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Franciscan Spirit Blog

What Does It Mean to be Pro-Life?

May 17, 2022
Pro-life advocates in Washington demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 1, 2021. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)
There are pro-life issues that have nothing to do with abortion, including health care, a living wage, capital punishment, and immigration, this friar explains.

From Catholic News Service: The Supreme Court appears set to overturn its Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion for nearly 50 years, according to a leaked initial draft of a court opinion obtained by Politico and published online the evening of May 2.

Just minutes after the leak was published, reactions were fast and furious on social media, and barricades were erected around the Supreme Court. Many people gathered at the court in protest and some, including students from The Catholic University of America, were there to pray the rosary.

The draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said Roe "was egregiously wrong from the start" and that "Roe and Casey must be overruled." Casey v. Planned Parenthood is the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe. Alito's opinion said the court's 1973 Roe decision had exceptionally weak reasoning "and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division," he wrote. He also said abortion policies should be determined on the state level.

A May 2 tweet by Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said her organization would "not be providing comment on an official decision of #scotus possible leak until a decision is officially announced."

"We also believe that given the leak the court should issue a ruling as soon as possible. This leak was meant to corrupt the process. It is heartbreaking that some abortion advocates will stoop to any level to intimidate the court no matter what the consequences," she added.

"This leak is an act of desperation from rabid abortion supporters," said Kristan Hawkins, president, Students for Life, in an email to Catholic News Service. She noted that although she didn't know if rumors about ending Roe were accurate she stressed that "ending Roe is the right decision."

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also expressed some skepticism but also praise for the potential decision.

"If the draft opinion made public tonight is the final opinion of the court, we wholeheartedly applaud the decision," she said in a statement adding: "If Roe is indeed overturned, our job will be to build consensus for the strongest protections possible for unborn children and women in every legislature." —Reporting by Carol Zimmermann | Catholic News Service


But what does pro-life really mean? Frank Jasper, OFM, explains that being truly pro-life means that, as Christians, we must consider other aspects of the movement that isn't talked about as widely as abortion.



Comments

Arlene B. Muller
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 09:14 AM
Arlene B. Muller
The sanctity of human life from conception through natural death is our PRE-EMINENT ISSUE & our primary concerns must be to protect the unborn from abortion & help women in crisis pregnancies to choose life by supporting pro-life organizations (both Catholic & those run by other Christians) that help women in crisis pregnancies physically, materially, psychologically & spiritually not only during pregnancy, labor & delivery but as long as needed after the birth of the child (in my area it is Good Counsel Homes & The Bridge to Life), protecting babies from infanticide, since some states even threaten the lives of babies who survive abortion & there are some who want to threaten the lives of babies after birth, & protecting elderly people, people with disabilities, seriously ill people & mentally ill people from assisted suicide & euthanasia. These are clear cut issues and we need to fight for legal protection, pray for conversion of those tempted to succumb to these in challenging circumstances & pray for conversion of leaders, especially those who claim to be Catholic, who are enablers of the demonic "culture of desth", evangelize by spreading the Gospel of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST & the Gospel of life, educate people about the humanity & development of the unborn within the womb & help provide pregnancy resource centers with ultrasound equipment so that more women can see their unborn babies on ultrasound & hear their heartbeats & be more inclined to choose life, & it is essential that we help & advocate for women in crisis pregnancies through organizations like Good Counsel Homes & put our resources behind our rhetoric to save the babies, the mothers & any other children they already have. We also need to care for our elderly people, especially those who live alone & especially those who are in hospitals, rehabilitation centers & nursing homes. We need to encourage adult children with elderly parents to visit them often, do what they can to help & be active advocates for them especially when they need to be hospitalized or in rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes. Without advocacy these elderly people can often be overlooked & even neglected & health care professionals might not have all the information & support they need to give them proper care. Also, elderly people are often lonely & they need to be loved, nurtured, respected & cherished. These are the most important issues. We are commanded to care for the poor, but there are differing opinions about how best to care for the poor. In the past Catholic social teaching has emphasized the principles of solidarity & subsidiarity but some have diverted from this by putting more emphasis on government based programs & government spending & taxes, especially on the Federal level. The principle of subsidiarity means that those closest to the people in need are best suited & most obligated to provide for their care, beginning with families, friends & neighbors & extending to the local church, Church organizations, charitable organizations & then, as needed to fill in the gaps, local, state & Federal government as the last resort. It is often better to donate to the Church & private organizations that provide more involvement & more personal care & where there is greater accountability regarding how our money is spent than to have Federal bureaucracy take our tax dollars with little accountability & less cause for trust & where there is an absence of faith & an absence of personal relationship. Government exists to protect the right to life, especially the lives of innocent people. Therefore, it must protect innocent people from violent criminals & from attack from violent nations. Whenever it is possible to protect innocent people from violent criminals without resorting to the death penalty & war it must do so, but the safety of innocent people must be given priority. And while to the extent that it is possible we must welcome refugees & immigrants, a nation must also protect its citizens & immigrants from terrorists, human sex trafficking & other human trafficking, drug dealers & other criminals & from spreading disease & must also ensure that those who enter our borders are provided with proper space & safe & sanitary living conditions.
Arlene B. Muller
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 10:53 AM
Arlene B. Muller
Although other issues related to the cause of life are important, the above are PRE-EMINENT, the initial stitch of a seamless garment. A claim to the other related issues should never allow the PRE-EMINENT ISSUES to be compromised or diluted to give license or support to politicians whose policies are hell-bent at enabling abortion, the abortion industry & Planned Parenthood. Especially politicians who do everything possible to enable abortion at all stages of pregnancy, force health care workers to participate in abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide or euthanasia in violation of their conscience and/or religious beliefs, & to fund abortion with our taxpayer dollars in violation of our consciences & especially while claiming to be Catholic. Before all other rights is the RIGHT TO LIFE, without which no other right would be possible.
Carol Stephens
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 11:15 AM
Carol Stephens
Thank you, Arlene, for always adding a moment of clarity.
Arlene B. Muller
Fri, 05/20/2022 - 07:57 AM
Arlene B. Muller
Thank you for your kind affirmation & for understanding. So many people don't get it & keep supporting the proponents & enablers of the culture of death & of big government bureaucracy. We need leaders that will defund the abortion industry & divert a substantial amount of this funding to helping faith based pro-life organizations that support women & their babies for as long as needed with a "hand up" & help them to get to the point where they can support themselves & their families on their own.
Lisa
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 11:30 AM
Lisa
Thank you for this reminder. While abortion is something we need to address, it is not the only life issue that matters. We never hear about poverty and immigration and ecology. Those are pro-life issues as well.
Mary
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 01:46 PM
Mary
I agree. There is a big difference between being “pro-life” and “pro-birth”. There is more to being pro-life than abortion. Many of the so called pro-life people are against programs that help provide health care, food, and other services after the baby is born. They also support the NRA, execution of criminals, immigrants, voting rights, etc.
Ted
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 06:38 PM
Ted
I agree. Pro-life politicians want children born but what happens after? With federal cuts to programs designed to help at risk moms, what options do they have? Let’s protect the life of the unborn—and AFTER they are born as well. Otherwise all this talk about the sanctity of life is hollow.
Arlene B. Muller
Wed, 05/18/2022 - 08:40 AM
Arlene B. Muller
People who are PRO-LIFE DO CARE about the mother & child after the birth of the child. If you read my above comments, those of us who are PRO-LIFE & CONSERVATIVE believe in providing help through the Church & through faith based organizations that provide love, caring & an opportunity to draw the mother, baby & family close to the LORD as well as providing for maternal needs. There are MANY Catholic & other Christian organizations that do this. Big government is impersonal. Big government has little accountability. Big government sometimes declines help to people who are needy & deserving but provides assistance to those who manipulate the system. Big government is totally secular & unable to present the Gospel because of "separation of church & state". The poor do not only need material help. In the words of Our LORD, the poor also need "the Gospel preached to them" primarily by our acts of service & also using words when necessary. To take care of needy people, including women in crisis pregnancies both before & after birth is the work of the Church. As Catholics it is our responsibility to find out about these organizations, to publicize & promote these organizations, to refer women to these organizations & to provide them with financial support to the best of our ability. And we need to encourage people to establish more organizations like this. Good Counsel Homes provides a group home for women in crisis pregnancies where they & whatever children they already have receive food, clothing, shelter, community, spiritual guidance, accountability, child care, educational opportunities & job training not only during pregnancy, labor & delivery but for as long as needed after the baby has been born. They help the family get on their feet until they can support themselves & they continue to follow up & have birthday parties & gatherings for them. They have homes in New Jersey, Staten Island & Riverdale/Bronx, NY. See www.goodcounselhomes.org. The Bridge to Life in College Point (Queens), NY is not a home but a place where women in crisis pregnancies can go for counseling & for material needs: layettes, baby supplies, baby clothes, toddler clothes, children's clothes, maternity clothes, women's clothes that are not maternity clothes, sheets, comforters, blankets,--all either new or gently used & in perfect condition. A close friend of mine is a volunteer at Bridge to Life & she scrupulously inspects donations so that the items the ladies receive have no stains, holes, tears, pulls or other defects. When I moved 5 years ago my friend helped me donate about 12 bags of my clothes & when my Mom died & I had to clean out her house so it could be sold my friend helped me donate a very large number of bags of her gently used clothes & bedding. See thebridgetolife.org. When the Texas Heartbeat Law was passed part of that law was an allocation of a large budget for maternity homes, pro-life organizations, diapers, & job training for mothers so that they will be able to support themselves & their children. So all this talk about being only "pro-birth" is nonsense. There is plenty of help for mothers & babies through the Cburch & faith based organizations whose recipients are not required to be Catholic. When hopefully Roe v Wade is overturned these organizations in post-Roe America will become even more vital than ever before, more of them will need to be established, & they will need as much of our financial & volunteer support, referrals, promotion & publicity as we can possibly give them. Our LORD gave the Commandment to help the poor to us as His disciples. He did not give the Commandment to government. Let us not abandon our responsibility & think that all we need to do is pay an increasing amount of tax dollars & trust the impersonal & untrustworthy big government to do a job that the LORD entrusted to us as the Church & that we as the Church can do much better in JESUS' Name.
Jim Myres, OFS
Fri, 05/20/2022 - 10:35 PM
Jim Myres, OFS
I agree, religious communities have to step forward. We have to provide for mother and child pre and postpartum. This includes everything needed for both to survive and thrive. This list is endless, day care, education, nutrition, and the list goes on. There are areas where local and State governments must step in. They have the authority of actually enforcing building codes to put slum lords on notice that mold, vermin, decay and unsafe and unsanitary conditions will not be tolerated. No one should have to raise a family in these conditions while someone profits from their misery. Peace my friends
Jay
Wed, 05/18/2022 - 10:56 AM
Jay
Thank you friars for the reminder that protecting the unborn is one piece of a larger puzzle.
Lydia
Thu, 05/19/2022 - 07:48 AM
Lydia
Thank you Franciscan Media for this timely article. I agree that being pro-life goes deeper than just protecting the unborn (though that is a big part). Bless you for your wisdom.

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