Abortion is always a hot-button topic of discussion. On both sides of the aisle, people are fast to point fingers and shout and claim “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Within all of the arguing, the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” have gotten skewed and blown out of proportion. So what exactly does it mean to be pro-life? And why does the Catholic Church only seem to care about the baby when they’re born? Hopefully, this article will challenge your preconceived notions and assumptions about what pro-life actually means!
“Pro-life” is a popularized term to describe the belief that all humans have the inherent right and dignity to live a full life from conception to death. In the Catholic Church, this definition is changed to include the concepts of “natural conception” and “natural death.” The reason conception is so important to Christians is because during the process of the baby growing in their mother’s womb, the human body is preparing to receive an immortal soul. The Lord is crafting you so purposefully and perfectly during pregnancy. It is in this light that the Church holds that life begins at fertilization. God specifically you to come into being, so He put the egg and sperm together that led to you, emphasizing the purposeful nature of creation. But being pro-life goes beyond a person’s birth! People who are truly pro-life value and respect people throughout all of their walks of life. As Christians, we understand that everyone is a beloved child of God and deserves the same amount of love and respect as we think is due ourselves.
Consistency is Key
Often times, there can be misunderstandings about what the Catholic Church preaches regarding pro-life ministry. If we all agree that being truly pro-life means valuing human life from natural conception to natural death, then how do we actually practice it? At its most basic, this entails respecting each other and practicing the “golden rule.” The pro-life mentality can extend to other things as well, such as fighting for equality among races or genders, getting involved in youth ministry to teach the next generation of faithful young people, or partaking in community service that helps people experiencing homelessness. The basis of a pro-life mentality is that every person should be cherished and live a full life. Only caring about whether or not a woman has an abortion is not real pro-life. I call that thinking pro-birth. It’s important to go beyond the matter of abortion and to consistently practice valuing all human life.
Dignity of Life
For me, being pro-life boils down to upholding the dignity of human life. I try to practice this value every single day. I work to grow and learn about different cultures and backgrounds so that I can treat others better. I believe that everyone deserves to live their lives peacefully, fully embracing who they’re called to be in this world. In fact, my pro-life values have encouraged me to be passionate about human rights issues and social justice. I focus a lot on being an ally for minority groups because I believe in a basic respect and understanding for all. I’m certainly not the type of person to stand outside of Planned Parenthood waiting to talk to women and convince them to turn around. However, I can go there and silently pray for their conversion of heart. I’m honestly more concerned about what happens to babies who are born and put up for adoption or if the mother is struggling to care for the baby. I donate often to Let Them Live, which is a non-profit organization that helps women who don’t have the money or resources to carry a baby to term and care for it after birth. I share all that to reiterate that it is just as important to care about people’s lives when they’re in their 30s as when they’re still in the womb. I encourage you to think about how else you can uphold human dignity in your communities and practice truly being pro-life!
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- CAPP-USA. (2023, April 10). What is pro-life? the church has been consistent: Capp-USA. Catholic Social Teaching in Action. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from https://capp-usa.org/2023/01/consistent-teaching-what-is-pro-life/
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (2023). Respect for unborn human life: The Church’s constant teaching. USCCB. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/respect-for-unborn-human-life