The phrase pro-life gets bandied about a lot and although I have a strong Catholic religious upbringing, I chafe at the words that for many have no meaning but “anti-abortion.” I am not for abortion, but I am pro-choice as well as pro-life. Let me explain how.
You see pro-life is expansive. Pro-life means caring about children after they are born — providing healthcare and early education. Pro-life means providing paid maternity (and paternity) leave so that parents, especially mothers, can bond with their infants without fear of reprisals from the workplace.
Pro-life means all families have good healthcare so that mothers are cared for—before, during, and after pregnancy. Pro-life means creating communities that recognize children as the future while respecting the elders for what they have contributed in the past.
Pro-life means caring for the environment. How is it pro-life to bring children into a world where water and air and earth are polluted? How is it pro-life when there is a rise in childhood asthma when particulates fill the air? (Blue sky is not the whole story!)
Is it pro-life that children and families are still suffering because of the lead in the water of Flint, Michigan? Oh, yes, the nominee for the forty-fifth administration’s cabinet post for EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, wasn’t sure how much lead was safe to drink. The answer is zero. This is because even the most minute amount can have a lasting deleterious effect on infants and children—at all stages of development—including in the womb. So pro-life means advocating for state and federal agencies that protect us from such contaminants.
Pro-life cares about facts versus fiction when it comes to climate change. That is, pro-life cares about what legacy we leave our children. What kind of world will it be if the earth they inherit is ravaged by both droughts and floods; where food production and supply is threatened or diminished. Climate change portends dwindling resources, losses in habitats and an increase in disease too. Also a rise in poverty. How is any of that pro-life?
So, yes, I am indeed pro-life. However, it is anti-abortion that doesn’t really seem to care abou the unborn. For if the one-issue, so-called pro-lifers really cared for the unborn, then pregnant mothers wouldn’t have been drinking contaminated water in Flint. If there was real care about the unborn, then there would also be care to prevent unwanted pregnancies and pre-natal care for the pregnant, as well as post-natal care for mother and infants! Planned Parenthood does these things. Only three percent of their activities are abortion-related.
Recently, a loved one asked me why so many women are so concerned about the anti-abortion movement even if they themselves would not elect to have an abortion. My response to this young man was that for thousands of years, women’s bodies have been controlled by males. Women’s bodies are quite graphically invaded by men whether of their own volition or, worse, not. Pregnancy too is an invasion, welcomed or not. Anyone who has ever been pregnant will tell you of the changes that happen mentally and physically.
So the last thing most women want is for their bodies to be legislated and controlled by men. Reproductive rights is about that: the right of women to control their own bodies. Yes, I am pro-life, in all aspects of life, from birth to death, from sky to earth, from river to sea. When we are truly pro-life across the board, abortion is a non-issue. Abortion rates go down when there is true pro-life.
* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is in private practice in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She welcomes comments at MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or 610-388-2888. Past columns are posted to www.drgajdos.com. See book.quietwisdom-loudtimes.com for information about her book, “Quiet Wisdom in Loud Times: The Rise of the Wounded Feminine.”
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