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Pro-Life Needs To Be Pro All Life

by Alex Iwashyna

in Christianity, Progressive Politics


Savita Halappanavar Photograph: Irish Times

I have been sitting on my pro-life video for about a month. The story of Savita, who was denied an abortion in Ireland while miscarrying at 17 weeks and died, as well as the nun who was excommunicated over saving a woman’s life by allowing an abortion in a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Arizona decided for me in a way. The nun saved that woman’s life, but she could’ve denied the abortion as Savita Halappanavar was denied hers. The possibility is enough for me to decide to talk about a the difficult subject yet again.

(If you can’t see the video, click Pro-Life Needs To Be Pro All Life)

In the video (once I cut it down from twelve minutes to four), I discuss how I don’t understand why the pro-life movement only includes fetuses. When I look around at all the suffering and struggles of our world, homelessness, prison reform, poverty, human trafficking, war, there is so much life to support which doesn’t require sacrificing another life to do so; yet an entire movement focuses on a life that literally requires the sacrifice of another person’s life, which is not even their own.

If the pro-life movement was only made up of currently pregnant women, I would understand. Or if all life had dignity and comfort today, perhaps I could make room. But a movement focused on taking away the rights of one life to promote the rights of another is not pro-life. It is pro the easiest life to promote and look good doing it. The life in a pregnant belly is cute and uncomplicated. The movement forgets where we all come from and that we are all neighbors.

I don’t expect people to stop being pro-life, but I hope the they stops focusing on sacrificing mothers and broadens to include the lives of those here who are living and breathing next to us first. I hope the movement will embrace those people so easily ignored because their lives are full of mistakes and ugliness rather than baby photos and clean slates. As a Christian and a human being, I believe that the most difficult for us to love is probably the place to begin.

PS. I’m more eloquent in my video so if you have a 4 minutes to spare, you could listen.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby November 15, 2012 1

I applaud your bravery. Truly.

I think what is easy is for pro-life Americans to throw their weight behind an argument that, fundamentally, seems right. Babies are cute. They are innocent. They represent everything that is good and right in the world. I also think it’s easy for pro-life Americans to focus on that aspect of their argument, and fail to look at the ugly parts—those dark reasons behind abortion. How did this fetus begin? Was the mother assaulted? Is it the result of incest? Is this fetus not just unwanted, but detested, all because of the way it was conceived?

I know the argument all too well. “But what about the babies who weren’t conceived that way? What about the women on welfare, or the ones who just don’t want to be pregnant? Who speaks for those fetuses?” It’s true, not all abortions are from women who were raped. But we have to protect those women–those lives. We have to give them solace in a time they need it most. We need to give them back their control–over their bodies, over their own lives. And if you take away their right to choose, you are stripping them of a human right so essential, it will only lead to a higher rate of suicide, back-alley abortions, and more unwanted children in a system that is already insanely over-crowded.

Maybe if we solve those problems first–poverty, lack of education, homelessness–we would slowly solve the need for abortions, except in cases of illness. I realize how idealistic that sounds. But I agree with you, Al—Love thy neighbor–even the ones who aren’t invited to your weekend barbecues.
Abby recently posted..Can Someone Pass a Paper Bag?


Ally Bean November 15, 2012 2

Amen. You have said it all and you have said it well. Thank you.
Ally Bean recently posted..Red Wine Served In The Wrong Glass


Naked Girl in a Dress November 15, 2012 3

This is an excellent post, Alex. What a great way to bring about change. I hope your video goes viral.
Naked Girl in a Dress recently posted..To President Obama on State Secession: Learn from a Seasoned Veteran


Denise November 15, 2012 4

I was so very sad to read about that poor young lady. Completely unacceptable to let her die. I agree with what you are saying. There are so many lives that are not so vehemently fought for and that doesn’t seem right.
Denise recently posted..Reflections on Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago


Angela Alvarez Velez November 15, 2012 5

I had to look the video up in YouTube because the link thingie in the email doesn’t work. I copied it here


Alex Iwashyna November 15, 2012 6

Weird. It’s working here and attached the video to the bottom of the email depending on who hosts (gmail, yahoo etc). Thanks for adding this link so people can get there. Oh and thank you for your comment on my video on youtube. If the video catches on there, it could be time to toughen my skin so it’s nice to have a kind comment to start me off.


Jackie November 15, 2012 7

I love the way you write and get across exactly what I think… I also love your openness, honesty, and bravery in posting on topics like this.
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angela November 15, 2012 8

You are eloquent and you are wise. Thank you for sharing this. (Thank you for THINKING it.)


Poppy November 16, 2012 9

I agree it should be Pro all-life. I think it is fine to be pro-life, and if you want to make sure that you preserve the life that grows inside of you… Awesome. I personally believe that a fetus is a person, so I don’t think I could have an abortion unless I had to, but I also know that everyone has different beliefs and there is no right answer in this case. My belief is no more correct than someone else’s.
When it comes to abortion and rape and having an abortion to save the mother’s life I do not understand why it is even a question? The mother is not just a incubator she is a person whose life will be irrevocably changed no matter if she chooses to abort the pregnancy or not.
Poppy recently posted..Hmm. Something does not seem quite right.


Kate November 16, 2012 10

The only name I’ll call you is brave.
Kate recently posted..Amazing Joy


Lady Jennie November 20, 2012 11

I agree with you Alex. Maybe our big tent just got smaller?

(grin). Big hug! :-)


Alex Iwashyna November 20, 2012 12

I’m so glad, but we want our tent to stay big. More room for more people. You bring people. I bring people. Eventually we won’t even need the tent because we’ll realize that we are all under here and have so much more in common than we ever had to fight over.


Diane January 22, 2013 13

I am totally pro-life, but love your ability to communicate your opinion, and the fact that you advocate for women. I also heartily agree, with an “Amen” and a “preach it, sister”, your last sentence, “As a Christian and a human being, I believe that the most difficult for us to love is probably the place to begin.”
Excellent point.


Alex Iwashyna January 22, 2013 14

I’m glad you’re here and that you know you can express your opinions, too, whether they’re the same as mine or not. I think morality and love has a lot less to do with pro-life and pro-choice than either side would like to believe. When people on different sides find similarities, it gives me great hope. Thank you.


Diane January 23, 2013 15

I do believe that pro-life and pro-choice people have way more in common than we sometimes think we do. It drives me cah-razy when people from opposing opinions let their emotions get the best of them. I get that it can be a volatile issue, but love, respect and humility need to be in the forefront of any discussion. Rude comments, disrespect and anger should have no place in discussions between people who are children of the same God. I hope that someday, politics aside, real communication can take place about this issue.


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