In the New York Times, novelist John Irving made an accusation that pro-lifers have heard too many times to count. He said, “They (pro-lifers) don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother.”
The argument is meant to cut off debate about the central issue of abortion. It sometimes works, as pro-lifers get sidetracked trying to demonstrate they’re not only pro-birth but that they give their time, money, and votes to serve the marginalized. These pro-lifers don’t realize the futility of this exercise. They are trying to prove their consistent ethic of life to people who do not display one themselves.
A consistent ethic requires one to care for humans both inside and outside their mothers. Abortion supporters show concern for only one of these groups, diverting attention from the gruesome reality of abortion by starting a new line of conversation about those who’ve already been born. While we should of course care for all people, no matter their location, it’s disheartening how easily abortion supporters turn a blind eye toward the slaughter of millions of babies.
What the John Irvings of the world miss is the incredible way the pro-life community rallies around expecting mothers and their children. We walk with these women during some of their scariest moments and provide them with baby clothes, cribs, housing, and jobs.
They also ignore how pro-lifers have thoughtful, and at times differing, opinions on how to serve the vulnerable outside the womb. People who oppose abortion have views on gun control, immigration, universal health care, and welfare that fall all over the spectrum. We’re not cookie cutters of each other.
The one thing that unites us is our shared concern for the preborn. We grieve that approximately 911 babies die in Planned Parenthood facilities every day. We recognize the dignity of these precious souls and understand there is no people-group more in danger than them.
Abortion supporters often deflect from this tragedy by declaring the myriad of ways they are “pro-people.” Many of them support government programs to help those in crisis and claim abortion should be kept available until we can create safety nets to help expecting parents. The fact that babies will die in the meantime does not seem to faze them as they put their support behind the most barbaric form of poverty control imaginable.
Others, like actress Jameela Jamil, think it’s more humane for babies who would likely experience suffering during their lives to die by abortion than to live. Jamil tweeted regarding Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill, “So many children will end up in foster homes. So many lives ruined. So very cruel.” Advocates like Jamil forget the beautiful ingenuity of the human spirit and assume a life of possible hardship is not a life worth living.
Even though these activists attempt to create noble arguments for why abortion should remain permissible, they end up taking the most anti-life position possible. Their words and actions carve a path for the death of our nation’s most innocent.
Nonetheless, society never questions whether or not these advocates genuinely care about all people. It also does not examine the hearts of those serving other marginalized groups. For example, when a person helps the homeless, we don’t judge whether they actually care for those on the street based on their stance on other humanitarian issues. It’s a test of authenticity reserved only for those who fight to end abortion. Thankfully, it’s a test we easily pass.
We don’t pass it by spending copious hours explaining every way we provide for people outside the womb. Ardent abortion supporters like Irving are blind to the horror of abortion and our list of good deeds won’t open their eyes. Their true focus is on a woman’s right to choose, and they would give us an ‘F’ no matter how we perform.
Rather, we pass the test by putting our heads down and doing our part, day by day, to actively care for the vulnerable. While this work is usually not flashy and on the nightly news, it’s authentic. And, notably, it’s consistent.
Amanda Sherzer is a writer and the founder of Honor Lane in Dallas, Texas. She received her Master’s from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2018. She previously served as aide to former First Lady Barbara Bush and worked in the White House for President and Mrs. George W. Bush.
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