Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The pro-life movement and support for born children

Support for preborn children and born children aren't mutually exclusive

When someone asks me what I'm doing about resources for born children, my initial reaction is often anger and defensiveness, for two reasons:

1) Because nobody ever says "If you oppose infanticide, you'd better be out there advocating for free and universal day care!" Freedom from violence is a basic human right. We all want the best for children, and that involves a broad intersection of issues. No one person can tackle them all at the same time. Advocating for the right to life doesn't mean opposing quality of life, and outside of the abortion context, nobody argues that it does. The double standard applied to pro-lifers is galling.

2) Because we do provide resources for born children—we just don't do it under a loud pro-life banner. Roughly half the U.S. population is pro-life. Do you really believe we aren't involved in charitable work helping people in poverty? We're out there doing good as individuals. I don't think NARAL is hypocritical for, say, not organizing pro-choice-branded back-to-school drives for underprivileged kids. In fact, I think that to do so would be highly crass. And if pro-lifers branded all of our charitable work as pro-life charitable work, I'm sure our loyal opposition would find that off-putting too.

But anger and defensiveness, however justified, are rarely productive. Instead, I have decided from here on out to respond to the "what are you doing for born kids?" question in one of two ways, depending on who's asking it.

If it's being asked by an obnoxious abortion advocate who doesn't actually care about my answer, I'm going to walk away.

But if it's being asked by someone in good faith, I am going to talk about what I am personally doing and (this is key) invite that person to join me.

This means having one or two upcoming charitable events on my calendar at all times. They don't have to be major—like I said before, nobody can do everything—but community involvement is important. For example, at the moment I'd say "That reminds me: Youth Haven is having a fundraising party on August 14. Want to come with?"*

Obviously, this system works better for local friends than for internet conversations; I'm still working out that kink. Suggestions are welcome in the comments.

*Youth Haven is a children's agency in my hometown of Naples, FL.  I know most our readers aren't from that area, but it's a fantastic charity, and if you want to give you can do so here

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