Pro-Love: An Alternative to Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice 3


Pro-Love: An Alternative to Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

Pro-Love: An Alternative to Pro-Life vs. Pro-ChoiceAre you pro-life? Or pro-choice?

I don’t need to tell you that this is a hot topic today…and has been for a while. These questions have been the topic of news reports, talk shows, debates, etc. There are many organizations promoting either side, all with plenty of weight and pull to influence the media and the general public. We, as the public, seemed forced to choose a side. We delve into our philosophies, beliefs, and religions to come up with the answer. What’s right and what’s wrong? Who gets to decide? The people? The government? – so many questions. It’s safe to say that this whole issue has become extremely complicated.

 

“Sometimes the questions are complicated, but the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss

 

What’s the answer?

Unplanned pregnancies bring with them an array of emotions. Sometimes it’s joy and happiness mixed with nervousness. Sometimes it’s shame and guilt mixed with fear. Sometimes it’s somewhere in between. Again, a seemingly complicated situation.

Amy Ford has been there. She is running an organization that’s bringing hope and support to women with unplanned pregnancies. Her journey to starting Embrace Grace began the same way, with an unplanned pregnancy. She experienced shame, loneliness, fear and a multitude of other emotions. She even had to face the decision of keeping the baby or not. This is where it gets complicated. Some would say she deserved a release from the stress being caused, and others would say the baby’s life was more important than whatever the mother was feeling. Again, from the outside it might seem like a simple, easy choice, but from Amy’s perspective, and many other women with unplanned pregnancies, it isn’t. What Amy needed was not relief from stress, but support and love from those around her. After all, how to you defeat shame and loneliness? With unconditional love and support.

We, as a community and with organizations like churches, can love and support these women, not just in their decision to keep a baby, but with actual support throughout the entire process and after the baby is born. The church has been guilty of convincing young women with unplanned pregnancies to keep their baby and then stepping away from the situation. Amy’s mission is to change that, and it’s happening all over the country now. Amy is teaching churches, and all of us, what it means to be “pro-love.”

If we would step back from debating and simply love, we would see a huge shift in our culture. Instead of being pro-choice or pro-life, be pro-love. You see, we have been forced to choose a side, but what if we step outside of the box and simply choose love.

Love is selfless. Love is patient, kind, not seeking its own. (See 1 Cor. 13) As a mother with an unexpected pregnancy, what does choosing love look like in your situation? As a church, what does love do in these situations. The answers to these questions may be simple, but it doesn’t mean they are easy. They require a lot from us.

But if love was at the center of it all…

What does love do to judgement or shame, to loneliness or fear? How would we make decisions if we truly choose a selfless love?

So, pro-life? Or pro-choice? Or pro-love?

We need to find the answers to complicated issues like these, not just for us, but for those who are coming. It’s a large part of building a legacy. This isn’t the first time an issue like this has plagued society, and it won’t be the last. We don’t need to lose heart, though. Let’s instead start by asking that question:

What does love look like in this situation? What does love do?

You might be surprised how simple the answer is.

Be uncommon,

Brian

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3 thoughts on “Pro-Love: An Alternative to Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

  • Zarathustra

    Interesting thought. I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you’ve said, but I think it is actually important to pick a side, and you’re tiptoeing around the issue. It’s easy to hide behind a “pro-love” label so you’re less likely to make enemies with the people on the other side of the issue, but you can’t vote “pro-love”. I think the important thing for modern pro-life people is to strike at the root of the problem, when for years we have simply been striking at branches. I grew up as a Christian and I was always taught that pro-life was the way to be, but I eventually grew out of my faith. I was faced with a crisis where it still “felt right” to be pro-life, but I didn’t know if I could justify that position without the Bible. You can’t convince people on the other side with what “feels right”, especially not when you are debating against people who are mostly very liberal Christians or atheists. You need a better argument, and in my searching I found one. One that I think that all pro-life people need to adapt because it is strong and it stands up to scrutiny, even without leaning on a holy text, and that is the pro-life position from the humanist standpoint, where abortion is wrong because it violates the human rights of a fetus, and those rights of the fetus are the same human rights we all have. I won’t explain the whole stance here for lack of time, but this (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/11/yes-there-are-pro-life-atheists-out-there-heres-why-im-one-of-them/) is an article that explains it much better than I could. The second bit of advice that I would give to those who are religious and pro-life is that you absolutely have to start compromising on some things like sex education and birth control. As it is right now, the abstinence-only sex-ed taught to so many children is completely ineffective. It’s time we acknowledge that whether you agree with it or not, teens are going to have sex outside of marriage. The solution lies in education and prevention of unwanted pregnancy in the first place. This is the root we must strike at. Just some things to consider.

    • Brian Sherman

      Thanks so much for your response. I understand the point of view you’re coming from. I also read the article you offered and it’s an interesting read. What I’m offering is simply a different way of looking at the issue. If we take an approach of love, our arguments change. Love does not always agree with philosophy or even views on science. It even goes beyond what’s “right” or “wrong”. It’s much more personal than that and it might look different for each person and in each situation. I do understand that this way of thinking will most likely lean toward a pro-life standpoint. If a woman with an unplanned pregnancy chooses love as her basis for making a decision to keep a baby or not, it is my thought that she would keep it, even if it is a tough decision with a lot of future unknowns. If love is the starting (and ending) point, people wouldn’t be able to push responsibilities onto laws or groups to make or justify their decisions, they would have to take personal responsibility. They would have to decide what loves does, not what society does. It’s true, we can’t vote “pro-love” in elections and legal issues, but we can with our own lives and choices. Thanks again for your response and opening up this conversation.

    • Jon Beadle

      Zarathustra. What a name! Nietzsche would be…proud? Hard to get a nickname out of that though. But seriously, is that your real name?Okay, I won’t digress anymore.

      I think it is important to go back to Brian’s original point, which I agree with: partisan allegiance can sometimes get in the way of the ethics of the Christian. Meaning, as a christian I may be pro-life, but I would rather adopt or helps the girls after-the-fact than stand outside of a Planned Parenthood with a sign.

      To your two points:

      1. It makes sense to blame the issue on ignorance, so we flood schools with more sex education. Honestly, I don’t think that is the answer. We have more access to the most complex accumulation of knowledge than anyone else in history and yet have more slavery than ever before, and more disease than ever before. This may seem like a stretch, but take as an example STD’s: We know more about the body in this regard, and still the spread of various sexual diseases is an epidemic. We don’t need more knowledge (per se), we need more wisdom, which is what I think Brian is talking about when he says we need to train ourselves to take a “step back” and ask the question. And how else do you get character formation except through the initial inner-drive that we believe comes though the love of God.

      2. Having a “pro-love” position does seem cheeky, but it is not the label that is unique, it is the asking of the question. This is because it forces us to do something that we usually put into the governments hands to take care of, and clearly…they haven’t done a great job doing so. I don’t think it can be left only to the State to do the one thing our society needs more than anything right now: values. So, to your comment about Brian tiptoeing around the issue: I disagree because as anyone knows, both sides are typically funded by their respective tribes. And the success or failure of these movements is almost primarily hanging on who gets in office and what laws get changed.

      As my pro-choice friend says to me all the time, “Jon, we are not pro-abortion, but this is a necessary outworking of our high value for equity and choice.” Now, I don’t agree with him, but it’s better to transcend those boundaries to come to a commonality so that real change can happen, don’t you think?

      Lastly, the “question” is radical. It assumes we don’t already know what to do about the problem, which is humility – something desperately lacking in conversations about abortion.

      Jon