Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins writes at HLI’s Truth and Charity Forum:
I’m not saying to abandon the use of the term “pro-life” altogether, but we must realize that the term “pro-life” allows the person using it to give it their own definition.
For me and others I work with, it means that we are dedicated to abolishing all abortions in our lifetime. For others, it means that they are personally against abortion but wouldn’t stop a friend from having one. And for another group of people, it means being against abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, unjust war, nuclear weapons, sex trafficking, and so on.
While the term “pro-life” can have many connotations with different meanings to different people, being anti-abortion very clearly states what we are against. There’s no confusion there.
In addition, it makes “abortion” the key issue and shoves the term back in the face of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.
Friends, for years, the mainstream media has attempted to turn “anti-abortion” into a pejorative term and in reaction, pro-lifers have chafed at the press refusing to call us by our preferred name.
Instead of shrinking from the “anti-abortion” classification, we should embrace it. We ARE anti-abortion. We are anti-abortion because it kills the most innocent and vulnerable among us; it degrades, deceives, and hurts women; it tears apart our families; and it has taken a third of this generation from us.
Don’t be afraid to call yourself anti-abortion or an abortion abolitionist, because that is who we are, and our ultimate goal is to abolish abortion in our lifetime.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a pro-lifer express frustration at the watering down of the term “pro-life” and encourage us to embrace and use the term “pro-abortion” instead. I have an idea for an article that significantly expands on my thoughts here in a less direct way, but, in the meantime, a few quick notes:
I agree that we should not shy away from the media’s label of us as ”anti-abortion”. We do oppose abortion, after all. But if we are truly concerned about the value and dignity of every human life, especially at it’s most vulnerable stages, then simply being “anti-abortion” is not enough. Not in today’s world.
Denise Hunnell said it well in her Forum article on Tuesday (which, it seems, Kristan was responding to), “The culture of death is a multi-headed dragon that must be destroyed at its heart.” Obviously, after 40 years and over 50 million murdered unborn children, abortion remains our highest pro-life priority. It’s the one we’ve been fighting the longest. But we have GOT to start making the many other threats to the dignity of the human person (ESCR, assisted reproductive technology, human cloning, euthanasia/assisted suicide) an equal priority for our movement before they get just as out of hand as abortion is today. In fact, we already have an outrageously out of control, unregulated fertility industry that, while it’s aim is to foster new life, has resulted in the loss of millions upon millions of innocent human lives — and the numbers just keep growing.
I’m not saying that Hawkins and other pro-lifers don’t care about these other issues at all, but, let’s face it, they’re not being fought with the same intensity as abortion is. No one’s holding vigil outside of fertility clinics, for example, praying for the conversion of IVF doctors and handing out “alternatives to IVF” literature to couples as they go in the building — even though multiple tiny human beings perish during every round of IVF. The fertility industry remains laughingly unregulated while we challenge the abortion industry with new restrictions every year. And there are, to my knowledge, precious little attempts to even try to restrict research that creates, manipulates and destroys nascent human life.
The bottom line is this: for our movement as a whole, “pro-life” remains the only accurate label which we should embrace and take back from those who would distort it and water it down.
I understand that it’s not easy keeping up with all the attacks on the dignity of the human person these days, but we cannot afford to let these other issues fall through the cracks. This ‘aint your momma’s pro-life movement, anymore. Or, it shouldn’t remain so. Pro-life 3.0 is upon us, whether we like it or not and it’s progressing fast — and largely under the radar.
All of this, of course, is to say nothing of the devastating end of life issues we face.