Keep Our Eyes on the Prize
This month I joined hundreds of thousands of people for the 45th annual March for Life. There’s something profoundly moving about standing in a sea of people who despite their outward differences have a single unifying cause as their goal. We all agree that Roe v. Wade was a terribly wrong and destructive decision for our nation. Where we find ourselves disagreeing is over strategies to change that. I’ve prayed to God to end abortion for over a decade. I’ve had years of being convinced I knew the primary strategy for change and in other seasons I’ve been uncertain as to how it would happen.
In our movement we have different fronts to fight the battle for life before us. This is a good thing as we have talents, skills and passions unique to us. Some have gotten involved with politics, believing the most effective way to win the war is by striking down pro-abortion laws. Pro-lifers involved with politics fight for the free speech rights of pregnancy centers, mandatory waiting periods for women seeking abortions, parental notification and consent laws among others. Some people believe these changes are making a huge difference while others lament that no matter what the law does you can’t legislate morality. Some argue abortion will always happen regardless of the law and the battle must be won by reaching hearts.
Pregnancy Resource Centers do just that by offering free options counseling, parenting support and material resources such as diapers, baby clothes, cribs and more. PRC’s are highly regarded by most but some in the pro-life movement attack them for educating women on the option of abortion. Some pro-lifers take issue with the fact that they are largely faith-based organizations that offer prayer and an invitation to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then you have the sidewalk counselors who take it to the streets to reach women scheduled to have abortions. Some of these brave warriors have been standing in the freezing cold and blazing heat for over 30 years. While many honor their work some question if those who use pictures of aborted babies traumatize women seeking abortions and push them farther away from pro-lifers?
Those are only a few ways pro-lifers engage in this movement. Some work with adoption agencies and others with maternity homes. Some identify as pro-life feminists and others as pro-life atheists. With our differences come the important questions we can’t agree on: Should we focus efforts towards gaining another pro-life Supreme Court judge or two to see Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton overturned? Is someone not 100% pro-life if they support a bill that allows for rape and life of the mother exceptions? How do we reach more people of color with the pro-life message? Should pro-lifers attend pro-choice events to build bridges?
I’m not going to attempt to answer those questions in a blog post. It’s okay to have different strategies as long as we respect each other and remember our common purpose. In spite of our differences in thinking and action, we all work to save lives. Knowing that causes me to look at others with empathy and understanding. I try my best (I’ve failed before) to not publicly put down the strategy of Pro-life people or organizations. Unless someone is advocating for something illegal or harmful (people can debate on what counts for that) I don’t criticize strategies. I don’t think any of us fully know what it will take to bring the societal change we’re looking for. If someone is earnestly working towards ending abortion in a legitimate way, I support them. I try to see the good in what someone else is doing, even if it’s not my way of doing it.
I value open dialogue on the arguments and point of views we debate on. Let’s take for example the question of whether Pro-lifers should be against the death penalty and war. I don’t have to agree with someone on this topic but I’m interested in their view point. Sadly I’ve seen people be accused of being less pro-Life based on their opinion regarding topics like those. If someone is vocally and actively standing against abortion, it’s not my job to measure how pro-Life they are. My mentor told me that we don’t have time to fight our allies. If you’ve spent any time in this movement you know how it feels to have pro-abortion people mock and belittle you. It’s not easy to fight for the cause of life so I try my best to support my allies and encourage them. The theme for the 2018 March for Life was “Love Saves Lives.” The love we show to the woman seeking an abortion is the same love we need for our brothers and sisters who are in the trenches with us.