I’m pro-choice because I’m pro-life
Abortion is a difficult topic to talk about, because, contrary to what a lot of people would have you believe, it’s an extremely complex issue.
Yes, it involves a life, and as Christians (as humans), we believe strongly in the sanctity and value of life. Life is, indeed, a holy and precious thing. But a pregnancy always involves more than one life. There are two to consider.
In my perfect world, a woman would never have to make the choice about whether or not to keep her baby because:
- all women have access to birth control
- birth control is 100 percent effective
- sex education is mandatory in all schools
- rape no longer exists
- birth defects are eradicated
- all babies are carried to term fully alive
- every woman can safely carry and deliver a baby without risking her own health and safety
But none of these things are true right now. And because they are not true, the government telling women what we can and cannot do with our bodies is particularly unconscionable.
Pay attention to these abortion laws that are sweeping across the country right now. Check out the “extras” that have been added, and you’ll see that these laws are becoming less and less “pro-life” and more and more anti-woman. In Alabama now, the penalty for getting an abortion after you are raped is more severe than the penalty for raping someone.
I don’t think the advocates of these highly restrictive abortion laws deserve to be considered pro-life. The people who champion them are the same ones who want to cut health care, restrict access to birth control and criticize women for having “welfare babies.” They are the same people who support the death penalty. They are not pro-life. They are pro-birth, and show no evidence of giving a damn about what happens to the babies once they are born.
Over and over again, it has been demonstrated that the best way to curb abortions is not to make it illegal, but to provide access to healthcare and free birth control. In fact, abortion rates are falling the fastest in countries where abortion is legal and contraception is widely available to all.
So if we are really serious about saving lives–both of babies and of women–we should be advocating for the policies that actually work, rather than seeking to usurp the autonomy women should have over their own bodies.
I am very much pro-life, therefore, I am pro-choice. I trust women to make good decisions about their own bodies, and know that the best way to reduce abortions is to advocate for women to have access to healthcare and free birth control. That will do far more to save lives than draconian, anti-woman legislation.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Doubting Believer is a progressive and inclusive community of Christians. Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our mailing list to keep up with all things Doubting Believer.