‘You’re not pro-life, you’re just pro-birth’ is like saying ‘you’re not pro-freedom, you’re just anti-slavery’
If you are anti-abortion and have been told that you’re “not really pro-life, just pro-birth,” this article is for you. More so, if you support abortion and have made the above claim about the pro-life community, this article is for you, too. But mostly, if you are considering abortion and see no options in light of your current challenge — if anyone reads this article, I hope it is you.
The pro-life movement is the most intentional and effective advocacy system for women and children, yet claims to the contrary still persist, most notably:
“You’re not really pro-life, you’re just anti-abortion. If you really cared, then you should advocate healthcare for women and help the mother while she’s pregnant instead of shouting at her at abortion clinics, and you’d care about the child after birth instead of just forcing them to be born.”
This claim is objectively flawed and ignores facts that support its antithesis. I say “ignore” because the evidence of anti-abortionists’ support for women and children is so obvious that a simple Google search will reveal it. People who make the “just pro-birth” claim likely know the truth but can’t stomach the fact that it invalidates their pro-choice narrative. I provide the ignored facts in this article.
Before I dissect the claim, I want to point out that I ran these arguments by pro-choice friends of mine to ensure proper representation and to avoid unintentional strawman arguments. All of them approved.
“You’re not really pro-life, you’re just anti-abortion.”
This is akin to saying, “You’re not pro-freedom, you’re just anti-slavery.” This is a mind-boggling false dichotomy. Why are we anti-slavery? We are anti-slavery because we believe that people should be free, not enslaved. To be anti-slavery is to be pro-freedom. With that same logic, pro-lifers want the unborn to live, not be killed. Abortion results in death. The opposite of death is life. To be anti-abortion is to be pro-life.
Despite the syntax train-wreck of this claim, I understand that many who use this argument are saying that pro-lifers only care about eradicating abortion but don’t actually care about the mother or the baby after birth.
But objectively speaking, ethics are not contingent on one’s participation in the subject at hand. That is, if something is ethically wrong then it’s ethically wrong. Whether or not we would help a freed slave does not change the fact that slavery is wrong, right?
Even so, if the anti-abortion community actively provided resources to help women during challenging pregnancies, provided for their needs, and helped their child after birth, pro-choicers would still misrepresent and lie about pro-lifers because at the end of the day they hate that we oppose abortion and no amount of care for women and children from the pro-life community will change the pro-choicer’s postures.
I literally can’t be wrong about that last statement because the enmity of the pro-choice community is empirically evident, and yet for decades the pro-life community has provided the very care I just mentioned. I’ll expound on those resources next.
“If you really cared, you should advocate healthcare for women and help the mother while she’s pregnant.”
I completely agree that women should have healthcare (as a rule, everyone believes this.) To say that pro-lifers oppose healthcare for women is a factually incorrect means of misrepresenting the pro-life movement. If the pro-choice position is the right position, then they shouldn’t have to resort to false rhetoric, but alas…
Pro-lifers and pro-choice people have something in common: We both want healthcare for women and children. But what makes pro-life people so special is that we don’t only want children to be healthy, we also want them to be alive!
Below is an example of how pro-life groups are literally establishing mobile medical centers outside of abortion clinics. Also, all treatment is free.
The video above is but one example of boots-on-the-ground assistance. Here are some quick facts about how the anti-abortion/pro-life community holistically cares for expectant mothers:
- Pro-life advocates have ensured the funding of Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (QCHC). QCHCs outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20:1 across the United States. QCHCs are non-abortive, provide more medical services than Planned Parenthood, serve tens of millions more women annually than Planned Parenthood, and are far more accessible to women. QCHCs are not a flat-rate “get treatment only if you can pay” program. Payment is relative to the patient’s financial circumstances — treatment is not.
- In addition to QCHCs, pro-life advocates have developed over 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) across the United States. CPCs specifically focus on women who are facing challenging circumstances while expecting. CPCs provide professional medical treatment, counseling, and financial assistance and aim to address specific challenges that would influence a woman to choose an abortion.
- Several times over the years, pro-life legislation aimed to defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate their funding (to the tune of ~$500,000,000) to QCHCs. This would mean clinics that provide more medical services than Planned Parenthood (besides abortion) and reach tens of millions more women than Planned Parenthood would also have hundreds of millions of dollars more to advance their care for women and children. Why didn’t this legislation pass? Simple: Those who “support healthcare for women and children” successfully voted against it.
“…instead of shouting at her at abortion clinics.”
There’s a simple explanation for this one. As a rule, the only “shouting” happening is because many city statutes require an uncharitable distance between protestors and clinics, thus pro-life counselors have to raise their voices to be heard. It’s a shout to be heard, not to intimidate or show anger. I’ve protested outside many an abortion clinic and I can attest that prayer, the gospel message, and worship music is heard while free medical care and grief counseling are provided to women entering the clinic — provided by pro-life advocates.
“…you’d care about the child after they’re born instead of forcing them to be born.”
First, pro-lifers aren’t forcing a baby to be born. To force something means to push it against its current trajectory. But a healthy mother carrying a healthy unborn child is a healthy trajectory. On this trajectory, the baby is already going to be born. So it’s illogical to say that pro-lifers are “forcing” that which is already taking place.
Sex and science got the baby developing. The only “force” we’re showing is a counterforce to the forceful death of a healthy baby. Are we “forcing people to be alive” by opposing murder? No. They’re alive because they’re alive. We just don’t want them to be killed. That doesn’t force them to live. This is seriously so easy…
Before my next point, I want to point out the irony that those who support abortion, an operation intended to terminate the lives of the unborn, feel that they have any ounce of credibility to lecture people about being pro-life. I mean you literally support an operation whose sole purpose is to end life. Death is not a “possible” result or by-product of abortion — it is literally the goal.
The “not really pro-life” argument is a red herring.
The red herring fallacy aims to distract from the original point by bringing in an argument that, while it may be related to the broader topic, is irrelevant to the specific topic. In this case, the original point of discussion is on the ethics of abortion itself, i.e. debating whether killing an unborn human is wrong and whether it should be illegal. Since that was the point presented, fair dialogue should surround it without bringing in other matters that are important but, again, are also different.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said it very well in this video:
“There are political conversations in this room about the value of children, and every time it comes up, it gets noisy. People will say, ‘Well, you don’t fund enough money for education or child care or health care in communities, so you don’t love children.’ I would say I voted for the exact same bill you did last year for billions of dollars for assistance in child care, billions of dollars for early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education. We did additional assistance for SNAP benefits last year and assistance of benefits of moms in need, increased health care for all communities, for federally qualified health centers to make sure we get health care to every single community.
But those questions really aren’t the question. They are distractions to the question, and I get it. Because if I ask: Is that a child, people respond, ‘Well do you spend enough for child care or health care?’ And I still say, ‘Stop, answer my first question. Is that a child?’ Maybe I should ask a more basic question: Does everyone in this room believe in the principle we should do unto others as we would want done unto us? What would you want done to you when you were in the womb?”
So, despite the empirical display of pro-life activism towards helping the mother and her children, why do people still say that pro-lifers aren’t really pro-life?
I see a few reasons: First, it isn’t in their interest to provide evidence since they’re making an emotional appeal and would rather get “likes” or retweets than actually explain their position. Second, perhaps they understand that abortion is a horrific wrong but can’t bring themselves to say that they support it, so they sidestep with red herring distractors. Third, and most noted, they don’t provide evidence to their claim because there is no evidence to their claim — there is only evidence against it.
If you are considering abortion, please know that the cost will put you in a lifetime of emotional debt and regret. So many women have been told the same lies you have been — that you can’t bring you baby into this world, that you shouldn’t have to do it, or that the life within you is merely a clump of cells. These lies are anti-empowering and oppress the level of potential that you as a woman possess. The truth is that you can bring a child into this world — in fact, there are many people who will support you in it — and the life you carry is a child created and known by God.
Below are some resources that you can review if you are in need of support or know someone who is in need.