“Supposed pro-lifers are okay with violating a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body, but once the baby is born they’re nowhere to be seen.”
Quote from a Pro-choice woman at the recent Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
People should think big thoughts. Thoughts that are too big for them. But, it is impossible to cage something like the importance of all life into a single thought, yet people try to do it. People are a part of the pro-life movement without even considering the impact of that statement. Is it right to be against the wholescale murder of the unborn to such an extent that you are seemingly unconcerned once the child is born? But, so as not to alienate one segment of the population, it is also a small thought to believe that social progress is the ultimate good. Once a child is born, despite the mother’s or societies’ beliefs about the individual prior to birth, then it is the responsibility of society, according to some, to make sure that that life is educated, secure, is healthy and has everything that the state can provide (from free lunches to contraceptives). Both beliefs are an abdication of responsibility. Within this small thought is the belief that if anyone opposes a person’s rights (and the state’s need to pay for them), they are anti-life. Both small thoughts have some correct elements, but they also contain fundamental errors.
What did Christ mean when He said (in Matthew 25: 35,36):
“for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”
The scripture is obvious. We are to act in every way as servants to those around us. We are to provide for the needs of those who are less fortunate than we are: whether that lack of fortune be in sustenance, security or companionship. Many outside the faith, believe that this scripture illustrates the failing of those who call themselves pro-life. Due to a singularity of focus, this, at times, is a correct assertion, but they are wrong at the same time.
Every life is precious to God. It doesn’t matter whether that individual has yet to be introduced to the world or not. Every life is precious. Those who clamor that the pro-life movement loses interest when a child is born are correct in many cases because abortion can be an absorbing issue. Abortion is legally justified no matter what the reason, so people become fogged by the fact that many lose their lives every day because they are seen as a part of another’s body. People within the pro-life movement would not argue that we are all the keepers of the temple God provided for us, but they would argue that when irresponsibility breeds an unwanted human personal responsibility extends to that other life. The mother is not less important than her child, but she should not regard what is growing in her as so much disposable tissue until it presents itself wailing to the world.
But those who would argue only for the baby pre-birth are wrong also. If you have an issue with abortion, your concern should be just as great after the birth as it was before the birth. Christ told us that when we see someone hungry or thirsty and we have the means to provide them with sustenance, we should do so. If we see someone who is ostracized by the world for some reason (a stranger, in prison, etc.), we should provide them with the companionship we all desire. If someone has no security (in the form of clothing or protection), we should be willing to provide it. But there is a difference here between what many practice and what Christ meant.
Many believe that we are wards of the state. Meaning, from the time we are born, the state will provide the money (through taxation) to provide for all of its citizens. The founders did not agree with this, but social programs have become so ingrained that now it is a right no one can disagree with (according to many). If you are compassionate, according to this argument and care about the less fortunate, you will be willing to give money (some would say any amount) to the state so that they can provide. That is not what Christ said.
He didn’t pass along our individual responsibility to the state, He made sure that He used personal pronouns when He spoke of our care for others. As a people we do not delegate our personal responsibility, we still have it. By dropping a few coins into a bell-ringer’s kettle or an offering plate, we do not abdicate our responsibility. Christ still expects us to help people…to be servants.
So, in sum, what does this mean? Yes, all life is precious, not from the cradle to the grave, but from conception to the grave. If we do not take a personal interest in people we fail. We should be willing to meet the standard Christ set in these scriptures. Surely, this means to pay taxes so that the state can help others and we should give to charities (including the church) so that they can help too. But Christ adjured us to be personally involved in the welfare of others whether a baby waiting to be born, an impoverished child who is going to bed hungry, or an adult wrapped up in self who craves (whether they know it or not) the freedom only a Savior can provide.
Don’t be the person who believes infants in the womb are human and have rights, but then pass up a neighbor who needs a hug or a child who needs a drink. Don’t be the one who thinks that every person has rights to personal integrity after they are born (or after it stops being a parasite subject to its mother’s whims), but then condemns anyone who does not believe in the state as the sole power meant to nurture the needs of every citizen. The state has its place, but Christ tells us ours. If we would all start taking care of each other, the state wouldn’t need to.
Be the person who takes responsibility for every life, whether it is yet to be born or is in need after it is born. Do what Christ would have all of us to do.