What Pro-Life Really Means

I sense that there are some misinterpretations as to what “pro-life” means according to Catholic teachings. It means a *lot* more than simply being against abortion. It means creating an environment where women don’t wish to have an abortion. Which of course means finding out *why* women who wish for abortions want them. Simply making it illegal doesn’t address those concerns and so will hardly lessen the desire.

When women who want abortions overwhelmingly say over and again that the reason they want to abort is because they fear that they can’t take care of the child, or pay for health care, food, daycare, or education, then we should *listen to them*. When other countries who address these concerns see a correspondingly massive drop in abortion rates (even if they have far less strict abortion laws), then we should *learn a lesson from them*.

Instead, we tend to default to a “Let’s overturn Roe v. Wade. That will fix it” attitude. Surprise: I doubt it will fix anything if the previously mentioned concerns aren’t addressed.

Too, “pro-life” according to the Catholic Church is hardly voting for someone who says, “Hey, I’m pro-life. Vote for me!”. Catholic pro-life also means being for the dignity of life at all life stages. It means, as per Church teachings, being against the death penalty. It means being for health care availability for all (as per paragraph 2288 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church). It means being against military action in all but the most extreme of circumstances of self-defense. It means, yes, a societal preference for the poor so that the poor have the opportunity towards self-realization. It means, too, being less of a gun-worshiping society.

It’s important when making determinations on who to vote for to keep in mind that Catholic pro-life means a *lot* more than the narrow definitions of what the media broadcasts or the quick, “I’m a pro-lifer!” statement by politicians. There are plenty of politicians out there who say they’re “pro-choice” but, because they support pre- and post-natal care, because they seek to create an environment where women choose to keep the baby, do a lot more to lessen the number of abortions than some other politician who says he or she is “pro-life”, but doesn’t do anything to facilitate a pro-life society.