A false dichotomy has been created by the politicization of abortion: those who are pro-choice are defenders of mothers’ rights, while those who are pro-life are crusaders for the unborn. Either choice neglects someone, which means there is never a true winner. But this is wrong, not the least of which because the issue of abortion is not, in any way, about winning. It is about the dignity of all human persons, such as mother and father and fetus, and promoting that. Abortion must be fought because it is in direct opposition to human flourishing for everyone involved.
Therefore, limiting the scope of pro-life to only the issue of abortion is in opposition to the teachings of the Church. Three points show this: human beings are made in the image and likeness of God; Jesus provided us with saving grace so that we could have life to the full; and the greatest commandment is to love God and love others as ourselves.
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). The theological implications of this statement can never be surpassed. But even more than just creating us in His image, God incarnated himself in our flesh in the form of Jesus Christ. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). He provided saving grace because in our inherent beings we are good, but we still choose sin. Sin is what prevents us from living our lives to the fullest. But Jesus taught us that sacrificial love for one another atones for sin, and that the greatest form of love that exists is that of loving another more than ourselves.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:34-40).
The ENTIRETY of the law is summarized in the statements asking us to love God and love others. And the most basic form of love, the most basic form of respect, for both God and neighbor is to defend their lives in such a way that they may live abundantly. To be really, truly pro-life, that is the task. The task is to promote flourishing for all persons, from conception until natural death, so they may live the life God intended and have a chance to know His love for them. And the greatest way for us as human beings to help our neighbors know God’s love is to show it ourselves. No one person’s life is more valuable to God than any other, because each one was formed by God Himself, and is known by Him.
Pro-life is not about pregnancy, and it is not about abortion. It is about loving and protecting every person (mother, father, fetus, grandfather, brother, aunt, teacher, neighbor, stranger) to the greatest capacity of our hearts.
– Taylor Stewart
Taylor double-majored at Carroll College in Theology and Biology. She will be starting Medical School at University of Washington this Fall.