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This is a quite common question and many Catholic Christians will be quick to answer a resounding “Yes”, mainly because they do not support abortion. I was genuinely surprised when I googled “pro-life” and found the large majority of the articles referring to opposition to abortion, and as you can imagine there were more articles related to “pro-choice” that came up in the search. Pro-Life is more than just fighting for the life of the unborn. Pro-Life means we value every life, starting from conception, and throughout a person’s time on earth, until he/she dies and returns to God. Think about that for a minute. This is a lifetime commitment, and not just through an event, a birth, a death, an execution. In my view, you are either all-in or you are not. There is no halfway here. It is an all or nothing commitment. Think about the following:
- Yes, pro-lifers oppose abortion, but we as Catholic Christians need to be there for people who are considering an abortion. It’s not enough to just say “don’t do it”. There needs to be a support network to assist in providing the basic needs of the child and the family before, during, and after birth. I remember once reciting the Rosary outside of an abortion clinic and thinking that this was absolutely the right thing to do, until a close friend asked “How do you think the people who struggle with this decision feel when you’re out there making your point without any knowledge of the situation that this person may be in?” He was right. I never thought of that and cannot imagine what someone in that situation must be going through.
- Yes, pro-lifers oppose capital punishment. This is an extremely easy thing to say if you have not been touched personally by a crime where a loved one has lost their life. Make no mistake, there are plenty of evil people who commit heinous crimes and need to be held accountable. Taking their lives as punishment for their crimes goes against the sanctity of life and how God asks us to trust Him to be the judge when it is that person’s time. I am always amazed at the compassion of people who have lost a loved one and do not want to extend that loss even further by having the criminal executed. This is truly God’s love in action.
- Yes, pro-lifers oppose euthanasia even when a loved one is having a terminal illness and is suffering from the disease, the treatment, or both. I have experienced this personally. This was without a doubt my biggest fear – to know a loved one was dying and not being able to do anything about it. Once again this is where we need to trust God. I felt I had no choice but to trust Him as clearly, I was in over my head, and God was there working through all of us including my mom through the end. This was the most difficult thing I ever went through, but I would never trade that time for anything as it was an honor to walk with her on the last part of her journey and being there for each other enriched our relationship in ways I could never have imagined. God is amazing.
- Yes, pro-lifers oppose war and violence. We see the death and carnage in the streets today as everyone must fight for recognition that their lives matter. Of course, they matter. Jesus died for us all. I remember after 9/11 when we attacked Afghanistan and having been in the city that day, I felt this is justice. This retribution will give me the peace I lost on that day, but it did not, and became very personal when a family member was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army. Suddenly, the war was not as satisfying from a retribution perspective, or as necessary as now I had a family member in the line of fire. I asked myself “Was this worth it?” My answer was no.
Pro-Life to me means that God gave us life, and only God can take it away. Our lives are gifts from God for us to love and work for each other, and then come back to God for eternity in Heaven. Somehow, as a society we have gotten off track and believe we are the ones who can decide life and death. There are people that glorify abortion, capital punishment, war, street violence, euthanasia, you name it. Pray for them. Pray that God will soften their hearts. Think about what being a pro-lifer really means and not what it is defined by people who do not understand or agree with the concept. These are all difficult situations to process especially if these have not touched you in some way. God will help you to find His way and to guide you to His answer if you trust Him and pray for understanding.