Compounding the debate further is that some of these elected officials are often reluctant to properly fund the cost effective programs tied to the health, education, and well-being of children. Similarly, many of these pro-life legislators are not willing to take action to reduce unnecessary deaths of children due to gun violence. We know that these investments bring huge returns to society in the long-term. Being pro-life should mean being pro-life after a child is born, too.
I want to bring to the conversation a different perspective based upon the issue of religious freedom, something that goes back to the founding of this country. For many immigrants from countries where there was a state religion, coming to America and having the freedom to worship as they please was a real attraction. As to the issue of abortion, American religious denominations differ in their views. Some religions are strictly pro-life, others are various adaptions of pro-choice, and some do not take a stance. So why is it then appropriate for pro-life leaders to turn to the government to force their religious beliefs on others?
Keep in mind that the status quo, allowing for safe and legal abortions, does not in any way infringe on pro-life individuals and families to practice for themselves what they preach. There has been no effort to give any consideration to forcing any mother to have an abortion against her will. In addition, the pro-life position can be promoted and encouraged to be accepted by others. Where this line is crossed is when the action leads to violence, when human blockades are set up, keeping women who so choose from access to abortion.
Remember our history before Roe v. Wade? Women turned to back alley help, with death often a result. Is that what we want to return to? How can we hold the value of life for our children, our women, and our humanity alongside the need to recognize very real health concerns? With two new Justices recently joining the United States Supreme Court, who it is assumed will vote to overturn or chip away at Roe v Wade, it makes the tenure of certain other Justices quite important. Combine that with coming elections deciding not just who is President, but the makeup of the United States Senate, the position on abortion could be set for another 30 or more years. As I’ve said many times, elections do have consequences.
Unfortunately, "pro-choice"-at least in broad public perception-is being narrowly defined as pro-abortion, which we know is not necessarily the case. Meanwhile, "pro-life" has been reduced to caring only about the fetus. This misperception has dictated government actions regardless of the evidence we have that shows when programs for sex education, contraception, and prenatal care are funded the number of abortions is reduced.
If reducing the number of abortions is truly the goal, now is the time to see this issue in a new and different way. I suggest a "reverence for life" position, one that upholds the sanctity of life-including after birth-and that recognizes sometimes one has to make an impossible decision. Such decisions should never be made lightly, but they should be personal and medical decisions, not dictated by any government. Life is too important.