I have a confession – I’m unashamedly pro-life. I’ve been listening, I’ve been watching and frankly feeling a little ashamed not to have written earlier about where I really stand. I’m pro-life and nothing anyone says will change my mind. Every time the morning news euphemistically reports “collateral damage” in this place or that, I know they mean people are losing their lives. They are always civilians, the so-called innocent, but frankly I feel no differently about those uniformed men and women shown “in silence” at the conclusion of the Lehrer Hour night after night. When I hear that another New York City cop has been the victim of gun violence, I know a precious life has been needlessly lost. When I read that someone is standing in the way of stem cell research, I know that human lives are less likely to be saved or improved than might have been. When I hear that condoms have been denied to people by restrictive “faith-based” ideology, I know lives are bound to be needless taken, slowly and with unimaginable agony. When 7 out of every 100 infants (14 out of 100 African Americans) die in the United States shortly after birth – more than in 27 other developed countries – it breaks my heart. Lack of prenatal care is usually to blame. Surely such deprivation of life must be unconstitutional, settled law.
If you think this is tongue and cheek, it isn’t. I could not be more serious or more disturbed that someone has hijacked pro-life as a proprietary slogan of personal values and agendas I don’t share and all the more so that you and I have let them do it. I’m pro-life because it’s important to me that children who come into this world are wanted, survive their birth, will be nurtured and have a chance to enjoy and get the most out of life. I am pro-life because I want people to have the opportunity of living with a partner, any partner, of their choosing and be able to solemnize that life choice without some total strangers demonizing and devaluing their life-driven relationship. I’m for life and for our right to decide when terminal should be become a pain and dignity saving reality. I’m for the life of the mother, of the father, of the child. I detest guns, the instruments of taking life and remain uneasy about death sentences that never undo crimes, no matter how terrible. Mistaken executions are never acceptable and I can’t accept the risk which usually falls heavily on those most disadvantaged.
There is a popular cliché, “don’t judge them for what they say, but for what they do.” Nonsense. Sure what they do is important, but what they say can be equally consequential. Words matter and can lead to loss of life. We have been much too lose about them, not only about using them, but letting others usurp them and in the process denying our right to use them as we see fit, to exercise our free speech. I’m pro-life people, proud of it and don’t think anyone can take away my right to say so.