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Pro (some) Life

With the recent American presidential debate thrusting the abortion discussion into the centre stage, many people have taken refuge in their respective ethical camps. No two camps could be further divided. The battle between who holds the higher right, a mother or her unborn child, is understandably a passionate debate. My personal conviction regarding the ethics of abortion are extremely clear - an unborn child is a human, and no reasonable argument has ever been given to deny personhood to those who are self-evidently human. All "non-personhood" propositions are ad hoc arguments meant to justify the act of abortion. The environmental location of an unborn child or his/her relationship to the mother are moot points; what matters is whether an unborn child is a person. If an unborn child is a person, then it is vulnerable, without the capacity to choose and worthy of every protection by the state. I believe they are persons, and it is not a pleasant reality to live in a world where human persons are terminated with my tax dollars. Please do not flippantly ignore the emotions of people who fight for the rights of the unborn - for us, we are living through the single greatest tragedy in the history of mankind.

However, as strongly as I feel about the ethics of abortion, I also feel as though the pro-life community needs to take a good long look at what North American society needs beyond repealing Roe v. Wade or R v. Morgentaler. For far too long many in the pro-life community (myself included) have been narrowly focusing on the legal aspect of abortion. If we stop for a moment and listen to the pro-choice "camp", we get a more total picture of the horror of abortion. While some make the choice to abort out of a cold, selfish or depraved heart, many others make the choice because they believe death is a better choice than bringing life into their world. That should cause every one of us to stop and ask: "What is wrong with the world where this choice exists?"

As followers of Christ we are tuned to the sinful world, but know that God can redeem even the darkest of hearts; however, God's redemption doesn't end there. Often our view of salvation is too narrow; we reduce the story of salvation as a story about my salvation when it is in fact a story of God saving all. Included in that all is society as well. Is our society willing to take care of mothers who struggle to care for themselves let alone a child? Does our society have safety nets for mothers in danger of economic hardship due to the birth of a child? Being pro-life encompasses more than fighting against abortion, it is a philosophy that values the dignity and worth of all human life. Any philosophy which refuses to take responsibility for all life, and take responsibility to see that all life flourishes is incompatible with what it means to be pro-life.

While many pro-lifers are religious, the belief of human dignity and flourishing transcends religion; it is something every individual and society should strive for. So, when Christians in North America promote a philosophy of individualism, personal responsibility, laissez faire economy and just war, they reveal a severe disconnect with what it means to be pro-life. Per the Christian worldview, human beings are "created in the image of God" and are collectively apart of the same family. We are called to form community and to meet each other's needs. We also believe that we live in a world of sin and that our actions have a causal effect; a person can suffer simply because of the choices of others, and not because of anything he/she has done. We also believe in the preferential treatment of the poor - that the natural action of humanity when it achieves power is exploitation, and that those who don't have a voice need empowerment and advocation. We also believe that our enemies will never be conquered by force, whether through military campaign or culture "war", but by sacrificial love.

The seeds of the end of abortion will be sowed when the Church abandons earthly solutions and serves both the ethically and economically poor. We should be shaping our society in such a way that no one with an able mind would think of ending the life of the unborn, but how can we expect our world to listen to us when we don't also care for the born?


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