Commentary: Are You Really Pro-Life?

In “Keep Your Head Up,” the late Tupac Shakur sang:
“And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up.”

Earlier this month, Alabama signed into law a bill that severely restricts women’s right to have a safe abortion. Some describe this law as part of a “pro-life” stance, based on their personal interpretation of scripture, life experience, or understanding of science and society. This definition of “pro-life” focuses on pregnancy and birth.

My definition of “pro-life” is that one supports life in all its forms from creation to death. By this definition, a “pro-life” cannot support the death penalty or the gunning down of children of color.

By this definition, those who are “pro-life” weep daily for the children at the border who wonder where their parent is and if they will ever feel their embrace again.  “Pro-life” laments for the international war-torn areas where children are collateral damage of America’s military activity. “Pro-life” is heartbroken over the nearly 400,000 children currently looking for a forever home in foster care. “Pro-life” loses sleep over the knowledge that a pre-adolescent girl who was raped and is now contemplating suicide.

As Tupac said, “a man has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one,” to which I would add “or when, where, and how to decide that this isn’t the life she can or wants to enter into.” The current reality is that “pro-life” is just a term that takes away another’s individual and God-given right to make informed decisions for themselves. My personal thoughts and opinions should never be imposed on another person, especially since I will not have to bear the burden of those decisions.

The call and mandate for us as followers of Jesus is to stand with our siblings as they navigate life’s choices, offering support when applicable, refraining from judgment of decisions that are not ours to determine.

Trayce Potter is Minister of Youth and Young Adult Engagement for the United Church of Christ.

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