Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pro-Life Advocacy

There are days when Pro-Life advocacy is hard. The days when I'm overwhelmed by the real, human tragedy being played out constantly all across the globe. The sheer magnitude of all the lost, the injured, the unwanted... It can crush the heart. None of the days I've experienced so far come close to the days I feel like I've failed in my work to care for women in crisis. Failed to give all the support needed to enable someone to make the choice they want most, but are pressured to deny. Days like that I do the only thing I can: pray and love. Love unconditionally and endlessly. There is no room for me to judge, but there is always room for more support and more love.

Our culture is so hostile to life that it clouds the view of intelligent, educated and loving women and men. It teaches them to avoid parenthood at any cost. It teaches that our sexuality is only a tool for our pleasure. It teaches that our inability to scientifically measure personhood in the womb gives us license to strip our children of their humanity. It teaches us that our children are commodities that can be refused or sought after, again, at any cost. Our society, which accuses me of being too "faith-based" in my opinions, has been busy, quietly selling its own narrative and set of values. People have been sold the lie that they have no dignity unless they are independent and in a position of power. They have been taught to believe that their position of power over another being gives them moral impunity. They have been taught that their bodily autonomy trumps the bodily autonomy of the life they participated in creating.

The truth of the matter, the truth that science hints at but can't fully explain, is that each life is precious from conception to natural death. The innate dignity of each child, a gift we cannot demand but are blessed to welcome, exists from the start. The sad juxtaposition is that our culture is happy to see each born child as the unique and beautiful beings they are, but denies that uniqueness and beauty because of geography and dependence on an unwilling parent. Our culture is struggling to hold apart this opposite vision and it is so incongruous for those of us with eyes to see. On the one side, we see Tiger Moms, Helicopter parents, pinterest parents. Parents so convinced that their children are incredibly special and worth every excess imaginable. On the other side, we see our culture convinced that babies are only worth our effort and a future of bento box lunches, themed parties, expensive photo shoots, if we decide to ascribe dignity arbitrarily.

I have been blessed with 5 pregnancies and in turn 5 incredible children. I know so deeply how difficult pregnancy can be either through my own breadth of experience or through that of many friends. I can't begin to imagine the taunting and cruelty some young women carrying unplanned pregnancies endure on top of physical symptoms. A young pregnant woman I know was physically assaulted at her school and also endures constant insistence from grandparents to abort. She stands tall and brave, guarding her pregnancy with enough love to break a thousand hardened hearts. I can understand the temptation to run away from that pain. When I asked her how she reacts to people telling her to abort, she told me that she focuses on the fact that Mom's protect their children. Period.  Our society is broken. Many are too busy judging these women to give them what they need: support to endure the 9 months of loving sacrifice while being constantly pressured and insulted.
If you need to see the face of Christ, look in the eyes of one of these brave mothers. Look at her face and see the truth: Life is sacred. Sacrifice has purpose. Those who make brave, life-giving choices are often fighting a battle every moment of their pregnancy. And if they do give in to the immense pressure to escape it and choose an abortion, don't leave your love at the door of the clinic. Don't ever stop loving these women. Say yes to their innate dignity and keep supporting and loving them.