This year will mark the forty-fifth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade—the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in all fifty states. Since that time, voters have passionately identified with the ideology of either the pro-life or pro-choice mindset.
As believers, we consider ourselves to be pro-life. To be content with the murder of lives forming inside the womb is unimaginable. But being pro-life is more than being anti-abortion. Buying a bumper sticker, wearing a ribbon for awareness, or voting against certain candidates is not sufficient. Being pro-life must be a way of life.
In the book Onward, Russell Moore says, “Lots of people are pro-life and pro-child until the lives of children become personally inconvenient.” Taking a stand for justice is never convenient. Our participation in the pro-life movement must go beyond our agreement with its ideology.
My question for you, dear reader, is this: Are you only pro-life on paper?
What Does It Mean to Be Pro-Life?
We are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and we are to value all human life because we value the imago Dei in every person. This is the heartbeat of the pro-life ethic. It’s valuing all human life, from the womb to the tomb. The pro-life movement may have started in its fight for the lives of the unborn, but it doesn’t end there.
The pro-life ethic fiercely battles against our culture’s values. It treasures what the world would dispose of. It desires what the world sees as inconvenient. It wants what is unwanted. The pro-life ethic rejects the belief that our worth depends on our usefulness.
Russell Moore says elsewhere in Onward:
The spirit of every age seeks to define human worth in terms of power and usefulness, while the gospel of the kingdom defines human dignity in strikingly different terms, as Christ Himself identifies Himself not with the powerful but with the vulnerable.
The pro-life ethic doesn’t allow us to see the vulnerable as burdens; it requires we see them as image bearers of a holy God.
Being pro-life means championing, celebrating, and fighting for life. It means valuing all human life, particularly the lives of the vulnerable who need our protection.
What Are Some Ways to Be Pro-Life?
Simply, we live what we believe. If we truly believe all human life is valuable, even life that our culture claims has little to no value, then we will act on that belief. We live out our pro-life ideology by championing life, especially the lives of the vulnerable.
Last year, doctors in Iceland claimed they had eradicated Down's Syndrome by aborting children whose prenatal testing identified the genetic disorder. Pro-lifers will not see the killing of babies for their imperfect genetics as a solution to be celebrated. We will fight for the lives of these image bearers, knowing that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14).
The World Health Organization estimates that each year approximately fifty million abortions take place worldwide—and these are just the ones that are reported. Pro-lifers will advocate for these pre-born image bearers. We will support political leaders who champion the right to life for our most vulnerable citizens. We will walk alongside those struggling to make the decision to keep their babies. We will promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.
There are over 150 million orphans in the world today, and most of these are orphaned because of poverty. Pro-lifers will engage the global orphan crisis. We will fight for families and advocate for family preservation. We will encourage men not to abandon their families. We will seek economic solutions for parents to help them provide for their children. We will adopt these children when other potential solutions have been exhausted.
Forty-five million image bearers live in human slavery today. Pro-lifers will fight human trafficking by avoiding pornography, which fuels the sex trade. We will purchase goods and services from those companies who provide them in ethical ways. We will raise up a generation of men who value women as daughters of the King. We will raise awareness about slave auctions currently happening in Libya and demand that the international community act. We will fight for freedom for those enslaved.
Over sixty-five million refugees exist in the world today. Pro-lifers will create community and space for the displaced. We will widen our social circles and open our homes to the sojourner, remembering that we were once sojourners, too (Deut. 10:19). We will welcome these image bearers into our lives and work to ensure that our societies receive them as well.
People are vulnerable because of many different reasons, including age, race, disease, disability, imprisonment, and poverty. Pro-lifers don’t see these people as burdens; we see them as bearers of God’s image and therefore valuable. We care for them while honoring their inherent dignity. We value the vulnerable not because of what they can do but because of whose they are.
Being Pro-Life Requires Action
God’s Word says that when we care for the “least of these,” we’re caring for Him (Matt. 25:31–46). Our concern for the world’s most vulnerable reflects our concern for our Father. We value what He values. We value the least of these.
We must act on our pro-life ideology. We can’t just say we’re against abortion; we must walk with women and disciple them to keep their babies. We can’t just talk about the evils of human trafficking; we must advocate for sex slaves and fight for their freedom. Pro-lifers won’t let their spare bedrooms stay empty when children in their cities are waiting to be welcomed into a family.
Championing life isn’t easy or convenient. Going against the culture is always a battle, but it’s what pro-lifers do. We value what the world doesn’t. We celebrate what is tolerated at best and discarded at worst. We fight for human flourishing amongst the most vulnerable in our world. We use our voices for the voiceless (Prov. 31:8). We leverage our influence to help the vulnerable. We seek justice for the oppressed (Mic. 6:8).
The pro-life ethic is more than an idea to be agreed with; it’s a value system that we live out. It’s more than a way to think about life; it’s how we treat life. Our beliefs should be evidenced by our actions. Let your actions show that you value life. Don’t just be pro-life on paper.