I am pro-life. But as another election cycle approaches, you will hear this phrase bandied loosely about by politicians courting your votes. So I want to be absolutely clear what I mean when I say that I am pro-life. I mean that:
- I am a pacifist and oppose all war or violent military intervention as a solution to any problem. War inevitably leads to senseless death and destruction; war most often creates more problems than it solves; and war always gives birth to yet another generation who view violence as a means to their ends.
- I believe that no government has the right to murder anyone, regardless of the crime they have committed. Human judgments are fallible, and one mistaken execution is one too many. Also, we do not possess god-like prescience to know that even the most hardened criminal cannot be rehabilitated, or that the most mentally-disturbed person cannot be cured.
- We possess more than enough resources to feed, clothe and shelter every living person. No one on the face of this planet should ever go hungry, naked or homeless. And that means that sharing wealth must take precedence over protecting privilege.
- Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are impossible without life. And while some disease and certainly death is inevitable, far too much medical and mental suffering is not. No one should ever lack of medical treatment because of something as ridiculous as placing a higher priority on stock dividends or tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens.
- A woman’s body is her sacred gift and she deserves the right to have complete control of when and how many children she wishes to bear. And it violates our Constitutionally-guaranteed right of religious freedom when politicians place continuation of a nonviable fetus above that of a healthy mother.
- “Rape culture” is a real and vulgar part of American society. No woman should ever fear for her safety because of her appearance, her actions or the puerile desire of a man to steal her most intimate dignity.
- Our obscene obsession with gun ownership and gun purchase in this nation is an egregious offense to all life.
Here are the attitudes I consider to be “anti-life:”
- If you believe that any nation has the right to murder those of another without exhausting every conceivable diplomatic option and every nonviolent course of action, then you are not pro-life. And if you send men and women into combat and then fail to provide them world-class mental and physical medical treatment, then you are not pro-life.
- If you believe that the state has the right to murder prisoners convicted of crimes, given the inordinate number of mistakes that have been made in capital punishment sentencing, its inherent racism and classism, and the cruel processes used to take those lives, then you are not pro-life.
- If you support funding cuts to food stamps, school lunch programs, early childhood education initiatives and public education of equally high quality for all, when more than enough is available in our bloated military spending to meet these needs and more, then you are not pro-life.
- If you oppose the Affordable Care Act, but offer no viable solution to providing health insurance to every American, then you are not pro-life.
- When you support the most intrusive invasion of a woman’s body, but offer our young people little realistic education about sex and obstruct their access to birth control, then you are not pro-life. And if you seek to deny victims of incest, rape and medical complications threatening the life of the mother with means to terminate those pregnancies, then you are not pro-life.
- If you support “slap on the wrist” punishments for rapists and those committing domestic violence and sexual assaults on women, and excuse the behavior of beasts for violating a woman by blaming her for the crime, then you are not pro-life.
- If you are not repulsed that this nation has done absolutely nothing to create mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, or to limit access to weapons whose sole purpose is the mass murder of humans — and you have not pressured you legislators to do so — then you are not pro-life.
So, when that politician knocks on your door and tells you he is “pro-life,” challenge him with these points as well. Because loving the unborn fetus without caring about its life after birth, the families that will raise it or the society that supports its successful development is not pro-life.