The Globe and Mail published an interesting piece last week titled, “Finally, a meaningful definition of pro-life.” As though all definitions of pro-life until now have been distinctly absent of meaning, Balkissoon looks at climate change, poverty, and immigration as issues people should care about if they call themselves pro-life.
In what seems a genuine attempt to be thoughtful and nuanced, Balkissoon unfortunately uses an age-old distraction technique, also asking why the pro-life movement doesn’t focus on “ensuring secure housing, good schooling, decent jobs, freedom from violence and a stable environment, especially for women and children.”
This is akin to asking why the local car dealership doesn’t focus on pothole repair and improved road access to remote communities. It is likely that car salesmen believe in good roads and access for remote communities, just as pro-lifers believe in secure housing and freedom from violence for women. But pro-life work, like car salesman work, must be focused.
We focus on life from its earliest stages because a true valuing of life starts when life begins. This value placed on human life extends naturally into many other areas, but here, at the beginning, is where we must work until hearts and minds are changed to understand that you cannot preach “human dignity” while letting stronger humans choose whether weaker humans get to live.
The term “pro-life” has come to be associated specifically with promoting the right of children to be safe in the womb. This is not something the pro-life movement should be ashamed to declare.
Yes, the treatment of all human life should matter to those who call themselves pro-life, and we support all efforts to improve the lives of women in ways that empower them to mother confidently and safely. Naturally, we also have thoughts on immigration, foreign aid, euthanasia, mental health services, and clean drinking water on reserves.
But, more people die every year from abortion than any other cause in North America. Estimates have as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in abortion in Canada. This is not an issue that can be given divided attention. Abortion advocates do not accept the idea that pro-life initiatives after birth are the answer; abortion is the only answer they will accept.
The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada responded to Balkissoon’s article on their Facebook page with this analysis:
“A thoughtful piece…But, some food for thought.
…Reducing unwanted pregnancies is important, crucial really. But, the idea that if we were all happy/healthy/wealthy we would want to KEEP an unwanted pregnancy is a myth. Some of us simply do not want children, and that is 100% alright.”
THIS is the extremist attitude the pro-life movement counters. This attitude declares it “100% alright” to end a pregnancy for any reason at all, at any time at all, because you are a woman and this is your right. This devalues life at its core. It is a dangerous, vicious ideology that needs to be fought with focused attention that starts at the very beginning.