How Pro-Lifers Should Act
But I also believe that many pro-lifers like myself have tunnel vision. We see the unborn child, and only the unborn child. We ignore the woman, often because we are too busy self-righteously accusing her of infanticide. We ignore the traumatic effects that abortions often have on women. We ignore the harsh situations that lead many women to believe abortion is their only choice.
We also ignore the children once they're born. Most people who are opposed to abortion are also opposed to generous government aid for struggling single mothers. Most never bother to offer even so much as a pack of diapers to such mothers. Most people who fight to protect children from a quick murder inside the womb are content to leave them to the slow "murder" of despair and poverty outside the womb.
And for all the shouting that we call "the politics of abortion", it seems there is nary a quiet voice offering comfort and practical support to mothers and children in difficult situations.
That's why I was happy to read in the NY Times about crisis pregnancy centers:
[These centers] are far from the public battles over abortion laws and the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. But in their quiet way, they represent a dimension of the anti-abortion movement that is just as passionate and far-reaching, consisting not of protesters or political activists but of Christian therapy groups, crisis pregnancy centers, adoption ministries, and support programs for single mothers and their children.
This is what pro-lifers, especially those of us who call ourselves Christians, should be doing. (Yeah, and I'm not doing anything. So I should be doing more.) We should be loving. We should try to convince mothers not to have abortions, but not by yelling at them and condemning them when they are already overwhelmed and frightened. If they choose not to have an abortion, we shouldn't make them regret that choice; we should help them to raise the child. If they choose to have an abortion.....well, Jesus was big on forgiveness. Women who have an abortion may still need help dealing with the after-effects of such a choice. The Christian Thing To Do would be to welcome them back with open arms and help them in the midst of their pain.
And all that is what crisis pregnancy centers do.
Now I'm not certain what to make of some of the more questionable methods these centers engage in. (i.e. taking calls from women wanting an abortion and inviting them in for an appointment without revealing their agenda) Those practices make me uneasy.
But overall, I'm thrilled to see people being consistent and compassionate in their beliefs. Pro-life means more than opposing abortion. Pro-life does not end at birth.
[Note: I must credit bumper stickers I have seen for the last 2 sentences. The first is actually on my car now.]