What pro-life really means

Published 10:07 pm Monday, December 9, 2019

By Ross Reitz

The pro-life movement believes that every human is created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Since every human being shows some aspect of who God is, every one of us has inherent worth — or as the Declaration of Independence says, “inalienable rights.” But what does it mean to believe that EVERY human being has inherent rights given to us by God?

  • True pro-lifers believe in the rights of the unborn — especially if they can feel and respond to pain. A baby’s nervous system starts to develop soon after conception. While there is debate as to when a baby can first feel pain, we do know the eyes sense light by week 16, and the baby can hear by week 18. If those sensory organs work by week 16, it is reasonable to assume that pain receptors also are active around that time. If the mother’s life is not at risk, we, as pro-lifers, believe that such procedures are unwarranted any time it is reasonable to assume that the baby can feel pain.
  • True pro-lifers believe in protecting the life and health of women. Because every life is valuable, true pro-lifers stand up against laws which seek to limit health care access for women. Federal law requires that states provide Medicaid for pregnant women up through 60 days after delivery; however, the mother’s insurance might drop after those 60 days in states that did not expand Medicaid.

Currently, the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. A new mother is three times more likely to die in the U.S. than in Canada or France. A higher percentage of new mothers die in the U.S. than in Bosnia, Kazakhstan or Libya. More than half of these deaths of American mothers are considered preventable. States that expanded Medicaid had a significant decrease in maternal deaths compared to states which did not expand Medicaid. Infant deaths also dropped by more than 10 percent in states that expanded Medicaid — but actually rose in states which refused Medicaid expansion.

  • True pro-lifers promote honesty.

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Clinics connected to the pro-life movement have been performing ultrasounds on pregnant women, hoping that by seeing their baby, mothers will be less likely to seek an abortion. However, workers in these clinics may have no medical training, and the ultrasound may never be read by a doctor. In some cases, expecting mothers came to these clinics because they believed they would receive health care. Their unborn babies were sick — but no one in the clinic knew to tell the mother. A California law required unlicensed clinics to alert their clients that they did not have anyone who could treat them or read the ultrasound, but the Supreme Court decided it is against our free speech to force us to tell mothers that we have no medical training — even when we are dressed in lab coats and performing medical tests.

For Christians, this ruling of the Supreme Court should not matter. The apostle Paul wrote, “we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

As followers of Christ, we sabotage our mission if we resort to lies or deception to promote our beliefs. Even if the Supreme Court makes it legal to deceive a mother into believing we are medical providers, our belief in Christ should prevent us from being involved in any such lie.

Being pro-life means working for the rights of every human. While “pro-life” does mean working to restrict unnecessary abortions, it also means believing in health care, vaccines, and hospice, which I will discuss in future articles.