Hi, there! I’m a Christian and I believe that you can be both pro-choice and pro-life.
But before I talk about that, I want to talk about alcohol.
I’ve been in a food studies class this semester, and I have learned some fascinating things. For instance: vegetables suspended in gelatin taste disgusting, there is such a thing as cricket flour, beer is actually really close to bread in terms of calories (I think that’s right), and that temperance didn’t start as “absolutely no alcohol.”
Temperance in America actually started as a movement against hard liquor: whiskey, bourbon, Scotch, gin, etc. It initially had nothing against beer (because it can be as filling as food) and wine because it takes a lot more of both of those to get drunk. *A lot more*.
Then came a man named Lyman Beecher. He realized that when you’re talking to large crowds about things like temperance- inherently nuanced things that require a smidge of thought- that it’s much easier for people to understand and digest “No alcohol at all” instead of “No hard liquor, but beer and wine are okay.”
The phrases that stick with human brains are often simple and catchy and easy to remember. They don’t require extraneous thought, they don’t run the risk of giving you a headache, and without a doubt, they always give you a tangible enemy- *and I’ll say this a little louder for those in the back* EVEN IF THERE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE AN ENEMY.
One more time: THEY ALWAYS GIVE YOU A TANGIBLE ENEMY EVEN THOUGH THERE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE AN ENEMY.
ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS.
Another feature of these is that where an enemy is involved- there is no room for grace. Not a single shred. Because everything is black and white! Grace makes grey areas, and people don’t like grey areas. For that, I must pass on a piece of wisdom from my high school creative writing teacher: “Welcome to the gray area. 99% of life is lived here.”
That brings me to the pro-choice, pro-life debate.
*deep breath* I know that what I am about to say is probably going to have people asking for my head. Or to have me burned at the stake. There’s a very good chance I’ll get called a baby killer. All I can tell you is: welcome to being a woman with opinions on the internet.
Pro-fetus does not mean pro-life. Pro-choice can mean pro-life.
Now, to understand this, you’ll have to put your thinking caps on. I am going to require you to think, to examine yourselves, to have empathy and put yourself in another person’s shoes. It will not be easy. It will be massively uncomfortable, you will probably squirm, and there’s a good chance you might see the log in your own eye.
I know I’m staring down my log as I type this.
I’m not going to get too heavily into the science on this, because frankly I’m a history person, I haven’t studied it, and I don’t totally understand it.
What I do understand is being a woman. I understand that very very well (it helps that I’ve been one for twenty-two years).
I get terrible cramps during my period. If that’s TMI, I can’t help you. This isn’t middle school. Anyway, I do. For years, I was taking multiple 500 mg of naproxen for at least three days a week once a month. Say I took three naproxen per day, for three days, twelve times a year, for seven years (I started birth control at 20, so that’s roughly about right). Do you know how many milligrams of pain medication that is? If i did my math right, that is 378,000 mg of pain medication for something (usually) biologically inescapable. From the time I was thirteen years old to the time I was twenty, I was taking enough pain medicine to take out a horse.
Then, I decided to go on a mission trip to Paris. I did not want to be drugged up on naproxen while I was there, I had started getting nausea with my periods, and I did not want to be miserable in Paris (preferably not anywhere, but especially not Paris).
So I went for birth control.
It has totally changed the game. I rarely get cramps, and my period doesn’t disrupt my life anymore. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Granted, I don’t use my birth control for sex. I ain’t got time for that. As a matter of fact, most women on birth control don’t use birth control to prevent pregnancy. They use it for a range of medical problems, including but not limited to: polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, lack of periods, cramps, PMS, acne (if you have moderate to severe acne and no other medication has worked, the hormones in birth control can help to balance that out), and many others. Benefits of birth control: lowered risk of anemia because you don’t bleed as much, lower risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and ovarian cysts. I found my info here.
In other words: birth control is really helpful and taking it does not inherently mean that you’re sleeping around.
Another thing: I got little to no sex ed. I don’t really remember it. I remember seeing horrifying pictures of STDs in 10th grade health, but that doesn’t count (no, it really doesn’t).
One last thing: I don’t like abortion. I don’t. In a perfect world, only those who were ready and willing to support a child would get pregnant and there wouldn’t be a need for abortion.
But we don’t live in a perfect world.
We live in a world where young teenage girls get pregnant by rape from their family members.
We live in a world where sexual violence against women is something women expect– like the death of a loved one. You never know when it’s going to happen, but you know that statistically speaking it will, so it’s only a matter of time. Some women get blessed and never experience it. Most women don’t.
We live in a world where women have to get police escorts to their cars and even then are still terrified because what if the policeman is a predator.
We live in a world where woman go everywhere in groups (even and especially to the bathroom); where we stay on the phone with our sisters and daughters until they’re locked safely in the car- even if it’s broad daylight, even if it’s only a block; where a group of men loitering and talking is a potential threat (ask my mom about the gas station incident a couple of weeks ago); where we even have to carry our water with us everywhere we go; where we check our backseats before starting the car because what if there’s someone crouching back there with a gun; where we keep all the lights on when we’re the only ones home so that a potential intruder thinks the house is full of people; where for the love of all that is good, a racist, rapist pedophile almost won your state’s Senate seat because people refused to believe the women who finally mustered the courage to speak out against him; where men believe they have a right to touch, use, and abuse us as they please because we are not people, we are objects to be enjoyed and discarded.
Imagine a world where you are afraid of everything around you.
WELCOME TO WOMANHOOD.
Where “innocent until proven guilty” may apply in court, but it certainly doesn’t apply if you’re seen leaving a boy’s house the next morning (even if the only reason you slept over was because you were locked out of your apartment and you stayed in a separate bedroom on another floor of the house- I know someone this happened to), but *sarcasm because some people won’t pick it up* thank the Lord it applies to predators.
Where “innocent until proven guilty” applies to all men in every situation, but “guilty until proven innocent” has always and forevermore applied to all women in every situation.
Where “grace upon grace” is heaped upon white “Christian” men, but completely withheld from literally everyone else in society, and in Church.
Pro-choice candidates have time and time again voted to for healthcare, voted for birth control, voted for more comprehensive sex education, voted to raise the minimum wage, voted for stricter gun laws, voted for pro-life policies.
Because you see, there’s more to “pro-life” than “pro-fetus.” If you’re going to be “pro-life,” then you better be ready to support people womb to tomb. You better be ready to do what it takes to lower abortion rates, even if that means more comprehensive sex education and offering free and reduced birth control, because that’s what lowers abortion rates. You better be ready to pay people enough money so that they don’t have to work three jobs to support their families. You better be ready to lock down those gun laws because your right to a firearm has never and by God will never trump another human being’s right to live. You better be ready to offer safe abortion services for those mothers who want a baby more than anything in the world, but who can’t afford it; for that scared pregnant teenage girl who gets no support at home; for that pregnant prostitute who was driven to sex work because she couldn’t find another job and she’s been told by society her whole life that her body can make money; for the pregnant girl raped by her father; for the women who wanted to have sex and did and got pregnant because they skipped one night of birth control.
Because here’s the thing: you don’t get to discriminate and decide who deserves what in this world. Everyone deserves death, and it’s only by the blood of Jesus Christ that we don’t get it, and our Savior and Lord does not discriminate who can receive that, and if He doesn’t, you most definitely don’t have a right to either.
In a perfect world, all sex would be consensual and there would be no rape, no predators, no pedophiles, no need for locked doors, no need for guns, no racism, no sexism, no misogyny, no misandry, none of that.
But we don’t live there.
We don’t live in a black and white world.
We live in the gray area. In the mess. In the filth and the muck and the beauty and the sorrow and the sunshine and the rain and the broken and the whole.
We live in a world where our Christ offers grace upon grace to all who ask for it.
So who are we to deny His Creation, and deem what He has called “righteous” filthy, ugly, deserving of their consequences?
You deserve to die. You deserve eternal damnation. You deserve in Hell.
But God’s grace, you don’t have to. You won’t.
You know what that means?
Pro-life cannot and must not mean pro-fetus.
Pro-choice can and must mean womb to tomb pro-life.
You can’t judge the pregnant teenager, and I can’t judge everyone who voted for Donald Trump and Roy Moore.
You can’t judge the prostitute, and I can’t judge those people who stand outside abortion clinics calling those women murderers.
That’s hard for me. So hard.
Because there are a couple of things that are black and white: rape is wrong. sexual assault is wrong. pedophilia is wrong. murder is wrong. genocide is wrong. grace is for everyone. Christ loves the lowly and unlovely (of which you and I are one). the Church is to love wholeheartedly and indiscriminately regardless of the circumstances. the Church’s job is to rehabilitate, not condemn.”innocent until proven guilty” is only for the court of law, like “close” only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Being pro-choice doesn’t mean “baby killer” and pro-life doesn’t mean “ignorant.”
Nuance. It matters.