Let me start by getting one thing straight: I am 100% pro-CHOICE.
Okay, now that that's established, let's discuss the whole pro-life vs. pro-choice conflict. Here are some of my opinions, thoughts, and feelings about the issue and the recent change in Alabama's abortion law.
I'll be honest with you, the first time I heard about the newly passed abortion restrictions in Alabama, I was scrolling through Twitter. If you're rolling your eyes, I'm sorry, Twitter is a viable news source to many and I'm not embarrassed to admit that (lol)—you just have to dig a little deeper than Twitter to confirm what you read, as with any news source. But, after reading something about it, I immediately went to Google to search for other coverage (articles, videos) from a variety of news sources, like CNN.
The more I read, the more I couldn't believe what a complete and utter step backward the United States has taken. It truly shook me to my core.
While exploring different opinions, ideas, and thoughts related to the issue, I came across a quote from a Catholic Nun, Sister Joan Chittister, regarding the term 'pro-life' and its meaning:
"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
I was immediately drawn to this quote for multiple reasons, the first being the topic.
Secondly, the point of view—as in the originality of the term 'pro-birth.' Many people have voiced this opinion, but have struggled to find the appropriate words to voice it, and this term gives those thoughts life.
The third thing that caught my attention was the source: A Catholic Nun...probably one of the number one individuals that I (and many others) would expect to preach pro-life viewpoints. Although it's fair to assume that she is not in favor of abortion, I appreciate that she doesn't defend those who preach 'pro-life' viewpoints while exercising 'pro-birth' actions.
While thinking about this term used by Sister Joan Chittister, pro-birth, I became interested in the adoption and foster care system in America. That is, how they're organized, operated, funded, etc...
What I discovered disgusted me.
Let's just start with the fact that more the 30% of homeless people in the United States were formerly part of the foster care system. What does this say about the system you might ask? It shows the deliberate lack of support given to teens as they grow out of the system and are expected to make it on their own. Many believe that homelessness is a separate issue in America, but when searching for the core of these problems simultaneously, we often come across statistics like these that show an underlying problem and a significant link between the two.
Not only are children often deprived of an appropriate transition from foster care into their independent lives, but there are a number of instances in which they are also deprived of proper care in their personal foster home(s). A significant percentage of foster children feel their voices, thoughts, wants, and needs are usually unheard or unacknowledged. The children often lack a sense of purpose.
With all of that being said, I acknowledge that there are exceptions to these generalizations, and a number of children feel safe and secure in the foster care system— but not nearly enough to label it as a successful and secure system.
Now, I'm not trying to dive too deep into the issues of the foster care system, but what I'm trying to get at is the point that if 'pro-life' individuals want every baby to be born, they need to fight for and support the life that comes after the birth. Not just the action of birth itself. I feel as though a lot of people who claim to be 'pro-life' just don't want to see an abortion occur...there's no real concern for the quality of life for the child after the birth. Like Sister Chittister stated, "we need a much broader conversation on what the morality of 'pro-life' is."