Pro-Birth, or Pro-Life?

By: Abby Smith, President of The Kings College Students for Life, Expect Hope Intern

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

– Sister Joan Chittister, Catholic Nun.

This is a common critique of the pro-life movement. The claim is that “pro-lifers” push so hard to keep women out the abortion clinics but leave them high and dry in the hospital with a newborn and a lack of support.
If simply opposing abortion is inadequate, what does it mean to be pro-life? How do we go about beginning a “broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is”? We can start by acknowledging that life is messy. To truly support someone, you need to commit to them, earn their trust, show them love, and sacrifice your time and energy. Deep heart and life changes rarely come from slogans or pamphlets, but from long-term relationships centered in the love and sacrifice of Christ. This is hard. There’s no quick fix, no instant gratification. But can we do any less, especially considering what Christ has done for us? To be pro-life, we must learn what it means to be a living sacrifice.
Then we must follow through. One of the most common reasons why a woman chooses abortion is that she feels a lack of support, whether that be monetary support, relational support, etc. They may be “pro-choice”, but in the end they feel they have no choice. This is the gap that Expect Hope fills. This organization is truly pro-life because it provides a safe place for birth, as well as holistic support for the first two years of the child’s life. The staff provide food, education, housing, and, even more so, the space for long-term commitment of mentors and the encouragement to grow in the Lord. Further, Expect Hope equips mothers with the skills and confidence needed to sustainably support themselves and their child beyond their two-year stay.
Let’s take up the challenge of being truly pro-life instead of just pro-birth. We must do more than say we oppose abortion. Instead of being criticized for hypocritically not supporting the families we claim to want to save, let’s be known as the most compassionate and sacrificial people on the block. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). His act of love brought ultimate life to the world. Accordingly, supporting the vulnerable with devoted, long-term service is what it truly means to be “pro-life.”

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