To my fellow sophomore Amanda, I agree with you that one cannot legitimately be pro-life if all that one campaigns for is a child to be born. To be truly pro-life means to be concerned that, in Sr. Joan Chittister’s words, “A child is well fed, a child is educated, and a child is housed.” It is completely hypocritical to think otherwise.
However, there is a compelling alternative to the “pro-birth” view you mentioned in your article. The alternative is the Consistent Life Ethic. The Consistent Life Ethic teaches that all human life is valuable from “the womb to the tomb” and seeks to create a culture of life, where the great diversity and treasure that is human life is protected in all its forms. This is the view of many pro-life organizations, including Fordham Respect for Life, the Catholic Church, Democrats for Life and Feminists for Life of America.
A person following the Consistent Life Ethic would fight for well-fed children, educational opportunities, safe and clean housing, pregnancy resources for women and generous maternity leave, condemn the death penalty and unjust war, help prevent euthanasia and suicide and, yes, also fight against abortion. The last component is particularly important. Without delving into the exceptions of rape or incest, a culture of life cannot exist if society’s most vulnerable members, instead of being treated as treasures that bring a unique and special love into the lives of their parents, are instead treated as disposable objects. In the words of Mother Teresa, “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
Lastly, your statement that “children who are destined to suffer the lowest quality of life should not be brought into this world,” deeply concerned me. Many people born into adverse conditions have risen above them. In addition, for those who do not rise out of poverty, their poverty does not mean that they cannot have meaningful lives. Even in poverty, people can find love and joy. Whether rich or poor, those virtues alone can make life worth living.
John Tracey, FCRH ’15
Secretary, Fordham Respect for Life
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