion-makers do so when expressing their opinions. In fact, you make and quote a number of “judgments” in your post.

    Rendering an opinion is not judgment-neutral. If you claim to be a pro-lifer and denounce, in general, the actions of those who enable abortion and those who wantonly commit abortion as baby-killers, and do so with all the justifications that exist, religious or otherwise, then you cannot exempt specific persons from your claims, even if those persons include your wife, daughter, or closest male or female friends. I imagine that it would be very difficult to tell your wife that she is a baby-killer when she went behind your back and had an abortion. You may love them and forgive them, but you cannot deny the deed.

    We cannot claim to “judge” as God would judge us when we die. Only God has the power to keep a soul in Heaven or send it to Hell. But we certainly can judge a word, action, or law as immoral and against God’s natural law, and speak out against it with a clear conscience. We can also pray for God’s mercy for a soul, and that God will forgive us of our sins just as we forgive others who have sinned against us.

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    1. To both c matt and raymond nicholas–first of all thanks to you each for posting! I don’t think I am being overly generous actually, c matt, nor did I claim NOT to make any judgments, raymond. Not sure where you got that idea in fact. However I personally know of some people who are “pro-choice” but do such things as help hurricane victims in other nations, give huge amounts of money to help those in poverty, or even do short-term missionary work, just for two examples, and yet do not spend much time trying to overturn Roe v Wade or to stop others from having abortions. And I agree that it is baffling. And, in the two cases I am especially thinking of, they are folks who are in fact against abortions overall but believe that some factors make it the lesser of two evils. For the record I clearly do not agree with them, and they know my position well. But that does not give me the ability to judge their souls before God nor will I attempt to do so now or later.

      Our biggest need is to win people over to our understanding of the issue while yet attempting to keep some type of dialogue open (if possible), rather than to decide who is willfully ignorant or not. That part is just not our job. I am hardly “soft pedaling” here either, and have in fact lost numerous people from my FB page because I post on this topic frequently both on this blog and there as well, and I do not plan to quit doing so anytime soon. In fact if you do a search on this WP blog page under the topic “abortion” you will find an article I wrote about one of those people, who had been a friend on some level at least since high school in the 1970s, but who then caused a huge ruckus and eventually “unfriended” me over this exact topic, after publicly insulting me by the way. And several other “friends” from my page followed his example sadly. So no, I am not, as raymond somewhat suggested, exempting anyone from my claims, whether friend or family. My conscience is clear in that regard. The article by the way is called “Another Kind Of Abortion Pain” and is linked here: http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/another-kind-of-abortion-pain/. If you further search you will find around a dozen articles that deal with this topic in one fashion or another, and this blog is fairly new (105 posts so far), so that means at least 1 out of 10 of my articles thus far have dealt with pro-life issues at least on some level. I am far from neutral on the topic!!!

      But even Abby Johnson (the famed former Planned Parenthood director from Texas who became one of the strongest pro-life leaders in the last 2-3 years and wrote the book “Unplanned”) states that she was a Christian who very honestly believed it was “not a child” and therefore believed it was not wrong to end pregnancies, and she herself had ended two of them before she observed one performed on an ultrasound screen and then she immediately became “pro-life.” Her story is pretty amazing, but is also a case of someone who followed societal norms rather than thinking it through in a clear and Biblical way. People simply do not always do so. I can and do judge that her actions were TERRIBLY wrong, but who am I to judge her heart? That part I must and do leave to God. And it would appear He did a great job of bringing her over to the other side precisely due to the loving responses and daily prayers of the “40 Days For Life” people who were constantly at the clinic she ran for PP. I heard her speak in person last year where she shared all of this and I would highly recommend her book by the way. It is a classic case of someone being raised in a society where “choice” is so normal that the person does not think otherwise until jolted out of their blindness. And we all have those blind areas. I have to agree, c matt, it is VERY hard to understand. It is for me as well. I am old enough to remember when Roe v Wade was passed–I was in 11th grade at that time. But I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Abby’s claims, nor that of the two people I mentioned who I know very, very well.

      The biggest point of this whole article though was to not allow the other side to take away our own title of “pro-life” for that is what we are. A people of LIFE. Calling us anything less subtly removes some of the validity of our position, and that is precisely why I object to doing so. And one of the very reasons I began observing this phenomenon is that one of those two people challenged me on using that term. She felt I should call myself “anti-abortion” but SHE still wanted to be called “pro-choice” herself–AND “pro life” as well! I was simply to be “anti-abortion.” And that is inconsistent in my book.

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