5 Effective Ways to Actually Be Pro-Life

anti-abortionThis week, the Supreme Court basically declared harassment of women entering family planning and abortion clinics constitutional. With this kind of legal protection, now we have to rely on the kindness of a crew not known for kindness in the face of abortion. I suggest that we lean abortion foes to be comprehensively pro-life in light of the fact that fewer abortions will result from a less confrontational and more progressive stance. There’s a distinct difference between being pro-life and anti-abortion. While both are against abortion, the first one takes a more comprehensive view of caring for human life while the latter is mostly concerned about regulating, coercing, and otherwise trying to abolish abortions.

SCOTUS’ unanimous decision was that Massachusetts’ 35 feet buffer zone is too big a zone of protection, but in the ruling (which was backed by the conservative judges and particularly Scalia, of course) Chief Justice Roberts and the other four conservative judges argued that such buffer zones are a violation of anti-abortion protesters’ free speech rights.

“Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks — sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history,” Roberts wrote. While the state has an interest in public safety, it “pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers.”

Yet there are some forms of speech that are not protected, and rightly so, such as speech that leads to crimes based on gender, race, religion, sexuality, or class. When NATO and the G8 Summits were in Chicago, they were protected from protesters by much more than 35 feet, with a wall of riot gear-outfitted police officers keeping protesters in place. Yet that was and likely under this court would not be ruled unconstitutional. In the United States, we recognize that some speech is harassment and leads to physical violence, but we are slow to identify the connections and this SCOTUS is reactionary slow to see it. So, we must change the tactics. We must show anti-abortion forces how counterproductive their actions are.

Here are five points to talk to your anti-abortion family, friends and churchgoers about:

1) Don’t yell in people’s faces. It makes them defensive and you fail to show love.

Harassment is harassment. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it for what you consider a good cause or not. Passion does not equal legitimacy, and fear is the opposite of love. When we, Christians, make fear the primal element of our Gospel message, we drive out love. As I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” If the person who fears is not made complete in love, then what of the one who preaches and pushes fear? Punishment, retribution, malice, slurs, hurt, threats – these are things that the typical client seeking help with their pregnancy is faced with coming to a family planning clinic. These are tools of hatred and fear, punishment and abuse. They are not of Jesus. Additionally, for the most part all you do is show off for the cameras and each other. You’re not winning hearts and my young anti-abortion self knew that and refused to join your charades and parades for that reason. Consider something more prayerful if you’re going to go down there. Better yet, just be friends.

2) You’re gonna need to do better than crisis clinics.

Some of my conservative, anti-abortion friends argue that crisis pregnancy centers – which are anti-abortion clinics designed to intervene with at-risk women seeking guidance and assistance with their pregnancies – should be able to fill the gap in for closing Planned Parenthood clinics. But this assumption is based on the premise that CPC’s offer much in the way of medical or other types of assistance. Their guidance is shallow, misleading, and often pressuring (“Don’t get an abortion because babies and murder.”), but their door prize is that they’re supposed to help women in crisis. Yet most only offer a take-home pregnancy test, maybe clothes and even some financial help. For those not ready to have a child and who are in a crisis mode, this limits their options and is usually nowhere near enough help. This is especially true if the person/people in crisis do not have adequate health care. Many come to services such as Planned Parenthood because they do not have the insurance or money to go to other gyno-centric health facilities – they get their reproductive health needs met at the PP clinic. This is something that crisis pregnancy centers are not equipped to do, no matter the argument. The results are babies born with families still in crisis, and more babies with bad health.

3) Support free, high-end contraceptives.

Until recently, reducing access to contraceptives was mostly a Catholic pro-life issue and not an Evangelical one. But with the popular resurgence of the Quiverful movement (where families are encouraged to have as many children as they possibly can and each one is considered a weapon against the forces of evil) and Hobby Lobby’s political activism colluding with the Religious Right’s hatred of Obamacare, now all of a sudden Science Be Damned, Birth Control Pills Are The Devil. But as we’ve noted again and again, the more accessible and higher quality contraceptives are, the fewer abortions. By the way, many clients come to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics for birth control counseling. So, another reason to lay off.

4) Support family planning and comprehensive sex education.

Let’s face it – most abortions are the result of unplanned pregnancies. The more tools available to prevent unplanned pregnancies, the smaller the amount of abortions. Anti-abortion Christians are going to have to make a choice here: Would they rather stigmatize sex or reduce aborted pregnancies? The facts don’t lie – people are going to have sex inside and outside of marriage. Just help them to have better options. There are also, and this is important, women in abusive situations who need to leave – but children are an extra anchor that keeps both them and their loved ones tied down to the physically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically harmful partner. For them, they need help to make these decisions and taking that away from them puts them at a great risk. Are pro-lifers really willing to allow that?

5) Support progressive policies.

I know this may sound weird. How can anti-abortion people go against the Republican party and the Religious Right? Well, meet Jim Wallis and Sojourners. And there are many other Cradle-to-the-Grave pro-lifers who are not only religiously/morally opposed to abortion on the belief that the pre-born are human lives and euthanasia, but are also firmly against the death penalty, against war and military conquest. They also tend to support socialist and progressive policies that would support would-be parents currently in crisis – like extended maternity and paternity leaves, universal health care, universal daycare/childcare, living wage jobs, affordable college education, and food justice. These would actually be pro-life. Most anti-abortion policies tend to be only concerned about not ending the pregnancy before term – which can be detrimental to the health and life of both the pregnant person (who is sometimes looked at as merely a gestation body) and the fetus. A more comprehensive pro-life position would make it so that the parents and children would be healthy and taken care of throughout life. It would also reduce abortions. Isn’t that what anti-abortionists say they’re fully against? If they’re so strongly against it, perhaps it’ll change their policies and dogma to realize that their ways are detrimental to their cause.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


Facebook comments

  • Pipercat

    Three and four would seem to be rather obvious. I suppose that notion of a master plan mucks that up…

  • Allen

    The decision by SCOTUS is mind-boggling. It isn’t about free speech; it’s not like your voice is going to suddenly stop carrying at the 35′ mark. It’s about physical safety. How could they be so incredibly stupid about something so incredibly simple? Even in the “public square” you have areas of no loitering.

    • True. Harassment should be recognized as hate speech. We don’t seem to take threats very seriously in the US.

      • DcnScott

        I think you have a point there, but it needs a little fleshing-out. Not all hateful speech (like calling pregnant women names) is hate speech. It’s unacceptable or should be, but not on a par with ethnicity- or gender-based intimidation (like burning a cross on a lawn).

        And threats, depending on how they are expressed, are crimes in themselves. Illinois law (for example) defines “Assault” as when one “… without lawful authority, he engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a Battery” (which is when one “… intentionally or knowingly without legal justification and by any means, … makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual”) (ILCS 720/5-12-1 and 12-3b).

        IMHO, A lot of “sidewalk counseling” has not sunk to the level of assault, or even battery, largely because of the buffer zone.

        And in any event, NONE of those is protected political speech, a distinction the Supremes seem to have missed.

  • Brian

    Harassment and verbal assault is free speech now, is it?

    • Charles Vincent

      Verbal rancor has been protected for a while, this isn’t new see supreme court decisions protecting hate groups like KKK and skinheads who say some pretty hateful and violent things.

      http://civilliberty DOT about DOT com/od/freespeech/tp/Hate-Speech-Cases DOT htm

      • Brian

        And yet even groups like WBC, the KKK, the neonazis all keep their distance from their targets of protest and hate. This will result in people mobbing abortion clinic entrances. People will be either blocked from entering or physically hurt if someone gets particularly zealous.
        They have their right to protest. Picket at 35 feet for the sake of public safety. This is why there’s laws regarding loitering in public spaces. PP shouldn’t have to call the cops each morning to get crowds off their facilities.

      • Charles Vincent

        Sidewalks are public property. Not saying its right just saying people will do it and it isn’t illegal.

  • JZ71

    well said!

  • polliwogg

    I don’t know a single “pro-lifer” who opposes the death penalty. And they don’t see the contradiction.

    • I know maybe a dozen or so. But they are definitely not the norm. Very definitely not the norm.

    • Sandy Greer

      Well, I’m ‘pro-life’ – as defined by #5. Most opposed to war, of course. But more opposed to the death penalty than I am to abortion: I want that choice to be there, for women who need it – and I want it rarely used (à la #3-4)

      But we need to emphasize Quality of Life. We’ve allowed our Opponents to define the debate: They are pro life (even we say so) and we’re pro choice. But pro choice doesn’t have the moral ‘high ground’ pro life does. So we lost ground – clinics (#2) We need to take that moral high ground back: Emphasize Quality of Life over quantity.

      Finally, Harassment is harassment (#1) We can be just as vocal in ‘shouting down’ our Opponents. Anybody posts the internet knows Left AND Right beat on each other. We’re all so busy harassing each other (talking ‘at’ each other) we are left preaching to our own choirs, with none but ourselves, listening.

      We should stop harassing each other – and talk ‘with’ each other – one person, to another.

    • Charles Vincent

      This is a false equivalency. The unborn baby didn’t kill another human like the man/woman on death-row.

      • polliwogg

        No, it is not. Murder is murder. If an abortion is murder, so is an execution.

      • Sandy Greer

        You’re right. It is murder. This is my personal belief – no matter what name the unborn go by.

        So why do I sanction abortion? Because life in the womb is valued less than life, breathing. That is the distinction I make. That life, living – is ‘more’ than life in the womb. But it’s all ‘life’, to me. And why I’d like the ‘choice’ – though legal – rarely used, as stated earlier, in my initial Reply to you.

        Why do I oppose state-sanctioned executions? I believe life in prison is worse than death. Sometimes they get the wrong guy. I’m always hoping for ‘redemption’ – that even the worst among us can have a change of heart. Death precludes that. And IF that ‘redemption’ has occurred —

        In both cases – abortion vs executions – I’m going to leave the judging up to God.

      • polliwogg

        The attitude I take is, IF there is a god, and IF he disapproves of abortion, when I die, I will have to answer to HIM. I don’t have to justify my stance on abortion to anyone on the planet.

      • Charles Vincent

        Poor dear they are different sorry that messes with your little bubble world the guy facing execution murdered someone the un born fetus did not. And therefore the man facing execution forfeits his life.

  • Aanna1123

    What happened to the freedom of the people walking into a clinic? Seems they no longer have any rights. What I can’t get ahold of is how this SCOTUS can be so blatantly one-sided and able to get away with it. I am not a stupid woman and I refuse to be treated as such! I’m suggesting that we get the majority to rule and not the tea party movement. The Koch party must not win, we must vote to get them out of all politics starting with Citizens United! Then, we’ll get rid of the tea party movement and republican puppets!

    • Charles Vincent

      The Koch brothers sit a #60 for total political donations and DNC donators dominate the top 25 most money donated spots(21 ot the top 25). and Rnc doesnt show up until ~17.

      https://www DOT opensecrets DOT org/orgs/list DOT php

      • AQ

        There’s a huge difference between many people donating to DNC candidates, and two assholes donating to RNC candidates. If you can’t understand that, then I feel sorry for you.

      • Charles Vincent

        Actblue who occupies the #1 spot for donations donated $107,563,973 to democratic political campaigns.

        The Koch brothers donated $18,557,948. This is roughly 5 times less money than just 1 democratic donor.

        In fact the top 12 democratic donors donated ~28 times the amount the Koch brothers did. I hardly think that your assertion holds water. Do yourself a favor and look at the link before you post asinine things again.

      • Sandy Greer

        Sounds like somebody doesn’t want to know. Or somebody who thinks ‘our’ money is better than ‘their’ money. When really – it’s all ‘green’ money…

        Nope; he’d rather harass an Independent Moderate – on our own side of the abortion issue – for calling his attention to an ‘inconvenient truth’.

      • AQ

        Hey wow, deliberate misgendering? Gold star for you!

      • Charles Vincent

        In the case of (he) I would bet it was meant to be non-specific. It’s also what you get when you choose gender neutral screen names.

      • AQ

        I have looked at the link–I stand by what I said.

      • Charles Vincent

        You can do that but it doesn’t change the fact that many organizations donated more money than the Kochs your theory is opinion not fact.

      • AQ

        I stand by what I said–you are engaging in false logic by claiming that multiple people donating to Democratic causes is the same thing as two men donating to Republican causes, simply because the sum of the multiple donations comes out to more than the sum of the known donations by the two people.
        Also, “they” is a gender-neutral pronoun. “he” is not. Nice try at mansplaining.

      • Charles Vincent

        When the total donated is ~28 times the amount donated by the people in question, and that the large amount is made to democratic campaigns it sure does mean the same thing, wishful thinking on your part there.

        AQ as a screen name is gender neutral, you don’t like being called a he, choose a different name that more appropriately represents your actual gender.

      • Sandy Greer

        Actually, they weren’t ‘multiple people’. Anybody
        looking at that list knows they were multiple entities (a PAC, followed by numerous corporations, unions, & financial institutions)

        Now, maybe you’ve bought into the idea that corporations are ‘people’ too – but Liberals, Progressives and Democrats don’t buy it. We’ve been protesting that decision ever since it was made.

        Only conservatives and The Right posit corporations are ‘people’.

        But you stand by those ‘people’ AQ. Clear down the list, to #60 – Koch Industries. Just like all the other ‘people’ on the list.

      • AQ

        So now you are putting words in my mouth and claiming that I said things I never said, Sandy. Wow.

      • Sandy Greer

        Sure you did. You said:

        1) many people donating to DNC candidates
        2) multiple people donating to Democratic causes

        Further, when it was pointed out they weren’t ‘people’ donating at all – but a PAC, corporations, unions, and even some too-big-to-fail Wall St financial institutions – you stood your ground, firmly:

        3) I stand by what I said
        4) I stand by what I said (in case we didn’t catch it the first time)

        Why, you even had the unmitigated gall to say this:

        5) pro-choice protesters are all just unemployed wastes of space

        You should feel real good about SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling today. Try not to gloat. It’s unbecoming.

      • Charles Vincent

        And the velvet glove slips from the iron fist…

      • AQ

        So because I call somebody out on a false equivalency and made a sarcastic comment that I noted was sarcastic, that magically makes me a Theocon? What?

        Tell me, you delusional person, what colour IS the sky in your world?

      • Sandy Greer

        Sure. Sarcasm, LOL Too little, too late. False equivalency, LMFAO Charles and I both laid waste to your crybaby false equivalency. You don’t want to acknowledge the truth of that list. Because you don’t want to know that your opinion is not based on fact.

        You can have your own opinion – But you don’t get your own facts.

        Yet, two days later, here you are – with still more excuses for why poor AQ didn’t mean what poor AQ said. An endless number of ‘woe is AQ’ (AQ is so misunderstood) excuses… Just SMH

        ‘Delusional’ is thinking anybody’s buying what you’re selling.

      • AQ

        Sandy, you are not only insane, but stupid as well. Please stop replying to my comments, because all you are doing is advertising your crazy.

      • Sandy Greer

        Well, if I respected you – I’d do as you ask.
        But since I don’t… LMFAO

      • Spiffy

        “They” is a plural pronoun. “He” is preferred if the gender is unknown, unless one wishes to refer to the unknown writer by, well, “one.”
        One is entitled to one’s own opinions, but not his own facts. Or in this case, decisions about correct grammar.
        I concur that SCOTUS made an egregious and erratically dangerous decision, but correct grammar is correct grammar. Conceding this point with dignity does not weaken one’s argument that women seeking reproductive health services are now less safe.
        Ironically 35′ is much less than the buffer zone around the Supreme Court.

  • DCR

    do you REALLY think these nut jobs are going to “support progressive policies”?? hahahahahahah

  • FD Brian

    How come republicans never ask why abortion protesters aren’t at work?

    • Charles Vincent

      Maybe they have odd hours/days off.

      • AQ

        Yeah, but pro-choice protesters are all just unemployed wastes of space amirite?

      • Charles Vincent

        That’s a gross assumption. And no you would be incorrect.

      • Sandy Greer

        AQ has gotta be a right-wing troll – here to harass.

        No Lefty would call people ‘wastes of space’.

        Unemployed or not – people are not ‘wastes of space’.

      • Charles Vincent

        “AQ has gotta be a right-wing troll – here to harass.”

        Maybe a leftwing troll…

        “No Lefty would call people ‘wastes of space’.”

        I disagree. I been called worse by lefties on this site.

        “Unemployed or not – people are not ‘wastes of space’.”

        I concur.

      • Sandy Greer

        Hey – I’m not claiming AQ as a Lefty. No way, no how! A troll, yes, but no Lefty. Bats for a his/her own gender unspecific team.

        And – some folks just don’t ‘get’ Devils Advocates. And how they improve our arguments by keeping us on our toes, and holding our feet to the fire.

        ^^^More’s the pity, that. Nothing like a good Devils Advocate to liven the party. 😉

      • AQ

        The “amirite?” Is an indicator that I was being not serious. I.e. Sarcastic.

        A simple look at my comment history will make that pretty clear.

      • Sandy Greer

        Oh poor AQ. Poor misunderstood AQ. Endless excuses for why AQ didn’t mean what AQ said – ’cause it’s always the other guy’s fault poor AQ is so misunderstood, don’t you know.

        And who would look at your comment history? You think you’re so interesting the world revolves around you? That we all wait with baited breath for pearls of wisdom to fall from AQ lips? That we can’t understand – ’cause poor AQ is so misunderstood?

        Now your ‘woe is AQ’ Sense of Entitlement is kicking

      • AQ

        Pray tell, have you taken your antipsychotics today? Clearly you are suffering for having neglected them.

      • Sandy Greer

        Now, that’s funny – coming from AQ. You’ve been whining and crying this whole thread about being misunderstood. You:

        1) Argued with Charles when he countered you with supporting evidence that explicitly refuted what you’d said. You didn’t want to look at the evidence; didn’t want to see your opinion was not based on facts.

        ^^^Nope; you stood your ground. You’d rather stand your ground – and LOOK a FOOL – than admit you’re wrong. Hubris – the Pride that blinds.

        2) Manufactured Outrage when I couldn’t guess your sex from your AQ moniker. Funny, that.

        3) And now you’re projecting. ‘Cause it’s always the
        other guy’s fault. LMFAO at whining crybaby insults.

        Woe is poor AQ who said what poor AQ didn’t mean to say. Over, and over, again.

      • AQ

        Thanks for confirming to me that you are insane, Sandy.

      • Sandy Greer

        Anybody AQ thinks insane – got under AQ’s skin.
        No better compliment than that.

  • FD Brian

    Westboro Baptist Church loves this ruling.

  • MLR

    Anti-choice people are
    NOT pro-life and I refuse to call them pro-life and so should everyone who
    cares about reproductive rights in this country. They need to be called out for
    what they really are. They don’t believe in choice until they are in the same situation.
    My own father, a republican, wanted my mother to abort me, she refused and they
    got divorced. I had some friends, again republicans who voted for Bush
    because they were “against abortion,” that is until their 14 yr old daughter
    got pregnant and let me tell you, they became pro-choice real quick. These same
    people (anti-choicers) don’t lift a single finger to protest gun violence
    against precious children already here on this Earth and they don’t care if
    children live in utter poverty. These are the same people that want to cut
    Headstart, WiC, Housing and SNAP, all programs designed to keep children from
    homelessness, hunger and malnutrition. These are the same people that
    usually don’t oppose the death penalty. People, especially hypocrites, need to
    mind their own damn business and take care of their own sins.

    • Charles Vincent

      “People, especially hypocrites, need to mind their own damn business and take care of their own sins.”

      Take your own advice then.

      • MLR

        I do take my own advice. I mind my own damn business unless you start messing with rights I believe women should have because abortion is not a black or white issue. There are different reasons why a woman might seek an abortion. Those decisions are very personal, usually made between her and her partner and possibly even her doctor and that should NOT be anybody else’s business.

      • Charles Vincent

        Abortion isn’t black and white but my take your own advise comment wasn’t in regards to your thought on abortion it was in regards to “(anti-choicers) don’t lift a single finger to protest gun violence against precious children already here on this Earth and they don’t care if children live in utter poverty. These are the same people that want to cut Headstart, WiC, Housing and SNAP, all programs designed to keep children from homelessness, hunger and malnutrition. These are the same people that usually don’t oppose the death penalty.”

        Additionally abortion and the death penalty are not the same, saying so is intellectually dishonest. Also gun violence is on the decline and has been for ~20 years, and violence is a social issue and has nothing to do with the tool used to commit violence.

      • MLR

        We don’t have the right to take a human life already walking on this earth. Only God has the right to do that, PERIOD!

      • Charles Vincent

        That’s where your wrong we have the right and responsibility to defend our life and the life of others and to use deadly force if necessary.

        The bible supports this concept;

        19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; 20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. (1Co 6:19-20 ASV)

        Not only are we to take care of our bodies and the life contained. We have an obligation to preserve the body and life of other people. Psalm 82:4 even cites an obligation to protect those who are in danger:

        Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

        Consider also Proverbs 24:11, which indicates we have a duty to preserve the lives of those who are harming themselves:

        Proverbs 24:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

        Ezekiel 33 is a well-known passage:

        Ezekiel 33 “… 6 ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

        If you know danger is coming to others, and you deliberately fail to warn the others of the danger, you are guilty of harming the victims. This is not to say that you can make people heed your warning. The surrounding verses also say that if the people refuse to heed the warning of the watchmen, the watchman is not guilty if they are harmed.

        We also see principles in Mosaic law teaching that if we fail to guard the lives of others, we are guilty. In Deuteronomy 22:8, if someone falls from your roof, and you failed to install a safety fence around the edge, you would be held liable for the death of that person. Likewise, in Exodus 21:29-31, if a man has an ox which is prone to harm people, the owner is held liable if he fails to confine it and the ox harms or kills others. If the ox harms someone, the negligent owner is fined. If the ox kills someone, the negligent owner is to beput to death.

        The principle could hardly be stated more forcefully: you must protect your life and the lives of others.

    • Sandy Greer

      I’m glad you weren’t aborted, MLR. Glad you’re here.

      My mother had one – before they were legal. Hers was in a hospital; even then – they weren’t all sordid, ‘back street’ affairs.

      But something went wrong with her pregnancy – and the doctor had to take the baby. A boy – the only one they ever had. My father never got his boy – only me, and my sisters. But he got to keep his wife.

      So I know a little something about how it must feel to know you came so
      close. And I’m glad you’re here.

      • MLR

        I’m glad I’m here too but let me tell you, we suffered many hardships with my father gone. Back then there was no such thing as government assistance and child support was not enforced. My mother had to raise 3 children on her own. My grandmother helped of course, but she shouldn’t of had to (she was old and could barely afford her medicine), it was not her responsibility it was my fathers. There were times we had no gas or water, and sometimes no electricity. I thank the Lord we never went hungry (mostly because of Grandma) but imagine those that don’t have relatives that can help? Someone posted a comment that quality of life is also very important, not just quantity of life. That is so true. If a person really is against abortion then they should fully embrace contraception and sex education.

      • Sandy Greer

        That was me – Quality of Life.

        I know, MLR. Even today, it’s difficult for women – when men don’t pay their child support. So I understand.

        But what your father did – and didn’t do – wasn’t because he was Republican. It was his Character – or lack of it – caused him to abandon you.

        Both Left and Right have people with strong Character we can count on – and with weak, that we cannot.

        You just make sure you choose wisely for yourself, when it comes time to choose who you want to spend your life with, and share children with.

        We are not our parents. We can be better.

  • surfjac

    How big is the buffer zone around SCOTUS?
    I don’t suppose I can walk up to their bench and stop screaming at them that they are conservative activists and shills, can I? I mean if I can, I need a bus ticket.