What does it mean to be holistically pro-life?
On June 24th, 2022, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade—the case that legalized abortion on a national scale—was overturned. Abortion was no longer a federal right.
The range of responses was vast. Those who predominantly advocate for the preborn through legislative advancement—what many in our society would call “pro-life”—celebrated. The prohibition of abortion had always been their goal. They were one significant step closer to their vision of a “pro-life” America.
On the other side, those who consider abortion a necessary pillar of women’s rights—what our society would call “pro-choice”—mourned the ruling. Many in this camp saw the overruling as a regression in women’s healthcare. A regression that would inevitably and unfairly impact vulnerable women finding themselves in unexpected pregnancies.
In between these two generalities stand countless opportunities for nuance. This is where Stand For Life exists, inviting people of all positions into a productive conversation. Asking those on both sides to consider a stance that defends the life of every human person made in the image of God.
In a social discourse where the term “pro-life” is so emotionally and politically charged, we believe it is important to clearly define what it means for Stand For Life to champion a “holistically pro-life” approach and how that directly impacts the work we do.
Who is included?
Stand For Life unambiguously affirms and defends preborn lives. The preborn are vulnerable, image-bearing humans that the very Creator of our universe is actively and lovingly knitting together in their mothers’ wombs. We believe God has written rich stories of life for each and every preborn person. He wants them to live, to thrive. Stand For Life Partners are opposed to abortion, as it directly opposes our Christian ethic of human life and dignity.
And yet, Stand For Life believes that the Church is simultaneously called to care for vulnerable mothers facing unexpected pregnancies. Like their preborn children, these women are image-bearing humans once knit together by God. They are His daughters. We are called to see them. Love them. Defend them.
The Church is designed to be a community that courageously steps into the lives of women facing unplanned pregnancies. One that cares for them amid the challenges that lead them to feel like an abortion is necessary. The Church should commit to walking alongside them, affirming the divine importance of the life in their womb while offering to help bear the intimidating burdens of motherhood.
Being holistically pro-life means that standing for the lives of the preborn cannot be divorced from standing for the lives of those that carry them. By embedding His image in the substance of every human being, God forbids us from showing exclusivity in the lives we choose to affirm and defend. It is all or nothing. And it’s not just limited to the preborn child or mothers, it extends to every single human person made in the image of God so our holistic pro-life view cannot be limited to one issue. The scope of impact is every person and every part of their life.
“Being” holistically pro-life requires doing
Stand For Life casts a robust vision for valuing human life, while also challenging Christians in our society to a robust course of action. The “narrow path” of defending and affirming every human life requires us to step into uncomfortable situations to love the vulnerable. No matter the cost.
Being “holistically pro-life” should not be without political action, but it certainly is not defined by it. It is defined by how we answer questions like these:
Am I looking for opportunities to love my neighbor?
Am I sacrificing time, money, and resources to take care of the vulnerable in my community?
Am I treating every person I encounter with respect and love? Even those I disagree with?
Am I encouraging the Christians around me to care for the vulnerable?
Am I applying the Christian life ethic consistently?
A glorious end vision
At Stand For Life, we advocate and applaud legislative advancements that seek to defend the dignity of every human life. And yet, we know that they cannot be the end-all-be-all. The prohibition of abortion itself will not convince image bearers that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. It will not satisfy the deep longings of souls.
The end vision of the holistic pro-life movement is a world where we as humans intimately know our God-given value and affirm it in one another. It’s a world where abortion has been made unnecessary by a collective belief and experience of the imago Dei, uniting in the process of being healed and made whole by Jesus Christ. Loving one another radically and generously. Pursuing God and the things He cares about as a culture and society.
This vision requires more of us. It means we must uphold the responsibilities we have to human life. But we cannot imagine anything more worthy.