What Does Pro-Life Really Mean?
I brushed upon abortion in Are Politics Poisoning the United States, but it’s a topic deserving the spotlight. To put it bluntly, I dislike “pro-life” and feel it’s not a worthy term. Too often, the discussion stops at birth when a legal life begins for that child. Now, this is not a debate about when life begins. I am not a doctor, nor any form of a medical professional. What I also am not is a woman carrying a child or even capable of giving birth. So why should my opinion help shape the rights of something that is not reflecting my body directly? The answer is it shouldn’t. Pro-life should be a philosophy about children’s lives after birth instead of a fight for women’s fundamental rights.
Unless You Fight for Children Out of the Womb, You Don't Deserve the Title of Pro-Life
If you are against abortions but do not support ensuring everyone has access to health care, education, a livable wage, or any other benefits that will help children once born, you aren’t pro-life; you’re only anti-abortion. Fighting to make sure a child is birthed but not taken care of is a selfish act. If it’s for religious reasons, what God would only want a child born but not taken care of in as many ways possible? Sleeping better at night knowing that child is born and not caring beyond the womb adds what value to their life? I do not want a child growing up in a home that cannot financially and emotionally supports them or bounced around in the foster care system.
The Cost of Raising a Child Is $233,610
From birth until their 18th birthday, the average expenses of raising a child add up to $233,610 for a medium-income household, according to the USDA. That divides out to $1081 a month. An unplanned pregnancy could easily lead to debt if a family is currently experiencing financial difficulties. When you look at the current number of children living in poverty now, according to PBS, you can’t help but see there is a problem. What if you don’t support raising the minimum wage and are still pro-life? Or perhaps you feel abortion should not be decided only for financial reasons, regardless of the minimum wage or cost. Would you suggest adoption?
What Is the Likelihood of a Child Being Adopted?
I headed to the Adoption Network’s webpage to find out the statistics. “Experts estimate [people waiting to adopt] is somewhere between one and two million couples. Every year there are about 1.3 million abortions. Only 4% of women with unwanted pregnancies place their children through adoption.” – Source, Adoption Network. You may think, “okay, the number of abortions is within the estimated adoption demand. What’s the problem? I don’t know if you know anyone who has tried to adopt a child, but the process takes time. And that’s with only 4% of unwanted pregnancies choosing adoption.
To further clarify the adoption system stress, here’s another quote! “On any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States In 2015, over 670,000 spent time in the U.S. foster care Unfortunately, instead of being safely reunited with their families – or moved quickly into adoptive homes – many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions.” Again, that is a direct quote from the Adoption Network. The fact is, suggesting adoption in place of abortion only sends a child into an already stressed system. The number of parents wishing to adopt will not change; only the number of children waiting to be adopted will rise.
Instead of Banning Abortions, Reduce Pregnancies
The numbers show the cost of raising a child isn’t affordable for all and that the adoption system is already filled with children looking for loving homes. So what do I propose as a solution? Instead of trying to prevent abortions, encourage safe sex practices. And, abstinence doesn’t work, according to NPR. We need to start educating students about the use of contraception and show the cost and sacrifices made to raise a child. Still, you can’t control all situations. People use poor judgment influenced by drugs or alcohol, condoms break, and birth control CAN fail. I do want to address a possibly triggering topic that is disgustingly brought up in pro-life arguments.
Rape Victims are Not Part of God's Plan
If anyone EVER says that rape, incest, or sexual assault victims are part of God’s plan, you need therapy and to stay far away from women’s or anyone’s rights. No sexual assault victim should ever be forced to undergo a medical procedure or emotionally traumatizing experience in addition to the initial trauma. Conceptions that occur during a sexual assault are not God’s plan. It is the result of a disturbed individual recklessly violating a human being. If your religion does not share that view, you need to find a new church to attend.
Have More Conversations about Pro-Life and Pro-Choice
Whether you agree or even disagree, please leave a comment or reach out. I don’t mind having a conversation about abortion that is respectful of each other’s opinions and wishing to learn more about each other. And please know I don’t think lightly of abortion. It’s the option I consider the last resort, but I will never judge anyone for making that decision, especially if my life is not personally affected by it. So please, spread less hate about abortion. Instead, preach education about safe sex, encourage the adoption of children already in the system, and fight for financial and health equality across the board. Then, after reading the statistics, ask yourself: what does pro-life mean to you?