Are You Pro-Life? Really?

Since the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, there have been an estimated 50 million abortions.  This number is greater than the current population of any state, including California.  This number is greater than the populations of major countries such as Spain, Canada, and England.  While it is true that legalizing abortion caused this number to expand, had abortion remained illegal 50 million additional children would have been born to parents that did not want them, could not care for them, or lacked the emotional or financial means to provide for them.  Even assuming that a small percentage could have been adopted by good families, and women with financial means were able to have abortions (as there will always be doctors willing to perform the practice at a certain price), there would still be millions of unwanted children that would need our support.  When discussing the issue of abortion, the ramifications of illegality are rarely discussed, and thus the debates remain short-sighted.

I am pro-life.  I believe that abortion should be avoided, with the exception of rape or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.  I understand the emotion behind this issue, and many of you may be listing five different reasons why I am out of touch or why this position might be inferred to disrespect women.  Let me further explain my point of view.

I am pro-life in a larger context.  For many on the right side of the political spectrum, a pro-life stance drives discussion around the sanctity of the embryo.  Typically there is little discussion around what happens to that unborn child once it arrives in the world.  What I find most alarming about the issue is the intensity of the right to fight for the child’s existence but somehow that same intensity disappears after that miraculous organism draws their first breath.  I believe that the rights of the embryo do not stop after birth, but should instead be supported by society in the best manner possible.  To disagree might indicate the use of the embryo merely as a prop to support an ideological position.

Over the past several decades there have been many laws passed by the government that support children.  From after-school programs to educational grants, children’s health insurance, and food stamps, the government has stepped in to support underprivileged children.  Most of these programs have passed with near partisan support, primarily driven by Democrats.  Presidents Obama and Clinton have driven more legislation that assists underprivileged children than any other presidents since FDR.  For those who understand the childhood history of these two presidents, their passion and understanding of what is necessary to help bridge the resource gap is not surprising.  As we debate laws and legislation that affect children, we need to recognize that government can be a solution.

Many will say that pro-life refers only to the unborn child, but to me this concept stretches further. Christ said “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” If we truly are pro-life and fight to halt the onerous practice of abortion, we need to remember that the birth of a child is not the end, but the beginning.

31 Replies to “Are You Pro-Life? Really?”

  1. At least you stated that it is justifiable only under certain circumstances such as rape or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Too many times and way too many people who have a belief in the savior and in the church or in other churches are too quick to judge and go along with the. “Thing’s happen for a reason, or you’re giving birth to spirit baby”. Uhm, no. No no and double no. Rape does not happen for a reason and a woman dying is not the Lord’s plan. Thank you for this article!!

  2. I just stumbled across this site and find it intriguing. To be clear, I am a member of the church and, sigh, a life-long conservative. If I am unwelcome here, I suppose I will find out soon enough. In my worst moments, I can be argumentative. In my better moments, I just try to seek clarity and understand where other people are coming from while trying to be clear about my positions. I’d love the opportunity to write a few things and get a conversation started. Who knows, maybe I can be converted! 😉

    I believe that we all have a set of principles that guide our lives. Mine may be different than others here. While I haven’t thought this through to the end, I will make an attempt at outlining my principles:

    1) I am offspring of Heavenly Father (and so are you!) – This concept of all people being valuable is the overarching contribution of the Judeo-christian value system to western culture. Prior to Judaism, people rarely thought twice about killing infants that they didn’t want (see the Roman Empire – chilling.) For me, this definitely applies to the unborn. So I am hesitant, under any circumstances to allow for the murder of another human being. And for clarity sake, I would define murder as the killing of an innocent person. This principle also applies to forced slavery which unfortunately is rampant, but not discussed often, in our world.

    2) Liberty – Heavenly Father’s plan was for us to have agency (my definition: freedom to make decisions and suffer the consequences of those decisions.) I work with the YM of our ward in the scouting program. Nothing brings me more joy with these Deacons than to see them make a mistake, learn from it, and not repeat it. That is how the learning process works and that is why I believe we are sent here: to make mistakes, learn from them, and make better decisions going forward. That varies for all of us as we each have our own challenges in life to overcome. One older brother I used to see at the temple put it this way: “I know people have temptations in their lives. The trick is not to act on them. For me, I want to rob banks. And it seems like there is a bank on every corner!”

    3) E pluribus unum: “Out of many one.” I believe that when we work together freely, there is no greater joy on earth. That is why I the lay-leadership method of the church: people freely giving of their time and resources to help others. What a beautiful thing when it works.

    Now, for a value that I don’t hold dear that I hear enunciated quite often in political circles: Fairness. This is so tricky. It just seems like things ought to be fair. I have been deceived by this one many times in my life and it has come back to bite me every time. The best example of why fairness should not be embraced that I can think of is the cadre of discrimination laws that now riddle our society. For the life of me, I don’t understand them. If an employer thinks, I don’t like people that are black, and chooses not to hire them, he is doing so at his own peril. He has now effectively shrunk the population of potential employees. Over time, he will not win in the marketplace. In effect, I believe these laws actually are an attempt to eliminate stupidity. But, going back to my earlier comments on liberty, I believe we must be free to act stupidly also. In fact, maybe more than anything else, we need to be free to act stupidly so that we can learn life’s toughest lessons.

    Sorry for a long post. Again, if I am unwelcome – I will not post again…

    1. Hi Cecil!

      I am a lifelong liberal for a variety of reasons and I must say, I really appreciate your honesty and willingness to speak openly about your conservative views. I think it is people such as yourself that help move the country (and world) forward. I too agree that people should be free to act stupidly… provided it doesn’t infringe upon the safety and livelihood of others. For example, while I believe that Americans should have the right to bear arms, I think that a completely free policy that creates ample opportunity for irresponsible people to own guns and harm innocent people restricts our ability to be “free” to leave our homes. There must be checks and balances to this “free”ness.

      Mormon Democrats, I stumbled upon this website because you all are following the Twitter account of a foundation I support and I must say… wow. This article might be the best articulation of how I feel about abortion. I have always been pro choice, but pro choice largely because I believe that abortion occurs whether it’s legal or not. When it’s illegal, you simply have a lot more dangerous and risky abortions for low-income women. Also, I agree; it has always baffled me that individuals believe the government should intervene on behalf of a child inside the womb, but step away once that child is here.

      Thank you for this post; I look forward to reading more!

      1. First, well done on both parts. Crystal, while I don’t agree with your views on abortion (nor the authors)I do believe you gave me an understanding into how those of opposing opinion come to their conclusions. Too often today people state their views without any reasoning for them.
        I find this bewildering.
        Thank you for your honest and thoughtful response to Cecil’s post.

    2. What does your post have to do with the original article? You kind of wandered off into the weeds. I believe the author was talking about pro-life but you didn’t hit it once. Surely you must have some thoughts about that subject. We’d be interested in knowing what they are.

  3. Thank you for your comments. As long as the comments are fact based and drive positive discussion, We have no problem with anyone, of any belief, finding their way to this site. We do block trolls, and any comment that solicits an emotional response through stereotyping or malice will be removed and the poster will be banned. Also, the moderators on this board do not have to justify their actions (but we are looking for opposing views — so welcome!).

    1. My BIGGEST problem with many “pro-lifers” is that I find it hard the believe a person is “pro-life” but then beleive in the death penalty and other things that are against life. If a person is pro-life, they should be pro all life, otherwise they are just hypocrites.

      1. I think it is much deeper than that Scottie. I don’t know that it does much good to label the side you disagree with as “Hypocrites”. When names are called, the debate degrades. It is simply counterproductive.

        The names are very misleading, pro-life and pro-choice. Strictly speaking, everyone who believes in God’s plan is pro-choice. But with choice comes consequences. Consequences are part of God’s plan. Without justice and mercy, there is no plan. If God established Governments to provide order, and justice, and protect freedoms, then certain individuals can make choices that would strip away their freedoms. God’s plan does hold people accountable. Saying that it is the same thing for a person to kill a fetus or for a criminal to face the death penalty is not accurate. One deals out a punishment, the other avoids a natural consequence. The original Law, was “thou shalt not take innocent blood”. Only the Modern translation suggests the word “Kill”.

        The debate really lies in whether a woman should be able to choose to kill the fetus without being punished according to the Law.

        The bottom line, does the mother have the right to take an innocent life Where her life is not in danger? Many LDS have differing opinions.

        The bottom line is, it is our job to follow the Lord, and his councils through His prophets, and through His own mouth. If it clashes with our viewpoints, then it is our job to have the faith enough to know that He knows the subject better than us, and trust Him until he grants us further light and knowledge.

        The Knowledge doesnt come until the trial of our faith. 😉

  4. I heartily agree with your assessment. I am a former conservative who finally moved to the left because I feel it aligns with my personal values putting people – born and unborn – over dogmatic judgment and profit.

  5. I find it interesting that you consider yourself to be pro-life when you support a party which has little tolerance for those who share your views on abortion. I’m sure it’s fine with the party that you exist and have your opinion, just as long as you don’t try to influence their platform. The modern Democratic party opposes even the most common-sense restrictions on abortion. Because I am pro-life, I cannot, in good conscience, vote to send any Democrats to Washington until this position is reversed. Even if a Democratic candidate claims to be pro-life, once he gets to Congress, he will vote for a pro-abortion Dem to lead his caucus. Or, in the case of Harry Reid, who claims to be pro-life, he will ceremonially vote pro-life while simultaneously folding to the powerful pro-abortion elements within his party.

    Presidents Obama and Clinton compromised on the principles much of the Democratic base values most, leaving certain constituencies feeling like they were sold out. This cannot be said of their actions toward the abortion lobby. Show me one national Democratic leader who is willing to stand up to the people and groups who have mocked Sarah Palin for giving birth, in her 50s, to a Downs Syndrome baby, and I’ll again consider voting for a Democrat for national office. Until then, that option is off the table for me.

    1. Hello Travis,

      I wish that I had time to address your full post, for that I apologize. But, on to the point of the “mock(ing of) Sarah Palin for giving birth to a Down Syndrome baby.”

      She has routinely spoken about getting rid of certain social safety nets, that would enable all children (able and disabled) a better shot in life. While at the same time, her child was being afforded some of the best care that Alaska’s civil service health plans could buy. Raising a disabled child is extremely hard, I know my brother is autistic. And, with many people either treating you like an idiot or a child, he is forced to obtain mental health care to prevent outburst that most able people would understand.

      I haven’t, yet, met the Democrat who would not support able or disabled children having the health care they require. However, I have met many Republicans who would cut my brother’s Medicaid off in a New York second.

      And, lastly, yes there are some who use abortions as birth control…but, there are many others (like me) who made that very painful choice when faced with extremely limited options…like being under 18 with no education, no support systems in place, just a minimum wage part time job, etc, etc, and the possibility that ANY child I would give birth to could possibly end up like my brother and being treated like my brother is by the public on occasion. Why would I want that for my child?

    2. I am against abortions too, and as a woman, I have the right to say so. I don’t believe any man who never has and never will walk in our shoes has any right to decide for us in a “free” society. HOWEVER, Travis, I am a Democrat.

      Here’s why: Believe it or not, there are hundreds of other issues our society needs to care about BESIDES abortion! To say you are a Republican because of that single issue is, well, a good example of what is wrong with our country. Some people are Republicans only because they don’t want homosexuals to have equal rights. Or only because they care more about their guns than anything else.

      I believe it’s very important to look at all the issues, and not shoot yourself in the foot (unless you’re in the richest one percent) to simply oppose abortion.

      Guess what? NO REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT HAS EVER REPEALED ROE V WADE, and no Democratic president has ever taken away your guns. I would ask that we all please dig a lot deeper before voting for ANYONE based on how you feel about a single issue.

  6. You are equating Obama’s throwing money at programs with no feedback to efforts like welfare reform implemented by Clinton and the Republican congress. You are comparing the expansion of the food stamp program with no responsibility with the efforts by Bush to leave no child behind.

    Thinking with your heart is the beginning of a rational thought, not the end. You are on the right track, but I wish you would keep thinking about how to really help people get off the public dole and contribute to society. Undoing the universally hailed Clinton welfare reforms and throwing cash at people with no plan on how the extra money will be used is wasteful pandering at it’s worst, not a means to improve the life of children.

  7. I think that saying non support of government social welfare programs means you no longer care about a child once it’s been born is inaccurate and dangerous.

    In fact, when it comes to personal charity, those who most oppose abortion, people of faith, give far more of their own time and money than their more secular counterparts.

    I also think using the argument that aborted children would just have been born to parents who didn’t want them is dangerous. That really shouldn’t be the criteria we use for determining whether or not a person should be allowed to live.

    1. Hello Cameron,

      I know of many examples that children should not be born to people who do not want them!

      I have many contemporaries, whose parents did not want them, yet kept and raised them anyway. (Edited by Mormondems) As a child and teenager, I was aware of 12 foster homes in my area. Only ONE of them actually cared about the children they were charged with. The rest treated those children like a paycheck. A millennium of prayer, psychotherapy, support, or time does not erase nor soothe that pain. And, NO ONE should ever have to live with those memories.

      I have personally experienced parental abuse, by both parents…and I wish with my whole heart that my mother had had the courage to get an abortion, than for me to have the memories that I have.

      So, as I believe that you can assume from my above statement, to me it is NOT dangerous for a person to use the criteria of not wanting children. To me it is being responsible – not putting another through, what you yourself would not want to go through.

      As to your statement that it inaccurate and dangerous to believe that one no longer cares about a child once it’s been born…

      …I will concede that for some…it would be an inaccurate statement. I believe that people really do emotionally care and value children. But, that care and value only seems goes that far. And, the charity you speak of typically comes with conditions…conditions that I’m sure that if you were ever asked to conform to would never be met. At least that’s what I witness, from those who speak as you do.

      The women I know, who have had abortions (myself included), did not go into it frivolously. We thought long and hard about our choices and what it may mean for our futures and the futures of those children. We, in general, felt that abortion was a way better option than the poor (as in value) conditions we could offer at that time.

      Oh…and by the way…those of you who are involved (or know someone who is) in charities that aid pregnant women…please listen to them when they say they are not interested in contacts with the child’s father. They have their substantial reasons for him not being involved, and compel her to involve him can (and has) have dire consequences for all involved.

    2. Hello Cameron and All,

      Here’s an example of why it’s hard for me to view those who consider themselves “prolife” as “prochild”…

      http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/24/1083101/proposed-bill-food-stamp-benefits-raped/

      It is the real reason that some wish to get rid of government social welfare programs is that they wish to punish those who they assume don’t live life as the “prolife conservative” say they do?

  8. Hi Matthew – first time commenter here. Thanks for sharing your views on this subject. What would the world be like had those 50 million unborn children been permitted to live? Surely the circumstances for many would have been very trying, almost impossible, but perhaps for others the gift of life would mean so much. BTW – your comments reminded me of this talk y Elder Nelson – http://bit.ly/PmPtce.

  9. Great read, very difficult topic to discuss due to religious, personal and political beliefs. I really enjoyed the comments that followed this story, thank you.

  10. I believe that you and I have much the same mind. However, I am conservative. I believe we (conservatives) fail when we allow the reproductive rights of women to be brought into the equation, at all. Abortion is a difficult and heart wrenching decision. However, legislating the process is absolutely wrong.

    If, God forbid, a woman is faced with the prospect of contemplating abortion, that is between her, her doctor and God. It is a question of morality and not of legality. I look at my children and I can’t imagine ever condoning abortion. I could not, in fact, imagine this world without them.

    That being said, I look at my children and see two beautiful daughters who may one day be faced with that dilemma. Again, God forbid. If they are ever faced with that agonizing decision (and I think no woman would ever face that lightly)I would hope they make an informed and conscious decision based on what is best, period. I hope what is legal never enters the equation. I also know that, no matter their decision, they will have my love and support.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, this should not be a national discussion. This should be a very private, very family discussion. One,in which, Uncle Sam should have no involvement.
    Understand though… I am still Pro-Life. I am just Pro-Choice, as well. I don’t think the two should be mutually exclusive.

  11. Thank you for a well-thought out, cogent topic. I think pro-Life and pro-Choice are not mutually exclusive as David Stevens observes. There is a middle ground where we all can meet, and that is in the care of the child from the moment it draws breath. Before that, it’s a moral choice between a woman and her God if she’s a believer, her conscience and her doctor. We have no right to intrude legislation into so personal a choice, but we have an obligation to support her choice with clean, professionally staffed clinics or support for her and her child if she keeps it. In the history of abortion rights, it was doctors who lobbied for legalization, having witnessed the needless pain and suffering, even death brought on by illegal abortions in dirty, unsanitary conditions. We don’t ever want to go back there, or delude ourselves that criminalizing abortions will lead to the end of abortion. I myself believe all life is sacred until natural death, but the life of the mother, which is often dismissed, is as sacred as the embryo she’s carrying.

  12. As a prochoice liberal who believes both that women have a right to make the decision to have or not have a child without government interference, and that public policy and law should make it easier for women in difficult situations to have children, not more difficult, I want to tell you how much I appreciate that you voice your thoughts here as a pro-lifer. Your position really is pro-life, in the best and most complete sense.

  13. I don’t believe Scotty was name-calling by any means. He has a very valid point. Republicans call THEMSELVES “Pro Life”, yet the only life they seem to be in favor of is that of a fetus. Once you’re born, say, to a poor family, they’re going to take away your welfare and food stamps, and call you a parasite.

    They are in favor of wars, even wars based on lies, in which thousands and thousands of sons, daughters, and parents are killed. And by fighting for their right to own guns FAR above our right to live freely in a society without being shot…well their priorities speak for themselves.

    And like Scotty said, they seem to like the “DEATH penalty”.

    Tell me, what could be MORE hypocritical? It’s not an insult, it’s a word, and it fits.

  14. The argument ‘Pro-lifers don’t care about the baby’ is very dishonest and wrong. I realize it feels good to get a pat on the head by pro-choicers/liberals when you say this argument that you got off of a planned parenthood pamphlet, but it’s deceptive. There are about 800 greedy abortion centers that charge for abortions and over 4,000 pro-life pregnancy centers that give free support to mothers. That included diapars, food, rent and clothes for their child and children they already have. Pro-lifers also give to charities that help children. There are other avenues to help people besides telling the government they need to take from the rich and future generations to pay for programs. I’m not impressed by people telling/forcing other people to help. I’m more impressed by people who give their own time and money to help people. I’d recommend the author visit a pregnancy center.

  15. In fact the rate of abortion stays about the same whether legal or illegal. Many women will do almost anything to get an abortion. Legalized abortion means that many women are saved from death or major health issues by having the abortion done in a safe medical clinic and not in a back room!

    1. Absolutely. Many of this women aren’t women a all,they r minors who’s parents through out on the street.Between Potential life&life already in being,the woman should be protected. Abortion should be a choice not an obligation.The same with keeping the future baby. In many cases,like medical issues,it may not be possible to prevent abortion. Education,better more accessible birth control would be better.Also should be illegal for parents of minors,to kick their daughters out for being pregnant out of wedlock. something that happens way too often. More responsibility on the side of the fathers is needed. Taking rape more seriously,and greater persecution/punishment of offenders should be a priority.Many major hospitals do not have a non-expired available rape kit. Nor they offer ‘The morning after pill’ to rape victims. It’s also not enough help for unwed mothers,specially minors. Giving up the child for adoption is a choice,but it’s always traumatic. It isn’t a guarantee,the child would be properly raced.There are alarming statistics of how many unwanted children there are,how badly they grow up.They so often find themselves at 18 w/no family no job,education,or healthcare right on the street. It is hard to believe,an omnipotent God would send a soul to a body that’s going to be aborted&never have it be born again. After saying that though,I do find the idea of abortion unsettling. But,I can’t force other women to go through a pregnancy they don’t want,or can afford. Specially considering,I have never been pregnant. Women are people too,we should have the right to choose. Nobody can prove when life starts, and the definition of a fetus more resembles that of a parasite other than a person. Abortion can be traumatic as well. Not performed properly,can live someone sterile,ill,or even dead.The life of a woman should be more important than that of a potential life, a life that is not really here living on its own. The best thing is prevention of unwanted pregnancies. If that fails,women should have the right to chose. We should not tell someone we don’t know,who is under life circumstances we have never been,what to do. We should remember that statistically,most people will not adopt if they can help it. To really prevent abortion as much s possible,a lot more social programs,that keep being cut,should be available to help adult and minors; so they can make themselves the right decision for them. A lot more support&help to get safe abortions,give the child for adoption;as well as keeping the child when the mother wants to. And lets not forget the fathers. It does take two to tango.

  16. This whole concept of pro life as spouted by the right in this country is riddled with contradiction and inconsistency. If support of the death penalty, waging wars in other countries, deregulation of corporate businesses worst policies, rampant and unregulated gun lobbying, the conspiratorial and manufacturing and enabling of the worst wealth gap in the history of this country is representative of the pro life, then the definition terminology of pro-life needs to be changed within the context of abortion. Perhaps it should be renamed pro fetus or pro zygote. Pro life is a bridge too far.

  17. We need to change the conversation to male responsibility.
    Male promiscuity is encouraged and sometimes even taught. Popular culture is drenched in sexual imagery, from advertising to movies and music videos. Sex is celebrated, responsibility is not. We don’t teach ANYONE about responsibility. We don’t teach boys that there are consequences to sex.
    How are we going to talk about sexual responsibility when we are afraid to talk openly about sex?
    If you want to reduce abortions, increase sex education.
    Proper sex education means talking openly about the reality of sex, from pregnancy to STIs.

    Boys need to be held accountable. They need to be taught how to use a condom properly in order to protect against pregnancy AND STIs. — Planned Parenthood has literature explaining the proper use of condoms. They also have a video explaining the little known or talked about FEMALE CONDOM. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/birth-control/female-condom

    Family planning needs to be discussed. Low cost prophylactics and birth control need to be readily available. People are going to have sex. Ensuring that they remain healthy is good for the community. It means lower healthcare costs. It means fewer outbreaks of disease. It means you child is less likely to become pregnant or worse, infected with HIV.

    My personal opinion on abortion doesn’t matter. I am a male. I will never be faced with the emotionally agonizing decision to keep or about my pregnancy. I DO know that I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t do with MY body, so I’m sure as hell not going to tell a woman.

    As a male, if I’m not in favor of abortion the best I can do is insure that I’m not responsible for any unwanted pregnancies.

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