I’m pro-life. Really, I am. But I tend to avoid that label for at least three reasons:
- The label “pro-life” doesn’t actually describe my position very accurately. Perhaps not surprisingly, I oppose abortion on theological grounds. But Christian theology does not hold that human life intrinsically should be valued above all else. The Church was built, after all, on the blood of the martyrs, who thought their own lives less valuable than telling the truth. Many early Christian martyrs would even take their children to the stake with them, rather than having them raised by their pagan executioners. So it seems to me that Christian opposition to abortion should instead be rooted in a biblical commitment to hospitality to the stranger. Pro-life Christians could make far more headway on the abortion issue if, instead of advocating for the recognition of certain rights (a decidedly untheological category), we would commit to raising unwanted babies and taking young, un-wed mothers into our homes.
- The label itself is polemical. It suggests that the other side is what? Anti-life? Pro-death? There’s already way too much screaming and (intentional?) misunderstanding on both sides of this debate. The last thing we need to do is give ourselves a label that alienates potential conversation partners.
- Frankly, I don’t want to be put in league with many who call themselves “pro-life.” While I agree with pro-lifers on the abortion issue, many of them have a rather inconsistent ethic. They call themselves “pro-life,” but they unquestioningly support America’s wars and capital punishment, decry even very reasonable attempts to restrict access to lethal weapons, and oppose attempts to extend access to affordable life-saving health care options. (I know I’m painting with a broad brush here. If you are a pro-life person with a consistent ethic of life—good for you!—please understand I am not talking about you). In fact, this discrepancy is so blatant that I’m forced to believe it’s not really an inconsistency at all, but that these folks consistently act on their highest value, namely towing the Republican party line, over against the value of human life. If I’m wrong about that, prove me wrong.
If I’m going to stand up in the Legislature and protect babies at 20 weeks from abortion, and hordes of senators and citizens are going to stand behind me, and that’s pro-life, then I’m going to be pro-life when it’s tough, too.
That, it seems to me, is commitment to a value over a party line. And that’s all too rare these days. I don’t know anything about Sen. Flood’s other policy decisions, but this at least is a step toward a consistent ethic of life. To their credit, the Nebraska Right to Life Committee has also publically supported the bill. It was vetoed by Nebraska Governor, Dave Heineman.
Read or listen to the story here.